Friday, March 1, 2013
Back from the Future Blogfest hosted by MPax, Suze and Nicki, is today. The description:
You're up before dawn on a Saturday when the doorbell rings. You haven't brewed your coffee so you wonder if you imagined the sound. Plonking the half-filled carafe in the sink, you go to the front door and cautiously swing it open. No one there. As you cast your eyes to the ground, you see a parcel addressed to you ... from you.
You scoop it up and haul it inside, sensing something legitimate despite the extreme oddness of the situation. Carefully, you pry it open. Inside is a shoebox -- sent from ten years in the future -- and it's filled with items you have sent yourself.
What's in it?
At first I tried ripping the tape off with my fingers, but ended up with a steak knife from the block. That stuff is so sticky and tough I'm afraid it will defeat my dull blade. I'm about to give up and consider the skill saw when the blade finally hacks through the tape, sliding deep within the box.
Oops; hope nothing was destroyed. I shak it a little before pulling out the blade. It makes a heavy thunk with no tell-tale rattling. I quickly saw along the cut and soon have a hole large enough for my fingers to slip inside and rip open.
There's only a small tear in the brightly colored letter that looks like a poster. I blink away the initial shock of the neon colors and hold it away from the sunlight to read.
Back away from Zuma's Revenge; put down the Kindle with its addictive Every Word game, and get busy writing.
I study the typed note, getting slightly annoyed at the thought of someone pulling a joke on me like this. I work with some pretty weird characters at my day job, and anyone who has read my blog or comments would recognize my sign-off. I shiver in the cold thinking about the would be humor of some of my writer friends across the globe. Would one of them come all the way to this podunk town to play a joke on me?
Or, is one or more of those sci-fi/speculative fiction authors more than they seem? My mind sifts through possibilities: worm holes and colliders, alien uprisings with telepathic hyper-drives and time traveling ships. There's always shape shifting dragons and wizards to consider too; perhaps a witch or two. I'd kick myself for being so silly but my toes are cold from the tile floor and I've learned the hard way frozen toes are far from numb.
Under that garish note is a shoe box. I'm hoping for a size 6W Dr Scholls white tennis shoe, but unless my feet have somehow grown slender and I've found a sense of balance, I'd never wear the size 7 hooker boots depicted on the lid. Seriously! I'd fall off anything with more lift than a half inch. Ignoring the cat twining around my leg, I lift the shoe box out of the packing box and let the outer parcel drop to the floor. The cat screech's and races down the hall.
The first thing I see under the lid is a picture lying face down, a wedding ring taped to the back. Can't imagine why I'd need that; I've no intention of dating let alone remarrying ever again. Third time's the lesson learned and all that. I turn over the picture and stare at - well, I wouldn't mind waking up to him several mornings in a row.
I set the picture aside reluctantly. Its still too early to be up and I'm tempted to go back to bed with the fantasy picture to spark an erotic dream. No way I'd enjoy myself though until I saw everything in the box.
The next object is wrapped in plain brown paper and takes both hands to haul out. The shoe box drops to the table with a soft thump. There is one more item in the bottom and it looks like another note. I set the package - feels like a book - on the table and pick up the note.
"This should give you the time you need"
It looks enough like my penmanship. I do so little writing with a pen that its hard to recognize my own scribbles. The letters look like mine though; a disorganized combination of print and cursive, blocks and slants. Creative writing was my best subject in school, but writing letters often befuddled me.
I turn over the paper and nearly choke on my own tongue, the laughter sparking an echoing snore from my son's room. Its a lotto card with the numbers filled in. There is a date at the top in big red print, several months in the future, and my signature smiley face. Well, winning the lotto would certainly free up my time to write. That's an even bigger fantasy than one of my novels hitting the best sellers list. I glance at the hottie and he seems to wink at me, daring me to open the final gift.
I tear off the brown wrapping and expose the first novel I ever wrote. I spent over $50 at Staples getting it - and five others just like it - printed and neatly bound. Flipping through the pages, I notice its the one I filled in some editing notes before abandoning it as hopeless job. The story was so bad even my family wouldn't read past the first chapter. I wonder who could have -
I jump as something bumps against the front door. Should I open it? I'm pretty sure I need to go back to bed and start all over again at a decent hour of the afternoon. Its Saturday after all and I was up playing games half the night. Most of that box of wine is gone.
Never one to leave a good mystery hanging, I fold up the book and take it with me to the door. Its heavy enough to thrash a prankster for waking me this early. But there is no one there when I yank open the door. Just the other cat, a little wobbly from her night out, but nothing more unusual than her spare thumbs. I look around cautiously, expecting anything. Even the tweakers across the street are quiet.
I close the door, double lock it, retrieve the picture and head back to the bedroom and the blankets that should still be warm. This will all make sense when I've had a good long hibernation. The book and picture stare at me from the other pillow. The Dude is no longer winking. The heater roars to life.
Change of plans; maybe I'll give this old novel another round of edits. The laptop is on the headboard shelf, a green light beckoning me to open, open. Maybe I should first get online and revisit my blog buddies and see exactly what they've been creating since I've been out of touch for so long.
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