And now for something completely different, I’m presenting a serial fictional short story. This is the first of four installments in the series.
By Timothy Price
“I Phone? You mean to tell me this is a telephone?” Asked the sergeant, surprised at the small device he held in his hand.
“It’s what we call a ‘cell phone,’ ‘mobile phone,’ ‘hand-held device’… But of course, I can’t make a call here because I have no service, cell coverage, Internet, or wifi…”
“You seem to speak English,” the Sergeant interrupted. “But I hardly understood a word you just said. Cell phone, Internet, wifi, what are you talking about?”
“The time I come from the whole world communicates with cell phones and the Internet. Here let me show you some of the other things a cell phone can do.” El took the iPhone and woke it up, “It doesn’t have much battery left, and I don’t think I have a charging cable…”
“Wow! That thing is in color! How did you do that?” Asked the sergeant, “I’ve never seen anything like that before…”
“And you won’t see much of anything with color screens for several years when color TVs become the norm.”
“Color TV? You mean television in color?”
“Yes. Nothing stays black and white for long in the future. Let’s see here… I’ll put this on ‘airplane mode’ and low power mode, so it doesn’t use up the battery searching for non-existent networks. You see, this little device is really a computer with programs, applications, games, music, a camera…”
“A camera?” asked the sergeant looking surprised. “Where do you put the film?”
“Oh! There is no film. The images are digital, and they are stored electronically on the device. I can take a picture of you, and you can see it on the screen. Hold still. It also has a lens on this side of the device. Come over here and stand next to me. See how we can see both of us on the screen? Smile! There I just took what we call a ‘selfie’…”
“Self… what? Did you say selfie? What kind of stupid word is that?” the sergeant interrupted.
“One of many stupid words associated with social media. See, here’s the first photo I did of you, and here is the ‘selfie’ of the two of us.”
The sergeant stood there, mouth open, looking at the images of himself on the device, completely dumbfounded and at a loss for words. “I, I don’t know what to say. How does it do that? The pictures are so clear, and they are in color.”
“I can record video with it, also. Here. Look at me, move around, and talk to me.”
The sergeant stood in front of the phone, frozen. “What do you want me to say and do?” he asked.
“Walk over to the window and tell me what you see.”
He walked over to the window and said, “I see a red car the likes of which I have never seen before…”
“That’s good. Come over here and watch.”
As if in shock, the sergeant stood still as he watched himself walk to the window and mention the car on the little screen in front of him.
“What did you say that is? It’s like a movie,” he said as he stared at the screen.
“It is a movie, but we call it video. I’m not sure when the word ‘video’ came into the English language, but it’s what we ascribe to moving pictures on tape, CDs, DVDs, and other digital media, as opposed to movies on film, I suppose.”
“There you go using words I don’t understand again.”
“You can listen to music, also. Although, I doubt I have anything that will sound anything like you have heard before.”
The sergeant looked puzzled but was interested.
“Let’s see. Oh, ‘Wall of Voodoo’ is first on the playlist.” Selecting the “Call of the West,” the beat of electronic drums came out of the phone, followed by the twangy electric guitar typical of Wall of Voodoo.
“That’s music?” The sergeant asked. “You are correct. I have never heard anything like that before.”
“I think I need to get some more people here to talk to you and see this thing.”
“I suggest you get scientists and mathematicians along with any other military personnel. I think they will find the rest of this stuff we have spread out on the table interesting and possibly useful.”
“Follow me.” the sergeant motioned as he turned toward the door. “I’m not letting you out of my sight. You could probably make yourself disappear with one of those ‘devices,’ isn’t that what you called them?”
“Devices. Yes, but, unfortunately, none of them can make me disappear. I’m afraid I’m stuck here.”
They walked down a gray/green hallway into a rather sparse and drab looking office with only a couple of chairs, a filing cabinet, a large metal desk with a few papers and a coffee cup on it, and a black rotary dial phone sitting on the left side of the desk.
“Have a seat.” The sergeant said, motioning to the chair on the side of the desk closest to the door as he took a seat behind the desk. He opened a drawer in the desk, pulled out a folder, and flipped through pages with handwritten names and numbers. He picked up the phone and dialed a couple of numbers.
“This is Sergeant Prescott. Please connect me with Captain Fremont’s office at 356.” He waited for several seconds while he was being connected. “Yes, Private, this is Prescott. Is Captain Fremont in?” A few seconds later “Captain Fremont, Sir, this is Prescott. Yes sir. I have a man here who says he is from the future. Yes sir. I said ‘future.’ He told me he got here by driving through a… hold on a second.”
Turning to El, he asked, “What did you tell me you drove through?” El answered, “A ‘worm hole’ or some kind of time warp.”
To be continued…