Waiting For Time to Pass (Expanded Version)


flight-airport-airplane-plane-34631 pixel photo

I can barely see them inside because of the glare on the window, but they all look like ordinary people flying out or flying in. Ordinary people getting on with their lives, unlike me. In the window, I can see the reflection of the plane behind me, the luggage carts, the main terminal, everything out here except my own rather ordinary face. You see, I don’t have one yet.

I caught “CBS Sunday Morning” on the tube and saw the front page of “USA Today.” It’s Wednesday, 11 July 2018. If I can keep from losing my mind another ten years or so, I’ll be back, at least that’s my theory. I’m glad I’m the inventor and not a test pilot. One of them wouldn’t have a clue as to what happened.

Oh, my name is Ernie Pratt. Actually, Dr. Ernest Irving Pratt (no relation to the actor), Ph.D in Temporal Mechanics, though I never thought I’d be the one to invent a time machine, even by accident. I was working on the core of an experimental time-space drive that would manipulate a tertiary quantum realm, ultimately propelling a vessel faster than light.

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Waiting for Time to Pass


flight-airport-airplane-plane-34631 pixel photo

I can barely see them inside because of the glare on the window, but they all look like ordinary people. Ordinary people getting on with their lives, unlike me. In the window, the reflection reveals the plane behind me, the luggage carts, the main terminal, everything out here except my own rather ordinary face. You see, I don’t have one yet.

I’m an inventor, Dr. Ernest Pratt (no relation to the actor). I had (or will have) a research lab on the grounds of the Albany International Air and Spaceport. My company “Superluminal” is trying to develop a faster-than-light drive. I was the only one in the lab sometime past 2 a.m. when it happened; the accident. One minute, I was trying a new lattice configuration, and the next I was looking at an airplane that Charles Lindbergh should have been flying.

A newspaper told me it was June 15, 1928. It was still the Albany Airport, but a hundred years ago.

mail plane

EARLY BIRD…This Fairchild FC-2 Cabin Monoplane, with strut-supported wing, was probably similar to the plane E.B. White rode in his flight over New York City. (Quora)

I’m invisible and immaterial. My theory is that if I stay sane and catch up with present time, I’ll have a body again. I’ve made it ninety years so far. Another ten and I’ll have it made…I hope.

I wrote this for Week #28 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing challenge hosted by Roger Shipp. The idea is to use the image at the top as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.

I forgot about the word count limit as I was writing, so I was most of the way through a longer story when I realized it wasn’t going to fit the challenge. I’ll publish it later and put a link to it here if you’re interested in more of the details of Ernest’s woes.

Anyway, I looked up the The world’s 10 oldest airports and found that Albany International Airport best suited my needs. According to that site:

The first airmail operations at the airport began in June 1928, while passenger services began in October of the same year. The airport witnessed the movement of 180 passengers in 1929 and now handles over 2.5 million passengers per annum.

Above, I’ve included the photo of an old mail plane from that era for reference.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

I’m seeing more participation this week, but it’s not to late to write and contribute a story for Roger’s Linkup.

For a longer version of this tale, read Waiting for Time to Pass (Expanded Version).

The Amazing Adventures of Clayton and Julia


Empty aircraft hangar in Algiers, Algeria – Photo credit unavailable.

“The hangar lacks any conventional aircraft, but then, we didn’t come here for conventional aircraft, did we?”

“Clayton, you’re out of your mind. You don’t even know if it will fly.”

“My dearest Julia, it’s been sitting in this rust trap for over half a century, but I’ll bet my right family jewel this thing will take us to the stars.”

“Don’t call me dearest. I’m your co-pilot, not your girlfriend.”

“Figure of speech, love. Figure of speech.

He liked the way she complained when he teased her, but then his manners with women had always been lax.

“How did you find this again?”

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Demon With A Glass Heart

demon hand

From the 1964 episode of “The Outer Limits,” “Demon with a Glass Hand” starring Robert Culp and Arlene Martel

18 October 1964

“My name is Trent, and at last I know who I am or rather what I am. It will be dawn soon and I’ve accomplished my mission here. I retrieved my missing three fingers, stopped the Kyban incursion from a thousand years in the future, and destroyed their time mirror. Now I have to leave the building before people start to come to work, and especially before she comes back.”

Standing outside of the Bradbury Building, he looked at his reflection in a display window. He could pass for a man about thirty or thirty-five, but the fact is, he’s only ten days old. No, make that eleven with the sunrise. His jacket, pants, and shirt are all various shades of light gray. His hair is dark and his face is clean-shaven, although he’s been designed to not grow body hair beyond his current appearance. He’s handsome, but not particularly outstanding. In fact, the only thing that might draw someone’s attention to him is the dark glove on his right hand.

Trent started walking southwest for lack of anything better to do. He didn’t feel hungry, but in the past week and a half of his life, he never experienced hunger or thirst. Strangely, he has experienced fear, anxiety, anticipation, and even love.

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A Glitch in Time


Jack Gittoes pexels-photo-761543 Concert

This was fantastic. He never thought he’d see Lennon, McCartney, and Starr perform together again. They certainly showed their age, their voices not quite as vibrant as he remembered from childhood, but they were legends.

Oswaldo Gantz watched his grandchildren holding up their smartphones to take photos just like all of the other kids around them. People Oswaldo’s age tended just to watch and listen and experience both the current performance and all of those played through the halls of time.

It was all thanks to him that Lennon was still alive. There was nothing he could do about Harrison’s brain cancer, but it was a virtual piece of cake to arrange for Mark David Chapman to be stabbed to death in a mugging a day before he was supposed to murder Lennon in 1980.

Now that his trial run turned out to be such a success, he’d have to figure out how else he could improve history. Hopefully, he’d be able to fix the little glitch in the system. He never imagined that saving Lennon’s life somehow resulted in the laws being changed so Arnold Schwarzenegger could now be President instead of Donald Trump.

I wrote this for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner – 2018: Week #23. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 195.

I already wrote one time travel story this morning, so I decided to try another. The image is obviously of a modern concert since you can see people taking photos with their cell phones. That stopped me from sending my character back in time to watch Lennon’s last live concert in 1975, but what if he’d never died? He’d be around 78 years old today.

Just having a bit of fun.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Roger’s linkup still needs a lot of love, so please contribute a small story of your own. Thanks.

Moshe Visits the Met

the met

© Roger Bultot

Moshe Katz was in New York visiting his Tante and Feter, and they made the San Francisco Private Detective play tourist, including a visit to the Met’s Diamond Jubilee. Then things got ridiculous. He’d heard of Marian Anderson, but who the hell were Judy Collins, Yo-Yo Ma, and Itzhak Perlman?

“Alright, Mr. Watson, I’m going to give you a hand. The local cops don’t know how to handle this sort of thing, but my cases are more unusual.”

“We’d appreciate anything you can do. If word ever got out…”

“Relax. I’ll find out who here has a broken time machine.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

I became dismayed when I realized that the photo was of a recognizable place, but I didn’t recognize it. Then Google image search came to the rescue. It’s the Metropolitan Museum of Art, otherwise known at the Met.

According to Wikipedia:

The museum celebrated its 75th anniversary (which it termed Diamond Jubilee) with a variety of events in 1946, culminating in the anniversary of the opening of its first exhibition on February 22, 1947.

What is coincidence. I created a San Francisco private detective named Moshe Katz who operates in 1947. He’s featured in the stories Death Visits Mexico and Son of Kristallnacht. So I decided to create a New York mystery for him to solve. Normally, his cases are rather mundane, but for this tale, I decided to change his history a bit.

Again, according to Wikipedia:

In 1954, to celebrate the opening of its Grace Rainey Rogers concert hall, the museum inaugurated a series of concerts, adding art lectures in 1956. This “Concerts & Lectures program” grew over the years into 200 events each season. The program presented such performers as Marian Anderson, Cecilia Bartoli, Judy Collins, Marilyn Horne, Burl Ives, Juilliard String Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Artur Rubinstein, András Schiff, Nina Simone, Joan Sutherland and André Watts, as well as lectures on art history, music, dance, theater and social history.

I didn’t read the paragraph carefully and was wondering how all of those performers could have been at the Met at the same time. Then I read more carefully, but the damage was done. What if there were a time machine accident and they really did appear at the Met simultaneously, and specifically on February 22, 1947?

Oh, Thomas J. Watson was the Met’s Vice President in 1947 and Tante and Feter are Aunt and Uncle in Yiddish.

You can read about the Met’s history to find out more. To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Return to Delhi


Photo credit: yarnspinnerr

The Airbus A320 Neo landed back in Delhi after one of its two engines stalled in midflight to Ranchi. Passengers and crew were safely returned to the ground, but not allowed to approach the terminal. Investigators ordered the passengers to be deplaned and escorted to a quarantine area.

Captain Laghari was justifiably incensed as federal investigators held him and his crew on board the airliner.

“I apologize for this unusual treatment, but I don’t think you grasp the problem. How long was your total time in the air?”

“Approximately forty-five minutes. The normal flight time one way is 110 minutes.”

“What is today’s date?”

“It’s Sunday, June 3rd.”

The investigator removed his smartphone from his jacket pocket and pressed the Home button.

“That’s impossible. It says it’s the 12th.”

“Sir, on June 3rd at approximately 10:03 a.m., your aircraft disappeared from radar and was presumed lost, however no wreckage was discovered. Then, an hour ago, you reappeared on ATC screens and requested permission for an emergency landing. A lot more went wrong than just an engine.”

I wrote this for FFfAW Challenge 168 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

Naturally, I looked up the airline company and found the news story IndiGo flight stalls engine midair due to snag. Apparently, this low-cost commercial air company has had more than a few problems.

Sometime ago, I wrote a short story called The Final Destination of Flight 33, which was based on a 1961 Twilight Zone episode written by Rod Serling. It’s the story of a commercial aircraft that travels through time into the past and then perhaps into the future.

I decided to give my little airliner’s passengers and crew the same problem today, but only projected them nine days into the future, although for them, practically no time had passed at all.

How would the authorities react to such a mystery?

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Oh, I’m suffering from another bout of insomnia so it’s going to be a rough time at my day job later.

The Serendipitous Time Bandit

time piece

© Enisa

Samuel Joseph Grant gazed down from his hotel room at the side street below in 1894 Leeds. He wouldn’t be born for a few months, but the strange device he’d found at that bombed out château near Amiens was a remarkable gift. It was immediately obvious that it was a timepiece meant to be worn on the arm, but what he hadn’t realized at first was that the term “timepiece” had more than one meaning.

Sadly, he discovered its former owner with half his head missing, most likely the unfortunate result of a slight miscalculation. Had he materialized a few seconds later, he would have not been victimized by the German cannon bombardment. However, his anonymous benefactor’s ill-luck became Grant’s good fortune. That day had marked the end of his career as a corporeal in the British Army, and the beginning of his adventures as a time bandit.

With all of history to choose from which to derive wealth, where, when, and what should he sample first? Extending his arm, he prepared to set the controls.

I wrote this for the 166th FFfAW Writing Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. As always, the idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

The photo struck me as combining both the new and the old, so that could only mean time travel. Not a lot of research went into this one. I pretty much went with my gut.

If you were so inclined, where and when in history would you choose to rob?

To read other tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Saving Max

truck attack

The Home Depot rental truck used by perpetrator Sayfullo Habibullaevich Saipov during the 2017 Lower Manhattan attack, the morning after the incident — By Gh9449 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63791131

Owen Craig snapped the magazine into place, held his Glock 19 at his side, and then stepped through the dark mirror. Last night, it had been an ordinary mirror on his closet door, but this morning, it had changed. When he looked at it, somehow he knew what it was, and why it was here.

The retired homicide detective left his suburban Los Alamitos home and stepped out the other side of the glass near New York’s city center. Just then, twenty-nine year old Islamic terrorist Sayfullo Habibullaevich Saipov mashed his foot down on the accelerator pedal of his rented truck, and started his run at the pedestrians and bicycle riders on Hudson River Park’s bike path.

The would-be victims saw the truck’s mad approach, but would never be able to get out of the way in time. The vehicle was still going slow enough to let Owen jump into its path and fire repeatedly at the driver through the windshield. Moments later, the now lifeless Saipov slumped to his left, causing the steering wheel to turn the truck off the path and slam into a tree.

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A Black Matter for the King

vietnam war

Found at the Vietnam War page at Archives.org

His smile was like some kind of magic, but that’s not why she chose to talk with him.

Natalie Sanders Pena sat next to the shy young Marine near Gate B14 at Denver International Airport. He was heading back to Pendleton after his leave, and was due to be deployed to Vietnam within the next two weeks. The airport PA system was issuing a seemingly endless stream of advisories, but someone nearby had a transistor radio playing the Beatles’s “Penny Lane.” She hadn’t heard that song in a long time, but for her newfound friend, it was practically brand new.

“You miss your wife and little girl already, don’t you?” She looked down at the photo of the young woman and four-year-old girl he was holding near his lap.

“Yeah, I guess I do.” His Kentucky accent was tremendously apparent, and it was one of the few things she remembered clearly about him from her childhood.

“That’s perfectly normal. I’m sure they miss you, too.”

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