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March 5th, 2017

Cigarette
Michael took another drag from his e-cigarette. Jane sat watching and shook her head. "I don't think you're thinking this through. This is just like the time you hung a dirtbike with a rope and made it into a swing."

He took another deep drag. "No, I did research this time. Science says that every cigarette you smoke is like eleven minutes of life."

"I think you're not understanding this. I'm pretty sure that doesn’t mean you're actually travelling in time."

The cartridge now empty, Michael took it out. He lifted up a new refill cartridge. "I bought these puppies on eBay. They're from China and have fifty times more nicotine than normal cigarettes. I did the math. Each one of these is like 2,000 cigarettes."

Jane shook her head again. "Well, you've been at it since dinner and you're still here. But, whatever- I have to get up early tomorrow. I'm going to bed. Have fun."

Michael waved his fingers and said, "See you in the future."

When Jane woke up the next morning she reached over but was met with just covers. She looked and it seemed like Michael had never even gone to bed. "Oh, god. I bet he stayed up all night smoking that thing." Jane walked out of the bedroom and was greeted with a cloud of smoke, but didn't see Michael though. She quickly grabbed a bagel out of the refrigerator and left for work. She sent him texts at each of her breaks but didn't get a response.

"Hello, Michael?" She said as she walked into their apartment that afternoon after work. There was no response.

Her worry quickly turned to fear when she flipped the lights on. Michael lay on the floor next to the table. She quickly ran to him. He felt warm, but there was blood around his lips. She pulled out her phone and dialed 911.

Seven hours later, a doctor flipped through some papers and looked up at Jane. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Phelps. Your husband is in a coma. It looks like the e-cigarette he was using exploded while it was in his mouth. We've sutured the cuts to his lips and left cheek. The good news is that he is completely healthy. He's breathing on his own and the EEG is showing brain activity. At this point, it's just up to Michael to get up."

Jane spent every possible hour at the hospital with him, even sleeping next to him in an uncomfortable chair. When he was moved to a long-term coma care facility, she would visit every day. After a few months, she would come every weekend. Weekend visits became monthly. As the years went by, Jane created a new life for herself and would visit Michael once a year.

Jane brushed aside a grey wisp of hair away from her eyes. "Hello, Michael. The nurses say you're doing well here." A muscle in Michael's cheek twitched but Jane didn't notice. "My kids are doign well. Charlie is almost done with college. He's looking for internships already. They've already grown up." Michael suddenly inhaled deeply. "Michael?" Jane got up and walked to a nurse. "Excuse me, he seems to be breathing differently. Is he okay?"

The nurse lifted his head slightly and put his finger on a monitor that she couldn't see. "Says he's fine." He went back to his phone.

Michael's eyes were open when Jane walked back. He was blinking a lot, like he was trying to get his eyes to focus. Jane yelled back at the nurse, "Hey, his eyes are open!" She turned back and tried to hug him while he lay in bed. "Michael! Can you hear me? Are you okay?"

Michael stopped blinking as much and his eyes now scanned the room. Then he looked at Jane and studied her face. "Hhmph."

"Oh my god, Michael. Are you back? This is amazing."

"eeet fert."

"I can't believe it! It's so nice to see you doing something again."

Michael looked at Jane, and carefully spoke. "Jane, it worked."

"What worked, Michael?"

"The cigarettes. I stayed up way after you went to bed. I heard a fizzing sound and then the next thing I'm here. And you look so old."