The Errant Kidnapping and Inadvertent Time Travel of James Sandall Jnr
by Jeff Baker
“Okay,” Eddie said. “You can take the blindfold off now.”
“Great,” James said, pulling off the black blindfold and tossing it onto the floor of the rental car. “Hey, where are we?”
“Look around.” Eddie said with a grin.
“It’s dark!” James said.
“Not that dark,” Eddie said pulling the car out of the shadow of the building. “It’s Monday and a lot of the places around here aren’t open this late. But look.”
They were on an old brick side street that had been kept up by the city. The area was fashionable for the end of the week after work crowd. Old buildings surrounded them, mostly brick, some with dates carved along the top. Dates about a century old from the days when there were train tracks running down the street to unload shipments into the warehouses.
All that was missing, Eddie thought, was Batman chasing the Joker. James gawked around, his eyes adjusting to the dark.
“Oh, my gosh!” James breathed. “You brought me back down here?”
“Yeah, and look right there,” Eddie said pointing out the car window.
James looked where Eddie was pointing. A narrow brick four-story building, wooden steps leading down from a big steel door under a big neon sign glowing with the word “ARCADE.”
“Oh, wow!” James said. “I thought they tore that down!”
“Nope!” Eddie said. “I drove by when I was up here on business last year and I checked online before we left. Of course it isn’t the produce company warehouse anymore.”
“Sure isn’t,” James said. “And my days driving delivery are long gone.”
“The bar and grill’s still a couple of streets over,” Eddie said pointing. “But it’s expanded into a big restaurant now. They serve more than beer and fish sticks.”
“And that’s where you were working in the mornings when I delivered your load of breaded mushrooms, those damn fish sticks and the frozen cheese sticks nobody liked!” James said, smiling broadly with the memory.
“And we met and we got to talking when I’d check stuff in, and well…” Eddie said.
“And here we are almost twenty years later.” James said. He leaned over to kiss his husband.
“You know,” James said a couple of minutes later when he was settling back in the passenger seat. “I wondered why you were being so mysterious back at the hotel.”
“Yeah, asking you to put on a blindfold and not ask questions does count as mysterious,” Eddie laughed. “I’m just glad this is the hotel I stay at when the company sends me up here. They know me so I could explain we went to college here, we’re up for a reunion and I wasn’t kidnapping you.”
James laughed again. “The Erratic Kidnapping and Inadvertent Time Travel Of James Sandall Junior. Yeah, there’s a title for a novel!”
“Time travel?” Eddie asked.
“Isn’t that sort of what we’re doing right now? Going back twenty years?” James asked.
They sat for a few more minutes holding hands in the car.
“You know, I still have that picture I took somewhere,” Eddie said. “The one of you waiting on a shipment and sitting on that dock that’s where the door is now reading some science fiction novel. And now you’re a published author.”
“Yeah.” James said. “Couldn’t have done it without you beside me.”
Eddie reached under his seat and pulled out a book. “So, how about you get up there and we take an author photo?”
“Are you sure it’s safe?” James asked with another laugh.
“Pretty sure.” Eddie said looking around.
Under the neon sign, James Sandall tried to look serious holding up his latest novel standing by an ancient building that held a lot of his and Eddie’s history.
picture by jeff baker
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