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The physician removed his glasses and sat down.

"And there's more. Apparently, he was planning to become engaged to some young lady that very same weekend. There's a beaut of a ring within the inside pocket of his coat. At least that sparkler will help defray a portion of the county's burial expenses if no one comes forth to claim it, though I doubt anyone will."

"Ah, with talkin' money matters, there's somethin' I forgot to mention. The father of the two kids this man rescued offered to pay some funeral or burial expenses. An insurance guy. He was very grateful, doc. His name that I wrote down here is...gimme a second or two to be findin' it...here. Here it is - a Mr. Gilliland. Casey Gilliland, Sr."

The doctor struck a match and lit his own Chesterfield. "Do we know how to reach this man?"

"Oh, yeah. The family lives in a small apartment over a store right here in Ridgewood. On Fresh Pond Road, in fact. An' the outfit he works for is downtown. He gave me his card."

"Good. But there's one last thing I still can't figure out."

The officer closed his memo book. "What's that?"

"As a rule, corpses generally don't begin to... ah, acquire a not-too-pleasant fragrance until they are exposed to the elements for a period of time, especially during the heat of the summer."

"Like why they keep fish on ice at the market. To keep 'em fresh an' not stinkin' so bad."

"Precisely, but not so with Mr. Palomino. During my examination, I was struck by the distinct and overpowering smell - and I may be way off-base with this - the smell of sea water, as if his body had been dredged from a river bottom or from beneath the Dead Sea itself, not from under a trolley or the snow. I'm at a complete loss to explain it because there is no physical trace of salt water that I've been able to ascertain at this time. Perhaps, if an autopsy can be authorized before burial -"

"Doc, you sure was right before when you said this dead guy's appearance and finish is a weird one. It may be wrong to do this, but I think I'm gonna be withholdin' a lot o' these facts from my report - an' definitely if any news reporters come nosin' around askin' too damn many questions."

"A most wise decision, Patrolman Ryan. I believe I shall be forced to do much the same. And don't forget to have someone from the precinct come here and take his fingerprints later when he's back downstairs in the icebox. Running them locally, and then sending copies off to the state troopers, to Hoover's boys down in Washington, and even to the military, if necessary, will, I think, prove that he's clean as a policeman's whistle by 1947 standards. He'll have no record because he's never been printed. I'm certain of that from what we do know already."

"I'll call it in from the box on the corner."

Both prepared to go their separate ways when the doctor was hit with an odd thought.

"Funny. There may yet be a silver lining surrounding this unfortunate incident."

"How do you figure that?"

"If those documents on his person were truly legitimate, and I believe they are, then I suspect we can look for a reappearance of one John Palomino a little over a month from now - but as a punchy newborn babe. Round two, so to speak. I want you to be keeping those sharp peepers of yours peeled on any and all future birth announcements in the February newspapers. Just as I will."

They were walking toward the front staircase exit when the doctor turned and said, "I was raised Lutheran and have never believed in any of that reincarnation claptrap, but today's encounter with this late gentleman - and hero - seems to have put a brand new wrinkle on those theories and beliefs. It flies in the face of them and gives one pause, doesn't it?"

Ryan smiled as he shrugged. "I guess it does. Or should."

"I also wonder if things will pan out differently for that young man the next time around. With a better finale? Hopefully. And if he does get that gal, perhaps a much happier ending?"

Their laughter, however forced and uneasy it may have felt or sounded at the moment, seemed to echo long but softly through the still hospital corridor as the two men shook hands, wished each other future New Year's greetings for 1948, and resumed their respective official duties on that late December afternoon.

Copyright 2010 James D. Young


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Comments

The following comments are for "SPRING FORWARD, FALL BACK (10)"
by JamesYoung

Trivia FYIs #1
"SFFB" Origin

1984-85: A convoluted series of involuntary time travel ideas was developing into a novel-length story. Many writers, however, who try to predict the future often fail. I was no exception. Five years before Back to the Future II's 2015, I was dreaming of cars that hovered, no longer needing Goodyear & Michelin tires, and plastic cards for computers made newspapers and magazines obsolete. Oh, well...

The unnamed male protagonist spent a year in the future with his former flame. Didn't work. And the return trip was fraught with plot holes galore. Even I snickered a lot before aborting the entire project.

2010: By early February, heavy snows had again blanketed the NYC area. I resurrected the original plotline and completed the tale which burst forth in 2-3 days. The secret was to compress the events into a single 24-hour period. And writing from history's hindsight is a snap. I mean, who could ever have predicted the 1st WTC bombing in '94, let alone the horrors of 9/11?

A fine line had to be walked: how much/how little history to include? Just enough for what Sandra calls "aha moments."

There was one eerie "life-imitating-art" deal. On 2/18/10, while standing on the Cypress Hills elevated train station, I spotted bloodstains smeared on unmelted piles of snow. What was so jarring was that I had written Johnny Palomino's nighttime GTO accident three days prior - and the location was less than a half-mile from where I stood. That creeped me out.

( Posted by: JamesYoung [Member] On: March 26, 2011 )

Trivia FYIs #2
Places:

All "SFFB" places are real. Tallest building in Brooklyn, the former Williamsburg Bank building was purchased a few years ago by "Magic" Johnson. All the dentists, doctors and insurance companies were evicted to convert it to expensive condos. Money makes money.

Downstairs, the Hanson Luncheonette survived, although the original owners are long gone, along with those great brisket of beef heroes. And Durow's in Glendale permanently closed its doors 2/05 while I was in CA. Sure miss their prime rib dinners, too.

"Welfare Island" existed in Johnny's day. Formerly Blackwell's Island until 1921, the new name lasted until 1973, at which time it became Roosevelt Island. The tramway which you may have seen in movies was built in '76.

Lastly, the Interboro, an antiquated 2-lane parkway built in the '30s, was renamed for Brooklyn Dodger great Jackie Robinson in the '90s.

( Posted by: JamesYoung [Member] On: March 26, 2011 )

Trivia FYIs #3
The songs:

The 6 I listed are obvious enough. 1969 was a pivotal and banner year for songs as well as for tons of memorable historic events.

But I had some fun burying some other song titles:

"Promises, Promises" - Dionne Warwick, '68.

"Over and Over" - although different ones were done by Bobby Day ('58) and Fleetwood Mac (from "Tusk" in '79), the Dave Clark 5 version from '65 fits here.

"Stay Awhile" - Dusty Springfield, '64.

Thanks to a comment by Sandra, I added a sentence (here in italics) after the "Get Back" reference toward the end. John said, "Gotta get back then. I believe in yesterday, you know. Got me a 'Snow Bunny' to find."

Hey, it works, right?

But there's one more no one would ever get. John gave his little wave and said, "Hope to see you soon." ol' JDY penned that tune on 11-2-70, demo'd it a month later, but it was never recorded commercially. Sad. (The lyrics will appear soon.)

( Posted by: JamesYoung [Member] On: March 26, 2011 )

New Profession?
I think you may be gravitating toward a new career as an agent, Lucie. Thank you! - Jim

( Posted by: JamesYoung [Member] On: March 30, 2011 )

I agree
This story with the visuals and music would definitely work as a movie. A great story with some surprises for me as a reader. It was enjoyable. I liked the links of different family members through the past and present. I like that you didn't spell everything out, but allowed the reader to discover along the way.
Good on you!

( Posted by: sandra [Member] On: March 31, 2011 )

Surprises
Another goal, to surprise readers, was achieved when I ended up surprising myself (!) with the ending, Sandra. It wasn't that way in the 1985 version. Dotties's dad never saw more than a glimpse of Johnny in the snow, but we're fairly sure there was some sort of name/familial recognition years later when the young man started dating his daughter. I made sure to include a ref in the opening dialogue to his getting John the insurance job. But it was still eerie for him to be in a position to save both kids from injuries which could've left either - or both - handicapped for life or, worst-case scenario, dead.

And the doctor (far more of a detective than Ryan, the dimly-lit officer) with his end theory - the implicit questions he raised are where it becomes a bit mind-bending: in John's upcoming "replay," will his life be fraught with an overload of "deja vu" moments and events? And what else/who else might be different, thereby altering a history that already was? I get a headache just thinking about stuff like that...

A book I highly recommend to all should have been made into a movie. It was optioned, but nothing happened, and the author (who passed on at age 59 in 2003) was bitter over that. Replay by Ken Grimwood, 1986. Borders now stocks the trade paperback. Run, don't walk, to get this one!

I could easily rant against the corporate bozos in Hollyweird who drown us in crap like Sucker Punch and endless remakes of classics that are fine as they are, thank y'all very much, right down to Yogi Bear, but I won't. Suffice it to say that quality often does not stand Frosty the Snowman's chance against global warming.

As for my tip, it is a carefully crafted book to be read again and again. My novel Rerun, written in '08, is very much an homage to Grimwood's brilliant and imaginative tale.

( Posted by: JamesYoung [Member] On: March 31, 2011 )

Replay
I put a hold on Replay at my library! Thanks for the tip!

It's interesting that in scifi and fantasy stories, there are are still rules for that particular universe. Time travel only works within the framework of one's story if it sticks to logic.

You really spent time pouring over the ramifications of John's dilemmas. You have an eye for accuracy and details.

cheers, Sandra

( Posted by: sandra [Member] On: April 1, 2011 )

Smart Lady!
You reserved a local library copy of Grimwood's Replay and you're gonna luv it, Sandra. Guaranteed. Feel free to e-mail me your reaction when done. (It's on the Majestic/editor reply site. If you can't access it, I've got yours.)

Again, my thanks for all your feedback & comments on "SFFB." When writers connect with each others' works, it's worth all the sweat and sleepless nights during their creation. - Jim

( Posted by: JamesYoung [Member] On: April 2, 2011 )

coast to coast
Thanks Jim! I agree getting feedback is precious in the writing process. I don't have a lot of writers I know locally or in a writers' group to get feedback, so your comments and encouragement have been so helpful. It's so great I can meet someone from the east coast!

In regards, to the future of How the Boy Came Back I left you a note following your question there.

For now, I'm waiting on Replay!

all the best,
Sandra

( Posted by: sandra [Member] On: April 3, 2011 )





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