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From Time to Time

by Mary King

Table of Contents
Susannah’s Story appeared
in issue 159.

People travel to the past for all sorts of reasons. I find it interesting at times, but for me it’s just a job. I am what you might call a travel agent. I make sure that the travelers know what to expect, and I soothe their misgivings. And since I work on commission, I’ve sometimes been known to give the reluctant or undecided traveler just the slightest nudge in the right (to my way of thinking, anyway) direction.

Upon their return, the travelers record an interview about their experience. It’s strictly voluntary, of course, but most of our clients are eager to share their feelings with us, and I make it a point to view each and every response. Part of my job is studying human nature, and I do take pride in my work...

I am not one to indulge in regret and remorse. What’s done is done, after all. Can’t be helped. And yet, if I were forced to choose an event that I might have handled better, it would have to do with Susannah. Very sad for her family, the whole situation. But I was new to the travel business then and had no idea that things would turn out as they did.

Now, I like to think that I would be able to spot potential trouble sources and nip them, so to speak, in the bud. But neither I nor the management can be held legally accountable for the actions of the travelers when they return. And most of our clients are very satisfied, and many even take repeat trips.

Frankie’s Story

Yeah, I guess you could say that I’ve been just about everywhere. Or everytime, maybe, would be more like it. A real world traveler. Or make that a real continuum traveler, haha.

I took my first time trip, oh, must’ve been about five years ago now. It was a birthday present from my wife; she’s just full of surprises that way. She says she did it only because she was so sick of listening to me tell about the time back when I was twelve and I saved some kid from being hit by a truck. I got my picture in the paper and the kid’s folks gave me a reward and all. My wife says I talk too much anyway, but I don’t get how giving me the time trip was supposed to help that. Go figure.

Anyway, going back to when I saved that kid, that was the first trip. And it was great. What happens, you go back and live the whole thing over again and then when you come back to your real life, well it seems like it just happened yesterday. Damned if I know how they do it, but it’s great.

So the next trip, I decided I’d go back to the first time I ever got laid. Hey, I mean what the hell, right? And man, as good as the first trip was, it was nothing compared to that. Tell the truth, I made that same trip a few more times over the next few months. Didn’t tell the wife, though.

And then I started to think of lots of good times that I’d maybe want to do over again. High school football, for one example, that game where we beat Bradbury High and won the trophy. And going out on the boat with my granddad, fishing all day with no one but us and the lake and a bunch of balogna sandwiches and orange sodas. And, hey, how about that Halloween when a bunch of us TP’d old man Sanders’ house? And my first car, that old Chevy, I wouldn’t mind cruising around town in that for a while.

So there are lots and lots of reasons to go back. And with gas prices at $6.249 a gallon, taking a time trip is a lot cheaper than, say, driving to Florida or somewhere like that. So I do it a lot. Time traveling, I mean, not driving to Florida haha.

One trip I took that I wanted to talk about, the one back to my 21st birthday party. That was the best. All my buddies waiting at the house and my mom coming out with this humongous cake. But the best part was later, when my buddies took me out to Pete’s Pub and got me legally drunk, for a change. Oh man, talk about your good times.

Pete’s, if you don’t know it, has been around for like ever. I can remember my old man hanging out in there and sometimes my mom would have to send me over to get him to come home for supper or whatever. That’s how much he liked it there. And every time I’d go in after the old man, Pete’d give me a bag of chips or a coke or something while I sat right up at the bar with the grownups.

But anyway, this birthday we must’ve drank old Pete’s place dry. All I know is I was legless by the time my buddies poured me into the car and got me home. And the hangover next day, man I thought I’d puke forever, with my mom screaming at me that I was just like my old man. Just what I needed right then.

Good memories, man. The best. And that got me to thinking. Hell, with a time trip I could go back and get hammered and have myself a good old time and not even have a headache next day. I thought about it for a while but it looked like a foolproof plan.

And it is, too. Okay, I go back to that birthday a lot I guess, but who am I hurting? Nobody, that’s who. All the good times and none of the pain. What could be better?

So it’s cool, right? It’s all good. Except that now the wife is starting to get on my back. She says I’m becoming an alcoholic. I ask her how can I be an alcoholic when I’m not really even drinking? She says something like even though you’re not really drinking, you still are. Women’s logic, how can you argue with it?

So I don’t. I take my little time trips, have a good time, and still get home in time for supper. Okay, so maybe I missed a couple of occasions, last Christmas for one. But big deal, it’s just one Christmas, for crying out loud. I still go to work every day, and pay the bills, and put food on the table. If I want to relax and cut loose a little, that’s my business, isn’t it?

Except that now she’s talking about maybe I should see someone, seek some kind of help for “my problem.” I keep telling her it’s not a problem, it’s cool, it’s fine. But she just won’t listen to reason. Wants me to join a support group, some stupid thing like that. She says I’m addicted to time travel. I say to her I thought you said I was an alcoholic. She says you are but you’re also a travel-holic, too. She says the fact that I don’t think I need help is just proof that I do.

Like I said, women’s logic. How can you argue with it?

Copyright © 2005 by Mary King

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