Café Terrace (Builds on “Inspiration” by Ben Bova)
It was just as he remembered it. The same wooden round tables and artfully mismatched chairs, the very ones he used to scrub each day once upon a lifetime ago, everything he worked so laboriously to run away from, were still rooted to the same spot. The only difference was the absence of his mother, Adolf thought. His mother… beastly woman, she was, a man of a woman, who thought of herself as a boss. She’d curse and spit venom at him for being too “lazy”, and used to threaten to tell his father about for a good beating. Even her last words were a threat that dangled at the tip of her tongue before Death took her away, Adolf remembered. He had felt no remorse whatsoever, no loss. For she was merely a woman who thought too much of herself in his eyes. The only reason Adolf was present at her deathbed was because she gave him birth, not because he was her son. He was sorry to have been her son. Adolf sipped his watery lemonade. No change in the taste either, he observed. He was toasting himself a new life; one without his mother and one without the stress of being Captain Hitler. Those days were behind him, and now he would enjoy life as much as he could while he had time, for he knew his supply of time could run out any day. As he set his empty glass down on the table, he realized he was in company of another. Even after fifty nine years he’d last been here, there had not been any alterations to Café Terrace. This place was where his journey of rising to the top had begun. A lad of seventeen, he was, when he received the German copy of The Time Machine, the book that set the gears of his brain working. He’d lost all hope of being a physicist after his visit with Lord Kelvin, all his dreams and ideas flushed away down the toilet drain. But that book was what made up his mind, what gave him hope. He’d spent...
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