Sunday, December 6, 2015

Prescott Time Travel

Submitted for your approval: a short working chapter from the time travel book I've been playing with for the past ten years.

“Three Flappers"
by William Snyder
© 2005 William Snyder

Time and space, and sound, even smell, all of it stopped for a split second. Patrick immediately understood that it had happened again. He found himself sitting uncomfortably in an embroidered cherry oak love seat in the lobby. Three women stood at the front desk directly across from him. Had they seen him appear out of thin air? They were all tall and angular, like modern fashion models. The tallest of them wore a loose fitting red dress that hid any hint of cleavage. There was a large red bow at her shoulder. Two gaudy pink hearts hung on strings from the bow. Her dress, like the other two, stopped at the knees, exposing her well-shaped calves. Her jet-black hair was short with a couple of understated waves. Understated red rouge covered her cheeks and she wore bright red lipstick. She was a good-looking woman and so were her companions. The woman in the middle wore a purple sack dress and a red cap that hung low on her eyes. Short blonde curls swept out from beneath the cap. The third woman wore a green dress covered with daisies and a brown skullcap-like hat pushed down seductively over her eyes.
            Patrick thought it strange that he’d be checking women out under such extreme circumstances.
            “Oh my word,” said the startled tall woman in a red dress. “I didn’t see you sitting over there.”
            “Hello ma’am,” Patrick said feeling underdressed in his faded Levis, comfortable grey flannel shirt, and concrete stained work boots.
            “Can I help you, sir?” A bellman said, sounding somewhat irritated, from over Patrick’s shoulder.
            “Just taking a load off, Hoss.”
            “Not in here, sir.”
            Patrick rose instinctively to face the bellman.
            “Now Hoss, that wasn’t what I’d call polite.”
            “Sir, it’s nothing personal,” the bellman said,” but you’re not dressed properly.”
            “Fair enough,  Hoss,” Patrick said and then nodding to the women. “Ladies.”
            The woman in red smiled while the others acted as if they didn’t see him. Patrick walked out the south entrance. The street signs read Gurley and Cortez. The Hassayampa hadn’t changed at all, but the street was teeming with old roadsters, puttering along bumper to bumper. The smell of gasoline was extreme. A boy, who couldn’t be older than six, hawked newspapers on the corner.
            “Extra, extra, read all about it! President Coolidge to visit Prescott!”
Coolidge? Patrick flipped through the index cards in his brain. President Coolidge?  This put him in the late 1920s.
“Buy a newspaper, sir?”
            “Sorry, I don’t have any change.”
            Patrick laughed.
            “What’s so funny, sir?”
            “Don’t get persnickety kid. It’s just that I didn’t know you guys really said ‘Extra, read all about it.’”
            The kid stared blankly at Patrick from beneath the oversized bill of his baseball cap.
            Patrick noticed a teenager examining the engine of an old jalopy parked on the side of the road.
            “Engine trouble, son?” Patrick asked.
            The boy looked up, absolutely bewildered.
            “You got that right, mister.”
            “Mind if I have a look?”
            “I’d be obliged if you would.”
            “Get in the car and turn it over.”
            “Turn it over?
            “Turn the key.”
            The boy slid in and complied. There was a loud grinding noise. Patrick found the carburetor, unscrewed the cap and pushed the butterfly flap down with his thumb.
            “Turn it over again, son.”
            The engine began to run.
            “What did you do?”
            “Your butterfly flap is sticking. I can fix it if you can get me the part. It’s amazing how little the internal combustion engine has changed in … what’s the date?”
“April 15th.”
“Help me out kid, what’s the year?”
“Eighty-one years,” Patrick whistled. “Sweet Georgia Brown!”
            “You’re not from around here, are you?”
            “No son, I’m a long way from home.”
         Me too, I’m from Whittier.”
            “That’s right. My brother’s got tuberculosis. We’re here for the summer. The air’s healthier up here.”
            “I’m Pat Martinez.”
            He extended his hand and they shook.
            “I’m Dick, Dick Nixon.”

            “Of course you are,” Patrick said.

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