A Dickensian building. It is a shop. Inside, the shopkeeper is a demonologist. He has set bombs to go off at the Libyan embassy and world trade centre, in the future, but triggered by a bomb here and now. His shop is closed. It will explode at the same moment, yet separated by the illusion of time. A small boy is held as a human sacrifice. A cross is formed from metal parts to curse him.
A cabal performs the ritual.
WTC. The day of 9/11. I am touring with a group of work colleagues. We hear about a bomb in the Libyan Embassy. It’s near the WTC.
A stranger tells us about the demonic time bomb plot. He tells us where we are, the WTC, is next, but if we can break the curse we can save our own and many other lives. Next to me is the ghost of a software engineer. He is sad. He has waited years for a chance to do something. He cannot help. That’s our job. The stranger sets him free, and he walks away towards his heaven. He asks us for a song. I start to sing “That’s Amore”, but I know he gets the reference to the “that’s a moray” meme. The others join in, and he heads down to a beach fading into a rainbow. Dom brings me a badge from the ghosts hat. It’s from Harvest festival. The guy was a Christian. I hope he gets to his heaven.
We don’t know what to do, how to break the time bomb curse. Most people solemnly carry a huge wooden structure, like a great canoe, down towards the sea.
Me and Jef change from a solemn walk into doing a conga dance, singing “We’re all going to die-ie, We’re all going to die-ie, na na na na, na na na na,”.
We crash through the great canoe, and others join us. Our lives should be comedy and dance, not stoic subservience to duty, then death.
We are back in the past.
We arrive early enough this time to convince locals of the immanent shop explosion. Our last attempt was foiled by a tram driver deciding to ask out the girl in the post office over the girl in the bakery. This meant we missed a connection, and could stop the bomb in time.
The locals gather with us, and we hurl gravel at the demonic merchant in his upstairs window. He collects most of it, offering to sell it back to us as we scrape about in the dirt, looking for more ammunition. Reification of anger.
(This is obviously me dreaming about the timeless evils of capitalism propaganda and espionage)
Local bobbies arrive. They show us where to get cobblestone that we can dig up. Too heavy to throw accurately at the merchant in his window, mocking us, we use them instead to break into the ground floor. Inside, among antiques and furniture, sit the cabal.
We explain how we can set them free, and they cooperate, no longer wishing to be frozen in time, awaiting more explosions. One becomes a bird. I become commander Data from Star Trek TNG. I recite a poem by Edward Lear, and set his bird soul free. Another requires the complex restructuring of the metal cross. Another becomes a border collie and comes with us.
The time bomb has been stopped. We have one task left, to scale an enormous city of sky scrapers, to ensure our success. I take a longer, but safer route for my abilities. I still get there.
At the top is a school. They are retelling our story with modern celebrities playing dead celebrities, playing the original characters. Roy Castle is played by Ricky Gervais, and a serial killer by David Walliams.