Rank pocketed his winnings at the Las Vegas counter. Right then, he decided it was time to begin his campaign. He’d get famous.
On the Today show, Rank sat with Savannah under the hot spots, the green light glowing over the camera. “Would you explain again for all of us how your ability works?”
“It’s forward memory. Think back to when you were in the Green Room, Savannah. Then even farther, to what you had for breakfast. See how easily your mind went there? I do that into the future. I just think to a moment, and it’s there.”
At the segment’s conclusion, she asked, “What do you want to do with this?”
“I plan to help people.” He avoided saying anything about fame and riches.
The Times ran a front page story on him. “Thinking Ahead” said the headline. As the day went, others recognized him. “Hey, you’re the Think Ahead guy,” they’d say. Many said he was a superhero. An old lady on a walk-up stoop asked him to find her lost cat. A convenience store owner wanted the winning lotto numbers. Rank explained it didn’t work that way. He could only remember into the next several minutes.
Within the month, he’d been on all the late and early shows, he’d been interviewed for several magazines including Time and People. Paparazzi pounced on him the second he left a building. He was big news and he loved it.
One Saturday, he snuck into a bakery, ordering a steaming espresso and a glistening hot cinnamon roll the size of a baseball mitt. Then a memory came. He saw a gunman rush in shooting.
“Everybody, listen! A shooter is coming. A gun. Go out the back. Now!”
A person screamed. Some thought he was a shooter. Then, “He’s the Think Ahead Guy! We gotta go. Come on!”
A man with a soft drawl said, “We in Texas know how to take care of ourselves.” He pulled a gun from his concealed holster.
“No, no, no,” Rank said. “Let’s just go! Come on, everyone, keep moving.”
The man almost smiled and faced the door, waiting.
The door opened. Two men came in. The Texan’s gun exploded. One of the men in the doorway fell. His companion stepped into perfect synch with Rank’s memory, the dream and reality merging into one vision. He crouched and pulled his own gun. He aimed at the Texan and fired back, hitting him. And Rank. He stood back up when it fell silent. The customers crouching beneath furniture or lying flat on the ground started to get up.
“I’m a police officer,” the man who’d shot the Texan said. He showed the badge in his wallet. “Call 911,” he instructed. “See if you can help those men.” He dropped beside his partner and comforted him, held pressure to his wound, and told him to hang on, it was going to be okay.
Rank remembered ahead one last time. And he remembered that he died.
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