THE LOCAL NORM: WARPING TIME, SPACE AND THE REASON VOTERS ELECTED THEMBy Norm de Ploom
Long Beach City Council member Robert Garcia expressed regret for missing last Tuesday’s meeting, which addressed medicinal marijuana sales in the city, but explained he was unable to attend because he had been time traveling.
Garcia, who was also in Florida conducting business for his employer, said he had intended to participate in the council meeting by phone—but in the course of warping the space-time continuum while in the Sunshine State, he opened a traversable wormhole into an alternate future reality whose inhabitants were unfamiliar with modern communication technology.
“When I got to the 27th Century and showed them my phone, they just laughed,” Garcia said. “And when I put it up to my ear, I must have violated some cultural taboo, because I was instantly transposed into a five-dimensional, greenish-white haze that seemed to have no gravity but felt very judgmental.”
This additional explanation puts to rest suggestions that Garcia, who could have legally fulfilled his obligations as an elected representative by attending the city council meeting by teleconference, was ducking a situation where he would have been front-and-center as the principal architect of Long Beach’s current system of regulating medicinal marijuana sellers—now simultaneously going down in flames and up in smoke.\
“I am the most sophisticated technology user on the council, so it’s not a matter of being incapable of calling in and exposing my previous eagerness to put our city on the hook for costly lawsuits caused by playing chicken with federal drug enforcement,” Garcia said. “It’s because I was on the run from a cyborg assassin sent by Bob Shannon XXIV.”
After escaping his own destruction—”and before, too, due to transversal time dilation,” Garcia noted—the first district council member revisited his earlier decision to be a savvy, young, political rebel championing legal pot sales in the city.
“Primarily, I would go back in time and attend those early meetings when this whole issue got started and just look at myself sitting there and wonder ‘What the hell were you thinking?’” Garcia said. “I even got up and spoke at those meetings—several times, too, trying to talk some sense into me. But then I’d feel so bad about what I had just told me that I’d go back and tell me I was really smart and brave to do this. In fact, I went back to those meetings so many times that I am actually all those people at those meetings, thanks to really inexpensive plastic surgery during the Panoply Epoch.”
In the past, Garcia has also tried other approaches to legalize medicinal marijuana, creating alternate universes that quickly got out of hand.
“For some reason, voting for the Long Beach bikeways downtown resulted in Uruguay’s national government becoming marijuana retailers,” said Garcia, “so I kept that one to be our present reality.”
“You can’t go back and kill your grandfather before he met your grandmother, because then you wouldn’t exist to go back to the past, and what about being arrested and executed for killing your grandfather, too, then what?” Andrews said.
However, questions continue to swirl around Andrews’s own absence from the meeting. Public records reveal that Andrews had also been time traveling while the City Council was in session. Specifically, he went back to last July 23 and watched himself transform the Redevelopment Agency’s high-noon demolition of notorious Whistler’s Liquor into a free party-with-refreshments for his 6th district constituents and some high-profile publicity for himself.
Andrews began with a fire-and-brimstone sermon against the evils of alcohol. He cited the 1,600 calls for police service and graffiti removal at Whistler’s—which sat on the northwest corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave.—and told Signal Tribune reporter Seyed Jalali that those numbers made Whistler “a cancer in the City of Long Beach.” Then he turned the bulldozers loose and let the refreshments flow.
The records do not make clear whether Andrews’ time travels included a related side trip to the late-May meeting of the Long Beach Planning Commission, where applications by two small markets located within a block of Whistler’s former site were applying for permits to sell beer and wine—with Andrews’ endorsement and the help of his staff.
But even with the official time-machine logs in his hand, Andrews insisted it was never his intention to miss the City Council meeting … except that as was pulling clothes out the dryer to get ready to go, one of his T-shirts tumbled out. It landed looking exactly like former President Richard Nixon.
“It had the nose and everything — the jowls, too” Andrews said. “I wanted to show it to everybody on the council, but when I got dressed to go to the meeting and invite everyone back to my place to see it, I realized I had put that T-shirt on without thinking. And no one saw it but me, so I didn’t feel like going anywhere after that.”