Bill Hart-Davidson

“I understand this is confusing, Susan. To answer your question, I have been a counselor for about three years.”

1,341 days. Close enough. She didn’t need much of my backstory.

“Would it help if I told you my own backstory from before Reset?”

“Could you? I have trouble remembering…”

“Before Reset I worked retail. Big box store: Cheap & Heavy? We sold, well, all the things too heavy and too cheap to ship directly to your door. One of the few post-Amazon businesses that could create jobs. Heavy stuff is hard for people to move and dangerous too. So yeah. Cheap and Heavy.”

“I was at the school. In the parking lot. When it happened.”

“Yes, your son’s school.” I checked her file. The son, Andrew, was twelve and four months at Reset.

“Why can you remember and I…some of us…can’t?”

The short answer was that she was looking at her phone and I wasn’t. But I can’t tell her that. The longer answer is that we passed a tipping point and were about to destroy the Earth. Couldn’t say that either. My job was to help her understand Reset as a chance to get things right. I don’t believe that.

“Reset turned the clock back nine years, Susan.” The script here was the same for everyone. “We have a chance now to make things better. And to learn from mistakes we made. Some of us were chosen to remember the mistakes so we can fix them. Some, like you, get a fresh start.”

The app was the idea of a researcher who pitched it as “‘Men in Black’ but on people’s phones.” Timed to go off when the reset activated. Everybody flashed went back to the Reset date, about nine years earlier. It rolled across time zones, an engineered wave. Sixty percent of adults in the U.S. got flashed.

Around the world, the number was more like fifty. The compromise reached in the Security Council was that it would be random, except for a select list: a few critical categories of people like astrophysicists, a few novelists and poets, world leaders. Well except for one. In bed, tweeting.

“So you were chosen? You are special.”

I looked down at her file again.

“Not…exactly.” Off script. “More of an…accident. Susan, I have to tell you something. It’s about Andrew?”

“Andy? What is it, is he ok?”

“Susan, he remembers. Like me. And we are…well, we are part of the past. Part of…the problem.”

Restart was scheduled for 1800 days. I’ll go. So will Andy. And it will be up to the rest, like Susan, to get it right.

Hyphenated, father, academic, juggler, cyclist, cook. Philosophy of life: give.

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