“Who was that on the phone Steve?” Jim asked.
“It was Oscar. He and Rudy are ready. I’ll go pick them up. You know this is the first vacation Oscar has taken in quite a while.”
‘I didn’t realize that.” Jim said.
“Yea when they do come out here its usually for business of some sort or another.”
“Well we’ll be waiting for them. We’ll also see to it that Oscar gets a chance to relax.” Jim noted.
“I’m glad to hear you say that dad. Oscar can really use the break.” Steve explained
“Do you want me to ride with you?” Jim asked.
“No. You better stay here and help mom.” Steve told him.
“Ok I’ll stay here. We’ll have the barbeque when you get back.”
“That sounds great.” Steve said as he headed for his car.
He drove into Ojai and pulled into the parking lot of the hotel Rudy and Oscar were staying at.
As Steve got off the elevator he could here Oscar and Rudy arguing in Oscar’s room.
“I told you Rudy. I’m not leaving this hotel room.” Oscar was practically yelling.
“Come on Oscar, we’ve been here a whole day and nothing has happened…”
“Yet!” Oscar reminded.
“Oscar nothing has happened because nothing is going to happen…”
Steve knocked on the door.
“I bet that’s Steve now. Now listen Oscar he has gone to a lot of trouble to arrange this vacation for us. His parents have been gracious to lend their support as well.”
Oscar watched as Rudy walked toward the door.
Rudy opened the door. “Hi Steve come on in. I’m having trouble getting Oscar to leave the hotel room.”
“So I heard.” Steve walked over to Oscar. “Oscar I just came from outside. Everything is just fine.”
“That’s because I haven’t stepped out yet.” Oscar whined.
“Oh come on Oscar nothing is going to happen.” Steve tried to assure.
“Steve it happens every time I come to Ojai.” Oscar sighed.
“Well it’s not going to happen this time.” Steve kept trying to reassure his friend.
“How do you know that? You can’t know that for sure.” Oscar groaned. “Look I appreciate everything you and your folks are trying to do, but…”
“But what Oscar? Dad has the barbeque going as we speak. We have five ¾ inch thick steaks ready to throw on the grill.”
“Three quarter inch thick?” Oscar asked.
“That got him.” Steve smiled at Rudy.
“Ok, ok you convinced me. I’ll come with you.”
“Good.” Steve started for the door. “My car is just outside.”
Rudy and Oscar followed Steve to the elevator. “You know.” Steve began after the doors had shut. “This is one of the first hotels in Ojai. I think it dates back as far as 1900.”
“Oh terrific.” Oscar sighed as the elevator doors opened.
“Something is different.” Steve muttered as they stepped off the elevator and into the lobby. “Something is very different.”
“It’s happening again. That is the last time I ever listen to you.” Oscar almost shouted.
“Oscar. Calm down Rudy whispered. “People are staring.”
“Let them stare.” Oscar continued to shout. “I can’t believe this.” He looked around the hotel lobby. “I wonder what year it is?” He asked.
“Let’s find out.” Rudy said as they started across the lobby.
Rudy walked up to the check in desk He watched as the hotel clerk registered a guest.
June 23, 1946. The clerk wrote on the register.
He slowly made his way back to the gang. “June 23, 1946.” He whispered. “Why don’t we step out onto the street?”
The three stepped out onto the streets of Ojai. “I suppose it’s pointless to look for my car.” Steve muttered to himself.
“That’s a brilliant deduction Sherlock.” Rudy indicated.
“Hey! No need to get sarcastic about it Rudy” Steve grumbled. “So what happens now?”
“I don’t know. You have to be here someplace. I would assume you are about four years old.” Rudy guessed.
“Yea I would be around four.” Steve agreed. “So what does that …Oh yea, I forgot. Ok so how do we find me?”
“You usually seem to find us.” Rudy pointed out.
“Well why don’t we just ride it out till I show up then.” Steve started walking. Rudy and Oscar followed.
“Do you have any idea where you might be.” Rudy asked.
“I’m only four Rudy. I would assume that whereever I am I’m with my mother.”
“And Jim?” Oscar asked.
Steve shook his head, “No they didn’t meet till I was five.” He informed them.
“Oh yea that’s right.” Oscar murmured.
“What did you say?” Steve turned to him.
“Oh nothing.” Oscar stated. “I wonder where to start.”
“Well like Rudy said. I somehow manage to find you.” Steve reminded.
“Maybe we better stay close to this area then?” Oscar wondered.
“Not necessarily.” Rudy added. “We can fan out a bit. Why don’t we just walk around a bit?”
They agreed that would be a good thing to do. So they started walking the streets in hopes of finding the four-year-old Steven Austin.
Before continuing on the stopped at a small sandwich shop for lunch. As they ate they looked around feeling that Steven and his mother would pop in at any minute.
“I just don’t understand it.” Rudy said as he looked around. “It usually doesn’t take this long to find you.”
“Well maybe we’re not supposed to find me this time.” Steve speculated.
“But that’s usually the way it is. We find you and you are usually in some kind of trouble.” Rudy reminded.
“What do you mean some kind of trouble?” Steve wondered.
“Well. It’s rather difficult to explain.” The three of them stood to leave the sandwich shop.
“Why don’t we try this way?” Steve pointed up the street. “I don’t know, call it a hunch.”
They started walking in the direction Steve was pointing. They found themselves in a lovely park.
“Yea Steve.” Rudy complained. “What, do you feel four and want to play.”
“No Rudy. I’m telling you it’s just a feeling I have.”
“Do you think you’re in the park?” Oscar wondered
“I don’t know Oscar. But it’s a possibility. Come on this way.” They continued to follow Steve across the green grass of the park.
“I don’t know.” Steve finally said. “I thought I was on to something.”
“Well.” Rudy added. “Maybe you are. It’s a big park. Let’s keep looking.”
They continued searching the park. It was a lovely June day. It seemed like everyone in Ojai turned out for an afternoon of fun.
“I don’t know. I’m just about ready to give up.” Steve sighed. After their search so far had turned up nothing.
“Don’t be so quick to give up Steve.” Rudy said. “Let’s try over that way.”
Again they headed in another direction. “I just wish I could get a handle on where I am.” Steve explained.
“Well don’t give up Steve.” Rudy went on. “I’m sure you’re here somewhere.”
They walked to the area of the park that held a rather large pond. Several boys were floating boats on the water.
They hadn’t been by the pond three minutes when a woman’s scream cut through the glorious day.
“My baby, my baby!!!” She shrieked.
Steve, Rudy and Oscar raced to where the woman stood along the edge of the pond. Steve recognized her right away.
“What happened?” He asked, “What’s the matter?”
“My son fell in the pond!” Helen managed to say.
Steve dove into the pond. He searched the bottom of the pond for himself. After several minutes he found the boy at the bottom of the pond. Steve grabbed the boy and rushed him to the surface.
“Rudy!” Steve shouted. “He’s not breathing!”
Rudy grabbed the young Steven out of Steve’s arms. He immediately began CPR on the young child.
Oscar stepped over to him “He’s going to be alright? Isn’t he Rudy? I mean he has to be. Steve…”
“Not now Oscar.” Rudy said between breaths
“Oscar please….” Rudy complained. “I can’t find a pulse on him at all!!”
Helen watched frantically as this strange man fought to save the life of her young son.
Oscar stepped over to Helen. “It’s alright. He’s in good hands. If anyone can help your son, Dr. Wells is the man to do it.” He led Helen to a bench nearby and made sure some one stayed with her
He walked back over to Rudy. “How’s he doing?” Oscar asked.
“Not so good right now.” Rudy replied.
“Oh come on Rudy, he has to be alright. I mean Steve is. Steve, Steve!!!:” Oscar cried. The adult Steve Austin also lay unconscious on the ground
“Rudy!” Oscar called “Steve is…”
“I know Oscar. I have to save him first. Once he’s breathing on his own Steve will be alright.”
Oscar stared at him as Rudy continued to breathe into Steven’s mouth. “Oscar.” He started again between breaths. “If Steve dies when he is four, there will never be a Col. Steve Austin.”
“I never thought of it that way. You mean, once the boy is ok Steve will be alright?”
“Yes.” Rudy replied. He again checked the boy in front of him. “He’s breathing on his own.” Rudy announced. He reached down for Steven’s wrist. “I have a pulse too.”
Oscar turned toward Steve expecting to see him walking toward them. “Rudy Steve is still…”
“I’m not surprised.” Rudy moved toward Steve. He took Steve’s wrist “His pulse is strong. I think he’ll be fine. As soon as the boy wakes up, I’m sure Steve will too.”
Slowly Steven began to come around. “Mama?” He called out.
Helen leaped from the bench and raced over to her son. “I’m right here sweetie.” She said.
“Mama what happened?” Steven asked.
“I don’t know sweetie. All I know is you fell in the water.”
Rudy and Oscar moved closer to Steve. Steve began to move. “Rudy?”
“Yea, it’s me Steve.” Rudy helped him sit up. “You feel ok?”
“Yea. I think I’m going to be fine. How…” He looked around. “How’s little me doing?”
“He’s going to be just fine.” Rudy said as Helen walked over to them.
“I don’t know what you did, or how you did it, but thank you.” She said.
“No problem.” Rudy said. “I’m Dr. Wells. This is Oscar Goldman.” He pointed to Steve and this it Steve uh Jones.” Rudy said off the top of his head.
“Well you saved my baby. Do you have a place to stay?”
“As a matter of fact we don’t.” Oscar explained.
“Well you do now. You can stay at my place. I’m Helen Austin, and this is my son Steven.”
“Please to meet you.” Rudy stated. “Thanks for letting us stay at your place.”
“No problem. Come on I’ll show you the way.”
Helen led them to her car and the all piled in. Steve held the younger version of himself on his lap. “I don’t know how much longer we’ll be here.” Oscar whispered as they rode along.
“What makes you say that?” Steve asked.
“Well we did what we came to do.” Oscar reminded.
“Then why haven’t we gone back by now.” Steve wondered.
“I don’t know.” Rudy sighed. “There must be more.”
“I don’t understand something.” Steve said as Helen continued to drive her car. “What exactly happened?”
“Steven fell into that little pond. He doesn’t know how to swim. I guess I shouldn’t have let him that close to it but he likes to watch the big boys with their boats.”
“Well someone needs to teach him.” Steve announced.
They arrived at Helen’s house. It was a nice home just outside of town. She turned to Steve. “Do you think you could do it?” She asked shyly.
Steve turned to Rudy and Oscar. “Well I guess that’s it.” He whispered. “I have to teach myself how to swim.” He turned to Helen “I would love to teach him how to swim.” He agreed.
“Oh that would be wonderful. His father was killed in the war before Steven was even born. I’m not the best swimmer on the planet so I can’t teach him; guess he gets it from me. Like I said he loves to go to the pond to watch the big boys float their boats. I really think he needs to know how to at least swim to shore.”
“I agree completely.” Steve stated
“I mean next time you and your friends might not be there.” She surmised.
“You do have a point.” Steve said. “I would love to teach him.”
“Great! You can start in the morning.” Helen said. “I’ll go fix dinner. If you don’t mind, could you please…He seems to get into all kinds of trouble.”
“We’d love to watch him.” Steve agreed.
Helen stepped into the kitchen to prepare dinner while Oscar, Steve and Rudy took care of the younger Steve.
“How bout it Steven?” Steve began. “Would you like me to teach you how to swim?”
“Yea.” Steven answered.
“Well then, we’ll start first thing in the morning.” Steve said. “That sounds like a good time to start.”
“Well” Helen spoke after dinner “I’m going to put him to bed. I’m headed that way myself. If you want you can stay up. I showed you the guest rooms. There is plenty in the ice box if you care to have snack.”
“Thank you.” Steve said. “We won’t be up much longer.”
“Very well then. I’ll see you in the morning.” Helen picked Steven up and took him upstairs.
After she had gone Rudy turned to him. “Do you think it’s a good idea for you to teach him how to swim?”
“What do you mean Rudy?” Steve wondered.
“I mean if you haven’t learned yet, do you think you know how to swim?” Rudy asked.
“Of course I do. Or anyway I think I do I mean I pulled him out of the water didn’t I?” Steve reminded.
“Maybe you should at least stay in shallow water tomorrow until you find out one way ort he other.” Rudy suggested.
“I might give that a try.” Steve said. “Or maybe I’ll get up early and check it out for myself.”
“Well do what you think is best. I don’t know about you two.” Rudy continued “But I’m tired. I think I’ll hit the sack.”
“Yea.” Same here.” Oscar and Steve echoed.
The next morning Steve was up before anyone. He ran to the lake that was just behind the house
He looked around to make sure no one was looking he went skinny dipping in the lake. His swimming abilities were just fine. ‘Great. I’ll be able to teach myself without any problem.’ He thought as he put his clothes back on.
He raced back to the house and was back just as Rudy was stepping out onto the porch to get the morning paper.
“Steve. Where were you?” Rudy asked.
“I went down to the lake to see if I remembered how to swim.” Steve explained.
“Oh and what is the verdict?” Rudy continued looking at him.
“Just great. I’ll be able to teach myself with no problem at all.” Steve joined him on the porch
“Steve. I don’t mean to pry, but if you were just swimming? I mean your clothes are dry.”
“I didn’t wear clothes. I uh.”
“I get the picture and trust me it’s not very pretty. Good thing you didn’t get caught this day in age you would have gotten arrested.
“Really?” Steve asked.
Rudy nodded. “Of course “ He told him. “They had strange laws in the 40s “
“Oh yea I guess your right. Strange bathing suits too.”
“Just keep that in mind. When we go back. I’d like all three of us to go, if you don’t mind.”
“Oh I don’t mind I would rather go back too.” Steve admitted.
“Anyway I think your mother has breakfast ready.”
“I’ll join you in a minute. I want to get something out of my room I’ll join you in a minute.”
“Ok I’ll see you at breakfast then.”
Oscar was sitting on the couch when Rudy walked into the living room. “What took so long?” He asked.
“I was talking to Steve.” Rudy handed him the paper
“Steve?” Oscar looked around. “Where is he?”
“Well he had been for a swim. He had something to get out of his room. He said he’d see us at breakfast.”
“Yea it sure smells good. I wonder what Helen has for us. She’s a very good cook.” Oscar stated. “So did he remember how to swim?”
Rudy nodded. “Yea no problem.”
“Well that’s good. Do you really think it’s a good idea for Steve to teach himself how to swim?”
“I think it’s a great idea.” Rudy stated. “Who else can say they literally taught themselves to swim, or do anything for that matter?”
“Yea, I guess you’re right.” Oscar said still thumbing through the paper.
“Well breakfast is ready.” Helen said as she stepped into he living room. “I’m surprised Steven isn’t up yet. He’s usually down her by now.” Helen looked around for him.
“Maybe he is awake and he’s with Steve.” Rudy suggested.
“That could be.” Helen agreed. “You don’t suppose they went swimming already?”
“No we would have seen them leave.” Rudy reminded.
“That’s right. Well where do you suppose…”
“I’ll go check Steve’s room.” Rudy offered. “Oscar. Join me?”
“Yea sure Rudy.” The two of them headed upstairs. “Something is wrong isn’t it?”
“I’m not sure. Steve should have been down a long time ago too.” Rudy said.
They opened the door to Steve’s room. Steve was unconscious on the floor. “Rudy what the…”
“We need to find the boy!” Rudy cried.
“Rudy!” Oscar cried as he continued to look at Steve lying on the bed.
“What is it Oscar?” Rudy was looking around frantically for young Steven. He turned just in time to see the adult Steve disappear….
“We have to find the boy. And Fast!!” Rudy cried. “Something has happened to him and if we don’t find him soon we may never even know about Steve. He has already ceased to exist.” Rudy called out.
“What?” Oscar bellowed.
“The same as I said as I said yesterday. If Steven dies as a child he will never grow up.”
“Come on Rudy!” Oscar grabbed him they raced into Steven’s room Steven lay on the floor He was unconscious. An open box of rat poison was next to him. The boy had a powdery residue around his mouth.
“Oh my G- -!” Rudy cried. He scooped the boy up in his arms and laid him on the bed.
“Rudy. What is it? What’s wrong?” Oscar knew the answer He knew the boy in front of them must be in serious condition for Steve to have disappeared. “Can you help him?”
“I don’t know. If we were in our own time I would have no trouble at all.” Rudy admitted.
“What would you do for him?” Oscar pressed.
“Well, first I would ‘flush’ out his system…”
“How would you do that?” Oscar wondered interrupting Rudy.
“With IV’s.” Rudy started. I would more than likely put one in each arm, but I don’t know if they have that technology yet.”
“I’m sure they do. We should get him to a hospital.” Oscar barked.
“I know that. I don’t want to leave here though. I want to be here when Steve comes back.” Rudy explained. “He may need me.”
“I see. So what are you going to do?” Oscar asked.
“All I need it rubber tubing and a plastic bottle or any kind of bottle for the matter.” He turned to Oscar. “Maybe you better go tell Helen what’s going on.”
Oscar headed down stairs to break the news to Helen. In spite of everything she took it rather well and gathered up the things Rudy would need to save her son.
She ran up stairs with two empty milk bottles. “Will these work?” She asked.
“Perfect!” Rudy exclaimed, “All I need is for you to sterilize them for me.”
Once again Rudy reached for Steven’s pulse not finding one he began CPR. “Oscar.” He said as the continued CPR on Steven “Keep her out of here would you?”
“I’ll try Rudy.” Oscar headed out the door. Helen was just coming up the steps with the sterilized bottles.
“Here Helen I’ll take those the doctor needs room to work.”
“Yes. I understand. I’ll be in my room.” Oscar led her to her room “You just wait here Helen. Trust me. As I said yesterday Steven couldn’t be in better hands. If anyone can get him through this that man in there can.”
“I know that. I saw what he did yesterday.” Helen sat in a chair “I’ll just wait right here. I also know who you are. Or at least I think I do. That other man, Steve He’s my son too?”
Oscar nodded. “You’re right Helen. We’ll keep you informed.” Oscar said as he left the room. Before returning to Rudy he once again peeked into the room Steve was using. He still wasn’t there.
Oscar carried the bottles into Rudy. “Here Rudy.” He handed them to the doctor. “I just checked in the room Steve is using. He’s still not there.”
“I really need to work fast.” Rudy told him. “For just a second I didn’t know who you were talking about. Listen.” Rudy said as he looked around the room “I have a pulse. I think the best thing is to keep talking about Steve.”
“I’ll agree with that.” Oscar watched as Rudy continued to look around the room.
“What are you looking for?” Oscar wondered.
“Some sort of rubber tubing. I need to use it to get the liquid into him.”
Oscar spied a toy telephone on the toy box it had a hollow rubber tube that connected the receiver to the phone. He grabbed it and handed it to Rudy. “Will this work?”
“Yea. Now I need a table spoon of salt to add to the water.”
“I’ll go to the kitchen and get it. I don’t want to bother Helen again. I think she’s pretty upset.”
“Good idea.” Rudy kept his finger on Steven’s pulse. It was weak, but it was there. “I have a feeling once I start the IV Steve may return. I hope so.”
Oscar returned with the salt and Rudy added it to the water he had put in the milk bottles. He searched his suit coat pocket for package syringes he had bought just a few days before. He quickly attached one end of the rubber tubing to the bottle and the other to the syringe.
Oscar watched in amazement “You just happened to have that on you?”
“I bought them the other day. I meant to leave them at the lab.” Rudy explained. He then inserted the needle into Steven’s arm the IV started flowing into Steven. “We may need more things. I’ll send you to get them.” Rudy turned to Oscar.
“What would that be?” Oscar wondered
“I need to come up with an anti toxin. They haven’t invented it yet but I can come up with something that will be very close. He quickly wrote a ‘shopping’ list for Oscar. “You won’t need a prescription. Back in the 40s even penicillin was sold over the counter.”
“Really?” Oscar proclaimed. “Will he be alright till I get back?”
“He should be.” Rudy was skeptical though. “He better be, two lives are in the balance on this one.”
“I’m on my way. Oscar took off to get the ‘shopping’ list filled.
Oscar borrowed Helen’s car and took off for the drug store in town. He ran in and gave the pharmacist his list. “I need it as quickly as you can get it!” Oscar told him.
“I’ll do my best,” the pharmacist said.
Oscar stood and watched as he gathered up the items on Rudy’s list.
The pharmacist handed him the bag “That will be eight five cents.”
Oscar handed him a dollar bill. “Keep the change!” He grabbed the bag and ran out of the drugstore.
Oscar jumped back into Helen’s car and put the key in the ignition. Nothing. He tried a second time and then a third. The car would not start.
“Come on!” Oscar cried. “It has to start!” He tried a fourth time the engine coughed sputtered and then came to life.
“Whew!” Oscar exhaled deeply “Now to get back to the house!”
The entire time Oscar was gone Rudy kept a finger on Steven’s pulse. It was getting weaker by the minute. “Come on Oscar hurry!” Rudy muttered to himself.
Oscar continued to drive up the main street. “Why is there so much traffic?” He complained himself. At every intersection there was a four way stop and Oscar had to stop at each one.
He continued driving He finally came to the last intersection in town. He started through it. Bam! A car coming from one of the side streets struck the back diver’s side of Helen’s car.
Oscar was shaken up. The other driver jumped out of his car and ran over to Oscar “I’m sorry. Are you alright?”
“Yea I’m fine. Not too much damage to the cars either. He looked at the other driver. “Are you alright?”
“Yea I’m fine.” He stated.
“A woman came out of a house “I called the sheriff. He should be here at any moment.” She said.
“That wasn’t necessary.” Oscar called back. “We’re fine.”
“It still needs to be reported.” The woman said.
“Oh great!” Oscar thought ‘How long will this take.’ “Listen I’ll be right back. I’ll leave the car here. I just have to get this to the house just outside of town He tried to explain.
“I wouldn’t advise that.” The woman’s husband stepped out onto the porch and joined his wife. “You best wait for the sheriff.”
Rudy again reached over and felt for Steven’s pulse. He didn’t find one. He again began CPR on the child. “Come on Oscar where are you?” Rudy cried out. “I need to get that anti toxin into him!”
After performing CPR Rudy reached down. “He has a pulse again.” He exhaled.
The sheriff finally arrived in his own time. “So” He began “What happened?”
“We had a slight accident.” Oscar informed him.
“I can see that. So which one of us was in a big hurry?” He asked.
“I believe that would be him.” The man pointed to Oscar. “Went right through a stop sign he did.”
“Oh is that a fact?” The sheriff asked turning to Oscar. “I think maybe we better go down to the court house and have a little chat.” He turned to the other man. “I’ll talk to you later Herb.”
“He’s the one who ran into me.” Oscar complained
“Well if you hadn’t gone through the stop sign.” The sheriff began “Why were we in such a hurry?”
“I don’t know.” Oscar resigned himself to fact that he might as well just go along with him.
They arrived at the sheriff’s office. “I see the car doesn’t belong to you.” The sheriff noted.
“No it belongs to a friend.” Oscar explained
“Helen Austin a friend of yours?” The sheriff was skeptical
The sheriff reached for the phone. “We shall soon see won’t we?”…
Not wanting to but wondering if Oscar had stopped in to console Helen, Rudy left Steven and walked down to Helen’s room. “I’m sorry Helen. I was hoping Oscar was here. I sent him to the drugstore to get some medicine to help Steven. He hasn’t come back yet. I was hoping he was here.”
“No I haven’t… Just a moment.” She picked up the phone. “Yes Earl.” She listened as the sheriff spoke.
“Did you lend your car to?”…
“I most certainly did Earl He is getting medicine for Steven. Steven is very sick. You let him go right this!”…
“I’ll get him there Mrs. Austin.” The sheriff hung up the phone. “Why didn’t you tell me you had medicine for little Steven?”
“You didn’t believe that I knew Helen….” Oscar started
“Let’s not argue about that.” The sheriff grabbed him “Come on I’ll get you to the house!”
“Oscar followed the sheriff to his car. The Sheriff sped all the way Helen’s house.
“There you are.” The sheriff said. “Helen said the doctor is with him let me know if you need my help.”
“I will” Oscar grabbed the bag and raced into the house.
In Steven’s room Steven’s breath became very shallow and labored. “He’s not getting any air.” Rudy said to himself. “I need to get it in to him.”
“Get what into him Rudy?” Oscar asked standing behind him.
“Air. The poison has caused his throat to close he can’t get any air to his lungs.”
“Why don’t you do what you did before? You know the breathing for him.”
“That won’t work if his throat is closed. I need to do a tracheotomy.” He turned to Oscar “You have a pen don’t you?”
“Just give it to me. And take it apart ” Rudy removed a pen knife from his pocket and made a small incision in Steven’s throat.
Oscar handed him the disassembled pen and Rudy inserted the hollow part into the incision.
“He’s breathing.” Rudy announced. “Now you got everything I asked for?”
“Yes” Oscar Said as he handed it to him.
“Ok great!” Rudy proclaimed. He began mixing everything together.
“Will that do it? Oscar asked.
“It should.” Rudy claimed. He took out another syringe and injected the serum into the rubber tubing. “Only time will tell.” He stated. “We need to give it about 24 hours…”
As the drug was administered to Steven Oscar rose and walked into the room Steve had been using. He stared at the empty bed. ‘It’s still not working’ He thought. Just as he turned to leave Steve reappeared on the bed.
Oscar ran over to him. “Steve! Steve!” He called out.
Steve remained unconscious ‘Well at least I think we’re on the right path.’ He left the room and informed Rudy that Steve was back. “He doesn’t look very good though. He’s very pale.”
“At least it’s a start.” He pointed to Steven. “He’s doing better. I think I’ll let Helen come in. I want to check on Steve anyway.”
Rudy walked into the guest room that Steve was using. “Either Oscar was mistaken or his color is coming back.” Rudy said to himself. He walked over to Steve and held his wrist. “He has a pulse.” Rudy whispered. “I think everything is going to be just fine.”
“Helen” Rudy spoke softly “He’s out of danger. Would you like to see him?”
Helen leaped to her feet. “Yes!” She cried.
Rudy led her down the hall to Steven’s room Helen rushed to him “Oh my baby!” She cried as she held the boy in her arms.
“Is he going to be alright?’ She asked looking up at Rudy.
“I think he’s going to be just fine. “We’ll have to watch him close for the next several days, but I’m certain he’ll be fine.”
Rudy stepped over to them. “I need to start him on another IV, and give him more of the anti toxin.” He went about doing this. “I think one more treatment should do it.” He proclaimed.
Helen continued to hold him tight. “When will he wake up?” She asked.
“I can’t give you an answer on that.” Rudy explained. “We should know. Like I told Oscar when I started the treatment, the next twenty-four hours will tell.”
“I guess we’ll just have to wait then.” Helen stated.
“If you’ll excuse me.” Rudy walked across the room and went out the door. Oscar followed close behind him.
“Where are you going Rudy?” Oscar asked.
“I want to check on Steve, and give her a few moments alone with Steven.” Rudy explained.
They stepped into Steve’s room. Rudy walked over to him
“Is he alright?” Oscar asked as Rudy examined him.
“He’s just sleeping now.” Rudy informed him. “He’ll be just fine.”
“You mean he’s conscious now?” Oscar wanted to know.
“In a manner of speaking yes.” Rudy told him. “All we have to do is wait for the boy to wake up and be alright, then Steve should wake up. I was hoping he would have woken before this. But…”
“Doctor!” Helen called.
“Rudy and Oscar left Steve and went back into the child’s room.
“Yes Helen?” Rudy asked
“I think he’s waking up.” She laid him down on the bed.
Rudy bent over him. “Your right.” He turned to Oscar. “Why don’t you stay with Steve?” He suggested.
“Good idea.” Oscar left. Rudy and Helen waited for Steven to wake up.”
Slowly the boy opened his eyes. He looked up at Helen. “Hi Mama” He said. “My tummy hurts.”
“I’m sure it does sweetie.” Helen leaned over him.
Steven looked down and saw the needle in his wrist. He started crying.
“Here I’ll take that out for you.” Rudy removed the needle “There is that better?”
Steven nodded. “Yea. I think so.”
“Listen you just lie back on your bed. You’re mama and I are going outside for just a minute. You get some sleep.”
“Ok.” Steven turned his head and was asleep before they left the room.”
“Rudy.” Oscar called
“I’ll be with you in a minute Helen.” Rudy told her.
“I’ll be down stairs.” Helen replied. “He may want something to eat when he wakes up I was making breakfast, now I guess it will be dinner.”
“We’ll be right down.” Rudy called as she headed down the steps.
He entered Steve’s room. “What is it Oscar?”
“I think he’s coming out of it.” Oscar informed him. “How’s Steven doing?”
“He’s fine. He’s sleeping right now.” Rudy explained.
“Good.” They both walked over to where Steve lay.
Slowly he opened his eyes. “Rudy?”
“Yea Steve, I’m right here. Oscar is right here too.”
“What happened?” Steve asked.
Rudy began to fill him in on the events of the past 12 hours.
“You have got to be kidding. I actually disappeared.”
“You were gone most of the day.” Oscar told him.
“But I’m ok now, right. I mean the younger version of me. He’s fine?”
“Yea he’s going to be just fine.” Rudy assured.
“Rat poison, I still can’t believe it. I don’t even know if I remember doing such as a kid.” Steve went on.
“Well if Rudy hadn’t been here.” Oscar began. “I don’t know what would have happened.” Oscar went on.
“Yea I think I get what you are saying. Thanks Rudy. Can I see me now?”
“I want to make sure you’re ok first.” Rudy checked Steve out. “I think you’re going to be fine. Just don’t disappear on us again huh?”
“I’ll try not to.” Steve agreed. “Anyway I want to see ‘little me’.” Steve indicated.
“Come on I’ll take you to him.” Rudy led Steve down the hall “He’s in here.”
“He’s awake.” Helen spoke softly as they entered. “I think he’s going to be alright now.”
Rudy turned to Steve, then back to Helen. “Yea. I think you’re right.” He started.
Rudy examined the boy who was now just sleeping. “Helen. He’s going to be just fine.”
That night everyone seemed fine. Steven was feeling much better. And Steve hadn’t done any more disappearing acts.
“I wonder something.” Oscar said as he walked across the living room. “Join me on the porch you two.”
Steve and Rudy stood and followed Oscar to the porch. “What is it?” Rudy asked after they had stood there for a few moments.
“I was hoping we would be back in our own time.” Oscar sighed. “I mean Steven is alright and…”
“You forget.” Rudy broke in. “Steve still has to teach him how to swim.”
‘Oh yea that’s right.” He turned to Rudy. “Think he’ll be up to it by tomorrow?”
“He should be. He bounced back pretty good.”
“You’re sure about that Rudy.” Steve wanted to know.
"Well it might take a couple of days" Rudy admited. But I would say that in less than 72 hours we should be back in our own time.
“Let’s hope so.” Oscar muttered. “I hope that’s all it takes. I mean I hope that ‘little’ Steve is going to be all right.”
“Well.” Rudy began “I suppose if he isn’t we’ll show up just in time again.”
Two day later Steve took his younger self to the lake. “Ok Steven we’re going to learn how to swim.”
“Ok.” The small boy replied.
Steve sat the boy on the edge of the dock. Then jumped in. ‘Good’ he thought. ‘It’s not too deep here. I can touch the bottom anyway.”
He lifted the young boy off the dock “Ok now.” He laid him across the water and held onto him. “Now kick your feet.”
Steven started kicking his feet.
“Ok now move your arms like this.” Steve showed him what to do.
“That looks easy.” Steven replied.
Within the hour Steven was swimming circles around the man he would become later.
They walked hand in hand back to the house. “Mama” Steven called out. “I can swim.”
“That’s wonderful honey” She turned to Steve “Must have been a strange feeling teaching yourself how to swim.” She smiled.
Steve looked at her. “You know who I am?” He asked.
“Of course I do. A mother knows her own child, no matter how old they are. I just don’t understand how you got here.”
“We are trying to figure that out ourselves.” Steve explained. “Anyway I’m glad I was able to teach him how to swim.”
“Me too. Now I won’t be so worried about that pond.” Helen turned and picked up her son. “I suppose I better get lunch started.”
Steve followed her into the living room where Rudy and Oscar were sitting “How did it go?” Oscar asked.
“He’s pretty good. Like mom said, at least now she won’t have to worry about the pond.
“Steven!” Helen called from the kitchen
“Yes mama?” Steven called from the bottom of the steps.
“Get out here this instant!” Helen called from the kitchen
“Coming.” Steven headed for the kitchen.
“Well I think we better go.” Steve started for the door.
“What’s the hurry?” Rudy asked. “Let’s go see what your mother wanted.”
“I think we should go.” Steve tried pushing them out the door.
“Ok now you have my curiously roused.” Oscar followed Rudy toward the kitchen.
“Yea.” Steve muttered. “I know that tone.” He followed his friends to the kitchen.
They were right behind Steven.
“Steven.” Helen began. “Didn’t mama tell you to drink all of your juice before you went swimming?”
“Well then what is this?” She pointed to a full glass of juice hidden behind the curtain of the kitchen window.
“That’s not mine. I drank all of my juice.” The boy defended himself.
“Steven! Don’t lie to mama.” Helen scolded
“I’m not. I drink all my juice.” He continued to protest.
“Steven. Mama has seen you hide your juice here before.” She gave him a stern look. Steven in turn sighed and rolled his eyes at her.
“Don’t you give me that look young man!” Helen grabbed onto him.
“Um uh. Ma.” Steve began.
Helen turned to him. “What?”
“Um uh I left my juice there.” Steve admitted.
“You?” Helen gave him a sharp look. “Now why would you?”
“I never did like grape juice that much. Still don’t for that matter.”
Helen bent down to her young son. “Oh sweetie, Mama is sorry. You don’t like grape juice?”
Steven shook his head. “Not really, but I did drink my juice this morning.”
Rudy and Oscar each took hold of Steve. “Come on, We better get you out of here before you cause anymore trouble.” Oscar laughed. Then he turned to Steven “Poor kid.” He sighed.
“Wait!” Helen called behind them She ran into the living room just before the three stepped out onto the porch. “I don’t know if I’ll se you again. I just wanted to say thank you for everything you did.”
“It was our pleasure.” Rudy explained. “And we will see each other again.” He promised.
Oscar turned the doorknob and they all stepped out on to the porch.
“Well “ Oscar said as they got off the elevator at the hotel. “Looks like we’re back where we belong. I think I’m ready to give up on this vacation.”
“Ok come on Oscar.” Rudy chuckled. “The worst is over.”
“Yea let’s try and have a good time.” Steve said as they crossed the lobby.
“I guess you’re right.” Oscar agreed.