Sunday, October 27, 1985

10:04 AM Pacific Standard Time

Hill Valley, California

He tried to cover up his joy with typical teenage apathy, but 11-year-old Tomokazu Kamijou was overjoyed. Even though a lot of kids at his school were rather wealthy (Mitakihara Academy had produced three Diet members and countless CEO's, as their staff kept reminding people), he didn't know many who had been to America yet. Of course, having relatives there could offer that advantage. His serious, business-oriented family had already been at his back quite often, pressuring him to put his nose to the grindstone now that he was in middle school (and not just any middle school) if he wanted to make his folks proud and eventually get into Todai or Waseda and eventually take a position on the board of directors of some lucrative company like his father and his grandfather and so on. But for now, he wanted to see the world. Starting with Universal Studios, where he and his family were headed this morning. They would hit all the main tourist attractions of Los Angeles, of course, including Disneyland, the Walk of Fame and the Queen Mary, but Universal was what he was truly interested in. There was a Disneyland in Tokyo, but nothing like a real working movie studio you could actually tour.

Plus there was also the thrill of being in the storied land of California, even if it was just the unassuming Sacramento suburb of Hill Valley; at the other end of the state from all the storied attractions of Southern California, and even more than hour by car from the sights of San Francisco and the Bay Area.

"Hey c'mon Nii-san, let's get packed!" he shouted out to his cousin Ito Fujitsu, still bent over The Wall Street Journal at the breakfast table.

"Soon, already," the 12-year-old wannabe businessman replied. "Just let me finish this page. Hmm, Lincoln Savings and Loan is doing pretty well, same with Lehman Brothers…"

"Aw c'mon, man," Tomokazu groaned. "Oji-san says it's about an eight-hour drive, and it can be even worse with L.A. traffic! Besides, can't you finish that in the car?"

"You know I get carsick easily," Ito said. "And like my dad says, it wouldn't hurt for you to pick up a copy once in a while. It might help you with your English."

Tomokazu almost replied that he probably wouldn't be able to understand The Wall Street Journal at only his middle-school level of English (Ito actually lived in America full-time, after all), but he doubted his stick-in-the-mud cousin would listen. He knew that the real reason his parents had sent him to spend a school year with his overseas transplant relatives (his uncle's software company had recently opened a new plant in nearby Rancho Cordova) was so that his smarty-pants cousin would "rub off" on him. Well, he certainly would give it his all for his eventual high school and college entrance exams, but he wouldn't let that cut off any opportunities for seeing more of the world; the ruins of Rome, the Great Wall of China, the Amazon… And he was only 11. He had his whole life ahead of him.

So he just rolled his eyes at Ito. "Whatever. I get the front seat then. I'll see you in the car."

"You know that's statistically the most dangerous seat in a car crash, after the driver's seat," Ito replied.

"Oh please. Again with the numbers. Can't you ever get out of school mode?" He sighed and headed up the stairs to fetch his bag. After coming down, he called out, "Hey Oba-san, which car are we taking again?"

"The Rolls-Royce," his aunt replied.

"Hey McFly, that's a nice set of wheels you got there," sneered Needles over Huey Lewis blaring on his truck radio. "You wanna see what she can do?"

"No thanks," said Marty, staring at the red traffic light ahead of them, trying to keep Needles and his bright red truck out of even the corner of his eye. He could still make out the new car smell in the cab of his glossy black Toyota 4x4. At least for its first month, no way in hell would he let so much as a scratch on it. But even so, that impulse was building up in the back of his head, hot and itchy. Somehow he thought Needles' next words were basically a foregone conclusion.

"Aw, c'mon, mannn," Needles said. "You don't want everyone to think you're…chicken, do ya?" His three-man "posse" chortled at his side.

The dreaded word slapped Marty in the face. He turned toward Needles to glare directly into his eyes. "Nobody calls me 'chicken', Needles. Nobody."

Needles' gang whooped and cheered. "All right then! Let's do it! Next green light."

Jennifer, sitting next to Marty, shot bolt upright in her seat. The memories of that strangely vivid dream were crashing back to her now; about being married to Marty in the future, Marty getting fired, and…something about an accident…

It had been a dream, right? Her returning memories of it didn't have that…muffled quality that dream memories usually seemed to have.

She felt something in her pocket. It felt like a large sheet of paper.

"M-Marty, are you sure this is a good idea?" she said, reaching for that paper.

"Relax, Jen," Marty said, shifting the truck into high gear. "I know what I'm doing." Indeed he did. He had, after all, lived two weeks inside of two days, or at least two days in his own time. Already he had of course noticed the effects of changing the past on his parents, his siblings…and himself. Two days ago he had been too nervous to submit his audition tape; now it would be the first thing he'd do on Monday. He wasn't going to fear anything anymore after facing murder at the hands of three separate generations of the Tannen family. He'd be damned if he'd let some snarky little piss-ant like Doug Needles call him a chicken. Needles would have to get nearly arrowed by Indians, eaten by a bear, dragged by a horse, and then almost hung first, all on the same day; then maybe they'd talk.

The growl of two revving engines pulsed through the intersection, into the swanky new Hilldale housing development. Some residents peered out their windows and doorways out of annoyance and/or curiosity.

Jennifer pulled the paper out of her pocket. It seemed to be a fax. At the top was a logo and business address. "Cusco". Wasn't that that new Japanese software firm that had just opened an American plant over in Rancho Cordova? Did they have a booth at the school career fair? Either way, it didn't seem like a career she'd be interested in, so she had no idea why this fax would be in her pocket. But now, here was a strange thing: for some reason the date just below the logo read October 21, 2015.

And the only text of the fax was two words in giant-sized, bold letters: "YOU'RE FIRED!"

Jennifer's swimming head was still trying to process what she was beholding, when she was blasted back into her seat as Marty hit the truck's gas. But suddenly time strangely seemed to slow down to a crawl when a cream-colored Rolls-Royce emerged from the first street on the right, after the traffic light. Marty's scream even seemed to come out as a muted trombone sound as he planted his foot on the brakes, all too late.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

"You said everything was going to be fine, you little jerk!" shouted 15-year-old Marleen McFly, throwing a teddy bear toward the white catlike creature in her room. "How the hell could you let this happen?"

"Let this happen?" said the white creature in response. "I did nothing of the sort. You wished for your father to get a promotion, and I granted it as you asked. What happened was merely the result of your father's poor choices."

"B-but…Needles…he pushed him into that payroll scam…" she sobbed. "That…asshole always brings out the worst in my dad; I've told you that, I told you that when you first got me to contract with you. Are you telling me I've slain…I don't know how many Witches for this to happen?"

"Maybe yes, maybe no," Kyubey answered. "Just as I didn't hold a gun to your head and demand that you make a contract with me…"

"They were laying off just about everyone on the production floor!" Marleen snapped. "Maybe you didn't demand it, but…"

"Please don't interrupt. As I was saying, just as I didn't demand that you make a contract, Mr. Needles didn't hold a gun to your father's head and demand that he join in with the scheme. You humans really should try to work on your decisions the first time around, because you don't get second chances, do you?" Was there a slight hint of sarcasm in Kyubey's voice? "If he'd have remembered who was in charge of the management division, he might not have acted so rashly last night and gotten himself fired, and your mother might not be threatening divorce. Your father has told you about his…accident, hasn't he?"

Marleen growled and threw another stuffed animal toward Kyubey, who simply bounced up from her dresser to the top of her blinds in a feat that seemed like even a cat would have trouble pulling off. "More than enough times," she sobbed. "Yeah…someone…died…but he didn't mean to do it! He didn't contest anything, he did his five years on probation, he paid the civil suit...but dammit, he was so depressed, and his hand was broken; he gave up on his dreams of being a musician…"

"Did he ever tell you that the boy who died in his accident was the cousin of his boss?" Kyubey asked, its flat bead eyes peering directly into Marleen's soul.

All of a sudden her room seemed to widen into a gaping gulf. Marleen's pupils shrank and the redness drained from her face. "N-no…"

"Quite an unfortunate coincidence, but the laws of averages permit quite a bit of leeway for coincidences," Kyubey replied. "The Fujitsu family, or at least the previous generation, were devout Christians and thought that hiring the…accidental murderer of one of their own would be something that 'Jesus would do'. However, their son Ito was not quite so forgiving. Perhaps one might say he leaned more toward the Old Testament side of things, at least inside. He never quite trusted your father, even after his promotion to management, and was easily swayed by Mr. Needles. And so when he pressured your father to scan his credit card…"

"STOOOOP!" Marleen howled. "I've heard eno-hu-hu-hough…" She started crying into her hands.

"And all because your father could never…'tune out' Mr. Needles calling him a 'chicken'," Kyubey taunted. "I must be going now, but I believe I…and some other contractees, shall be calling upon you soon. But however unfortunate you feel now, please know that you will be serving a…very grand purpose. Good night and good luck, Puella." And with that, Kyubey vanished.

Marleen stared at her Soul Gem. Even through the tears blearing her vision, she could see its former bold auburn color had almost turned completely black.

"This is heavy…" she groaned, clutching it.

According to some fans, Hill Valley is said to be near Sacramento, which is about an eight-hour drive from LA.

The 2015 sequence takes place in the brief window of time after "Biffworld" was vanquished but before Marty's lesson in BTTF 3. And if any PMMM fans are wondering why Magical Girls (and Witches) still exist by 2015, stay tuned.