Monday, February 11th, 2019
“Holy crap, what happened?!” Mary shrieked, leaning in towards Kenny’s face.
Jasmine was next to her examining him too.
“We had practice last night,” Kenny explained. “And one of my teammates elbowed me in the face.”
“Awww, you poor baby,” Mary cooed, touching his cheek.
“Yeah,” he went on, feigning more pain than was necessary. “It’s so bad. I think I need mouth-to-mouth.”
Mary sucked her teeth and pushed him away.
“This is ridiculous,” Harry cut in. “You obviously did this, Mike.”
“I wasn’t there,” Mike disagreed. “I don’t even play basketball.”
“Well…” Harry looked at Kenny’s swollen eye. “Kenny must’ve done it to himself then. Did Mike pay you?”
“You think someone could pay me to break my face?” Kenny asked him. “That’s my moneymaker, man.”
“Yeah,” Jasmine agreed. “Cuz your brain definitely isn’t.”
“Well, it’s just a coincidence,” Harry maintained.
“The day before class?” Mary asked. “After Mike predicts it? I dunno. That’s a little weird to me.”
Jasmine nodded. “Yeah. I say we should try it. Sorry it took a black eye for it to happen, Kenny.”
“Don’t worry about it. Anything in the name of Philosophy,”
“Whatever. My eye hurts. I can’t think.”
“This is unbelievable,” Harry said, standing up from his seat. “I told you if we keep going down this road, I’m leaving.”
“”Wait, Harry,” Mary said. “I think we should give it a shot.”
“Are you seriously thinking about this? Why?”
Mary and Jasmine looked at each other then Mary answered, “We both had deja vu’s last week.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “Great.”
“What’d you see?” Mike asked eagerly.
“Well, I was at the mall,” Mary started. “And I walked past that video game store Game Shop.”
“Game Stop,” Harry corrected.
“Whatever. I walked by and there was this sign for a video game called The Last of Us: Part II. And I felt like I’d seen it before, but I never have. I don’t even play video games. I don’t even know what that game is.”
“Interesting,” Mike said, scratching his chin.
“Not for nothing, bro,” Kenny said. “That game’s gonna be fire.”
“What was yours?” Mike asked Jasmine.
Jasmine had been typing, but stopped and looked up. “I was watching the movie Dunkirk.”
“Good choice for once,” Harry said.
“And it was so…” Jasmine waved her arms as she searched for words, but she was clearly uncomfortable. “Raw. And I found myself feeling afraid that if we ever went to war I’d get drafted for some reason. And that fear–that specific fear–was the deja vu. It felt like I’d been afraid of that before, but I can’t even remember when I learned about the draft.”
Mike rushed to the whiteboard and started writing, ignoring Harry’s muttering. He wrote THE LAST OF US PART II on one side and FEAR OF BEING DRAFTED on the other.
“What connection could there be between these two things?” he asked them.
“There’s soldiers in The Last of Us,” Kenny said.
“Good point,” Mike agreed. “So what do we think might happen in the future that would involve the two of them?”
The girls and Kenny stared at the whiteboard as they thought.
“Maybe the developers of the game will get drafted,” Jasmine suggested as she typed.
“Or maybe the military will use that video game in their training,” Mary offered. “I don’t know.”
Jasmine kept typing and Mike paced back and forth in front of the whiteboard, hand on his chin.
“How many times do I have to tell you?” Harry groaned. “This is asinine. The military has been volunteer-based since 1973. You LITERALLY cannot get drafted. We’re not in the 1940’s.”
“But if there’s a national emergency, Congress could reinstate the draft and you know that,” Jasmine corrected him.
Mike turned back to face the board. “So what kind of national emergency would make people afraid of getting drafted and feel like The Last of Us?”
“Stupid question from a non-gamer girl here,” Mary raised her hand. “What is The Last of Us even about?”
“It’s basically another zombie apocalypse game,” Harry answered.
“Not just another zombie apocalypse game,” Kenny snapped. “Don’t disrespect the GOAT like that, bro. The storytelling in that joint is off the chain. Y’all gotta hop on that before part 2 comes out. I’m tellin’ you, y’all are missing out.”
“So a zombie apocalypse is supposed to happen?” Jasmine asked.
“You see how ridiculous this sounds?” Harry asked.
“No, listen,” Mike started, turning to them. “The deja vu’s might not be telling us that everything we see is gonna happen. You know how when you have it there’s usually a specific thing that triggers it? And then if you look around it starts to feel like other things are a part of it, but they really aren’t?”
“Not following you,” Mary confessed.
“Like if I have a deja vu while seeing someone get out of a red car, but then I notice that my friend is drinking Coke and wearing blue Jordans. The Coke and the Jordans could just be “collateral details” and the real message the deja vu is trying to tell me has to do with the red car. So the deja vu might not be saying that there’s gonna be a zombie apocalypse. It could be saying that whatever happens in the future, people are gonna be comparing it to The Last of Us Part II.”
“I see,” Jasmine nodded. “Cuz my deja vu didn’t have to do with Dunkirk or World War II. It was just that specific fear of getting drafted.”
“This doesn’t make sense!” Harry cried. “Can you hear yourselves? Listen. We can’t do a project on deja vu because you can’t control when you get a deja vu. You guys lucked out last week, but what do we do the next time we have class and nothing happens? We have nothing to add to Mike’s little board, nothing to study, and nothing to get graded on. Ergo: this is stupid.”
The room was silent for a few seconds and the others turned to Mike for his opinion.
“That’s a valid point,” he ceded. “We’re completely at the mercy of these deja vu’s. If we don’t get them, then we’re screwed. So how about this? Today’s the 11th and we have class twice a week. If we don’t have enough information by the end of the month to do a project, we’ll drop this and do the Mandela Effect. That will still give us two months to complete it.”
The group thought the offer over silently and Harry looked at the ceiling, as if he were calculating the odds of success.
“Deal,” he finally said.
The rest of the group breathed a quiet sigh of relief, glad that they were all on the same page for once.
“My bad, guys!” Kenny blurted. “I’m not gonna be in class on Wednesday. We got a game in Minnesota that night so we’re leaving that afternoon.”
The girls groaned.
“Can you facetime us?” Mike offered.
Kenny rubbed his eye. “I dunno if I could do any face stuff to be honest with you.”
“It’s not…never mind.”
But two days later Kenny did facetime them and he had a new deja vu to share.