“You should put on a happy face,” I say as Bert sits down. “It helps to ward off the depression that the rain brings.”
“I’m not depressed,” he lies.
“Not yet, you’re not,” I say, barely avoiding giggling. “But it’s doing wonders for me.”
“I have what you asked for,” he says. He reaches into his briefcase.
“Not yet,” I say, waving for Katie. “You’re late, so this round is on you.”
“Fine, whatever,” he says. “Look, I don’t have to–”
“Yes,” I say, “you do. Until this whole thing gets resolved, I own your ass. If you want to argue, you can go right ahead, but don’t forget that this was your mistake, you got caught, and no matter what happens, you will be punished. It just so happens that whoever’s doing this to you is also on my shit list.” It’s true. I took a look through the manual Peter gave me, and it turns out that the only thing worse than messing up the past is messing with someone else messing with the past. Something about a greater chance for paradoxes, or something. I don’t understand why, but this whole situation has me wanting to bust both of them.
Bert considers this, as if he was looking into my eyes for the truth of the statements. I honestly don’t know why travelers think they can get away with that. It never works. “All right,” he says. “What’s good here, anyway?”