Word count: 875 words
Rating: White Cortina
Notes: For Loz, whose OTP was clearly the inspiration for this challenge (and this entry in it)
Sam had been sitting in the car for hours before he realised exactly which car it was. Gene had assigned him to a routine stakeout outside a whorehouse in one of the seedier parts of town. Whether it was down to the Guv's peculiar sense of humor, or his punishment for being right about the suspect's penchant for the paid company of women, Sam wasn't quite sure.
The interior of the old blue car looked and smelled like the rest of the station's unmarked fleet. Which is to say, the uncomfortable avocado-green vinyl upholstery was cracked and stank of cigarettes and brawny men. It wasn't until he'd gotten out to stretch his legs that he'd noticed something specifically familiar about the car's exterior. He'd seen it before. In fact, it was one of the first things he'd seen in 1973.
This is not my car.
The memory of that day was fuzzy around the edges, tinged in sepia tones and marred by the shock and confusion he'd felt in those early hours. Of all the myriad thoughts that swirled through his brain upon waking up in that patch of dirt near the future Mancunian Way, the question of the car was what had bubbled up to the surface first. It was something tangible, something he could immediately point to as being not right. And then it had been replaced by the panic of losing his mobile. And then, well, it all went to hell from there. He hadn't spared a further thought for the car, but someone must have driven it back to the station at some point, because he'd been sitting in it all night.
One of the things he did remember distinctly was looking in through the window of the car and seeing the 8-track cassette in the player. Maybe David Bowie was responsible for all of this. It was as good a theory as any, and the thought made Sam smile to himself. The cassette was gone now, but this was definitely the same car. It was a shame; a little music might have helped pass the time. Not that song, obviously, but maybe the rest of the album. Sam opened the door, squatted down and peered underneath the driver's seat, just to make sure.
In the dim, dusty space between the floorboard and the seat, amidst the cigarette butts, a crumpled food wrapper and an empty beer bottle, something metallic glinted in the reflected light from the streetlamp above. He grimaced as he reached his hand into the void, afraid of what else he might find there, and gently coaxed the object out with the tips of his fingers. When he'd finally extracted it, he felt a rush of blood to his head and his knees buckled beneath him. Resting his forehead on his arm, and his arm on the driver's seat, he turned the shiny object over and over in his shaking hand. It was real, as real as anything in the rest of this world, anyway. Here he was, kneeling on the dirty streets of Manchester in 1973, holding in the palm of his hand his own mobile phone, a sophisticated piece of technology that wouldn't be made for at least three decades.
It was impossibly beautiful, like a tiny, polished jewel box. Sam had never been quite so happy to see anything in his life. He caressed the smooth, hard casing and carefully flipped it open. It wasn't on, but he hadn't left it on. He'd switched it off on the way back from the crime scene in 2006, unable to deal with the inevitable questions that would come from his superiors about why one of his detectives had gone after a serial killer on her own, without authorization or backup. He pushed past the painful memories and focused on the little silver button with a picture of a green telephone that would hopefully bring the device back to life.
Sam brushed his thumb delicately over the button. The 21st century was one touch away. He didn't expect to be able to call anyone, but there were plenty of other features he was looking forward to playing with again. It had a decent collection of ringtones and wallpapers, a camera, a calculator, even a simple puzzle game that he'd become pretty good at during stakeouts not unlike this one. With a snort, he wondered what the clock would read. He had it set to automatically update no matter what time zone he was in, but this was a time zone Motorola couldn't have anticipated. He closed his eyes and heard in his head the little welcoming fanfare the phone played when it powered up.
But as his finger hovered above the button, he caught a glimpse of movement across the street. The suspect had emerged from the building he was supposed to be watching. If Sam's theory was right, the man was about to go looking for his next murder victim. Torn between his duty and his technological fantasies, Sam finally slipped the phone into the inside pocket of his jacket. As he called for backup, he was keenly aware of the bulge it made as it rested against his chest. The fanfare would have to wait.