Thaught said as she woke up, jumped off her bed, and glued her face to the apartment's glass wall, trying to breathe in as much of that doughy, chocolatey, sugary aroma that had suddenly invaded her room.
Looking down from her penthouse to the sidewalk, there it was. The donut bakery on the ground floor had opened its doors, ready for business, and people were already making a line.
This would happen every day ever since Thaught got a new job as a travelling agent in New Bork City and moved here a week ago. Even on Thursdays. She had mixed feelings about this; she loved sleeping but her love for donuts was almost equal, especially for the custard-filled ones.
She started walking back to bed with careful, calculated steps. The clothes are lava. The leftover food is poisonous thorns. The floor is floor.
She took off her jacket, which she was using as a blanket a few minutes ago. She realized her past self was way smarter than she was and had worn it for a reason, so she put it back on. But then she was too hot again, so she only took off the left side this time.
"Damn it!", Thaught said as she threw her fist to the mattress, which absorbed the force of her hand, making for a really lackluster punch, "Why do I even have an alarm clock if I'm always going to be woken up by Mrs. My-donuts-are-so-good-the-whole-city-should-smell-them-even-though-it's-seven-in-the-morning-and-every-normal-person-is-still-sleeping? Ugghh, I wish I could snooze the smell too... At least I can't ever be late for work this way, I guess..."
It was about time to leave, so she put her jacket back on and started searching for her stuff so she could head out. Her phone, her keys, her new traveler ID, and yesterday's leftover cereal.
Everything was neatly placed in their usual places. Her keys were always in the left pocket of those pink jeans her mother bought her for her fifteenth birthday, which she did not wear anymore. Her phone was sitting peacefully at the bottom right of her closet and her traveler ID was red. She was still searching for her cereal, though.
"Aha!", she said as she finally found the bowl under the wooden kitchen table but over a smaller kitchen table made of pizza boxes and chopsticks. The cereal looked delicious; who in their right mind can say no to teeny-tiny dinosaurs made of chocolate? She grabbed a spoonful with her bamboo spoon that was now almost completely disintegrated after a whole night drowning in goat milk. But, as she was about to eat it, she stopped. A horrified expression replaced her eager smile.
"No! It can't be! You impostor! This is not yesterday's cereal... it's... from two days ago!". Disgusted, she yeeted the bowl out of the window like a discus thrower would yeet a cat that invaded his garden full of beautiful cabbage.
Thaught then grabbed the true yesterday's bowl which was under the pizza-box kitchen table, which was under the wooden kitchen table. Which was under the roof, because why would you have your kitchen table over the roof? Finally ready to leave for work, she walked out of the apartment with her stuff in her backpack and the bowl in her hands.
Theoretically, there was a decision to be made. Elevator? Or stairs? In reality, jumping out of the window, bouncing on a tent, and landing on the sidewalk with the bowl of cereal landing on her head like a helmet sounded like a much more appealing option.
In fact, stairs, and especially these ones, were so appalling that even the cleaning lady would skip them. This made the stairs look old. They were full of dust and spiders and were home to a bear, or a man pierced by an arrow, based on the growls Thaught would hear from 5 PM to 9 PM. Plus, it would be harder to eat the cereal running down the stairs, so, elevator it was.
As she hopped in, another man came into the elevator as well. Thaught had seen him before. He was her neighbor. They did not talk that much, just a brief introduction when they met a couple of days ago, and she did not even remember the name. She did remember that his name was not Bob, even though he looked like a Bob to her.
"Hi! Mark, right?" Thaught said once the elevator doors semi-closed. Someone skipped their duty of oiling them and they needed a bit of manual work to close properly. Thaught did not mind this, she liked it actually. It gave a royal vibe to it, just like the old days, and made Thaught feel like she was a queen leaving her palace.
The man closed the doors as he gave his answer, "No, it's-"
"It's not Buck."
"Are you sure?"
"Maybe it's Barack."
"Please, just call me Gilbert."
"Did you know you look like a Bob?"
"Can we please, for the love of God, stop messing with my name?"
"You are right, sorry, Mark. My apologies... Anyway, do you want some?"
Thaught showed him the bowl of cereal she was holding and offered it to him, after she herself had a spoonful big enough to make her look like a squirrel trying to hide its acorns. Gilbert had not noticed the bowl until that point. He looked at it and took a step back. His face looked like he had just licked a lemon without having a shot of tequila afterwards.
It was yesterday's soggy chocolate dinosaurs drenched in goat milk, with grains of a bamboo spoon floating around after all. Gilbert firmly believed that fruity cereal were better than cinnamony cereal, which, themselves, were better than chocolate cereal.
"Fine, fine, no-one is forcing you. You don't have to be so negative about it!" Thaught said as she tried her best to give him an angry, insulted stare. She grabbed another spoonful, in an attempt trying to aggressively eat it while still keeping eye contact but missed and the spoon landed on her right cheek instead, throwing the cereal all over her jacket.
She acted like nothing happened and continued eating as they were both waiting inside the elevator. After approximately four minutes, they had still not reached the ground floor.
"This elevator sure is taking its time, huh?" Mark Gilbert said.
"You have not pressed the button yet," Thaught responded, with little care, as she was currently absorbed into trying to catch one specific piece of cereal that kept avoiding her spoon.
"What!? Didn't you press it when you came in?"
"No, I saw you coming in and waited for you."
"And why did you not press it after I came in?"
"Because you should be the one to press it; you are closer."
"But you saw I was not pressing anything!"
"I thought you were thinking about where you want to go. Sometimes, I take over 15 minutes to decide."
In the near future, being a time-traveling agent is a real job, just like tiktokers and artists.
That is the job Thaught was hired for. Travel in time to stop past and future threats, but all she really cares about are all these delicious foods she will be able to try out in all those different eras.
Will she fight both crime and her urges? Or will she find herself diving face-first into a bowl of medieval stew? Join Thaught in her journey to find work-food balance