Of Another Age
By Jeff Baker
“Power’s on, see?” Alberto said pointing at the brightly lit columns shining there in the dark.
“How long will they be activated?” Jerry asked.
“Not sure this time,” Alberto said. “We’ll have to work fast. How far are we headed?”
“Not too far back this time. Nineteen-sixties. Maybe Eighteen-sixties,” Jerry said.
They looked around. Trees and bushes surrounded them; the lit columns were several yards away across a concrete strip.
The two of them looked at each other. “You ready?” Alberto said. “Okay.”
“Jerry! Alberto! Come here right now!” The voice behind them was familiar.
“Oh, great,” Jerry grumbled. “Right here, Mom!”
“Come here right now!”
“Mom! Alberto and I were just…”
“Don’t even think about crossing that street!” Jerry’s Mom said. “Honestly, why they ever put those columns up and called them ‘art’ I’ll never know. Come on you two!”
“We weren’t playing in the street, Mrs. Hunkle, and its Friday there’s no school tomorrow and…”
Over to one side crouched in the bushes the two older men watched the two protesting kids and Jerry’s Mom head back down the street.
“So, what happens anyway?” Rupert asked.
“From what I remember we both get a severe lecture,” the other man said. “Hey, we were about nine years old! We spent our Friday nights together after school.” Alberto smiled, staring after his younger self.
“And it was stuff like this that got you interested in formulating the time/space equation?” Rupert asked.
“Pretty much,” Alberto said. “That plus the usual stuff; comic books, sci-fi movies and T.V. If I’d been born about ten years later, I would have wasted all my time on social media.
“This is, how far back again?” Rupert asked staring across the street.
“Ninteen, I mean, Two-thousand and three,” Alberto said.
“And what exactly is that thing?” Rupert said, pointing at the columns of light that surrounded the intersection.
Alberto laughed. “It was part of an outdoor arts project. I heard there were all kinds of complaints about this one. But I guess it’s still up.” He looked around for a moment. “I haven’t been back in town in years.”
“You still haven’t, remember?” Rupert said. “In 2002 you hadn’t left yet.”
“Okay, okay, get technical,” Alberto said. “So what’s our destination, anyway?”
“About thirty-five years from now, according to this,” Rupert said, pulling from his pocket something that had a display but didn’t seem to have any stable form. “Easier to get our spatial bearings by going back a few decades first.”
“Yeah, technical stuff,” Alberto said, grinning again. “How soon before we take off?”
“It should be…” Rupert said. But then the two men weren’t standing there anymore.