about the author

Andrew Davie received an MFA from Adelphi University. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant, and he&rssquo;s taught English and writing in New York, Virginia, and Hong Kong. In June, he survived a ruptured aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. His online cartoon, podcast, and other writing can be found at his Web site: asdavie.wordpress.com.

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Alternate ‘85 

Andrew Davie

Dir. Quentin Tarantino

Title Card: “Revenge is a knish best-served cold.”

The VW Bus is parked outside of the Essex movie house, while Talk Dirty to Me III plays inside. The Libyans, wanting to let off some tension before executing Doc Emmett Brown, have no idea a seventeen-year-old will be their undoing.

Marty McFly flicks the butt of his Red Apple cigarette.

“Run for it, Marty,” echoes in his ears.

He opens the bus door, grabs an AK-47, and walks, deliberately, toward the movie theater. The girl in the box office barely glances up from her paperback when Marty plunks down the three-fifty.

Marty steps to the top of the aisle, spots their turbaned heads amongst a sea of raincoat types, and after shouting something about “Sand niggers,” opens fire on the Libyans. Traci Lords’s moans of pleasure coincide with the screams of men shot in the guts.

Title Card: “Hillbilly song sung by a black man.” —Leonard Chess

Marvin Berry takes a hit and passes the joint. They need to get righteous before playing tonight. The joint appears in front of him again. He inhales, coughs, and passes it. He runs down the set list and thinks about something his cousin said earlier today. Finding a new sound; something like Bill Haley and “Rock Around the Clock.” Before he can collect his thoughts, he is interrupted by a thudding sound of the trunk closing.

Lorenzo, standing right outside the driver’s side, demands to know why three white teens are messing with his Cadillac.

When he’s rebuffed, the rest of the doors open, smoke dissipates, and Marvin Berry and the Starlighters emerge from the car decked out in matching blue outfits.

Title Card: Esoteric Music References

Marty McFly hops out of the DeLorean, lights a Red Apple, and listens to the strains of “Maybellene,” by Chuck Berry. He muses over the fact Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys song “Ida Red” served as the basis for “Maybellene.” It was common in those days to interpolate and alter already existing songs. They named the song after Leonard Chess spotted a mascara box on the floor and changed the spelling to avoid a lawsuit from the makeup company of the same name.

“The irony of it all,” Marty says.

The irony that led Marvin Berry to hurt his hand opening the trunk, necessitating in Marty having to play the guitar, then wanting to do an encore which“Really cooked.” He was the inspiration, though; earlier tonight, fronting Marvin Berry and the Starlighters.

Marty McFly gave birth to rock and roll.

“From Chuck to me to Chuck,” Marty says, commenting on how the predestination paradox is the coolest of all paradoxes. He takes a final drag, tosses the butt with a flick, and heads toward the VW Bus.

Dir. Michael Mann

Joe Baines stands outside of the prison as the discharge gate shuts behind him. He’s been granted parole, finally. He turns around and takes it all one last time. He vows he’ll die before he ever returns to that hell.

His family does not greet him, and he flags down a cab.

“9303 Lyon Estates,” Joe tells the driver, who hesitates but lowers the flag.

He arrives, and no one is home. Outside, his nephew Martin shows up. Once inside, they talk for a few moments, but it’s cursory and distant. Martin is bummed out because he doesn’t get to play battle of the bands.

Joe is plagued by déjà vu; a memory of being in his crib and seeing someone wearing the same clothes, especially the orange vest. Linda, David, and George arrive, in that order, offering different amounts of enthusiasm to Joe’s presence. His encounter with his sister, Lorraine, is curt. An awkward dinner follows, and while everyone is watching television, she braces Joe in the kitchen.

“How long are you going to stay?’ she says, taking a pull from the scotch. The years haven’t been kind to her; the booze less so.

“Just for tonight, I’ve got a halfway house in town.”


“I’ll start looking tomorrow, Lorrie.”

“Don’t call me that.” Tears form in her eyes.

It’s what he called her when they were growing up, a long time ago, but that girl is long gone.

“I’m sorry.”

Joe finds work as a mechanic. He’s about to take his break when 3-D show up. His trademark glasses long vanished, but the nickname hasn’t. Almost twenty years older than Joe, they could pass for the same age. Joe is working on a tune up, when 3-D calls him over to the front.

“‘Jailbird’ Joey.”

“Don’t call me that.” Joe is shocked how much he sounds like his sister.

“What?” 3-D says with mock indignation.

“Let me buy you some lunch,” 3-D adds.

It doesn’t take long after they’ve sat down at the diner for 3-D to make his pitch.

“I got a job,” Joe says and takes a bite of his hamburger.

“Changing oil?” 3-D lets it hang for a moment.

“Listen, none of my guys can operate a burning bar; it’s simple, you go in, rob the place, I claim the insurance, and you get your cut.”

3-D smiles, finishes his Coke, stands, and slides five hundred-dollar bills toward Joe.

“Think about it.”

Joe feels a kick to his leg and rolls out from under the car. He stares up at the stone face of his boss, an unconscionable ball buster who’d give the hacks in the joint a run for their money.

“Don’t think I didn’t notice you were late coming back from lunch!” Joe’s boss says, a diminutive man who wears a shirt and tie to differentiate himself from his employees.

Joe mutters under his breath.

“What was that?” Joe’s boss says, baiting Joe to make a smart remark.

“I said, ‘it won’t happen again.’”

His boss leers over him, clutches a clipboard, and looks like a dog with a bone.

“You’re damn right it won’t, or else I’ll be calling your PO, and he’ll violate your parole. Do you get me?”

“Yes.’ Joe’s blood is at full boil.

The boss smirks.

“Just watch yourself,” he says.

That night, Joe calls 3-D.

The robbery goes bust, and Joe makes it two blocks from the store. The gun fight which follows with police lasts fifteen minutes. He empties his .45, reminding himself of his vow to never go back to prison and makes his final play amidst a hail of bullets.

Dir. Lars Von Trier

Dogme ‘85

Title Card: Present - A dinner table in the McFly house. A blank stage on which rests a table with chairs and a television set nearby.

The McFly family sits around the dinner table ruminating about the state of their lives. The Father has protected the secret of his perversions, and why he was in the tree; the chain of events which followed led to his union with The Mother. Even now, he gets aroused while thinking of the brassiere, and the girl who wore it. The Mother pours herself a glass of whiskey; she talks about girls chasing boys, and the puritanical values which she deems holy.

I am but a bitter woman who drinks, she thinks. I wasted my life with a perverted buffoon.

“How am I supposed to find a boyfriend?” The Daughter says.

I am plain and homely and, without sleeping with someone on the first date, I will become a spinster she thinks.

Have your father cruise the neighborhood until a pervert falls out of a tree and hits the car, The Mother wants to say but doesn’t.

She watches with bitter resentment as The Father and The Older Son are mesmerized by old Jackie Gleason re-runs.

The Younger Son folds his hands under his chin.

“What about changing the past or the future?” He says.

“Time destroys everything,” The Mother says.

Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky

The Doctor waits in the parking lot of Lone Pine Mall. He remembers when it was nothing but pine trees. His dog Einstein lays by his feet. It’s 3 a.m. and quiet. Soon, a beat-up station wagon pulls in from the highway and cuts across the parking spaces in a straight line toward The Doctor.

The Writer gets out. He’s wearing a short-sleeved white button-down shirt and blood-red tie. His hair has enough slick in it to shine. He locks the door and walks over to The Doctor.

“How is your son?” The Doctor says.

“Depressed,” The Writer begins, “His band wasn’t selected for the school dance.”

The Doctor nods.

“What are we waiting for?” The Writer asks.

“There’s one more person coming.”

Almost on cue, another car pulls into the lot. Instantly, The Writer looks furious.

“What the hell is he doing here?”

“He wanted to go, too.”

The Writer looks like he’s going to say something but instead seems to calm himself. He walks back to his own car and disappears. The Doctor wonders whether The Writer will drive away, but The Writer returns just as the other person gets out of his car.

“Doctor,” The Supervisor says. He lifts his hand and acknowledges The Writer who does the same.

“Gentlemen,” The Doctor offers, “if you are ready.”

The Writer and The Supervisor both get in The Doctor’s DeLorean. As The Doctor turns the key, for the ignition, a light-blue VW Bus pulls into the lot near a photo kiosk.

“Hang on,” The Doctor says and floors it.

“What’s happening?” The Writer says.

A man rises through the sunroof of the Bus, aims a Khalashnikov, and opens fire. The DeLorean strafes, while bullets ping off the asphalt.

“Jesus Christ,” The Supervisor says.

Through some deft heel/toe work, The Doctor puts some room in between them and the bus.

“Libyans,” He begins, “I hope they enjoy their pinball.’ Both men turn to each other to see whether they can offer any insight for that cryptic message.

“We’re going to crash!” The Writer says, as white-blue rays of light begin to appear near the contours of the car. Imperceptibly, the car peels through the bright light and into a field of pine trees.

The Doctor is able to negotiate between the trees, and eventually the car finds the road.

“Gentlemen,” The Doctor begins, “welcome back to 1955.”

“My God.”

The Writer stands looking over the vast expanse which will become Lyon Estates. The DeLorean hides behind the billboard announcing the construction of said complex. The Doctor seems to have gotten younger; he lies down on the grass and stares up at the sky. The Supervisor begins laughing.

“I’m going to Lou’s, see what’s what, and grab a malted.”

“You can’t,” The Writer says.

“Why not?”

“You could disrupt the axis of the space-time continuum.”

“In English, Butthead.”

The Writer’s face goes slack. Once dormant history is revived, which releases now visible anguish.

“Don’t call me that.”

The Supervisor smirks. The Doctor, sensing tension, gets up.

“He’s right.” Brushing off his pants, The Doctor discusses how any alterations to the past could have catastrophic affects on future events.

“Then, what’s the point?” The Supervisor states.

“You can observe, but you can’t interfere,” The Doctor says.

The Writer makes a sound of disgust and walks away.

“Well, why did you come back then?” The Supervisor says. The Writer stops in his tracks and turns around.

“I need inspiration.”


“I haven’t been able to write. I thought if I came back...”

He lets the words trail. The Supervisor looks like he’s going to say something insulting but decides against it.

“Well, this stinks,” The Supervisor says.

“Come on,” The Doctor says, waving the men over to another car hidden behind a second sign. Inside the car are changes of clothes, for the three of them, as well as currency.

“Let’s review some ground rules.” The Doctor offers, then says he’ll be back to pick them up tomorrow morning.

He has another errand to run in the future.

Later, The Supervisor stands outside his grandmother’s house. He feels an intense shame at the way his younger self acts toward her. He is callous and uncaring as a youth. The Supervisor watches his younger self get ready for “The Enchantment Under The Sea Dance,” revenge wafting off him in waves.

While they went over the rules “No contacting your previous self, no alterations of any kind, blah blah blah,” The Supervisor was only half listening. He remembers something about a butterfly, and The Doctor droned on about memories being hazy.

“You’ll bear witness to things you’ve already done, so you’ll have two distinct memories of it: once in the first person, the other in the third person. You might get disoriented, or confused, that’s to be expected. Just don’t interfere.”

Now, watching himself, The Supervisor feels a sudden sense of vertigo. He backs away from the window. He heads toward the school. Every so often, he stops along the way and lets the memories wash over him in waves. By the time he gets to the school, he’s full of a myriad of conflicting emotions.

The parking lot is full of cars, and the sound of rhythm and blues pulses from the gym.

“I thought you might come here.”

The Writer emerges from between parked cars. He’s holding a shiny .22 snub nose revolver.

“The hell is this?” The Supervisor says and begins to back away.

“Stop,” The Writer commands.

Both men stare at each other in silence; the music of their past occasionally flares up from the school.

“You want to tell me what’s going on?” The Supervisor says.

“Sure, now I can finally end this.” He cocks the hammer.

“End what?”

The Writer puts the gun down and grunts.

“You can’t be this much of an idiot.”

The Supervisor lurches forward but retreats when the gun becomes visible again.

“You’ll be erased from existence,” The Writer offers and aims.

“The cause of all of my pain and suffering.”

The Supervisor feverishly grabs for the weapon.

In the distance, unbeknownst to either man, their younger selves are engaged in a similar struggle. The Writer, a scrawny teenager, is in immense pain as The Supervisor, drunk and full of rage, bends his arm to the point of breaking it.

The Teenage Writer summons all of his strength and fury; he remembers all of the insults and humiliations he was forced to endure. Ultimately, though, it’s looking into the eyes of his future wife and feeling the intense love originate within his body, which causes him to act.

He makes a fist, then unleashes it, and this younger rendition punches the teenage version of The Supervisor, which renders him unconscious.

Both of the older versions, still gripping for the gun, suddenly shiver as new memories are implanted and old memories stripped. The weapon fires; muffled due to the close proximity of both of their bodies acting as a suppressor. Both men stumble back. Each think the other has been shot.

It is The Writer who pitches forward; a crimson circle grows exponentially from his stomach. On the ground, he stares up at the sky. He has solace now in the form of his new memories: a wonderful marriage, successful children, and of course his novel, A Match Made in Space.

He sifts through these new memories and allows them to fill his entire body. He has visions of holding his sons, daughter, and his wife. Sitting in front of the typewriter, the words pouring forth from him like from a tap. His body convulses.

Visions of what has happened, and what might happen intertwine. He imagines scenes playing out before him of all of the opportunities and choices set before his family. He hopes they will make the right decisions.

Slowly, the light leaves his eyes.

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