Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Mario V. Farina
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1A Walk Into the Future
“How could you be a veteran of World War II,” Ed Remquist, Editor of the Trojan Press asked. “You couldn’t even be twenty-five yet.”
“I’m twenty-three,” responded the young man seated on the other side of the desk. “I was born in 1923 and got back from the service in April. Something has happened to me that I don’t understand. When I arrived in Troy, I saw your building and felt that you might be able to help me.”
The editor, a gray-haired, kindly-looking gentleman, was the best person the visitor could have asked for help. “Tell me what kind of help you’re looking for and why,” he asked. My name is Roger Brockhurst,” the man said as he unbuckled his backpack and placed it on the carpet beside him. I live on Mohawk Avenue in Scotia with my parents. Since returning from the Service, I’ve taken up the hobby of hiking. Don’t know exactly why; I did plenty of walking in Germany. Today, being Saturday, I thought I’d begin a hike eastward with Cohoes as my goal. To see the falls.
“That was an ambitious undertaking,” the editor interjected.
“It was a way I could plan for my future. I knew I wanted help the world advance to new heights,” Roger said, “but wasn’t sure what path I should take to accomplish this. I planned to go to school under the GI Bill after I had charted a course. I thought I could do a lot of thinking about this while hiking.”
“You could do your planning while sitting,” Mr. Remquist commented.
“Yes, but I’m in good shape. It seemed a good way. This morning, I started early when it was cool. Walking from my home to the Scotia Bridge and across it to downtown Schenectady took no time at all. I was on State Street and made the short hop to Union Street and began walking east at a good clip. It was a day like any other and I didn’t sense anything unusual. I had gone almost to the outskirts of the city when I began to notice things that didn’t look quite right.”
“What kinds of things?”
“The cars mostly. There were a lot that looked normal, but some seemed to have been modified. The sides were all one piece, they didn’t have finders, the shapes of the back ends, the headlights seemed different. It was like I was walking through an area that had a different kind of people. Does this make any sense to you?”
“No, not yet,” Mr. Remquist responded. “What happened next.”
“I continued my hike and everything around me got stranger and stranger. The farther I walked, the more odd everything appeared. The cars, trucks, buildings, the people I met, everything!
The editor said, “I’m beginning to believe there may be something in what you’re saying. What made you think that you weren’t dreaming or having had amnesia?”
Everything around me was different but not absolutely senseless. There was nothing about what I saw that made me feel it was unimaginable. It looked more modern in some way, more advanced. Route 7 looked as if it had been improved overnight. There were huge stores that I had not remembered seeing. And they had lots choked with cars, like those in used car lots. And cars ran at, seemingly, dangerous speeds. There had to be something about me that was different. I even thought I had died and was living in another world. I found a place I could sit and think. It overlooked Troy. There were mountains in the distance. I knew I had to find out what had happened.”
“What is the date today?” The editor asked acting on a hunch.
“August 11, 1946, of course,” Roger answered.
“The August part is right,” was the response, “but the year is 2016.”
“That’s impossible,” Roger exclaimed. “You’re just saying that!”
The older man picked up an unopened copy of the Trojan and held it so that Roger could see the date. “Look,” he said quietly.
Roger stared at the paper, not comprehending what he was seeing. “How can this be,” he mumbled. “Why do I think it’s 1946? Why do I think I spent three years in the Service? Why do I think I’m me?”
“You may be suffering from amnesia, Roger. May I call you Roger. Please call me Ed.”
“I couldn’t be having amnesia, Ed. You said I look young. If I had lived through all the years since 1946, I would be an old man!”
“There could have been something on that road that affected you, Roger,” Mr. Request commented. “Maybe something spiritual. A higher power could had seen something special in you. I have to accept what you’re telling me as being accurate. Wait a moment, I’ll look you up on the white pages.” He turned to his computer and did some Google searching while Roger looked on in wonderment.
“There aren’t any Brockhursts in Scotia,” he said.
“We haven’t had our phone very long,” Roger responded. “It’s been hard getting things we want right after the war. My dad had put his name on a list for a new family car and is still waiting.”
“If you have, somehow, come 2016, Roger, would you want to go back?
“I don’t know. I may not have a choice. What is it like living in 2016,” Roger asked.
“It’s a difficult world to live in,” Roger, “much tougher than 1946. But there are many opportunities and challenges that did not exist then for people who want to accept them. We have television which allows viewing of what’s happening all over the world; computers, with which you can extend your powers of your mind; an internet that allows one to be in instant contact with others throughout the world. Human beings had gone to the moon and returned safely. There are so many things I could say to bring you up to date, it would take months to describe them all. Comparing 2016 to 1946 would be like comparing an adult to a toddler.”
Roger did not respond for some time. Then he said, “I would prefer living in your age than in mine.”
“Wouldn’t you miss your times, friends, parents, service buddies?”
“Yes, but you mentioned challenges. It seems to me that if life is worth living, I could live it harder and better in this world than in the world I left this morning.”
Mr. Brockhurst said, “I think what we ought to do is try to learn more about what has happened to you – or for you – to discover whether you have options for the future. If yes, you can make a decision about your future at that time; if no, I’ll help you build a springboard from which you can leap to the future. If it turns out that you’ll be staying with us, I would like to be the first to say, welcome you to our world!