Steve, Oscar and Rudy sat in Oscar’s office they were having an off topic conversation concerning time travel.
“I say it is possible.” Rudy speculated.
‘Oh come on Rudy.” Steve argued. ‘You’re telling me that there is some sort of black hole out there that you step through and boom you’re in NY on October 29, 1929?
“Yes I think it would be possible.” Rudy continued.
“And let say I did. I go back and it’s October 25, 1929. Now history tells me that on October 29, 1929 the bottom falls out of the stock market.”
“Right” Oscar agreed.
“Ok so I’m on October 25, let’s say I call my grandparents to warn them. They lost everything in the crash. So I warn them. And they in turn warn all of their friends and so on. And without realizing I cause the crash to happen four days earlier.”
“But Steve you don’t belong there anyway.” Oscar reminded.
“Yea, I know. I just don’t think it makes any sense. Rudy you’ve come up with some brilliant ideas but I think you missed on this one.”
“Don’t sell me so short Steve.” Rudy smiled.
“Yea, well I think I’ll leave time travel to HG…Hey wasn’t he Wells too?” Steve laughed.
“Very funny Steve” Rudy snorted.
“Well I need to get home. I told Cassie I wouldn’t be too late. She gets real testy when she’s expecting.” Steve smiled.
“How is she feeling by the way?” Rudy asked as Steve started for the door.
“Better, the morning sickness has passed anyway. But she gets so grouchy at me, not so much the other kids. I think she saves it all up for me.” Steve opened the door. “Well I’ll see the two of you tomorrow sometime.” Steve walked through the door and closed it.
As he did his head began to spin and his eyes blurred in front of him. Fearing something was wrong he thought he better go back and tell Rudy.
When he turned to the door to Oscar’s office the hallway had disappeared. He was standing on the porch of a house. “What the heck?” Steve wondered. He looked down at his clothes and found they were not what he had been wearing only a moment ago.
He looked around the street lights, if you could call them street lights the ‘lights’ were flames. There were no bulbs in them in fact a man walked from one to the other in the growing darkness lighting each one with a long stick. As Steve watched this he observed a horse drawn carriage roll past. He shook his head to see if that would clear up the images before him but it did no good.
Steve decided to knock on the door. It was opened by a women Steve figured to be in he mid to late forties. “May I help you?” She inquired
“Yes I was wondering…” He wasn’t real sure what to say till he noticed the sign in the window Rooms for Rent. “I was wondering if you had any rooms available.”
“As a matter of fact I do have rooms for respectable guests” she announced.
“I’d like to rent one if that would be possible?” After thinking for several moments Steve decided he better make sure he had money. He frantically started looking through the pockets of the strange clothes he had on. He was relieved when he found three twenties, five tens, nine fives and several ones. A small fortune for the day in age he found himself in, but what day in age was it? Steve thought.
“Now, about the room?” Steve asked.
‘Yes, I’ll rent one for you.” The woman introduced herself as Clair Marsh. She led Steve up the steps and opened the door to one of the vacant rooms. “I charge fifty cents a week, which includes three meals. Breakfast is at 8:30, lunch at noon sharp and dinner at six sharp. If you miss out, I don’t deduct it from your rent, unless you let me know in advance. I prepare meals of seven people, I expect seven people to show up.”
“Yes I understand.” Not knowing how long he was going to be there Steve handed Clair a dollar bill. “I’ll pay in advance for two weeks.”
Clair took the money and started for the door. “Don’t forget, dinner at six, that’s in half an hour.”
“I could go somewhere else tonight.” Steve offered. “I did show up at the last minute.”
“No, no. That’s quite alright. There will be plenty. I always fix extra when I have open
rooms in case someone shows up at the last minute.”
“I appreciate that.” Steve said as he watched her walk to the door.
“I’ll see you at six then.” Clair closed the door behind her.
“I wonder if she wonders why I have no luggage. Steve sat on the edge of the bed and
tried to figure out what was going on. He looked around the room and tried to figure out what time period he was in.
At six Steve walked down the steps to join the rest of the residents for dinner. “You can sit here.” Clair indicated a chair. “We try to sit in the same place, saves a lot of arguing.”
“I understand.” Steve took the seat between a tall thin red headed woman to his left and a large man to his right.
As Clair served the dinner, the conversation started.
“I can’t believe the war is finally over.” The large man next to Steve started the conversation.
“It was a long one.” The woman replied. “I’m just glad it’s over. I Hope Charles returns soon.”
“He will.” Claire assured.
“I hope you like Roast beef.” Clair turned to Steve. “You know I never asked you name.”
“It’s Steve.” Steve stated. The thought for a moment “Steve Anderson” He finished.
“That’s nice.” Clair smiled as the conversation kept going. Steve was desperate for any ‘news’ he could get. ‘What war’? He thought.
“What do you suppose President Lincoln will do now?” The red headed woman (Steve discovered her name was Miss Emily) asked.
“I don’t know.” The large man named Thomas replied. “I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
‘Well.’ Steve thought. “I guess I know where I am now. And what war. It must be sometime in 1865, and the Civil War just ended.’
“Sir?” the large man was looking at Steve. “I asked if you were in the war.”
Steve thought for a moment. “Yes of course I was.” He lied. Knowing they would never be able to prove it one way or the other.
“So was I.” The man sighed.
Steve finished and stood from the table. “That was a lovely meal Miss Marsh”
“Your welcome I usually prepare a late snack for my guests around 9:00”
“That’s good to know.” Steve responded. He started heading for the steps to go up to his room. He was still just a bit baffled as to what was going on and wanted to go up to his room to sort it out.
Another young woman was standing in the entryway of the house.
“Still going to the play Carolyn?” Clair Marsh asked.
“We plan to Miss Marsh that is if my husband can summon up a carriage to take us there.”
“I was about to do that.” Her husband replied as he stepped out onto the porch.
“Well.” Clair started “Applaud the President for me.”
Steve spun around. “What did you just say?”
“I told Carolyn to applaud the President for me. You don’t have anything against President Lincoln, do you?” Clair asked.
Steve stood in stunned silence “um uh, no of course not.” He replied weakly.
“Just want side did you fight on?” Clair drilled.
“Well.” Steve wasn’t sure what to say. “I fought for the Union of course.”
“Then why do you object…”
“I don’t object.” He turned back to the woman named Carolyn. “What Play are you going to?” Steve was shaking just a bit.
“Our American Cousin” Carolyn replied.
Steve’s mind whirled. “You’re going to a play at Fords Theater, the name of the play is Our American Cousin…And President Lincoln is going to be there?”
The two women stared at on another. “Yes that right.” Clair spoke.
“Then it’s April 14 1865!” Steve shouted.
“Really” Clair replied
“It is April, 14th 1865!” Steve darted out the door and into the night. He had to stop it from happening again, but was there time…
Steve dashed down the street as fast as he could go. He now knew what section of the City he was in, and knew right where Ford’s Theater was. He walked up to the man selling tickets and asked for a ticket for that night’s performance.
The man sold him one. As the man passed Steve the ticket, Steve handed the man the money. Steve glanced at the ticket. He had been right. FOR THE 8:00 PREFORMANCE OF OUR AMERCIAN COUSIN APRIL 14, 1865 Steve took the ticket and slid it into his pocket. ‘If I can’t get the police to believe me’ Steve thought. ‘I’ll guard President Lincoln myself.’
Steve ran to the police station to warn them of what was going to happen. The desk sergeant just laughed. “And how do you come by this information?” He couldn’t stop laughing.
“If I told you, you’d never believe me.” Steve persisted. “You have to believe me!!”
“And I’m supposed to send all available men to Ford’s Theater?”
“Not every available man.” Steve argued. “All you really need is one, one good man who is more interested in the safety of the President than he is the play.” Steve remembered his history; The President’s guard became interested in the play and forgot his duty. ‘That would never happen today.’ Steve thought referring to his own time. ‘The Secret Service would have his job.’
“I believe the man we have will do his job just fine.” The desk sergeant chided. “Now be off with you before I have you arrested.”
“On what charge?” Steve demanded.
“I’ll think of something.” The desk sergeant replied.
Steve left the police station figuring he would have to take matters into his own hands. The police could maybe not arrest him, but at least hold him till after the play. The way the law stood in this time, Steve had no rights. He looked up at the city hall clock and saw it was close to 8:00. He decided to head for Ford’s Theater.
On his way he ran into another man. “I understand you feel the President is in danger?”
“Yes I do.” Steve stared straight at him.
“My name is John Benson.” The man replied. “I’d like to help you.”
“I think I can handle this on my own.” Steve assured. “The police don’t believe me.”
“I’m well aware of that.” The man named John replied. “Come with me to my room and we can see just what we can do.”
Reluctantly Steve followed. He figured the more people involved the better chance they had at saving the president.
“Thanks for helping.” Steve walked beside him. “I just wish the police would have believed me.”
“The police know nothing around here” John went on. “Sometime I wonder how they ever got on the force.”
Steve laughed. “Yea I know.” He smiled “The more of us who try to protect the President, the better.” He added. ‘But what if we do’? Steve thought. ‘Could we change history…Why are you thinking that way? He’s the President, you need to do all you can to protect him whether you in 1865 or 1975.’ Steve chided himself.
John led Steve to another rooming house on the other side of town, “this is where I live.” John replied as he opened the door. “Let’s go in and plan our strategy, shall we?”
“I think we’d be better off if we headed for Ford’s theater right now.” Steve suggested.
“There’s plenty of time.” John assured. “We need to come up with a plan as to how to get into the theater…”
“I bought a ticket earlier.” Steve told him.
“That might be useful.” John opened the door and the two stepped inside.
“Good evening Mrs. Lang.” John greeted his land lady.
“Good evening Sir.” Mrs. Lang replied. “I see you have a guest.”
“Yes, we will be in my apartment.” John took her hand and kissed it lightly.
“Oh John” Mrs. Lang giggled.
Steve followed John up to his room “Have a seat.” John offered.
Steve looked around and sat in a comfortable chair by the window.
“Now” John began, “what makes you so sure someone is going to try and kill the president?”
“If I told you how I know.” Steve started. “You’d have me locked up.”
“Really?” the man questioned. “And why is that?”
“Look. Are you going to help me or not!” Steve shouted as he stood to leave.
“Of course I am.” John tried to calm him. “But you must understand, this is strange information you bring.” He began lighting lamps around the room.
“I do understand.” Steve sat back down. “I just can’t tell you how I came about it.”
“Then I’ll take your word for it.” John stepped over to a small table and prepared drinks for the two of them.
Steve was busy looking out the window at the movement on the street below. It was darker now than when he first arrived. All the street lamps were now glowing with a single flame. “If we are going to stop this I suggest we leave now.” He didn’t notice John slipping a powdery substance into his drink.
“There’s time.” John pointed out.
“No there isn’t.” Steve argued. “I can’t remember what time it happened but…”
“What time it happened?” John questioned. “You act as if this has happened before.”
“It has happened. It happened 100 years ago.” Steve muttered. “And I’m going to see it doesn’t happen again.”
“Excuse me?” John asked.
“Aw nothing” Steve stood again from the chair “We better get going.” He repeated.
“You didn’t drink your drink yet.” John pointed to the full glass sitting on the end table by the chair Steve had just vacated.
“I’m sorry. I’m just not in the mood.” Steve responded.
“I think you could use it.” John pressed. “I’m sure there is plenty of time. The play started only a moment ago.”
Steve stood in front of the window. He watched a carriage roll by. ‘How am I ever going to convince this man that I’m telling him the truth’? He thought. ‘I have to come up with something.’
“Why don’t you sip your drink, then you can tell me how you know this is going to happen?” John continued. “I assure you I won’t have you locked up. I just want to know.”
Steve sat back down in the chair. “I suppose it won’t hurt. When I woke up this morning it was 1975. I was visiting friends at work here in DC and when I left I was here in 1865.”
“Interesting” he stated.
Steve nodded. “It took me a while to figure out exactly where… or I suppose I should say when I was. When I found it out, I knew my purpose for being here.”
And that would be?” John sounded interested.
“To save President Lincoln” Steve spoke slowly.
“I see.” John responded.
“You don’t believe me.” Steve looked him in the eye as he held the drink.
“The important thing is that you believe it.” John replied.
“I’m not crazy.” Steve snorted. He set the glass down “I’m going to help him myself.”
“I said I’d help you. I want to hear more.” John motioned him to sit back down. “You say that when you woke up this morning it was nineteen hundred and seventy five, is that correct?”
Steve nodded as he sat back down.
“You understand that is one hundred and ten years in the future?” John looked at him
Again Steve nodded. “I realize it sounds incredible but it’s true.”
“Can you offer any proof?” John wondered.
This time Steve shook his head. “When I was visiting with my friends I had my ID and everything …”
“And now you have no proof of who you are?” John sounded curious.
Steve nodded. “I know it sounds impossible, but all that I said was true. I live in the year 1975, we have automobiles…”
“What in the world is a….what did you call it? Automobile?”
“I guess you would call it a horseless carriage.” Steve said as he stared at the street below.
“I can’t imagine such.” John stated.
“I know, you think I’m nuts.” Steve sighed.
“Not necessarily.” John reminded “as long as you believe it to be true.”
“I’m not crazy.” Steve pounded his fist on the table shattering it.
John stared at it in disbelief. “How did you?”
Steve smiled. “The miracle of modern science” he replied.
“Ok let’s say I do believe you.” John continued to stare at the shattered table. “You say you don’t remember what time it happened?”
“No that’s something our history books never really went into.” Steve thought for a moment longer “But I think we are wasting precious time.” Steve headed for the door.
John sat in silence for a moment as he watched Steve cross the floor to get to the door. “Wait!” He called out.
“What?” Steve was getting annoyed, either this man wanted to help or he was stalling.
“I’m interested in what you have to say. Please tell me more.”
“I’ve said all I’m going to say. I’m going to Ford’s theater.”
“Why not finish your drink first. You haven’t touched it.” John suggested.
Steve stopped “I really don’t want it right now.”
“I’m sure there is time.” John again pointed to the chair. “Tell me more about 1975. What else do they have?”
Steve walked back over to the window and picked up the glass. “Why should I tell you? You don’t believe me.”
“I didn’t say that.” John reminded
“You didn’t have to.” Steve sipped the drink from the glass.
“Well whether I believe you or not I suppose we better get going.” John made his way to the door.
“It’s about time.” Steve stated as he again started across the room. He had only gone a couple of steps when he suddenly felt very dizzy. He stopped and tried to regain his balance.
“Is something wrong?” John tried to sound concerned.
“So that’s why you wanted me to drink your drink. You…you…you…drugged me….. Steve fell to the floor.
“I had to. It’s for your own good. The problem with you story. I’m starting to believe you. John turned and left Steve unconscious on the floor…
Steve didn’t know how long he had been ‘sleeping’ when he heard someone trying to get in the apartment. He tried to get up but was still groggy and slumped over again.
He was still lying there when Mrs. Lang and a policeman burst into the room. At the sight of Steve sprawled out on the floor Mrs. Lang let out a small scream while the officer came to assist Steve. “Are you alright?” He questioned.
“Yea I think so.” Steve replied. “Where’s Benson?” Steve pressed.
“Benson?” Mrs. Lang wondered.
“Yes John Benson.” Steve continued.
“There’s no one here by that name sir.” Mrs. Lang explained.
“He brought me here.” Steve was adamant. “You saw me with him. He kissed your hand.” Steve glanced down at the handkerchief Benson had handed him earlier the initials JWB were stitched on it. Steve spoke them aloud.
“That’s right.” Mrs. Lang went on. “Mr. John Wilkes Booth. That’s who rents this room.”
Steve grasped the handkerchief and cried. “He told me his name was Benson. He’s the one. He’s the one who shoots Lincoln.”
“I don’t know if you’re crazy or what.” The policeman spoke for the first time since asking Steve if he was alright. “All I know is I’ve been all over the City trying to an extra guard for the President.”
“Then go yourself.” Steve pressed “He’ll be shot from the back…”
“You speak as if this has already happened.” The officer replied.
“It has happened. It happened a hundred years ago. I’m here to see that it doesn’t happen again….”
They were interrupted by shouts from the street. “The President’s been shot!” some one cried. Another person screamed. “An actor shot Lincoln…”
In the room the police officer removed his hat in respect, while Mrs. Lang bowed her head in silent prayer.
“How did you know?” The officer asked. “How did you know?”
“I also know who did it.” Steve called out running for the door. “I also know where he’s going.”
“Come on then!” the officer shouted. “Let’s go!”
Steve and the officer headed out the door. “I know right where he’s headed.” Steve cried. “If we hurry we can get there before him and stop him.”
Steve and the officer each jumped onto a horse and they headed in the direction Steve knew from history where Booth would be.
They arrived at Garret’s farm only moments before Booth. As Booth crept into the barn Steve grabbed him. “I ought to kill you right now.” Steve seethed “You lied to me! But I’m going to turn you over to this guy.” Steve thrust him toward the police officer.
“Thanks mister.” The officer stated.
“You know this would never have happened if someone would have listened to me.” Steve was crying. He banged his hands against the barn door. “Why didn’t you listen to me why?”
Steve was again standing in the hall outside Oscar’s office “Why so formal Steve?” Oscar asked opening the door. “You don’t have to knock. Did you forget something?”
“Forget something?” Steve asked.
“You just left not 2 seconds ago.” Oscar reminded.
Steve was still transfixed on the incidents that had just played out. He barely answered Oscar.
“Are you alright Steve?” Rudy asked moving close to him.
“Yea Doc, I’m fine.” Steve replied. He looked up and down the hall, that only moments before was a barn on Garrets farm.
“You said something about getting home to Cassie.” Oscar reminded.
“Cassie?” Steve acted as if the name was unfamiliar to him.
“Your wife” Rudy told him.
“Cassie.” Steve called out ‘She’ll believe me’ he thought “I’ll see you guys tomorrow.” Steve raced down the hall and pressed the button to call the elevator.
“Wonder what’s with him?” Oscar asked as he returned to Rudy
“Who know?” Rudy smiled.
At home Steve ran up the stairs to where Cassie sat holding their youngest son on her lap.
“I’m sorry I’m late.” Steve walked over and placed a kiss on her cheek.
“Late? You’re not late. In fact I didn’t expect you back this early. I know how it is when you get together with Rudy and Oscar.”
“We were having an interesting conversation. Here let me put that little guy in bed then I’ll tell you all about it.”
“Ok. I’m going to get ready for bed myself.” Cassie handed the three year old over to Steve and headed for the bathroom.
Steve carried his sleeping son down to his room and laid him gently on his bed next to his four year old brother. “Sleep tight guys.” He whispered smiling down at them.
Before returning to he and Cassie’s room he opened the door to his daughter’s room the one year old was fast asleep in her crib.
“Are they all sleeping?” Cassie asked when Steve returned.
“They’re out like lights.” He smiled. “Now let me tell you what happened….”
When he finished he turned to Cassie who sat open mouthed on the chair in their room. “You can’t be serious Steve?”
“I’m afraid I am. The thing of it is Cass. I don’t know if it actually happened or if I imagined it.”
“I would say you imagined it. Steve things like that don’t happen.” Cassie assured.
“It seemed so real.” Steve pressed.
“Well I suppose if you believe it happened…Did you say anything to Oscar and Rudy?”
Steve shook his head. I wanted to tell you first. I thought if you believed it….”
“I could help you convince them.”
Steve nodded. “Silly. Huh?”
“No, not really” Cassie stood and walked over to him. She gently put her arm around him. “You know it’s still early. You could call them and have them come over, then tell them.”
Steve kissed her and then headed for the phone. “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt.” He dialed Oscar’s number. “Oscar, is Rudy still with you?” Steve asked.
“As a matter of fact yes I thought something was wrong when you left here. Do you want to talk to him?”
“No. would you two drop by the house. I have something I have to tell you.” Steve spoke into the phone.
“We’ll be there in ten minutes.” Oscar shrugged and hung up the phone. “That was Steve he wants us to come over.”
Rudy jumped to his feet. “I hope one of the kids isn’t sick.”
“He didn’t sound too alarmed, He just said he wanted to talk to us about something.”
They headed for Steve and Cassie’s house. Steve and Cassie were waiting on the porch for them.
“What’s this all about Steve?” Oscar asked.
“Well it has a lot to do with the conversation we were having before I left your office the first time.” Steve began.
“You mean time travel and changing history.” Rudy smiled.
“That’s the one.” Steve held the door for them. “Do you still believe it’s possible?”
Rudy nodded “although we can’t control the outcome. I mean if I were to go back.in time and say stop the stock market crash. I wouldn’t be able to control what happens as a result of that.”
“I think I understand.” Steve spoke softly.
“Take the night of Lincoln’s assassination” Oscar added.
“Why do you mention that?” Steve eyed him suspiciously.
“My great grandfather was on the police force the night of Lincoln’s assassination” Oscar went on. “He went all over the City trying to get an extra guard for the President.”
“You’re serious?” Steve asked.
“Yea anyway, no one knew why. My family history tells me some one tried to convince him…”
Steve continued to stare at Oscar. “Anyway” Oscar continued. “My family has been in law enforcement in one form another ever since.”
Steve’s face turned a sickly shade of white.
“What’s the matter pal? Are you going to be sick?” Oscar asked.
“I think you will be too. When I tell you what happened to me….” Steve relayed the story that he had just been a part of.
Oscar and Rudy joined Cassie with the open mouthed expression.
“I don’t believe it.” Oscar finally spoke.
“Well it’s true.” Steve argued.
“I didn’t say I didn’t believe you.” Oscar defended. “I just don’t believe that it really happened. Maybe you dreamt it and you only think it’s real. I mean the conversation was pretty vivid.”
“Oscar I know what happened. It wasn’t my imagination. How bout you Rudy, you’re the one who not an hour ago was talking about black holes and the like.”
“It’s possible. It just sounds so incredible.” Rudy finished. “Can you prove you were actually there?”
Steve shook his head. “I don’t think so.” He sighed.
“I’m not saying I don’t believe you Steve.” Rudy continued. “I’ve read where such things have happened. I’ve just never actually met anyone it’s happened too.”
“Well you have now.” Steve walked over to the window and looked out at the passing traffic. Standing there he realized he hadn’t taken off his jacket yet as he removed it two items fluttered out of the pocket and onto the floor.
“What’s that?” Oscar asked as Steve bent over to pick it up.
“I’m not sure.” He held the handkerchief in one hand and the ticket for Fords Theater in the other.
Oscar, Rudy and Cassie walked over to where he stood staring at the objects. “I guess its proof.” Steve was finally able to say.
Rudy took the handkerchief and tickets from him and examined both. “They appear to be the real thing. I mean look at the ticket Oscar. It’s all yellow I’m surprised it’s still intact.”
“Amazing” Oscar replied looking over Rudy’s shoulder “absolutely amazing.”
“Well.” Cassie broke the awkward silence. “I guess it did happen…”