(With apologies to Ray Bradbury)

Eckels felt himself fall into a chair.  He fumbled crazily at the thick slime on his boots.  He held up a clod of dirt, trembling.  “No, it can’t be.  Not a little thing like that.  No!”

Embedded in the mud was a cockroach, very ugly, and very dead.

“Not a little thing like that!  Not a cockroach!” cried Eckels.

It fell to the floor, a small thing that could upset balances and knock down a line of small dominoes and then big dominoes and then gigantic dominoes, all down the years across Time.  Eckels’ mind whirled.  It couldn’t change things.  Killing one cockroach couldn’t be that important!  Could it?

His mouth trembled, asking: “Who — who won the presidential election yesterday?”

The man behind the desk laughed joyfully.  “You joking?  Obama, of course!  Who else?  Not that idiot McCain.  We got a smart man now, a man with brains, by God!”  The official stopped.  “What’s wrong?”

Eckels finally relaxed, smiled and closed his eyes.  He heard Travis breathe loud in the room; he heard Travis put down his rifle and raise the window blinds.

There was a sound of sunshine.


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