DATE: JULY 7TH, 1992
Sunny let out a sigh of relief as her husband and mother left the hospital room. She was finally allowed some time alone with the two pink sacks of meat she had just given birth to.
Her twin babies.
In her left arm Sunny held her firstborn; a big-headed, grinning miniature of a person who seemed happy just to have made the cut. Though Sunny would never admit this out loud, he looked like one of those spermatozoids that had gotten lucky; much like a one-flippered seal who beat all the others to shore because he was coincidentally at the right place and time to catch the biggest wave.
In her right arm, Sunny held her daughter, who, in contrast to her twin brother, seemed calm and poised. Less than two hours had passed since her birth and she already seemed bored out of her mind. Like she had already been here before.
Again, in stark contrast to her big-headed brother, who was staring at the white and sterile ceiling with unabashed awe.
Sunny had already tested her twins just as her mother had instructed her. She had gently placed a finger into the palms of each of her newborns’ hands to see how they’d react. The girl had answered with a firm grip. Hello there, mama, her grip seemed to say. A pleasure, I’m sure.
When Sunny did the same to the boy, however, his eyes shot wide open and he started floundering like a flamboyant fish on dry land. Oh my God, what the fuck is that?! Get it off me! Get it off me! . . . .Wait, no! I change my mind! I think I like it. Please, come back! Put it in my mouth! Please! Come bahaaack!
Sunny couldn’t help but being distraught. She had done everything right. During her entire pregnancy, she made sure to eat a lot of fish. She hadn’t allowed herself so much as a sip of alcohol; she hadn’t touched a cigaratte. Hell, she had even made sure to stay away from people who did. Basically, she had been as healthy as the human biology would allow. So now, as she looked at her baby boy, a single, terrifying thought wormed its way into Sunny’s mind – one she wouldn’t dare share with anyone.
What if, despite all my precautions, I’ve still managed to bring yet another idiot into the world? What if—
Her train of thought got derailed as the lights in her hospital room suddenly went out. The howl of the wind outside was suddenly deafening now that darkness and dead silence reigned inside. Sunny turned to the window, where the wind seemed to howl the loudest, and that was when she noticed him; a figure outlined by the lights outside. A man squatting on the hospital’s window frame; his long leather jacket gleaming as it whipped behind him.
How long has he been sitting there?
‘Hello, Sunny,’ the mysterious man said, in a deep, bottomless voice. He jumped off the sill and landed with a thud. Heavy boots echoed into the room as he approached the bed with steady, determined steps. He was an odd sight; a giant with nothing but a leather jacket wrapped around his muscular upper body. He wore crimson shades, even though it was night. The giant came to a stop at about four feet distance from Sunny’s hospital bed and clasped his hands behind him. With his square jaw set into place and his eyes hidden behind the shades, he was an imposing figure indeed.
Sunny felt the wind get knocked out of her as she thought she recognized him. ‘Are you . . . Arnold Schwarzenegger?’
He nodded with a perfectly square grin. ‘Yes,’ he said, with a deep, emotionless tone.
Sunny frowned. There were so many questions she felt needed to be asked. ‘But, Arnold, you look much older in person than you do in your movies. And why do your pants appear to be a couple of sizes smaller from the knees down?’
He scratched his head. ‘I . . errr. . . these are skinny jeans. They haven’t been invented yet in your time. But in my time, everyone wears them. Those who don’t wear them . . . well, they don’t get to be governors.’
Sunny didn’t understand what any of that meant, but she somehow doubted it could spell anything but bad news for her and her twins. She made a quick sign of the cross and whispered a prayer under her breath.
‘What is it you want?’ she then asked.
‘I came for the child,’ Arnold said, without hesitation. ‘Many years from now the world will be thrown into chaos. I am among the last of my kind, and in a last-ditch effort to reverse our misfortunes, I have traced the desolation back to its origins. It seems that everything leading to the great desolation had started here, with this creature you’ve birthed today. Your child was already too powerful for me to stop in my time and that is why I’ve traveled back into the past – to make sure I stop this madness before it even begins. For the good of the many, your child will need to be sacrificed.’
Sunny brought her hand to her mouth, eyes wide with horror. ‘You’re talking about murdering an innocent child, you monster! . . . No! I won’t let you get to her!’ She pulled the girl closer to her breast.
A cold grin wedged its way into the man’s square jaw. ‘It’s not her I came for,’ he said. ‘I came for him.’ He raised a finger to the boy, whose head was currently lolling around in the nook of Sunny’s arm at the complete mercy of the forces around him, much like a bobble head on the dashboard of a jeep trekking up the Andes. The boy still wore that dumb grin on his rounded face as his head rolled in his neck’s joint, drool seeping out the corners of his mouth. His sister, on the other hand, was giving Arnold a hostile sneer.
‘Are you sure it’s him?’ Sunny asked. ‘I mean – Lord forgive me for even saying this – look at him. I can’t imagine him ever growing to be a threat to anyone but himself.’
Arnold took yet another step closer. His jaw clenched in anticipation, and in his intensity, he spoke in a barely perceptible accent. ‘There is no doubt in my mind. Your son may look like an idiot now – yes, he will look like an even bigger idiot ten years from now – but that is because he is a slow grower. And that will be his greatest disguise, because his off-the-charts incompetence will cause everyone to underestimate him. Puberty won’t hit him until he’s well in his mid-twenties and when it finally arrives, the potential that had laid dormant all this time will finally surface. He will turn into one of the most influential writers of his time. He will join arms with a beast that is half-shadow and half-light. Together, they will destroy the world with parodies and puns.’ Arnold’s eyes glazed over in horror. ‘So many puns . . .’
‘You’ll be doing the world a great favor if you just throw him out the window right here and now. The future will be a much better place without him. You have to believe me on that.’
Sunny looked at the baby in her arms and still had a hard time imagining him ever accomplishing anything remotely close to what this man from the future was suggesting. She could only envision her son going from a glue-sniffing boy to an armpit-sniffing teenager to a forty-three-year-old single man still living with his parents while working the drive-thru at mcdonalds. Anything beyond that seemed like a stretch.
But still . . . this was Arnold-freaking-Schwarzenegger. And if Hollywood movies had taught her anything, it’s that he’s usually the good guy. And that’d make the little idiot she now held the bad guy in this story, wouldn’t it?
Arnold took another step forward. He was now so close she could practically smell the protein shake on his breath. His jaw widened even further as he grinned in anticipation, his lips parting slightly as he sucked in a deep breath. A lion, ready to pounce.
Seeing this as her last and only chance, Sunny reluctantly let go of the boy, who bounced off the side of the bed before tumbling and falling to the ground. With her freed hand she reached under her pillow and grabbed the bag of fun-sized snickers bars she had stashed there (having been on a strict diet for so long, she had been planning on enjoying a hell of a cheat week). With one swift flick of the wrist, she tore the bag open before slinging it at Arnold’s agape mouth. The sack of snickers hit target as it sailed right through his open mouth and lodged itself into his throat. She prung to her feet, and with the girl still in her other hand, Sunny used her free hand to punch the bag of candy so far down his throat that he was forced to swallow it lest he choked on it. Arnold grabbed his throat while collapsing to the ground, and Sunny – with the momentum of her attack still carrying her forward– followed suit.
‘Nooooooo!’ Arnold screamed. He folded on the hospital tiles and started convulsing in terror. He clawed at his face. ‘No! No! No!’ His words were edged with agony; it filled the room with a cry that sounded more animal than human. Suffering in its most primal form.
Tears started rolling down his chiseled face. ‘My gains . . .’ he whispered. ‘You’ve ruined my gains . . .’
It was a strange and uncomfortable sight; to see such a big, powerful man reduced to tears. It took him a good while to gather himself and clamber back to his feet. Arnold was now towering over Sunny, who had remained on the floor. ‘I’ll have to return to the future,’ Arnold said between sniffs. ‘I can’t – I won’t – allow any more losses to be made. Ugh! I don’t even want to think about how many empty calories I’ve just consumed. Tomorrow I will head back to the gym and start the long process of reverting the damage you have inflicted on my cutting-phase today. I know I was about to kill your baby and all, but still. Not cool.’
He turned his back to her and started walking away before stopping dead in his tracks. He looked back at Sunny over his highly defined shoulder. ‘It’ll be back . . . day,’ was his final words, as a bright beam of light flashed all around him, enveloping him before taking him away. Sunny was left alone on the floor with only half of her twins in her arms.
Sunny turned around to the boy she had dropped – the one who’s supposedly going to turn the entire world on its head one day – only to see him sprawling on the floor like a tortoise turned on its shell. He was clawing at the air above, seemingly frustrated that he was unable to get any purchase on it. Sunny brought her hand to her mouth in horror as she now noticed a huge dent in his forehead. It hadn’t been there before, had it?
She started to fear that by dropping him she had broken her own son. But then again he had acted imbecilic from the moment of birth, so it was
hard impossible to tell whether the damage done by the fall was responsible for his current behavior.
In the end, Sunny thought, only time will tell. Till then, all I can do is be the best mother I can possibly be. She was dragged from her thoughts as she noticed the boy put his own foot into his mouth. She smiled at the adorable sight – for about two seconds, because he then started to choke on it. But even as he was choking, he kept trying to shove the foot further down his throat. Sunny sighed and carefully and patiently removed his foot from his mouth.
‘I’ll love you unconditionally,’ she whispered as she wiped his drool-covered toes off with her hospital gown. ‘I’ll love you always, my darling, because Lord knows if anyone else will.’