And then we're back in the stairwell with Desmond. He slowly stands up and staggers down the stairs.
Prepare for a continuity attack. We're in a fancy auction room. There's a painting of a ship (with sails) on an easel at the front of the room. The auctioneer is telling the audience that The Black Rock set sail on March 22, 1845, on a trading mission to Siam. The ship was lost at sea, but the journal of the ship's first mate was found seven years later in Madagascar. The journal is sitting in a glass case at the front of the room -- it's a large leather-bound book with the word "Ledger" stamped on the spine. (My sense of decorum tells me I should refrain from making any Heath Ledger jokes here. For once, I will comply.) The only person who knows what's in the journal is the family of the seller, Tovard Hanso. Bidding starts at 150,000 pounds. The first bidder? One Charles Widmore. The bidding goes higher and higher until Widmore gets it for 380,000 pounds. As the auction is ending, Desmond enters the back of the room. A guard stops him and isn't interested in Desmond's explanation that he only needs to speak to the incredibly rich man sitting in the room. But it doesn't matter, because Widmore walks right up to him on his way out of the room. Widmore agrees to give Desmond a moment of his time, telling him, "Walk with me." By which he really means, "Pee with me." Or maybe, "Stand uncomfortably in the bathroom while I urinate in front of you. But don't look at my junk." He asks Desmond what he wants. What he wants is some way to get in touch with Penny. Desmond clearly expects resistance from Widmore, and asks him why he hates Desmond so much. Widmore: "It's not me who hates you." He gives Desmond Penny's address and says, "I'll let her tell you herself." Desmond notices that the wasteful old bastard has left the water running in the sink. As he reaches to turn it off, he jumps back to the boat...
...Where we are still just about to leave the sick bay. Minkowski tells Desmond that it's only going to start happening faster. As they sneak down a corridor, Desmond asks Minkowski how it happened that he started jumping through time. It turns out all he did was try to approach the island in a small boat when Brandon, his compatriot on the small boat, started acting crazy, forcing him to turn back. Brandon is now dead.
They enter the communications room. The radio equipment is royally fucked up, with plenty of cut wires and smashed...radio thingies. Just as Minkowski is telling them that he has no idea who did the deed, he goes catatonic. Fortunately, Sayid thinks he can fix the equipment on his own. Sayid asks Desmond if he knows the number they're trying to call. He doesn't. Yet. But he will. In the past. Desmond looks up and sees a calendar on the wall. The year given is 2004, and all of the days from October 1 through December 23 have been crossed out. Desmond is surprised to learn what year it is, and Sayid is surprised to learn that it's almost Christmas. And I'm surprised that the show settled the date for us so easily. Unless this turns out to be an elaborate ruse to throw us off. Sayid sees that Desmond's nose is bleeding. And then Minkowski starts having a seizure. He regains consciousness just long enough to tell them, "I...can't...get...back." And then he dies. Sayid asks what happened. Desmond: "The same thing that's going to happen to me." Commercials.