“The Time Traveler’s Neighbors,” by Dan Perlman

Nov 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Prose

Henry and Claire kiss passionately on the bed. There is a knock at the door.

HENRY: I’ll answer that, my dear.

Henry walks down the stairs, and sees his elderly neighbors Merv and Louise Weiner through the screen-door.

MERV (To Louise): I toldja he’d be here. Every time with this guy-

LOUISE (To Merv): Be nice, Merv.

Henry opens the door.

HENRY: Mr. and Mrs. Weiner. How are you?

LOUISE: Very good, Dennis. It’s nice to see you again. It’s been, what, eight months?

HENRY: Yes, thank you. It’s great to be back.

LOUISE: Well, we’re sure you’re very jet-lagged from the time-travel, but we wanted to-

MERV: I’d like to tear your damn face off, you-

HENRY: I’m sorry?

LOUISE: Merv-What he means is, last time we saw you, we were going to Florida for the month, and you said you’d be happy to feed our cat, Bandit.

MERV: You promised!

HENRY: Oh, of course, Bandit.

LOUISE (calmly): Right. And I guess instead you went on one of your little time-travel things, and Bandit passed away-

MERV: You’re a killer. What kinda man kills a defenseless cat?

HENRY: I’m so sorry. I can’t control when-

MERV: And what the hell are you time-traveling for anyway? What are you, Neil Armstrong?

LOUISE: That’s space, Merv.

MERV: What?

HENRY: I can’t control when I time-travel, Mr. Weiner.

MERV: So because you can’t control yourself, zipping around time like a damn fool, my cat is dead?

HENRY: I’m sorry. It’s called chrono-displacement-

MERV (sighs, rolls his eyes): “Chronic de-placement”, “chronic de-placement”. (To Louise) It’s the same thing with this guy, every time.

Remember a few years back when you didn’t get our mail? Three weeks, and no one got our mail-


MERV: That was a lot of mail, Louise!

LOUISE: We know you didn’t mean it, Henry. You’re a good boy.

HENRY: Thank you.

LOUISE: We think it would be proper if you pay for a new cat, though.

HENRY: Not a problem, Mrs. Weiner.

MERV: It better look just like the old one!

LOUISE: There is one more thing… When you come back from your little time-trips, can you try to make a little less noise when you land?

MERV: It was like a damn earthquake last night.

HENRY: Again, I’m sorry. Sometimes when I re-appear, it’s on a dresser or cabinet or something. Last night I knocked some plates off of the table.

LOUISE: That’s all right, dear. Just if you could, try to keep it down a little. We go to sleep early.

HENRY: All right, but I really can’t con-

(The ground briefly shakes, and Henry vanishes)

LOUISE: Schmuck.

MERV: Aw, Christ-he left his car on my grass. I’m not waiting for him to move that thing.


You can find Dan Perlman at DP1573@gmail.com.

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