Stuck in the 80s

Write a story about a millennial teenager who, through a high school experiment gone wrong, time travels back to his/her same high school in the 80s and has to spend a day in that era before finding a way to time-travel back.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.


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81 thoughts on “Stuck in the 80s

  1. bolt

    The explosion had rocked the town. Nobody seemed to know the cause of the explosion. People fell to their knees as buildings shook and glass shattered. The townsfolk were streaming to the school to see what had caused the explosion.

    Tommy and Molly were blindly stumbling across the south campus yard of Northside High School. The two teenagers felt as if they lived in the best era ever. Their parents have talked of the time when the only phone was attached to the wall in the kitchen, times of only having three television channels, and actually having to pour through tome after tome of research books to help write an essay. Tommy and Molly agreed their parents must have lived in the stone ages.

    Today was a much better time. Information was at their fingertips, nobody had to hide in a stinky old closet, and if you didn’t like the way your day was going you could always go to a safe place where people couldn’t be mean to you. Yes, these were the best of times.
    As the two teens are walking across the school yard they fail to notice the slight waver in the air. If anybody had witnessed this from a distance it would seem that the two students walked through a stage curtain as if they were exiting the stage, yet the kids had never left sight of any witnesses.

    Tommy was the first to notice the screen going blank on his phone. He drug his finger across the screen trying to reload the page to no avail. Shrugging his shoulders he decided to reboot the phone. Molly was the first one to say something. She glanced over at Tommy and informed him that her phone had also gone blank. They looked at each other as they slowly realized something strange had happened. The sprawling campus which the two teens were accustomed to strolling around had shrunk to nearly a quarter in size. Gone were the massive pillars marking the front of the school instead was just a simple porch with steps on one side and a ramp on the other.

    The kids instantly knew somehow they had walked into a nightmare and were in the schoolyard their parents had attended some 30 years ago. Their fears had been confirmed once stepping into the ancient school building. As they gazed down the hall way of the school all they could see was hair and stone washed jeans. Somewhere Bon Jovi was singing about living on a prayer. Tommy and Molly seemed to be the only students holding a cell phone. Yes the explosion had somehow managed to throw them back through time to the stone ages.

  2. pvenderley

    An ear-splitting klaxon shoots me out of bed.

    “Alexa, alarm off!” I shout.

    The obnoxious buzzing doesn’t stop, and while my mind races to determine who would have set an emergency alarm right next to my bed, my hand falls on top of a squat rectangular box that looks straight out of my grandmother’s house, not the downtown studio loft I’d just moved into.

    The box falls silent, except for the soft ratcheting sound that grows and grows until the right-most number on the front of the box pops, flipping time forward one minute from 5:15 to 5:16.


    The clock triggers a flood of memories of sitting around the kitchen table with my mother, arms sticking to the ages-old vinyl tablecloth while gabbing about her adventures growing up. Of how she had crossed the country with nothing but a suitcase of hand-me-down clothes and a head full of dreams. She had described the contents of the suitcase in minute detail — hand-me-down clothes of her sisters, the threadbare flower-print sheets Grandfather was willing to spare — but never her dreams.

    “You are the realization of those dreams,” she would tell me, always.

    She’d passed away two weeks ago.

    When I told her about my plans to move out on my own she said she was so proud, but a dark cloud had passed in front of her eyes, its weight driving her head towards her coffee cup. I assured her that we’d still have these talks — perhaps over Skype rather than the kitchen table.

    “You aren’t losing me, Mom,” I’d said.

    “Oh, I know. But…” She smiled briefly and wiped a tear from her eyes. “It’s a parent’s job to ensure that their children are strong enough to leave their nest.”

    Her stories changed after that, from playful recollections to cautionary tales. She pointed out the vinyl tablecloth and warned me not to get caught up with everyone else’s excess — to ensure that what you have is what you need, and not go chasing for more than that. For the first time regret tinged her talks, but she was never really at the heart of these stories. Rather, she seemed to be a prominent character, the friend of a friend who was really the narrator.

    “You will meet people whom you will instinctively not trust. Child,” and here my mother’s lips would form and reform around words she could never seem to articulate, until she would capitulate with: “Trust those instincts.”

    No matter what form of gentle prodding I gave, Mother remained slumped in her chair, resigned to go to her grave with at least one secret about her past.

    The clock ratchets again and the minute hand flips: 5:17. I look at the floral print sheets clutched in my hand and roll out of my creaking bed.

    “OK, Mother. No more regrets.”

  3. cafei264

    He had enough of it. It was starting to get to him now. His mind racing as he flipped through the pages of the test. He was only on question 3 of 30 with only 10 minutes to go in class. That’s when he finally gave up, answers blank and pencil chewed as he walked up to the teacher’s desk. Anger and perspiration were at an all-time high.

    “How’d you do Logan?” Brian asked as they went along to lunch, swerving and dodging all the upperclassmen not trying to be put on their butt again.

    “Just great, I bombed the hell out of that test. Only knew 3 of the questions. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, and if that’s the case it’s gonna be a long semester. What about you?”

    “I think I did okay. Science isn’t my best subject but I did have help from this app. I’ve been using it for the first couple quizzes and tests, and it’s worked wonders for me.”

    “An app? What do you mean like a study guide?” Looking at Brian confused as they walked into the cafeteria filled with chatter and the smell of inexpensive school food.

    “It’s better. The app is called Test Time, and it’s for all the subjects too.” Said Brian excitedly, feeling smart that his friend has no clue what it is.

    “So, how does it work?”

    “Well, you pick one of the subjects that you’re taking. It gives you specific questions as to what you’re learning, and it compiles all the tests in the country. It shows you a test of the most frequent questions and you study that. It’s that easy.”

    “I guess I’ll give it a shot tonight when I’m studying for Math.”

    Alright, he said to himself, typing in Test Time into his phone, and answering the questions. Subject Math. Unit 1. Grade 9. Order of Operations lesson 8. State number 6 for Colorado. Calculating…calculating…calculating…calculating, then suddenly, the phone turned off. “Great job Brian, you’re probably gonna be laughing your ass off when you tell me it’s a fraud app. Forget it, I’m going to bed.” As he tossed his phone next to his bed in annoyance.
    Morning arrived at the sound of birds chirping. The sun beaming through the shades, as Logan slowly makes his way across the room and out his door. The house silent while heads to the kitchen. He gets himself a quick bite to eat, and heads upstairs one last time to get his things for school. Backpack, check. Jacket, check. Phone, nowhere to be seen. “I put the damn thing right here last night and now it’s gone. Screw it, I’m gonna be late for school.” Clouds were forming in the West as Logan made his way to school. On his short walk to school he noticed something different about the way people were going about their day. Cars he never saw before, outfits that didn’t match and weren’t even of this decade, but he didn’t think much of it. Maybe it was spirit week and it was 70’s or 80’s day and he didn’t get the memo. He hardly recognized any of his classmates as he went to his locker before class. Brian was usually early and would wait for Logan at his locker but Brian wasn’t there. Was he sick? He opened his locker to a Road House poster that he pinned up there on the first day of High School. A Junior boy passes along noticing the poster and says,

    “Isn’t he in that new movie Dirty Dancing that’s coming out next year?”

    “What do you mean? This movie came out in ’89 and Dirty Dancing was in ’87.” Logan said back. The boy chuckles, and hands him a newspaper,

    “You better check the date man. You’re either crazy or you’re from the future. Matter of fact, if you did time travel back here you are crazy. This place is a dump.” As he walks away telling his friend what just happened. Logan looking confused, looks at the newspaper and notices the date. February 2nd, 1986. He stands there astounded at the information not knowing what to do, and then an idea pops into his head and says to himself,

    “Well I better start inventing everything now.”

  4. foodpoet

    Misread the date and decided to go with it.

    I mean who knew math counted. I men one decimal point. Sheesh. I planned and researched the leggings, the mullet the big hair. I didn’t expect rulers and grimaces and uniforms. I finessed the teach but now I wonder if he is snickering back in2017. All my fam is whooping it up in 1980 but where am I? I look around through iron windows the rain looks right but candles? Gas? Wood pews? A flock of nuns oh man this is so wrong. I grab a teen no lady no what where is this I stammer. She looks me up and down and drawls “from out of state? You better not let the sisters see you in that get up or you will get caned.” She leans over and says extra uniforms in the laundry by the kitchen classes.

    I find the room by the large kitchen – ovens with charcoal flame like a pizza oven in reverse. I shake my head and scramble into a uniform. I look in a dusty almost mirror, shudder at the thought of pulling this off if I had cut my hair. Sleeves what did I recal? mutton sleeves, crinoline shirt stiff petticoat. I sneak a look at my apple watch counting down 2:30:30. I just need to keep a low profile. I looked up at the sign before the chapel room Holy Names Academy. Oh man wrong year right city wrong school. Okay I better not Mia Starling.

    I see a nun striding down all in black drapery and white whimple. I glanced around swallowed – “I am Margaret Nicola, my mom” Slap goes the ruler. “Young lady. We do not use vulgar language. Hold out your hands.” SMACK “ now you were were saying?

    “I am Margaret Nicola, my mother sent me here from California.” “Better” Go to the office at the back of the chapel after mass for assignments” I scurry into the chapel relieved for a respite. The sermon ran on and on and 0:0:0. “Yes sir I now know math is important.”

  5. saheistand

    Montgomery rolled her tongue in her mouth, feeling like a dead sponge in a dry sea bed. Her heavy head lifted from the wet grass. She dragged the back of her hand across her face. Clumps of mud fell into her lap. Her head felt swimmy, her face felt like cotton. Her dad’s empty bottle of 1986 Red Bordeaux Blend nestled in the damp grass by her bare feet. She grabbed its neck and pulled it close.

    Where were her turquoise Chucks? Her hand clamped down on her pocket. Her phone was still there. She pulled it out, hit the button. She hit the button again. She wished she took the time to charge it before going to Maureen’s last night.

    She groaned, clutched the hem of her bright dip-dyed jean jacket, pulled herself to her barefeet. The muscles in her calves screamed. Her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. Standing upright, the blanket of fog swirled and churned around her. She spun in a tight circle. Her face twisted in concentration. She squinted, could just make out a sign. A dark rectangle hanging above the mist, maybe thirty feet from where she stood.

    Monty walked. Her swollen knees creaked. She walked faster. She raised to her tip-toes, waded her way closer. Maybe the sign was the one she always saw, driving in and out of their planned community. It was about the right size and shape. Maybe she hadn’t wandered too far this time. But where were the brick walls?

    Where could have Maureen gone? She wouldn’t just leave her out here to sleep it off. Unless this was some kind of prank. God, this was probably a prank, Monty thought. She bet Maureen even took her shoes.

    Beneath her feet, she felt slimy grass fade into cold, jagged pebbles. Something sharper bit into the meat of her foot. She sucked cool air between her teeth and jerked her foot back.

    A pickup truck ripped by so close to her, she didn’t have the time to shout before falling back onto the gravel. Its headlights illuminated the sign. Her mind had only a half-second to register what it said before the mist swallowed the truck’s taillights.

    In brilliant green and gold: GLENBROOK NORTH HIGH SCHOOL beneath a painted Spartan helmet.

    “The school?” Monty whispered, leaning back on the ground. Now she could make out the hulk of the building behind it, the familiar outline and turrets. Except it wasn’t her school. Where was the new addition they built for the gym, two years ago? She looked around her again. She should be sitting in a parking lot. There wasn’t another Glenbrook North that she knew of. The skin on her arms prickled beneath the wet denim.

    Movement between her shivering feet caught her eyes. A tattered label trembled in the dirt. Monty carefully pulled it away from the broken glass. Mud and grit smudged the year, but she held a label from a Red Bordeaux Blend.

  6. writer_sk

    Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram…it was all getting to be too much for Mick to manage. He got a text from Marissa, a girl he had just started dating, “did u see the photo I just posted?”

    He responded with a smiley face emoji. His thumb hovered over the tiny “x” that would delete one of the annoying apps. He did it, then went through and got rid of everything. Feeling fantastic, he sent a group text telling several friends he’d be unavailable to communicate for several hours. Then Mick shut his phone off and felt a release of pent up pressure. He glanced out his parted bedroom curtain and saw the snow had mostly melted and spring buds were actually sprouting up. He went to his desk to finish up his advanced astro-physics. He was getting C’s in English, Art, Literature and History but he loved Science and Math and was very good at those subjects.

    He finished up, logged off and planned to head to the skate park. His parents were huddled in the kitchen drinking tea. They were listening to that god damn Guns n Roses album again. It was his mother’s and at this point Mick was not interested in being “welcomed to the jungle.” As he feigned nonchalance while avoiding eye contact, the sudden switch his mom made from rock to Madonna’s synthesizer-driven “Material Girl” made him at least look up from his escape route.

    “Look at this, dear!” Mick’s dad had an expression of pure glee as he emerged from the basement with an old yearbook from 1989 in one hand and what looked like a New Kids on the Block Barbie doll in the other.

    His mother was moonwalking over to the pot on the stove while his dad went on about how unearthing the “time capsule” had made him want to look through old memorabilia. They always had a strange project going.

    The skate park was empty and Mick relished in having the ramps to himself. The winter’s last attempt at wind moved over his body nipping at his knuckles as he roared over the high jump, his wheels making a loud and satisfying spinning sound.

    The next day in Science club he could not concentrate. His friend, Wade, had built a machine that was over Mick’s head. He typed in the numbers Wade recited to him but wasn’t sure what he was doing. In what felt like a dream, he opened his eyes and wasn’t in the science lab, he was in an open field. It was a football field and a car of teens pulled up and jumped out with a boombox and keg of beer. Madonna began blaring from the speakers and the girls were mini-Madonnas – outfitted in black lace half gloves, teased hair and, 10 beaded necklaces each. A Volkswagen Gulf pulled up alongside the girls’ car and a boy in a Poison tee shirt jumped out. They started shoveling and organizing things in a bag.

    “Hey,” they looked at me, “are you here to put something in the time capsule?”

    “Yea,” I said, looking around in shock and realizing I was in the football field where my parents had dug up a time capsule the day before, in 2017. I dropped my smartphone in and smiled as they threw the wet dirt on top.

  7. SargentBlaum

    Weimin picked himself off the floor and looked around the lab, shuddering with the after-shocks. ‘There must have been some error in the calculation – that concoction was unstable at room temperature,’ he mused. After a moment of blurriness, his eyes took in the familiar surrounds of the lab. His uniform was the same: black trousers, white shirt, and shiny shoes. Unfortunately, the lab was wrong: devoid of his compatriots, and the equipment was all thirty years out of date.
    “Hello? Look, very funny Tung, so I got the mix of ingredients wrong and passed out – you can all come out now.” No-one responded. He glanced over at the wall where a calendar had been pinned – it claimed it was June of 1989. He was about to examine what else his friends had changed to prank him, when a tall man with yellow complexion and short graying hair arrived.
    “You cannot be here today. Did you not receive the orders?”
    “My apologies good master,” Weimin said, “but what orders do you mean?”
    “What is your name?”
    “Wang Weimin.”
    “Well, Master Wang, you should return to your home. I’ll pass your name to the office so they can notify your parents.”
    “Thank you good master,” Weimin said with a slight bow, and then paced off towards the door. He kept the perplexity from his features, but he couldn’t help but wonder what had happened.
    His steps echoed through the empty corridors and he noted that the posters were also the wrong date. He stepped out of the main entrance and discovered a large crowd of people on the street. He walked over and stopped next to a lady sporting grief in her eyes but resolution in her chin, her shopping bags next to her on the ground.
    “What’s going on?”
    “We’re here to prevent the PLA from killing the students engaged in a peaceful demonstration.”
    “But.. the PLA would never do something like that!”
    “Where have you been? They already did, yesterday.”
    “What.. what day is it, please?”
    “June 5th 1989.”
    Weimin blinked. Two things struck him at that point – he had time traveled back to 1989, and the history he had read never mentioned any incident like this. History was full of party unity and Chinese solidarity. He scrutinized the people nearby, most about his age preparing for something, but the lady next to him fled, leaving her bags on the ground as the first tank rolled into sight.
    Weimin picked up the bags and stepped into the street, placing himself directly in front of the lead tank, intending to return the bags to the lady, hoping in the process to prevent what he knew could not happen, or his history books would be wrong. His eyes settled on the tank, and he vowed that an atrocity would not be permitted today, not if his presence out of time could prevent it. Stern faced and resolute, he walked closer to the tank, bags in hand, and stood firm against its advance.

  8. Kerry Charlton



    [Parts one through three below]

    Twenty minutes went by, no sign of Bill and the time machine. George leaned over Jack-Paul,

    “Mr. Bill, you’re looking sickly, do you want to go to the nurses’ station?”

    “Thanks George but I’ll be all right, you don’t need to lock it, I’ll stay till first class”

    He checked the closet one more time, nothing. He sensed someone standing by. It was Denise, puzzled,

    “Bill,” she said. “Jack-Paul,” he interrupted,. “Bill’s busy for a while.”

    “I’m not so sure, I can’t even tell you apart.”

    “Trust me.”

    “I can’t, there’s one way I’ll know for sure.”

    Denise stepped closer, her face approached his,

    “Kiss me Bill.”

    Jack-Paul was so upset and thought Bill had just wanted a free ride in time travel,

    “Of course” he said and kissed her passionately. Their lips parted, Denise shuttered slightly,

    “You’re certainly not Bill, what a kiss. I want another.”

    “He stopped her, “Bill’s in love with you, he told me.”

    “I’m not so sure Jack, I notice the way he looks at Lauren.”

    “Let your heart decide for you,”

    “I’m not sure I haven’t already.” She kissed him a second time.

    The closet rumbled and Denise looked. Jack-Paul’s heart soared as Bill reentered the room from the closet. He noticed Denise with her arms still around Jack-Paul. Anger spread across Bill’s face,

    “Wait outside Denise, I‘ve got business with Jack.”

    She started to cry and ran from the room.

    “What was that all about, Jack?”

    “She’s upset at you, she watches how you look at Lauren. Grandpa, I have to leave now, I’m making a mess of things.”

    Bill hugged him and patted him on the back,

    ‘I‘ve got it figured out. Don’t worry about Denise, I’ll handle it. By the way grandson, I can’t wait to see you born.”

    Thanks Grandpa, you’re a cool dude. Did I say it 50’s style?”

    “Couldn’t be better Jack till then.”

    “You got it Grandpa.”

    He stepped inside the machine, Bill pointed the correct levers and the machine started. In a matter of seconds, it had left. Bill stepped out of the lab, Denise was crying in the hallway,

    “Come on babe, we’ll talk it out.”

    “Oh, I hope so Bill.”

    The time machine came to a stop. Jack noticed his watch. It said the same day he left and the same time 4:27 PM. He hurried home and pulled in the driveway the same time as his father,

    “Dad, Dad can you wait a minute?”

    “Of course Jack, what is it.”

    “Dad, I miss grandpa so much since he died, I can’t get over it.”

    “Neither can I. There’s so many things I‘ve done wrong, now I realize since he died. He was such a wonderful man, I never could keep up with him, but he didn’t care about that, he just loved me.”

    Father and son put their arms around each other and walked slowly to the front door.

  9. kittycat4ever

    Kat was cleaning Barry’s “lab” aka the basement, for the fifth time. Mostly because she couldn’t help with such a complicated science project anyway. It really wasn’t important to her so it was fine. Lately she could barely get herself out of bed, if it wasn’t for her little brother she wasn’t sure what would have become of her. She was going through the motions of living, because their lawyer said it would help make their custody case stronger against Dustin’s father. Apparently being an abusive alcoholic with 4 DWI’s and domestic abuse charges doesn’t stop you from qualifying to take custody of a nine year old boy that you’ve never bothered to see, let alone send a birthday card to.

    The swirl of emotion that Kat lived in right now varied from heart breaking sadness, raging anger, to complete numbness where the world seemed to be encased in a permafog that she just couldn’t get through. Dusting the “lab” was nice because she could just zone out, simply cease to be for a little while. It was while she was cleaning that she accidentally knocked into the project itself and nearly sent it off the table. It looked like a high tech version of a smart watch, curious, she clipped it on and poked the screen: ENTER: MM, DD, YYYY. Before she had a chance to do anything other than stare at it, the dial started to turn on its own. Feb, 24th 1980

    Heat and pressure surrounded her like a thick blanket, just when she thought she would surely die, it suddenly stopped. She was now standing outside of a high school that she didn’t recognize and it was full of people with strange clothes and huge hair. A group of them passed by and her heart seized as when she saw the girls face. It wasn’t even possible but still, her feet moved toward the girl wanting to connect with her one more time.

    Catching up to the group, Kat managed a totally smooth,“Hi, I’m Kat, uh I’m new here. Uh, Hows its hanging?” The girl Kat had been chasing looked her up and down like she was insane.

    “Take a chill pill. Some kind of wicked storm just ripped through and the powers out. So they let us go. I’m Trina. Wanna motor with us?” She said it with a smile before turning back to her friends as they figured out who was riding with who. Trina was going with Johnny so I tagged along, hoping I could fake my way through this insanity.

    Jumping in the car, they blasted Queen’s latest hit, “A Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” As they jammed out and sang along I wanted her in silent wonder. So young and healthy. So happy.

    “Hey Trina, Whats your favorite song?”

    Laughing, “Um, I’m still all hung up on Elvis. He’s still the king to me.” Her friends laugh and tease her for still being after such a gnarly (dead) dude, though he was banging when he was younger they admit. I pepper her with question: favorite class (Family Planning cause its easy) color (green like her eyes) favorite drink (pepsi duh. Not sure why I asked that one) Her future plans. (She didn’t know yet. Too far to plan, she’s only a Senior) Who she likes. (Johnny. Maybe they’ll get married one day.)

    After a long moment of silence she studies me and asks, “Hey, Kat, whats your damage? You okay?”

    I laugh and spit out the lie, “Yeah, I’m totally chill.” Inside, I answer truthfully. No. I’m dying inside. For all the fights we had. For every cruel word that we said. For all the questions I never thought to ask. And can never ask because in my time, your dead. I’m only 16, I still need you Mom. Justin, still needs you, hes only 9 and I don’t know how to take care of him. Heck, I can barely take care of me.

    Tears prick my eyes as we hop out at the Pizza Parlor. I watch her run ahead of me with more energy, and more vibrant than I ever got to see her in my known life. Just then the watch beeped and the heat and pressure returned, scarce moments later, I was lying on the cold basement floor sobbing.

    I learned later the watch doesn’t take you where you want to go, it takes you where you need to go. Barry never decided not to put the watch up for the science fair after all, subbing in a totally rad volcano instead. We got C’s but that’s alright. As for me? I still hurt everyday for her, she wasn’t suppose to die yet but seeing her like that, compared to the pain she was in now. It helped me realize it was her time, even if I wasn’t ready yet.

  10. Kerry Charlton



    On the drive back to Bill Trade’s house, Jack-Paul recognized Alhambra Circle Drive come into view. When the car approached the house, he was stunned it was his house also. Bill solved the mystery,

    “Dad built this house right after we got here in ‘48.”

    “I know it well, remember. Is the pool house built also?”

    “Sure, you can stay there if you want, we won’t have to explain things to my parents.”

    “Sounds good to me, I’ll know my way around, Grandpa.”

    “Can I ask you a question Jack?”


    “Why were you ignoring Lauren’s come on?”

    “It’s certainly not what you think. She gorgeous.” ‘I cant tell him,’ Jack worried, ‘think, think idiot’. He finally answered,

    “I guess I’m just old fashioned, I wanted to be polite on our first date.”

    “My hat’s off to you Jack, she’s hard to resist, I’m even tempted myself sometimes but then there’s Denise to think about. I’m really in love with her.”

    “I understand grandpa, it’s strange talking to you about this. It is kind of funny don’t you think?.”

    They looked at each other with quizzical thoughts and then broke out in laughter. At six the next morning, Bill rapped on the pool house door,

    “We need to get to school early, while the janitors are working, I’m a lab assistant, they’ll let me inside.”

    Jack noticed Bill drove a ’49 Ford coupe. ‘Obviously his parents are training him right, I’m sure proud of him.’ When they reached the lab at seven, one of the janitors

    “Is this your twin Mr. Bill?”

    “No, my cousin. Can you let us in, we need to move some furniture around.”

    “We can do that for you, Mr. Bill.”

    “That’s okay George, I have help and it’s not much.”

    When they approached the lab closet, the same lock gave way when Jack-Paul fiddled with it.

    “Easy Jack, it’s probably temper mental. Let me go in first.”

    “I’d rather you not, it might go off, I’d be stuck here, you’d be in my world. What a mess.”

    Bill had entered anyway, Jack-Paul’s fears were realized. The door snapped shut almost catching Jack’s hand as he tried to hold it open. A whirling sound attracted both janitors as they stood by and listened.

    When the whirling stopped, the door opened to an empty space. Jack-Paul reached for the nearest chair, and held his head in pain.

    “Mr. Bill, did your cousin get lost somewhere?”

    “No George, I’m still here.”.

    To be continued

  11. ReathaThomasOakley

    With a tiny nod to the prompt

    “Aunt Suki?” Chris called quietly, her voice the only sound in the deserted cemetery. “I need you.” She shivered from cold and from the rage that had been building all day. “You said you’d hear when I really needed you.” Chris moved to headstone, barely visible in the ambient glow from the lights on Evergreen Street.

    “Susan Kay Conrad,” Chris read as she grasped the rough granite, “1935-2000, She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” That was the verse Chris had chosen, in spite of her father’s protest.

    “Remember, dear Chris,” her aunt had painfully whispered in her final lucid moments. “In the dark of the moon, before all hope is gone, I’ll come. But, just the once. I couldn’t wait,” she gave a shuttering sigh, “thought I needed my granny’s help years before I knew what real need was.”

    Chris had only been sixteen when Susan Kay died, but she wept when Suki’s dear Julia, her love since college, was not allowed to make medical decisions or even be with her at the end. No legal way just those few years before.

    Chris’ father was appalled when his sinner sister’s will left everything to Chris, or Christopher, as she was then. That legacy meant Chris could fully live the identity she knew was hers from childhood, could teach high school English as Miss, rather than Mr. Conrad.

    And now Chris was standing at Suki’s grave ready to test the words of a dying woman. As she held the top of the stone as if it were a lifeline, she focused all her anger, all her rage, and all her love on her mission. Without warning Chris felt herself falling as if onto a soft, warm surface.

    “Chris, my dear, is that you?” Suki’s voice seemed to come from a great distance. “Why do you need me? Is all hope gone?”

    “Oh, Aunt Suki,” Chris could hear her voice breaking as it had when she was fourteen. “Please, the world is spinning out of control. Everything fought for is slipping away. If hope is not gone, it soon will be.” Then through her tears, Chris explained what had happened at school that morning. “Can you help, can anyone?”

    “Chris, I must think on this and consult others.” Suki’s voice seemed to recede. “Now, sleep. Be prepared for tomorrow. Remember my love has no bounds.”

    As if no time had passed, Chris heard her alarm clock, and awoke in her own bed, lesson plans ignored on the floor.

    Reading assignment, she thought as she showered and dressed.

    On the way to school, nothing seemed to have changed, but in the staff parking lot she saw Ted and Jason, the biology and chemistry teachers, getting out of the same car. Hmm, she thought, I always wondered.

    Then, in the hallway by the lockers Chris saw Emily standing close to Matthew, the quarterback, twisting a lock of blonde hair smiling into the top of her history text book. As she got closer Chris heard Matt say, “So, Friday night, after the game?”

    “Yes,” Emily giggled.

    Chris stopped to watch them walk away. Just yesterday morning she’d found Emily crying her eyes out in the deserted atrium.

    “Oh, Miss Conrad, have you seen the signs?” She’d wailed. “What will I do?” Chris had heard rumors, but had not believed them until she followed Emily to the Girls Restroom door with the notice that read, ONLY STUDENTS BORN FEMALE MAY ENTER, THOSE BORN MALE, MUST USE THE BOYS RESTROOM. THOSE DISOBEYING WILL BE IMMEDIATELY EXPELLED.

    Tiny little Emily, born Edward, had been the subject of bullying since kindergarten that had worsened after she started identifying as female. Chris had taken Emily to the bathroom in the teacher’s lounge and that night had visited the cemetery.

    Now, the hateful notice was gone, Matthew was dating Emily. Aunt Suki must have done something. In her free hour Chris was able to investigate and to her amazement, found that instead of the president in office yesterday, a young Asian woman occupied the Oval Office.

    When she Googled the name of the former occupier she saw that he, years before even a hint of political aspirations, had been a hit and run victim. Witnesses swore the vehicle was driven by a middle-aged woman, but the culprit was never located.

    Chris sat back in her chair and breathed a quiet, “Thank you” to the universe and vowed to do her best to make certain nothing like what was reality yesterday ever happened again.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Reatha, it’s wonderful. You have packed so much social commentary in your story and still managed to write a coheriant tale. I liked the cementery scene the best.

  12. jhowe

    We sat on the tiled ledge over the radiator heaters outside the cafeteria. The girl twirled her hair and sipped her Yoo-Hoo. From somewhere, Bon Jovi was living on a prayer.

    “So, you’re like, from the future?” Her blue eyes were wide with wonder.

    “Yes, 2017.”


    “Over thirty years from now.”

    “How’d you get here? Like on a jet pack or something?”

    “Something like that.”

    She scrunched up her pretty face and tilted her head. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

    “Aren’t you worried about, you know, getting back?”

    “There’re some concerns, but there should be no problems if I complete my mission.”

    “Ooh, a mission. Sounds exciting.”

    “It’s top secret, but I can tell you if you promise to be discrete.”

    “Oh, I can be discrete,” she said. “Plus, I won’t tell anyone.” She smiled, making sure I got the joke.

    “It’s actually a little embarrassing.” I was losing my nerve.

    “You can talk to me. I’m a good listener,” she said with a wink. Other kids started to file out of the lunch room and walk past. Several boys stole glances at her.

    “Well,” I said. “I’m supposed to go to the prom with a girl from this time period and report back.”

    “Report back to the future?” She tried not to roll her eyes.

    “This isn’t gonna to work, is it?”

    “You could try just asking me.”

    “Would you say yes?”

    “You mean after you just lied to me?”

    “Well, it was more of an embellishment, but I’m sorry. You see, you’re so beautiful and I’m just… well, I’m just me. You’d never be interested in just me.”

    “I actually like this one better than your Russian spy story from yesterday.”

    “You do?”

    “Yes, it’s more romantic, especially when you said I was beautiful.”

    “Well, that wasn’t part of the story. It kind of slipped out.”

    “Try just asking me, Roger. I might just say yes.”

    “Ok, meet me here tomorrow and I’ll have a good one. It’ll sweep you off your feet.” She smiled as the bell rang and we hurried off to geometry class.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Good dialogue John, really enjoyed the whole conversation. So the beauty queen was really an okay girl. She ‘s special,that doesn’t happen often. Wish you’d slip in the third story
      He has quite an imagination.

  13. Pete

    I’m stuck in this dream. I got it through a new app on the IPhone 11 but it seriously needs to be recalled. I’m at my school, Wentworth High, but it’s dark out out. I’m roaming around a library full of worthless IBM computers with oven-sized CRT monitors and zero USB ports. I need to charge my phone and get back. I selected the sixties. This is not the sixties.

    My phone is done. Apparently, time traveling zaps battery life. Now I’m stuck, and it’s crazy how the same lockers line the same hallways. I find a People magazine hanging out of a locker. MJ on the cover. September, 1987.

    Wow, this is some Total Recall stuff. It’s freaky. I keep reaching for my phone out of habit. Do you know how bad it sucks not to be able to Google “What happened in 1987?”

    Heels clicking. I spin around to find a hottie in a tight dress. She asks if I need help.

    “Huh? Oh, I…” Wait. No effing way. I turn back and look at her again. “Mrs. Atkins?”

    She takes a step back. “Um, Tracey,” she says with a wink.

    Unreal. “You were…hot.”

    “Like, totally.”

    I reach for my phone to snap a pic. Damn. How am I going to prove this? Mrs. Atkins, err, Tracey, my age and banging. But I’m dreaming, right? How else would you explain how my jeans stonewashed themselves, why my shirt is glowing neon? How my Chuck Taylors, well, they’re still Chucks.

    “Nothing, I just…” I take another look at Tracey here and debate whether to tell her that she’ll end up working here and put on about seventy-five pounds. That her big, um, busties will become low hanging fruit. That her honey gold voice will take on the trill of a Husqvarna chain saw. Nope. Why do that?

    “Are you going to the dance?” she says between snaps of gum. Her mascara is the color of toxic sludge and she’s pulling it off.


    “In the gym. DeLorean Dave is deejaying,” she says with a wink. “Like, where have you been?”

    Wow. Her bangs could hold up a parking garage. I nod. “Yeah, the dance. Sounds lit.”


    We get to the gym. Home of White Devils. Ouch. Glad we changed that one. I hear some music, stuff my parents listen to on the radio in the car. My dad used to have a decent record collection. When I was younger he’d show me how to spin. Before he and Mom quit talking and took separate rooms.

    The kids line up on the bleachers. Fact: I’ve never once been to a dance. The school cancelled them my freshman year because no one came. But these poofy people are totally into it. They talk and laugh and nobody’s texting their crew about how lame it is. The teachers smoke cigarettes outside.

    DeLorean Dave’s a white dude in a track suit. Mullet. High tops. Again, my hand goes hunting for my phone. Damn. DeLorean Dave’s got these massive turntables set up. I eye his set up. Pretty sweet Numark mixer but his speakers are trash. Tracey squeals and joins his groupies.

    “Rise and shine, people!” DeLorean Dave turns up “Lady in Red”. I roll my eyes because it’s so lame. Tracey is still over there throwing her game hard, twirling her hair and dancing. DD’s not interested. Then I see why.

    My mom is the lady in red. She comes sashaying across the room—yes in red—and DeLorean Dave starts cheesing like all he wants to do is Netflix and chill. And holy Hasselhoff, DeLorean Dave is my dad.

    I need to wake up. But Tracey’s in my ear, scooting close. “Do you want to dance?”

    I reach for my phone. Buzzing in my ear. DeLorean Dave pokes his head in my room and tells me to rise and shine.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Oh, this is far better than good, it’almost perfect. Since I can’ use the d work that holds lake water ,we’ll have to settle for almost. What a gas! I can say that and it will post.

  14. obrague

    “Okay David, for a moment you’re going to be floating through space and time itself. It’s gonna feel a little weird.” David’s science experiment partner Ingrid smirked at him.

    David Milner took his partner with a grain of salt. She always wanted to do odd stuff like this, and had somehow convinced herself that David would indeed be able to travel through space and time.

    “Yeah sure, Ingrid, you know we’re just trying to make me levitate for a couple seconds, right?”

    Ingrid laughed. God this girl scares him. She could seriously grow up to be some sort of mad scientist that experiments on countless helpless animals.

    “You keep telling yourself that for comfort Davie. Now get your butt in that machine so I can start this puppy up.”

    “Fine, fine, whatever,” he grumbled as he stepped into the metal container. The door closed shut eerily behind him. It was at this moment that he realized that this could be the very place he meets his demise, and began to feel panic.

    “Ingrid, let me out!”

    “Too late for that Davie! I’m starting this thing up whether you like it or not because I actually want an A on this project. So shut your trap and calm yourself so we can do this.” He took a deep breath and stepped away from the door.

    “Okey dokey, that’s better. Countdown beginning, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3…” She trailed off and paused, obviously for effect.

    “Press the stupid button!”

    “2, 1,” she chuckled, pressing the button.

    Instead of levitating like David thought he would, everything went black. He didn’t know what was happening when he felt his back hit the hard tiles of the science lab room.

    “What the- Ingrid!” He sat up, scanning the room for his partner so he could slug her, and found not her, but some emo-looking girl sitting on the desk in front of him.

    “Hey dude, you okay? You’ve been lying there for a while now.” She blew a bubble with her gum.

    He stared at her incredulously. What in the world was she talking about. He’d never seen this girl in all of the time he’d been at school, and he could’ve sworn he was just inside Ingrid’s death machine. Why did she look like she stepped out of some sort of circus?

    “Who are you?”

    “Names Aubrey, and what’s your name mystery dude?”

    “Um, David, and I swear I’ve never seen your face before in this school.”

    “Me neither little guy. If I didn’t know any better, I would assume you broke in, but you’re too lanky of a guy to do that.”


    “By the way, what the heck are you wearing, Daniel?”

    “It’s David!”

    “Right, David. What are you wearing?”

    “I could ask the same.” The girl had crazy black hair the stuck out like a sore thumb. She probably had about 3 piercings on each ear and her face was covered in black makeup. Her clothes were torn in places and also pitch black like the night sky. When she talked, he could see that she also had a tongue piercing.

    “This?” She gestured to her clothing. “This is just the next big thing.”

    He blinked. Okay, she’s just as crazy as Ingrid.

    “What I’m wearing is the next big thing too.”

    “Huh, say, kid?”

    “I’m the same age as you!”

    “Yeah whatever, what year is it?”

    “It’s 2017, why?”

    “It’s 1983. Are you on drugs?”

    “Are you?” They stared at each other, both knowing that the other was definitely not on drugs.

    She clapped her hands together. “Well, I guess today’s my lucky day. I’ve met a time traveler.”


    “This is awesome! Some airhead kid shows up in my classroom and he ends up being a time traveler. What a twist.”

    “Your classroom?”

    “Yeah, no one actually teaches in here so I pretty much get the whole place to myself. It’s pretty rad.”


    “Wow, you really aren’t from here. And what’s that thing sticking out of your pocket?” She grabbed his iPhone.

    “Hey! Put that down!”

    “Some sort of device you’ve built? I knew you seemed like a nerd.”

    “Ugh, just please give it back.”

    “Hmph, fine.” She tossed it back to him. “You’re really weird.”

    “I’m a time traveler, aren’t I?”

    “It’s called sarcasm Einstein. I think I’m gonna leave now. You’re kinda freaking me out.”


    “Bye loser. Have fun with whatever that is that you built,” she walked out the door of the room and David blacked out again.

    “David…David wake up you dummy!”

    He heard the sound of Ingrid’s voice as he sat up and looked at her.

    “Geez, what a lame wuss. You fainted as soon as I pressed the button.” He blinked and slapped her across the face. “Ow! What was that for?!”

    “That was to make sure you were real, and for sending me back to the 80’s.”

    “I have no idea what you’re talking about but I like it. You sound crazy like me,” she burst out into hysterics.

    “Hey, do you happen to have a yearbook from 1983?”

    “Um, no?”

    “Fine I’ll go find one myself,” he said getting up.

    “Wait, David! Where are you going?! We need to finish our project!” He didn’t listen and instead went to the office to get a yearbook.

    As he flipped through it, he looked for the name Aubrey and her picture. When he saw it, he noticed her last name.

    “Aubrey Ailes? But that was my Mom’s maiden name.” He paused. “Wait a minute, that was my mom?!”

    And so ended one of the most interesting days in David’s life.

  15. cl91

    Round and Round

    ‘Round and round, what goes around comes around….I’ll tell you why,’ (RATT)
    “MOM, stop singing that stupid song, for crying out loud! “
    “Awe, you know you like it, Davey.”

    “STOP calling me Davey. That’s so second grade. I’m in HIGH SCHOOL and my name is DAVE. Gosh. I think I’ll start walking to school. That way I won’t be tortured by your lame generation’s music.”

    My mom….with her hair still slightly feathered in layers, wearing an AC DC t-shirt, at her age, and still singing those same songs! I always wondered how she and my dad ever got together. He’s not a rocker.

    She pulls up to the school and lets me out, “see you later, DAVE! Thank-goodness next year you’ll get your permit and then you’ll miss my lovely singing.”

    I roll my eyes and give her a half smile.

    Mr. Thompson’s chemistry lab, first period. Ugh. I didn’t even study last night because I was too busy on Facebook. Who can be bothered with school stuff when half the class is online?
    “Hey Archer, you gonna try out for football,” Hank Small knocks my book off as he passes by, “Tryouts are tomorrow and Friday.”

    Rolling my eyes I pick up the book, “Dude, are you kidding? I haven’t played football since fifth grade. Who wants to get sweaty and dirty and do all that work…you?”

    Hank is nearly six foot tall and looks like an athlete. With his blond hair he looks more like a surfer, but there’s no beaches in Tennessee, “You know it! You used to be a pretty good receiver. You should go out. The team could use you. You always did run fast.”

    I snort. I am almost six foot, too, and lanky, but I’d rather be on my phone than playing sports.

    “Mr. Archer, are you in this world today?” Mr. Thompson, one of the nerdiest looking people I’ve ever seen with his bow tie and gray suit, snaps me back to reality. It’s very obvious he was around when my mom went to school because he looks like he has been teaching for nine hundred years.
    “Mr. Archer, do you have your homework for today?”

    I pull out my half-done papers and pass them up. He explains how today’s experiments will be to show how sound travels and something else, but I’m not really that interested. Johnny Miller and I will be doing our experiment together, as usual. Johnny looks like he could be Mr. Thompson’s grandson for all the nerdiness, but that’s okay with me because he’s smart.

    “Archer, you hold these wires and I’ll add some electricity. I don’t think it will be too much……
    Those are the last words I remember as my body hurls across the room and I land with a boom on the floor.
    As my eyes open I can only see the crowd standing above me in a blur.
    “Ooohhhhhh,” rubbing my head I try to sit up.

    “Are you alright, son” I hear Mr. Thompson’s voice…..”I…I’m fine.”
    ‘Round and Round, what comes around goes around…I’ll tell you why.’ There’s that stupid song mom was listening to this morning, but it’s coming from outside the window. Wait, the window is open?

    Slowly standing I rub my head, still trying to get my bearings.

    “Get you some fresh air, son. That will help.” Mr. Thompson leads me to the window. Why is it open??
    It’s a beautiful spring day outside….whoa…not spring! It’s fall! We were just talking about football tryouts.

    I look out and it’s surely spring. The birds are chirping and the sun is shining brightly and there’s a light breeze blowing. Then I see it…..what looks to be a 1979 Trans Am…looking amazingly new, driving around the parking lot blaring the song by Ratt.

    As I notice the cars in the parking lot……I can tell those are not the cars I normally see. I’m seeing old cars, but OLD cars that look new. How can this be? Where are the little Honda’s and the SUV’s?
    “Are you okay, son?” I wish he would stop calling me son. I look at Mr. Thompson to tell him just that and he’s different….not so old.

    “Mr. Thompson?”
    “Yes? How many fingers am I holding up, son,”
    “Uh, two.”
    “Very good. You’re going to be fine. That electricity can pack a punch. What is your name, again. With this being your first day, you will excuse me not remembering.”
    Why is he asking me my name?
    “Dave Archer. And this is not my first day.”

    “You are probably a little disoriented, Mr. Archer. You’ll be okay once you fan around a little.”
    I look for Small…..and Miller…..where are they?
    “You just sit by the window for a bit. Jenny, go to the cafeteria and see if you can get Mr. Archer a cup of water, please.”

    Jenny is thin build with brown, feathered hair, like Joan Jett. She flashes me a smile, “Sure, Mr. Thompson.”
    Wow, she looks familiar. I watch her go out the door.

    “Who is she?”
    “That’s Jenny McClain. And I’m Derrick Small.”
    Derrick Small…..that’s Small’s father’s name….and Jenny is my mom’s name. I must have hit my head a little too hard.
    “Small, where’s Hank?”
    “Who’s Hank? You must be having a flashback to your old school.”

    I pull my cell phone out.
    “Hey, what’s that,” Derrick grabs the phone.
    “Hey, give that back. I’m going to call my mom.”
    “On this? You’re kidding, right?”
    “No. I am not.” I jerk the phone out of his hand and dial my mom’s number. Nothing.

    I try to log onto the internet….nothing.
    “Hey Jenny, how about a date tonight,” Derrick greets her as she comes in with a cup of water.

    My mom….a high schooler?
    “You can’t date her.”
    Small frowns, “Why not. You like her?”
    “Gross, um, no. But you just can’t.”
    “Says who?”
    Jenny looks at him and smiles, “Sure, pick me up around 7.”

    My mom, dating Small’s father? No WAY.

    Her jeans are tight and she looks like a rebel. Not at all how I ever pictured her to look.

    “Unless YOU were going to ask me out.” She smiles at me.
    “Oh…no, no. I wouldn’t ever do that.”
    She frowns, “Oh?”

    “I just …um, have a girl back at my old school.”
    “Hey Jenny, this guy has a little device he said he was going to call his mommy on, only it didn’t work.”
    She laughs, “You a mama’s boy.”
    Derrick mimics her, “You a mama’s boy”
    “Leave him alone, Derrick. He’s had a bad day so far.”

    “I’m just playing with him. C’mon, Archer. You can eat lunch with us. We’re going to skip fourth period and go to the rock quarry. Wanna come?”

    No, I just want to go back to my old, stuffy classroom where the windows are never open and time stands still.

    “Okay, I guess, but we’re coming back here, right? “
    “Sure, we’ll have you back after lunch. We don’t like fourth period study hall. I looked at your schedule and you have it, too. Besides, I have spring practice this afternoon. Tomorrow starts two-a-days.

    “What’s that?”
    “You’re not from around here, are you? Two-a-days are when it’s spring break and we jocks spend all our time practicing football…two times a day! You should try out.”

    “No thanks, is that your truck? It’s a 1980 Chevy and it looks brand new!”
    “Of course it does. I’ve only had it a year and I bought it new.”

    The rock quarry is not so dirty looking, wow! We pull up with AC DC blasting, ‘You Shook Me All Night Long.’
    Mom is rocking out and Derrick is watching her like a cat with a mouse.
    Mom jumps out of the truck and starts taking off her t-shirt. I look away, “Hey silly boy, you never seen a gal in a bikini?’
    Derrick elbows me, “She’s so hot!”

    I want to melt into the ground…where is my father with all this going on???

    “Where you from, new boy,” Jenny says as we sit in the sun.
    “Oh, I’m just from here and yonder, you could say. And I need to find my way back there.”
    “You don’t like it here?”

    “It’s not my time period.”
    “What on earth does that mean”
    My eyes take in her very lithe figure, ‘sheesh mom, cover UP,’ is what I want to say.

    “Like what you see…’re blushing.”
    “Are you and Derrick a couple?”
    “Sometimes. I guess. He’s not really the person I like to be with, but one day I’ll get Ray’s attention.”

    Ray…my FATHER!!!
    “By the way, you’re an Archer? Ray is an Archer. Strange…you kinda favor him.”

    I clear my throat, “You like this Ray person?”
    “I do. But he doesn’t even know I’m alive.”
    “Where is he?”
    “He’s probably at work at his dad’s shop. He’s older than we are.”
    I had to laugh….’older than WE are!’

    “What’s so funny?”
    “Nothing. I just thought of something funny.”
    “C’mon, let’s swim.”

    She grabs my arm….”NO…I don’t swim.”
    “What do you mean you don’t swim?”

    “I mean, I don’t swim. I hardly go outside. I’m too busy online.”
    She squints her blue eyes at me, “Online? What’s that”
    “Where I’m from we all stay online. It’s the thing. It’s like being places you don’t have to go to for real. Like a fantasy world.”

    As I say that I realize how lame it sounds.

    She looks like she doesn’t understand it and pulls me closer to the edge of the quarry.

    The rock quarry is a big deep place filled with water where people go to swim. It’s not really a lake, but it’s kind of like a lake.
    Nobody is supposed to be swimming in the rock quarry because a lot of people have drowned doing it, but evidently, in mom’s time period it was the thing to do. In my time, it was closed and barricaded because of the crimes committed within its bounds.

    I pull back, “nope, no swimming for this ol’ boy.”

    Derrick comes up behind her and grabs her around the waist. Wow, he really has it bad.
    “C’mon Jenny, let’s skinny dip before we have to head back.” She giggles. I cringe.
    With that, they disappear off the side and I hear a splash below in the water.
    I’m definitely not looking at that.

    A little while later they emerge from the pathway. Jenny is drying her hair with a towel.
    “Time to get back to class. Jenny is going home so we’re going to leave her out at the curb.”
    Derrick winks at me…what does that mean?

    We drop her off at the corner and go back to school.
    Looking around the hallway is like watching an old MTV video. The hair is big and the clothes are bright! I just want to go home.

    Mr. Thomspon comes around the corner, “hey new guy, how are you feeling?”
    “Uh, okay I guess.”
    “You left something in my room…it’s a small, square object I have not idea what but someone saw you with it.”

    My phone! I have to have it.
    “Come with me and you can get it now.”

    I follow him to the room and as he hands me the phone, I feel static…..
    BOOM ! I’m again hurled across the room. I land with a thud on the floor.
    My head is swimmy and my vision is blurred, “Mr. Archer….Mr. Archer, are you okay?”

    I open my eyes and there he is in all his aged glory…Mr. Thompson. There’s Hank and Miller!

    “Dude, are you okay? You flew across the room like a high powered drone!”
    “Yeah, Miller, I’m fine. I’m glad to be back.”
    “Back? Did you take a trip”
    “You don’t even want to know…”

  16. Kerry Charlton



    Jack-Paul paused a moment to answer,

    “Well Grandpa, I’ve never lied to you, I’m not about to now. My last name is also Trade. In fact you named me Jack-Paul yourself.”

    “You better start over Jack, I’m not one to favor practical jokes. Prove it.”

    “Have it your way, you were born in Philadelphia, moved to Miami in 1948 at eleven, had polio at fourteen, wear an iron brace on your left leg. Is that proof enough?“

    “How in the world do you know all that? I’ve never met you.”

    “Read my driver’s license grandpa.”

    Bill Trade studied his grandson with suspicion, “But how on earth……?”

    “A time machine that’s sitting in the physics lab, that’s how.”

    The two talked quietly for more than an hour,

    “Im pretty handy with machinery. Maybe I can get you back to your world, but please can you stay a day to talk?”

    “Of course grandpa, but remember, I won‘t talk to you about the future.”

    The two walked arm in arm back to school.

    “Jack, I want you to meet my steady girl. Mums the word on who you are, we’ll introduce you as my cousin. Her name is Denise.”

    ‘I thought he married his childhood sweetheart. Grandma’s name is Lauren.’ Jack thought.

    “Okay, I‘ll call you Bill, maybe we can double date. Any ideas on that?”

    “Denise has a younger sister, about a year younger. Will she do.?“

    “I guess so, although I’m not into robbing the cradle.”

    “I think you’ll be quite pleased, we’ll do a drive in movie”.

    Bill made a quick call on arrangements, the two had dinner at ‘Jimmy’s Hurricane’, a drive in that Jack-Paul was quite familiar with even in 2017. They drove up to a house in Coconut Grove along Biscayne Bay. A mansion by any means. Denise appeared with her sister in tow,

    Jack-Paul filled his eyes with Denise’s sister, his heart skipped a beat until Denise said,

    “Jack, this is my sister Lauren.”

    Lauren stayed glued to Jack’s side,

    “Boy are you good looking“, she said.

    Jack-Paul was speechless.

    Lauren held his hand tightly in the back seat,

    “You don’t need to be so shy with me.”

    “I’m sorry, but you take my breath away.” ‘Now why did I say that to my own grandmother?’

    At the drive in, Lauren was all over Jack. He back pedaled till he was exhausted. He couldn’t talk to Bill about it or much less Denise, so he pretended to be sick. At the front stoop, Bill kissed Denise good night, Jack took Lauren’s hand and kissed it gently. Before he knew it, Lauren had wrapped her arms around him and kissed him back.

    ‘Well he thought, grandma will never remember it, maybe.’

    To be continued

  17. jhowe

    She was so beautiful. Mr. Redmond warned me before I left. “Don’t do anything to upset the continuum.” But she was so beautiful.

    The Way Back Machine worked perfectly. Mr. Redmond didn’t like it that we ripped off Mr. Peabody and Sherman, but that’s what I named it. “Just confirm the date and come back. Don’t talk to anybody,” he’d said. I donned some vintage 80s clothing and frizzed out my hair so I’d blend in.

    Who would’ve thought I’d run into my mother. I recognized her at once in the hall by her locker. Long blonde hair, straight as could be, teeth so perfect, a confident air. I stood there, transfixed and she stared at me, tilting her head, a slight pout on her lips.

    “Do I know you?” she said.

    “Uh, I don’t think so.” My knees wobbled and I turned to walk away. What could the odds of this happening possibly be? I worried that at any moment all would turn black.

    “Wait,” she called to me. I stopped but didn’t turn around. My hands shook. Slowly I faced her.

    “You’ve got to listen to me.” I said. “You have to forget that we ever met. Can you do that?”

    “Why would I want to? You’re kind of cute.”

    “No, I’m not cute. You can’t think that.” I pleaded with my eyes. “Art Hartman is the boy for you, remember that.”

    “Art? The one with braces, pizza sauce in them all the time?” She angled a hip and smiled.

    “No, don’t smile, geez. He gets the braces off soon. He’ll look a lot better then.”

    An awkward boy rounded the corner. Red tinged mouth metal roared. He dropped a book and stopped. “Oh, hi Lisa.” He shuffled his feet. “Sorry, didn’t know you were busy.”

    “No, she’s not busy. I was just leaving.” I lean in close to my father and whisper. “Tell her about your dog, Rex. She loves dogs.”

    Mr. Redmond wrung his hands as I stepped out of the Way Back machine. I looked at my limbs and flexed them. All seemed well.

    “What are you doing, what happened?” he said.

    “Nothing happened. April 16th, 1982. Just like you said.” I avoided his eyes. “I read it on a school newsletter.”

    “And you didn’t talk to anybody?”

    “Well, I had to a little.”

    “You did good, boy.” He smiled with crooked teeth.

    “What are you talking about?”

    “Your mother was a pushover for a smooth talker. She didn’t marry your father, not until I did a little finagling and brought you back. It took some doing, but I managed to work it so you were born. But I needed you to make it work.”

    I shook my head slowly, not understanding.

    “You see, it had to happen naturally, or she would have married Joe Turner. They would have moved to LA and he would have shot up that supermarket parking lot that killed my daughters and my wife.” With that he got in the machine and disappeared. I stood there for a long time and finally took out my cell and called my dad.

    “Howdy Do Buckaroo,” he said.

    “Hi Dad, what’s happening?”

    “Me and your Mamaroony are shopping for snowshoes. We’re taking up a hobby.” All seemed normal. I said a few things, bid him goodbye and started walking. Gradually, Mr. Redmond’s image started to fade from my memory.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I also grabbed into your story. Seems like both of us had the same idea. However I ran out of words and will have to continue. I liked the thoughts your Mc was running through his mind when he met his mother anf she thought he was cute. What a quandry you’ve written. Happily he managed to get out of it.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      While I’m still trying to figure out how it was all done I must say this was most enjoyable, loved the Way Back Machine, but am sad to know the 80s are now considered “vintage”. How quickly time passes.

  18. Kerry Charlton

    Stuck In The 50’s


    Jack-Paul sat in bored disgust in the physics lab at Coral Gables High School.
    Dr, Grinderbutt, his teacher had placed him there after school, because he threw his tablet across the room in a fit. Jack-Paul hated his 67 year old high school his father and grandfather had graduated from. Since his grandfather had passed, he felt he had lost the only one who understood him.

    It didn’t help that Jack-Paul’s father ignored him like the plague. Why he didn’t understand. He wandered the lab to pass the time and found a closet in the back of the lab, he had never noticed before. A heavy padlock secured it but when he messed with it, the lock snapped open and revealed a cylinder shape tube about four feet in diameter.

    Curiosity pushed the seventeen year old inside. The door swung suddenly, He heard the lock click and he was trapped inside. Inside on one wall were dials and switches he didn’t understand, so he fiddled some more. The cylinder itself started to rotate, at first slowly then it speeded up to the point the centrifugal force caused Jack-Paul to black out.

    When he awoke, he staggered to his feet, pushed on the side panel. The door opened but when Jack walked out, the physics lab had changed drastically. Computers were nowhere in sight, desks had replaced tables, and old time hanging light globes illuminated the empty room.

    ‘Am I dreaming?’ Jack-Paul thought. No it’s too real. He opened the door to the hallway, his eyes dis-believed what he saw. A stream of high school kids walked by.pGirls wore peasant blouses, poodle skirts 12 inches from the floor, penny loafers and pony tails.
    They stared at his T shirt and jeans with distain but otherwise ignored him. The guys wore gabardine slacks, white buck shoes, dress shirts and narrow leather belts.

    He stepped back in the lab to concentrate but the room started to fill with students, so he slipped out again and walked to the student parking lot. His amazement continued as he scanned the T-birds, Ford Sun liners and and ‘55 Chevrolets. He knew it to be real as he walked through the sea of priceless antique cars. It caused Jack-Paul to sit under a tree and just stare at what he realized was not an illusion.

    He studied a boy his age who slowly walk toward him from a distance. As the figure drew closer, he realized the boy looked exactly like himself or almost the same. ‘God help me, I’m going insane,’ Jack Paul thought. The silence split with a question from the stranger,

    “I noticed you in the hallway, If I didn’t know better, I’d say we were twins. Who are you, if I may ask?”

    “I’m Jack-Paul, I feel the same way, what a jolt. Do we know each other?”

    “Not that I know of, I’m Bill Trade. Is that it, Jack Paul, any last name?”

    ‘Good Lord,’ Jack-Paul screamed in his mind, ‘I’m standing before my own grandfather.’

    To Be Continued.

    1. Jay

      Where’s the ending! Argh!

      I like the idea of visiting the past to understand the future, and I believe that’s probably where this is heading.

      That said, I enjoyed your story as much as I’m sure you enjoyed writing it. Look forward to reading the rest of it when you post. 🙂

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Ah, Kerry, just now finding time to comment and I love what you’ve written so far. Your descriptions of the clothes makes me think of a 50s black and white movie.

  19. dhangel

    Sitting in class, Brad looked at the clock, the seconds slowly ticked by, five more seconds until the bell. Ring! Yes, now I can get moving. Much more active than schools allowed him to be, at lunch he was free.
    It was a cold, but warm compared to a typical MN winter. And with the recent melt there was a lot of fun to be had. Brad ran up onto a wall and after taking several steps up Brad jumps off with another flip into snow. He got up and runs to a railing and does a handstand, followed by a turn to change directions and flips into the snow piled. As he jumps he feels an electrical zap from his pocket and instead of landing in the small snow pile he lands in a deep bank.
    What just happened? Brad looks around for his friends but finds he’s alone outside, the temperature had dropped. He hurries inside, he didn’t put his jacket on but now he needed it.
    Grabbing a hold of the door and pulling, he heads inside, greeted by a puff of heat. Even though the warmth is something his body wants he stops, door open, in front of him he sees the room full of people he’s never met before, and appearing to be from another time.
    What are they wearing? How long was I in the snow bank, I think I’ve lost my mind? Before him was a large group of same aged teens, wearing jeans that looked like they had somehow spilt bleach in spots all over. Everyone hair was sprayed, and crazy looking.
    Brad stepped inside, I’ve got to call my mom. “Hey, can I use your phone?” He asked the first person he got to.
    “What are you talking about? And what are you wearing?” The girl turned from him and giggled with her friends.
    Screw these people; I look ridiculous in skinny jeans? Have they looked at themselves? “Hey I just need to borrow a cell phone?” Brad shouted.
    “What’s a cell phone?” someone shouted.
    Brad looked around, eyes unfocused, what was going on?
    A teacher came over. “Why don’t we go to the nurse’s office.” Eye’s furrowed, he seemed concerned.
    “Listen, I just need to use a phone.” Brad stared.
    “Ok, follow me.” The teacher walked to the office.
    As Brad walked he noticed a sign that said, ‘One More Night’ Class of 1986. “What year is it?”
    “It’s 1986. Here’s the phone.” The teacher pointed to a bright blue phone, with a cord from the handle to a large bottom, which had numbers on it.
    Brad dialed his mother’s number. Just then he was shocked and he found himself back outside with his friends.
    “What happened to you?” They rushed over.
    “I guess when I was messing with my ipod earlier in the day I somehow created a time machine, I was in the 80s!”
    Brad pulled his iphone out of his pocket, but it was burned and wouldn’t turn on.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Cute story, dhangel. You might want to look at your tense usage, often it helps to read a piece aloud to catch any errors. Also, spaces between paragraphs helps the reader.

        1. Jay

          Glad it worked! 🙂 I agree, the spam filter works against us probably more than it works against spammers. Honestly, though… since I first started posting back in 2010ish, I have seen spam MAYBE once. MAYBE twice. I haven’t see much over the years, but I can tell you, the sudden arrival of such an aggressive blocking technique seems deliberate given how little spam I’ve seen since I start writing here. After all, my stories are chock full of bad language and unsavory imagery, and it’s only recently that it’s starting to get blocked.

          Anyway, glad it worked for you!

          1. jhowe

            I’ve been here quite a while and it was nice when you could write your own thing and create dialog and thoughts that real people have. Now it’s constantly on your mind what you can’t say, though it’s not entirely clear what that is. I’ve noticed a few prompts when we got quite a few new submitters that sounded to me like a classroom of students that were likely posting as part of an assignment. I think there possibly were some language complaints and the filters are for language and not spam. But maybe not. At least we can still write about murder and gore as long as we don’t say the S word.

  20. Tysheena Jackson

    This has me all up in my Hucklberry feelin’s’. I quite enjoyed this story, sir. Quite the imagination ya got there, and serch a splendid way with words. I reckon Casey boy and Alina are gonna have a mighty good time together!

    1. Tysheena Jackson

      My comment is fer the fantastic writer, @Jay. Fer some reason it didn’t post underneath yer story. I’ll stop typin’ in this here accent now, though it’s quite the enjoyment! 🙂

  21. Jay

    All ya’ll have no idea what I been through. I was just sitting there fillin’ up my bread basket with some nice grits and gravy, an’ all the sudden I was transpositionated back to a time when I wasn’t even alive. I figger there was a reason, an’ I reckon it had somethin’ to do with me futzin’ around in science class earlier with that thingamajigger, but now there I was, in a place I only seen in the movies.

    I looked around the new but old room, I was in a state of mystification. There was little rainbow books on some of the desks, which if I ‘member correctly was that old company Lisa Franklin. I ain’t never been one of those namby pamby types that liked that sort of thing, but my little sister did. On the flip side of the room, I saw an old Apple comuter, which I ain’t never used, but I saw’d it growin’ up. My friends used to play it when they was little, but I never got into it. They was always gettin’ ornery over differia and tylenol fever, an’ I wasn’t gonna get into it with them. Especially if you knew Chukee. He says it like Chookee. Any who, he was bigger than a prize winnin’ hog, and I swear up and down the track that if you crossed him, he’d sit on ya.

    Any who, when I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore, I knew right then I was in a heap a’ trouble. I hear tell that people who get transpositionated to a different place don’t fit it, and if I ain’t gonna fit in, then these people might not take too kindly to me. Now, I ain’t sayin’ I’d just sit there an’ take that abuse, no sirs. That’d rile me up right good, and there ain’t no going back once I get to throwin’ swings. I figgered I’d just stay low while there so I don’t stir up any trouble.

    I was just slipping off the wood seat when the door swung open like this was a saloon. A pretty little belle not much older than I was, maybe a little younger, strolled into the room. She had on this jean jacket, cut off at the arms, but she still looked mighty snug as a bug in it. She smiled at me, I was lost for a minute ’til she said, “I’m Alina.”

    “Casey. Pleased t’meet ya.”

    “You look a little different.”

    It was right then I got scarder than a cat an’ a cucumber. I nearabout jumped right out of my skin, an’ I’m glad I din’t since that might’a scared purdy thing like her.

    I said, “Well, that’s ’cause I’m not from aroun’ here.”

    “No, I guess not,” she said, an’ then smiled again. “Either way, you’re very handsome.”

    She took me back a peg, but I wasn’t gonna let ‘er get to me. “I might say the same thing as you, little missy, if I wasn’t such a’upstandin’ gentleman.”

    “No, I was just saying that I think you’re cute.”

    “Oh, well then, you caught me hollerin’ at the geese, ’cause I thought you was sayin’ somethin’ cross. In that case, sure is nice of ya t’say as much.”

    “You’re welcome.”

    “Can I ask ya somethin’, miss?”

    “Of course,” she said, and took her jacket off. She was wearing this hot-pink tube top that I reckon might make about any man lose his mind. Maybe if I was walkin’ on a slant with a drink in my hand, I might’ve started conversatin’ with her about somethin’ real nice, but I needed to get home, an’ that wasn’t gonna happen if I let little Jimmy have a whack at anything while I was here. Besides, I ain’t been to the washateria in a coons age, so I wasn’t exactly presentatin’ a good view.

    I asked, “Know anythin’ about science?”

    “I know a thing or two.”

    “Well, I’ll be honest with ya, then. I wouldn’t mind spendin’ some time with ya, because you got a nice smile and a purdy face, but I got a hankerin’ to go home, an’ I miss my family already.”

    “That’s nice of you to say, I think.”

    “So, can ya help me?”

    “I suppose I can try.”

    “Thank yeh kindly, miss,” I said, and then showed her the thingy I was messin’ with.

    She poked around that thing for a hot minute, and then said, “Looks like you messed with our time travel device.”

    “A what?”

    “It takes you to different years.”

    “Only two years? That right there don’t sound so useful.”

    “No, I mean that it takes you to many different years. Not just two,” she said, and played with her hair.

    “So, how’d I get here?”

    “I don’t know, but I think I can get you back. I just need to make some changes.”

    “Okay, then. Holler when you’re ready.”

    “You’re not going to stay with me?”

    Who was I to turn down a miss’s invitation? I plopped down right next to her, and watched her work.

    She said, “So, when are you from, anyway? I assume you’re not from the 80s.”

    “No, ma’am. I wasn’t even born ’til 92. What year is this?”

    “1989. Wow, you’re young.”

    “Well, I reckon you was born in seventy-three, right? That might make you sixteen, and if that’s true, then you’re just a little younger than me.”

    “That’s funny. You were born after me, but at this point in time, even though I am historically older than you by nineteen years, you are technically older.”

    “If anything you just said is the same as what I just said, then yes.”

    She laughed. It was purdy. “Okay, I think I have it fixed.”

    “Well, it was nice meetin’ ya, Alina.”

    “Same, Casey. Maybe I’ll see ya around.”

    “I don’t reckon that’ll happen seein’ as I’m from a dif’rent time an’ all, but I’m sure I’ll miss ya.”

    “In a weird sort of way, I’ll miss you, too.”

    It wasn’t a second before I was back in my time. At least, that’s what it looked like. There wasn’t no Lisa Franklin books on the tables, no hair band posters on the walls, an’ no old Apple comuter. Everything was the way I left it, except for me. I wasn’t the way I left, because I was a little sad, now. I guess I wasn’t done talking with Alina. An opportunity missed is a knocking door. Or something like that. I dunno, my granpappy always told me somethin’ like that, but I ain’t never listened to him.

    Anywho, I was standin’ there, tryna figger this machine out so I could go back, and the door opened. I look behind me, and there she was. Aline was older now, but just as purdy as when I met her twenty-some years ago. She smiled at me, and I knew right then I was gonna have the time of my life with someone special.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Well, by golly Jay, it looks like you’ve written a love story and a good one at that. You old softie, I could have told you, you had it in you but you probably wouldn’t have believed me.

    1. Jay

      (looking for the culprit)

      As you might’ve guessed, the people that ruined my life were part of a crime organization. I didn’t much care about the organization itself. It was the people that happened to be a part of it that concerned me. Namely, specific people on my list that I have killed or would eventually kill. At that moment, I had only one person in mind, and that was Vincent. Vincent Gianulias.

      It was still warm out when I arrived at his address, sticky even. Maybe it was just me, maybe it was because I no longer had the protection of the gun with me. I had to leave it in the car because neighborhoods like this don’t take too kindly to the sound of gunshots in the middle of the evening.

      Vincent’s house stood on the east end of town in a gated neighborhood. Most of the wealthy people lived in this area. I can’t say for sure if all of them were as dirty as Vincent, but if I had to guess, I’d say that most people with a pretty penny to pinch have f*cked someone at some point in their life to get where they are today.

      The perimeter had a modest amount of security, but I didn’t expect much resistance. In my endeavor, I wasn’t starting from the bottom and working my way up murdering their ranks. Vincent had no reason to believe that I would be coming for him. Everyone I killed was dead and gone. They had no recognizable connection because all those evil pr*cks had such hefty criminal records that anyone from any point in their life could be picking them off. Vincent might have increased his security, but because of the kind of man he was and the things he did in that house, he favored his privacy. His paranoia was my advantage.

      Contrary to the lives of monsters in general, and as I mentioned before, my beef was only with the people responsible with murdering my family and leaving me a broken wreck of a man. That said, I took no issue with the guards, and I didn’t really feel the need to kill them, so I slipped into the house through a jimmied window without detection.

      Most of the rooms were dark, which made it easy for me to move around. What didn’t make it easy was the fact that I had been here before this night. The last time I wasn’t an intruder. I was Vincent’s guest, and as a result, those d*mned off-cherry scented candles he used sickened me.

      I made my way through the kitchen, and wasn’t the least bit surprised what I found on the counter. Two severed hands. One looked like it belonged to a young woman, the fingers slender, long and delicate. I wondered if she, too, was a pianist before this fate of hers, but I didn’t dwell too much on it. The other hand looked as if it belong to a man, one considerably higher in age with knotted knuckles that resembled the roots of an old oak tree.

      When Vincent was eating my hand, he spoke about how much he liked arthritic joints. The inflamed tissue around the knuckles were especially yummy, which he likened to veal or filet minion. Lightly salted, naturally full of flavor.

    2. Jay

      (Anotha test to find the culprit)

      A normal person might rear in disgust, but I didn’t have the luxury of being a normal person. I was special. When you endure something horrific, no matter what it is, you become either desensitized or less vulnerable to stimuli than your average person. People who experience famine are less likely to complain about having to eat liver. Those that are poor are more likely to accept a modest place to stay, even if it’s a cardboard box full of holes. Me? Well, I’m more likely to not care if there’s a half-eaten hand sitting in front of me, because nothing will ever compare to watching a grown man chew and suck the meat right off my fingers while still attached.

      I moved into the living room, and some of the stink of cooked flesh had finally thinned. The sofa sat in the middle of the room, and directly in front of it was a large television. Tucked in the corner was a small oak and glass table topped with a dying plant. I guess when you’re too busy killing, you don’t have time to keep things alive.

      As I moved through this room toward the next, I heard a door open and close. The sound of the footsteps indicated that the person was either ascending or descending stairs. There was nowhere for me to hide, so I needed to decide which location to monitor. Either he was coming from the basement or the second floor. A few more steps echoed through the room, and I positioned myself at the top of the basement staircase. I wasn’t sure if he was coming this direction, but I knew that I could see most of the second-floor stairs from the reflection in a nearby grandfather clock, which meant this was the safest place to wait.

      My intuition proved to be accurate when he arrived at the head of the basement steps. When his eyes met mine, they widened with surprise. He intended to call out, to alert the guards, but he didn’t have that free moment. I struck him hard in the chest with the full force of my body weight, and he choked on his own breath. He slammed hard against the wall, and tumbled back down the stairs. I quickly followed after him, expecting to fight, but the fall had either knocked him out or killed him.

      I checked his pulse. Alive. Good.

      The fact that Vincent was overweight bothered me. It wasn’t because I had to struggle to drag him deeper into the basement or because I had some deep-rooted issue with people who were overweight. I was strong enough to handle men twice his size, and I didn’t give a d*mn about how he looked. When someone murders your family, your thoughts and ideals shift. No longer do you care about someone’s weight, their acne, or if some a**hole cut you off in traffic. That stuff doesn’t matter because you just don’t care anymore. You generally only have one thing on your mind. Murdering the mother f*ckers who did you wrong or killing yourself, and to be honest, there’s no shame in taking the low road.


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