Friday, October 25, 2013

Uncle Mike’s Snow Globe                                                          

I hardly saw my Uncle Mike anymore.  Before I got married and the job moved me to Chicago my Uncle Mike was like a second Father to me. But with the job, and the kids, maybe I saw him one out of every five Christmases.  Why do I have to clean out his apartment instead of my brother Billy or my sister Annie the princess? I’ll never know. Yes I do, I always get stuck with the crappy jobs in this family.

I hate to toss all this crap out. I know it must have meant a lot to him while he was alive. ‘While he was alive.’ listen to me. He just might be alive, he’s only been missing for three months.  But Dad said he has been forgetting things lately. Neighbors have found him wondering around lost at night. He probably wondered off and died in the park or where ever.  I spent the past two days looking at John Doe pictures at the city morgue.  I can spend three more days here, four the most. Then I have to get back to Chicago. I offered to pay the rent for a few more months just in case Uncle Mike miraculously shows up again, but the Landlord is being a real S.O.B. about it. He knows he can jack up the rent for the next tenant. He wanted my Uncle gone years ago.

My Pop’s instructions were simple enough; Pack the place up, toss the junk in the dumpster, keep the valuables. Then schlep the boxes of valuables to the storage unit place down the block.  Boxes of valuables? What a joke that is. I can tell right now there isn’t going to be a heck of a lot going to that storage unit. Dad and my sister, Princess Annie, arranged for a 5x10 by 8-foot high storage unit. It was the smallest one they had available. What a waste of money. It would have been cheaper to rent a safe deposit box. That’s about all the space we are going to need from what I can see.  I’ll just take a few old pictures, a few odds and ends, so I can bring them to Pop at his assisted living facility.  At least that way he will have something to remember Uncle Mike by.

Oooooh, what do we have here? A baseball-card collection. BINGO! The ’61 Yankees, all of them autographed. This will be going back to Chicago with me. Call it… compensation for my flying all the way back here to take care of family business.

Now what’s this? A photo of Pop, Mom, and Uncle Mike at the beach. I’ll bring this to Pop.  He can tell me the same old story behind this picture every time I visit him.

What the heck is this?  Looks like a baseball rolled under the bed. Eh.. come here you… got it. Oh crap, my daydream of finding an autographed ’61 Yankees baseball just went up in smoke. It’s only a snow globe.  Looks like a souvenir of the Whitehouse. What’s that?  It looks like some one is in that tiny little window. Oh my God it’s…

One week later…

“Yo, Annie.”

Annie the princess answered her brother with her usual contempt. “What is it now, Bill?”

“Come look at what I found in Uncle Mike’s bedroom.  It looks like a baseball-card collection and a stupid old snow globe-Annie, Annie, come here quick! It looks like…”

Uncle Mike, Billy, and I, trapped in tiny plastic bodies, looked out of a West Wing window of the little plastic Whitehouse. Through a watery sky filled with plastic snowflakes swirling around, we could see Annie enter Uncle Mike’s bedroom, Calling out for Bill. We knew that if she was the least bit curious, she too would be joining us in the snow globe.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

To Change the world


A man, I’d guess him to be in his 70’s, walked up to me as I was gardening.  He was dressed in a brightly colored shirt, and blue, bell-bottom jeans; and yet he did not look at all out of place.

“Excuse me Mr. Allen? My Name is George. People call me Gip.”

“How can I help you Gip?”

“I simply ask that you lend me your ear for a moment, if you don’t mind?”

“Not at all Gip, you've captured my interest.”

“Good, good, Mr. Allen… as I've mentioned, my name is George, George Wells.  My father was Herbert George Wells… H. G. Wells.”

I was in shock, but my fascination drove me forward, as if I was galloping on the back of my thirst for historical knowledge. “Mr. Wells, your father passed on in the 1940’s, and I dare say, you Sir, followed on into that great unknown in the 90’s.”

“No-no, late 80’s actually as I've come to learn of it, but it makes no matter. It is 1978 as I start this journey. You see, Mr. Allen, just before his death, my father was given … a machine, a time machine.  A very real, very functional, time machine.  I have not dared use it until now. I have been to 2053 and there I found the great cataclysm so many have warned about in their writings for so many centuries. But as I journeyed back, back to 2029, I found an essay you had written, a powerful and moving essay to set the world on a path of peace.  But your essay was not selected for the National Society of Literary Excellence, simply because it called President Kane by name.  Please, Mr. Allen, remember. In writing your essay, do not call President Kane by name. Only then will you be selected for the Journal. It will change the future. It will change things… for the better.”

“National Society of Literary Excellence. I’ll have to remember that.  I, guess I’ll have to work for Mr. Kane’s campaign as well.”

“No, Mr. Allen. The election of 2028 is rigged. Just do not yield to temptation, do not name him, or your work will be squashed.  You must let your work breath and grow.  All future generations depend on it, Mr. Allen.”

“I’ll do my part George. Can you come back in late 2028 to remind me, perhaps give me a draft of my essay so that I can get every word right?”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Allen.  I cannot bring items out of their element. As it is, time travel takes its toll on the human body.  Now, I hope to have the strength to return to 1978, and live out my years in relative peace.”

“What will become of the machine?”

“I’m going to destroy it, Mr. Allen.  I can’t bring myself to trust any other human being with such power, and there is no greater good that can be done with it, other than that which remains for you to do.”

With that George turned away and walked through an invisible doorway at the edge of my garden. In a flash of light he was gone. Gone back, I presume, to 1978, while I am left here to wonder what the hell I will write when I am in my 70’s, to save the world from its eventual self-destruction?