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Emotions Ride High During National Tragedy
by Chrone Osphere
January 28, 1986

National Tragedies have a way of focusing the human mind.
We all remember where we were during September 11, the Kennedy assasination and the 2000 presidential election.
Such was the case that fateful day in January of 1986 when the 25th American space shuttle mission ended with a massive explosion shortly after lift-off.
Most Americans

spent that day huddled around their televisions, waiting for answers.
I was at school.
I spent the last two periods looking for my girlfriend of a year and a half, Shelley Davis.
I found her- having sex with Mr. Parker, our substitute chemistry teacher, in the back of the multi-purpose room.
I was devastated.
  So, I decided if I was going back to 1986, I wasn't going to cover the Challenger tragedy.
Too depressing.
I would rectify an even bigger tragedy-
Shelley losing her virginity to Mr. Parker.

I arrived in town shortly after New Year to establish myself as a substitute teacher.
Do you know how easy it was to forge credentials back in the 80’s?
I mean, I didn’t need a watermark, or hologram or one of those embosser thingies- just the inkjet printer in Time Ship 1.
Did I tell you I got a Foreman Grill and a PS4 for the Time Ship?
I don’t care what time they send me to now.
But I digress.
I showed up and replaced Mr. Parker as the substitute teacher.
Now I know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry- I didn’t kill him.
Thanks to a trip back to 1951, he never existed in the first place.




Anyway, I spent a few weeks pretending to teach chemistry (the bar is set pretty low for subs).
I taught both Shelley and my younger self in the same class.
I was so clueless back then.
He, I, actually thought she was going to give up her virginity

after prom the way they, we, had planned.
But no- she had to give it up to Mr. Parker after the shuttle explosion because she was feeling so “vulnerable.”
I would later learn in college that Shelley was the type of girl that had “daddy issues.”
January 28 came, and it felt creepy knowing what was going to happen when no one else did.
They made the announcement at the end of sixth period and everyone got quiet.
I did, too.
I felt a mix of guilt and anticipation.
With all of things I'd seen and done in the time ship, right and wrong were becoming more and more relative.
Was it possible my moral compass was off?



Once eighth period hit, I headed toward the multi-purpose room looking for Shelley.
I found her cutting study hall, smoking a cigarette behind the building and crying alone.
She really was moved by the tragedy.
Shelley was startled when she realized I was standing there.
“Oh shit, Mr. P.-”
“Don’t worry, Shell. I’m not gonna turn you in.”
“Actually, can I have one of those?”
I leaned against the brick wall next to her as she gave me a Camel Light.
“Pretty fucked up day, huh?”
“Yeah,” she concurred.
“Kind of reminds you how short and fragile life is,” I said.
“Sure does.”
etcetera, etcetera


She fell for my 38-year-old-lines hook, line and sinker.
Alright, they weren't all mine- I had 20 years of good movie lines she hadn't heard yet, too.
"I want to feel anything other than this right now."
"I feel like my heart's going

to cave in."
"You complete me."
We slipped back into the back of the multi-purpose room, but I won’t go into any details.
Okay- I will say that I managed to finish a moment before younger me showed up, which is more than I could say for the original Parker.

Now, I decided that what I did was morally appropriate for two reasons:
First, I knew from past experience that Shelley was going to have sex with an older man that day regardless, so I wasn’t coercing her to do anything she wouldn’t have done without me.
Second, I was her boyfriend at the time, the

time travel glossary guy she was supposed to have sex with, and our birthdays were only a few months apart.
Oh, Shelley.
Sorry- Shell.
She's a bigshot White House correspondent now.
And I think she has a kid.
Turns out, she really had been moved by a national tragedy to lose her virginity.

Oh, and the rest of the country watched as seven American heroes lost their lives in a tragic shuttle explosion, caused by a faulty O-ring.
President Reagan called it a “national loss.”
Next mission!

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