A Greater Infamy

day of infamy

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivering his “Day of Infamy” speech to a Joint Session of the US Congress on December 8, 1941, one day after the Empire of Japan’s attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. – Found at Vision Chasers’s YouTube channel

Florence paused at the door, “what the hell did you just say?” The fifty-nine-year-old housewife and mother of three stood in-between the kitchen and the living room in their third floor apartment on Montgomery Street. Her hands were pressed firmly on her hips, with the right one still holding a wooden spoon she’d been using to stir cookie dough in anticipation of the grandchildren’s visit later that evening.

“I said that after President Trump’s terrific speech, Congress still refuses to declare war on Japan.” Her husband Rudy was at the far end of the living room, dressed in his favorite flannel shirt and khaki trousers, light reflecting off of his balding pate, and leaning over the cabinet of their Philco radio which they’d received from their eldest boy Roger for a Christmas present last year. “They’ve been replaying the recording of the President’s speech. It’s just about over. Listen.” The retired chemical engineer turned up the volume just a bit.

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Resolution by Time Travel

the time tunnel

Concept art for the 1966 television show “The Time Tunnel”.

“We cannot start over, but we can begin now and make a new ending.” -Zig Ziglar

Operation Tic-Toc physicist Dr. Anthony Newman couldn’t let Senator Leroy Clark shut down the Time Tunnel project. He’d devoted five years of his life working with an elite team of scientists and engineers to perfect time travel, but that was less important to him than the main reason he had struggled so hard to be selected to work here.

He’d lost both of his parents, his Mom to a car accident in 1940 and his Dad nearly eighteen months later on December 7, 1941 during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He’d been raised by his Mom’s sister June Landers in New Jersey but there was nothing she could ever do to fill the enormous gap torn in his seven-year-old life.

He’d been recruited by the government while still at MIT. The brilliant scholarship student who graduated with a doctorate in Temporal Mechanics was first assigned to a think tank outside of Arlington in what he thought was a project involving theoretical mathematics applied to the uncertainty principle and expressed in five dimensions. In other words, science for its own sake with no practical use.

Then on this twenty-eighth birthday, he received classified orders to report to a top secret government facility buried beneath a remote desert region of Arizona: Operation Tic-Toc. Time travel was real. Now he had to help make it practical.

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The Escape

 

bleak

© Sue Vincent

“Are you out of your mind, Jake? If we get caught here, they’ll add ten years to our sentences.”

“Relax, Hubie. We won’t get caught. Now get off your lazy butt and help me drag the raft higher on the rocks. We’ve got to get it in undercover.”

Jacob “Jake” Falco and Hubert “Hubie” Pavoni had both been sent up for twenty years to life for their part in the largest bank heist of the 20th century. Three guards and two hostages were killed during the shootout and only Jake and Hubie got away long enough to hide the $10 million in cash they’d made off with. That was six years ago, and they were still the only two men alive who knew where to find a fortune.

“Okay, Jake. We’ve got the raft and supplies under this outcropping, so it can’t be spotted from the air and sure as hell no one’s going to step foot in this place except crazy people like us.”

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The Corridor

corridor

© Dale Rogerson

Ken Watanabe wasn’t shown the entrance off the courtyard when he took over Santa Fe’s historic Museum. The ex-Curator gave him the keys. The door had been locked since 1943. No one knew why. There was no eastern door inside, but it was apparent on the outer wall.

Hesitantly, he used his key, opened the door, and saw a lit, multi-arched corridor. Then he heard a voice at the other end. “Glad those Japs were locked up after what they pulled at Pearl Harbor.”

His father was interned here 74 years ago on Ken’s first birthday. He never opened the door again.

There’s a larger story being told but it’s hard to compress into 100 words or less.

The photo reminded me somewhat of Southwestern architecture, which is why I placed my tale in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I wanted to do a “corridor through time” story, but I needed a date where the other end of the tunnel linked. I looked up Santa Fe at Wikipedia and discovered that during World War Two, it had a Japanese Internment Camp. Beginning in June 1942, 826 Japanese-American men were arrested and imprisoned.

I remember actor George Takei saying that when he was a small child, he and his family were similarly interned because of their Japanese heritage. Thus my tale was born.

I wrote this as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The goal is to write a short story of 100 words or less based on the photo prompt you see above (and as I mentioned, I just made it at exactly 100 words).

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit InLinkz.com.