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Adventures of the Man Who Was Not Jasper

A scientific experiment goes wrong...or does it?


2. Chapter 2

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1105   Review this Chapter

First order of business--get out of the weather

First order of business--get out of the weather. I started to walk. And the farther I walked, the more confused I became. I quickly noticed that the cars driving past, and the ones parked at the curb, were all rather old fashioned. I wasn’t an expert on cars, but I figured they looked like they were all from the late 1940’s or early 50’s. I shrugged. Maybe there was a car show going on or something.

Then I started noticing that the people I passed were all dressed nicely. Not at all like how people dress in public today. There were no jeans, no flip-flops, no pants half falling down, and not a T-shirt to be seen anywhere. Instead, most men and women had hats of one variety or another. But no baseball caps on sideways—these were nice hats. And the men were mostly wearing suits, while the women all wore dresses or skirts.

I frowned. I knew I didn’t get out of the lab much, but come one—no one dressed like this anymore! I shrugged again and kept going. Then it poped into my head that it had been night when I tested the De-moleculizer, and now it was the daytime. Odd, to say the least. A little further on, I saw a kid standing on the corner selling newspapers. It looked like something out of old movies I’d seen as a child. I walked over to him. "Buy a paper, mister?" he asked, handing me one. I took it, and as my eyes read the date, I inhaled sharply. Then I looked at it again.

"That’s not possible!" I whispered. I closed my eyes tightly, then opened them and looked a third time. I stared at that date for a long time, trying to accept it. The rain increased as I stood there, soaking the paper. Then I grinned. I had done what all physicists said was impossible—I had traveled through time! I had actually gone back almost a hundred years!

I can’t believe it!" I yelled. "I’ve just invented..." The grin left my face as quickly as it had appeared. Two thoughts had hit me at nearly the same time. The first was that if I stood out in the rain and yelled that I’d just created a time machine, the next place I’d find myself would be a padded room somewhere. The second was—that’s not my voice! My hand flew to my throat. That voice was slightly deeper than mine, and had a distinct Southern drawl to it. I was from Chicago! My frown returned as I rubbed my throat, and I wondered again—what was going on here?

"Hey, mister! The paper’s gettin’ soaked! You gonna buy it, or what?" I glanced distractedly at the kid, and nodded. I dug two quarters out of my pocket, and handed them to the kid. The rain kept getting worse. I had to get out of this miserable weather! I saw a diner a little way down the street. I was starving, so why not kill two birds with one stone—get inside, and get some lunch? I headed towards the door. I heard the kid yell, "Gee! Thanks, Mister! Fifty cents—wow!" I glanced over my shoulder. Smart mouth kid. Weren’t all papers fifty cents? Then it hit me—not in the late 1940’s. Oh, well.

I entered the diner. It was kind of smoky and dim, but I could still see well enough. A few people were scattered around, but the place was half-empty. I looked down to brush the rain off my clothes. Again, two things happened at almost the same moment. I suddenly realized that my lab coat was gone, and someone hopped down from one of the stools at the lunch counter.

I frowned at the unfamiliar clothes I was wearing. "What the--", I began muttering, when suddenly a voice that seemed to be literally bursting with happiness exclaimed, "You’ve kept me waiting a long time!" My head shot up, and my eyes beheld the most gorgeous, most beautiful face I’d ever seen in my life. Or ever will see again, for that matter. She was short—not more than five feet tall, if that, pale skinned yet perfectly complexioned, fashionably dressed for the era, with goldish colored eyes, black hair, and a huge, bright smile on her somewhat elfin face. She was full of happiness that I could almost feel it. In fact, I did feel it. And that was a strange sensation. Almost creepy.

She kept gazing at me with those incredible eyes of hers. She was so beautiful that I simply stared at her for several seconds, my jaw hanging slack. I shook my head slightly, and tore my gaze form her, looking at the floor. I only hoped I hadn’t been drooling. How embarrassing. "I’m sorry, ma’am," I mumbled in that strange voice. Boy was I sorry! Because there was no way on earth that this gorgeous beyond description creature was waiting for me! I lifted my head again, but didn’t look at her. My eyes moved around the dim room. Anywhere except at her perfect face. "But I think you must have me confused with some...one..." My voice trailed off as I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror along the top of the wall behind the counter. "Oh, God," I whispered. My hands flew to my face. No, not my face—someone else’s face! I gasped. But it had to be me, because he—it—I was looking right at him. Besides, when my hands moved, the hands of the image in the mirror moved, too. Also, the beautiful girl was standing next to the guy in the mirror, still smiling. But the face—his face—MY face! It was pale—almost a pallor. I knew I spent too much time in the lab, but I had been down to Florida visiting my sister and her family just a month ago, and had gotten a pretty good tan. And I certainly did NOT have blonde hair! So blonde, in fact, that it was almost golden. My hair was dark brown! Okay, the circles under the eyes I could accept, considering I hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep in over a week. But the eyes—my eyes. They creeped me out the most. They were very dark. Almost black. I had blue eyes.

I groaned slightly. This was too much! Never taking my eyes from the mirror, I staggered over to the counter and collapsed onto a stool. The girl followed, her eyes never leaving my face, and sat down beside me. "What’s wrong?" she asked, concern plain in her voice.