In DREAMER, Jessa gets direction about her multi-dimensional travel from Mario – who is more than a little put-out that she botched her lasr assignment. Jessa is pretty pissed herself, having encountered a version of someone she never though she’d have to see again. It’s time for Mario to illustrate just how important her work can be . . .
I lean back against his desk. “I’m tired, Mario. I’m traveling too much, my mom is getting really suspicious, and now you pull this on me. This was supposed to be a routine job.”
“You mean the job you didn’t complete? Again?” he asks pointedly.
“Don’t start with me.” My eyes flash a warning that he completely ignores as he studies me for a moment, stroking his chin thoughtfully.
“Come on,” he finally says. “I’ve got something to show you.”
He steps over to the red door and opens it, and I follow him through and into the dreamscape. We’re in someone’s backyard in what looks like an average suburban neighborhood. Mario now looks like a postal worker, complete with a bag full of letters slung over his shoulder.
“The girl you were supposed to offer the gum to was going to be reminded of an old family friend who happened to always carry Juicy Fruit gum,” he tells me, pointing the girl out as she walks past us. She can’t hear us because this is just a dream Mario is using to illustrate his point. We’re invisible observers as he shows me the future that could have been.
“The friend is like a second mother to her,” he goes on, and the scene changes in front of us. It looks like we’re on a farm or something, and Mario is now in overalls and a John Deere hat.
“She’s going to make a point to visit the friend next month,” he tells me. “While she’s there, she’s going to remark about a suspicious mole on a neighbor’s arm.”
My forehead creases in confusion as I try to follow the chain of events. “She saves somebody from cancer?” I ask.
“No, it’s too late for that,” Mario says, waving a hand to change the scene again—this time to an older man sitting on a hospital bed, with a younger woman and a nurse in attendance.
“The cancer is there,” Mario says, pointing. “But it’s in the early stages. The neighbor will get the treatment he needs, and his daughter will drive him to his doctor appointments. The daughter will get to know the cute radiologist at the hospital, and they’ll begin a relationship. The radiologist has an ex-girlfriend who’ll be heartbroken to see him move on, and she’ll take nearly a year to recover from it. During that time, she starts playing guitar again—just like she needs to.”
“That’s another story that leads to a half dozen others,” Mario tells me, reaching for the knob on the red door that’s in the center of the hospital room wall. He opens it and I follow him back through into the classroom.
“So this guy might die of cancer and his daughter will never find true love because I screwed up—is that what you’re saying?” I wrap my arms around myself again, feeling twice as miserable as I did when I got here.
“I’m reminding you that one little correction can reset the course of dozens, maybe even hundreds of lives. We need you—you need you,” he amends, “to be the absolute best you can be as a Traveler. It’s critical, especially in light of current events. Working around Finn is a handicap we can’t afford you to have.”
DREAMER is out now and available at all major outlets.