The doctor that had told Dillon I was okay to let out of four point restraint turns out to look fortyish. I guess I really was sick from 18th Century staph. She’s showing entirely too much cleavage for a professional, and to my annoyance I cant stop my eyes from creeping back there.
You realize, Colonel, what a shock it will be.
Going back? Why? I went back centuries and barely got away from a crazy mob.
Because you only had time to react. That’s why you never got hit with it. Do you understand?
I’m not sure I do.
I apologize you weren’t mentally prepared for that. That’s our fault.
All I was going to do was walk around for ten minutes.
This time you are going into that world and it will be like nothing you have done. When it hits you it will be devastating because you don’t think about it so you don’t expect it. I understand you collect old movies and like early nineteen sixties music but looking at a movie isn’t the same. The looks, the sounds, the smells will all hit you at once.
That’s okay. Last time it was blood and corpses. How bad can it be in the summer of ’65 in Green Bay?
It’s not bad, just more alien than anything you could imagine. Your orders are to walk around for no more than an hour and immediately return. Don’t talk to anyone if you can help it. If you feel funny and start having a panic attack, just take some Xanax.
She gets a fruit jar of white pills, takes a handful and swallows them, then hands me one pill.
Is that all I get?
It doesn’t matter if I fall asleep here but if you do it could get you killed. Here, she says. Take one more if you feel sick. Here.
So I didn’t have time to absorb it.
No, but this time you’ll probably have a panic attack. Do you have enough Vicodin? She says.
Sure. Of course Vicodin didn’t exist in 1965, but neither did Xanax.
Try to just fit in and not draw attention. Be good.
Oh, i’m always good, I say, getting up and walking out. I’m glad to leave. This woman is giving me the creeps and it’s not because she’s a bigger dope head than I am.
So the Marshall is giving me a weapon, finally, I say with fatigue.
Yes, says Sargeant Lincoln. Military grade Taser. You ever use one like this?
More than once. I say, checking the weapon out. Of course this wouldn’t have helped me the last time.
Sir, don’t let that get into your head. That was a mob. You’re going into a nice, quiet, lily white Midwestern town.
Lincoln, What’s your full name?
Washington Jefferson Roosevelt Kennedy Lincoln, Colonel.
I must be insane, I mutter. This isn’t happening. I must be insane.
Oh, nothing. The more things change the more they stay the same.
The ship looks a little smaller, I notice, as I walk into the hangar. There’s a big blue circle painted on the floor that no one but Hoggins, Linclon, Marshall Dillon, and I can go into. The effect this time is greater. It’s all the people. This place looks like an old surgical ampitheater with everyone milling around. Underneath the ship on the next floor is a monstrous man made lake to handle the momentum exchange and absorb the heat when the ship comes back.
Why, I ask myself, do we all hate each other so much? We hate each other yet the way they’re looking at me is like they want me to save them. And I could spend hours or days back then but from their standpoint I will only have been gone for about thirty seconds. If I come back at all.
But my clothes look just like everybody’s on the old Zapruder film. The girl that did these clothes thought that the pants she gave me had to be flares and I got into a silly ass time wasting argument when I told her flares wouldn’t come out for several years after. Finally I ended up in a pair of Levi jeans that look medieval and an olive drab t shirt. Then she told me she had orders to cut my hair since men never wore shoulder length hair in ’65. We compromised and I end up with an early Beatles haircut and it makes me feel vulnerable and naked. Out of sheer perversity i insisted she let me have enough hair to cover my ears because they got cold at night. That’s how it was when i left her. She was one pissed off little bitch.
The cockpit looks very different and mustve had a complete makeover. There’s a digital readout that will tell me where and when i am so when i come out of whatever i am going thru to get there and back i’ll know where/when i am. Hoggins’ readout must have to correct for all kinds of time dilation effects.
Oh. One thing the little bitch had refused to compromise on was that i had to wear was the Buddy Holly/Roy Orbison glasses. I see Hoggins looking at me with contempt and i go over to talk to him.
What’s with the glasses? He says, scowling.
So we’ll look like twin faggots i guess, i say quietly. The ship looks better but that could be my wishful thinking.
The ship is different, he says.
What happened last time? I say sharply.
Depends on what you want to believe, Chones. Either i sabotaged the ship or a flux capacitor blew up.
A capacitor, huh? I say.
Yes a capacitor is…
I know what a capacitor is. A bunch of metal plates to hold and discharge electricity. Did you every see a 1984 movie called Back to the Future?
Never heard of it, he says. You don’t believe i tried to kill you, then.
No. There would have been no future in that.
Yes, i say, I’m ready.
As i walk to the ship and think how different the attitudes mustve been when John Glenn went up and came back alive. Lincoln helps me get in the ship and i ask Hoggins about the canopy. He tells me it will close whenever i want it to but i still have to sing.
You’re such a jackass, i say to him. Marshall Dillon walks over and Hoggins steps back. Dillon’s Sadaam Hussein mustache looks scary and ugly, like a big fat caterpillar ready to turn into a moth that will eat the world. Dillon looks at me and says calmly, May Allah grant you mercy all your days.
I’m too nervous to share our private joke but i manage to say, God is great in Arabic. He smiles and steps back. Hoggins waddles over to the ship and puts a big fat hand on the control that closes the cockpit. He smirks and the smirk turns into an evil grin.
You gotta sing first, he says.
You didn’t change that? Goddamn you. Alright.
Second verse this time, he says.
Snickers run thru the sea of assholes that are watching. The more they think they need me the more they hate me.
I manage to to struggle thru…
Yes it’s gonna be a cold, lonely summer
But i’ll fill the emptiness.
I’ll send you all my dreams
Every day in a letter
Sealed with a kiss.
Bon voyage, Hoggins says, and hits the control that closes the cockpit. After he’s clear of the circle i exhale and push the stick forward and myself into yesterday.