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The Second Hand Man

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November 28th, 1965

I’m back!

Something went wrong; terribly, terribly wrong. I was only supposed to be transferred back some twenty-odd years. I had expected my consciousness to revive inside a late twenties or perhaps early thirties physical body. I guess Steve was right about the reactor; it must have spiked, creating a power surge, thrusting my brain’s energy patterns back much further than anticipated.

I am trapped, a prisoner of my own design. I have no choice now but to start my new life as a child of six; a six-year-old having all the memories and experiences of a fifty five-year-old man.

One of the first things that need mentioning is the problem of becoming accustomed to this much younger body. Just writing this first entry is an elevated task. These unfamiliar hands are small and have trouble holding the pencil.

But let me rather start at the beginning; at the point when I regained consciousness and knew that we had been successful with the mind projection.

The sensation was more that of regaining consciousness after a faint, as opposed to waking up from a deep sleep. I felt nauseous and disoriented. If it had been like waking up from a deep sleep, then the dream would have become a nightmare; a very real nightmare.

I opened my eyes to find myself staring at Mikey Keel (Of course, at that moment, I had no idea who he was), the next door neighbors’ kid with whom I used to play and hang out a lot. At first I thought I was on my knees, but on gazing down I quickly realized the seriousness of my situation…my predicament. I felt slightly dizzy and disoriented and then did actually drop onto my knees. On looking about, I recognized that we were outside Pop’s soda shop just two blocks down the street from my parents’ house in Sedgefield.

Mikey and I would often go there for milkshakes and to browse through the magazines and comic books on the large rack. Neither of us could read yet, but we enjoyed looking at the pictures. I fondly recall now that we particularly loved to page through the latest issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland and Sad Sack.

“Are you okay?” Mikey had asked staring at me. I guess I answered his question when I threw up on his sneakers. The green puke also indicated that I had just finished consuming my favorite treat at Pop’s - a large lime milkshake. “I told you the large was too much,” he had chided looking at the mess on his shoes in disgust.

“Oh, fuck!” I had exclaimed wiping my mouth and standing up. My own voice was strange to me - unbroken and high-pitched. I held up my tiny hands in front of my face. “Shit! Shit! Shit! This can’t be happening!”

I must have shocked poor old Mikey. He just stood there staring as I ranted and raved and filled the air with many expletives. My sudden new and sophisticated vocabulary must have terrified the poor confused kid.

I had also managed to stop an old lady in her tracks. She frowned angrily before blurting, “Your mother needs to wash your mouth out with soap, young man!”

She left in a huff and a hurry after the ‘young man’ told her just what she could do with herself and her suggestion.

I quickly moved myself to the shop window and stood gazing at my reflection while feeling my face like a blind person. Then I suddenly turned to Mikey and asked, “What year is it?”

“What?” he asked staring wide-eyed at the strange creature that had once been his best buddy.

“The year? What fucking year is it?” I shouted angrily.

He just stood there in his green sneakers with his mouth gaping wide.

“Shit!” I exclaimed again and rushed into Pop’s. I found the pile of daily newspapers next to the magazine rack. I nervously lifted the top one and silently read the date, ‘November 28th, 1965.’ “Oh, my dear God in heaven! Steve, we have but surely screwed this up really, really bad!”

“What is it?” asked the lady behind the counter. “Bad news?”

The main headline had read: Pentagon Calls for Troop Increase.

Beneath that was a photo of anti-war protestors in front of the White House.

“Shit, I’m…what…six! Six fucking years old! And…it’s bloody Vietnam all over again.”

“What? What are you talking about?” she asked angrily.

“He’s not feeling well,” said Mikey sheepishly over by the door. “He just threw up outside.”

“Well, that’s no excuse to be using that sort of language. I know both your mothers, and if I ever hear either one of you cussing like that again…?”

She never completed her threat, because I started to cry like a sick six-year-old kid.

After that, Mikey walked me home. We hardly said a word to each other. My mind was too awash with trying to solve my problem. By the time we reached my front lawn, I realized that there was no solution. Although, it will be a long time before I ever feel like smiling again - I’ll just have to grin and bear it.

On the other hand, I should be grateful. After all, the process has saved my life - well, sort of. My fifty five-year-old body would have perished rapidly sans a consciousness. But that consciousness, which truly represents me, the sum of all my memories, continues to live on (albeit long before the doctors will inform me that my days on earth are numbered) inside this six-year-old frame or shell. I have managed to heal myself of a terminal illness by screwing up the numbering system.

Hopefully, this time I’ll be careful to follow a more…moderate lifestyle; one that doesn’t lead to adverse physical conditions.

The mind and body that I once possessed (the use of the word possessed, although quite true in its sense, makes me feel uncomfortable for I have now likened myself to some sort of evil demon that has taken over and completely dominated the mind and body of an innocent child - albeit my very own mind and body) lies in a top secret facility at the Vizion Global compound, in Nevada, founded by Steven M. Ferran and myself in 1999.

Yes, the mind and body that I once possessed lays, forty nine years into the future, riddled with a life-robbing disease, on a hospital gurney in a special laboratory at Vizion Global in the year of our Lord 2014.

And I can only thank the same good Lord that a person’s synaptic patterns are only fully established around six years old, and not earlier, or I may well have awoken inside my mother’s womb - yet to be born.

In the future, Steve has no idea of my predicament - and never will. Here in the past, a time that has now become my new and personal ongoing present; it is still four years before Steve even starts to suck on his mother’s tit. This journey through time is confusing and will take much getting used to.

Although ten years younger, Steve is…or will still become, not only a brilliant scientist and inventor, but my one and only true trusted friend in life.

Although I am presently greatly disadvantaged by my size and age, I know that my knowledge of the future will have many benefits. I will need to be patient (and extremely so) until I am able to fully accomplish my true potential as an authentic time traveler. I will also have to be careful to keep this fact a secret. I have no desire to have some covert government operation lock me away and study me like some unique lab rat specimen.

‘Knowledge is power,’ but, ‘Knowledge of the future is absolute power!’

Which reminds me that I need to write down these two numbers before I forget them:

Steve’s cell phone circa 1994: 555-376-1990

He’s asked me to do him a favor on December 16th, 1994. I have promised to do it!

Winning National Lottery number: 5 12 35 57 58 59

For the draw on: Saturday 7th, October 1995

I chose that particular draw as it was an easy one to remember - especially the last three numerals. But, shit, the draw is still some thirty-odd years away because I was never expecting to go this far back.

Anyway, I will hopefully have made my fortune long before then. I am positive that my knowledge of many other future events will guarantee that outcome.

In 2014, both my parents were long dead.

My father committed suicide in ’69. I was the one who came home from school to find his body in the ’52 Buick in the garage. I was a tender ten years old and, needless to say, devastated by the incident. We expect the fact that he lost out on a very important promotion at work was, not the cause, but the final straw that drove him to taking his own life. He was something of a perfectionist and abhorred failure, especially in himself.

In ’87, my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The following year she passed away.

I missed both my parents terribly, and my mother especially so. This is why she will never know the real reason why I once more broke down and started to cry when I saw her again, or for the first time after so many years (This journey through time is confusing and will take much getting used to. Particularly when attempting to narrate events.).

Thank goodness Mikey was there to repeat himself. “He’s not feeling well. He threw up outside Pop’s,”

Five minutes later my mother had put me to bed. Although I have the mind of a fifty five-year-old, it was a strange but most welcome experience.

I have decided to make extensive notes of, or diarize if you will, my second passage through the exact same stream of ‘Time’; a record that may one day be used as a source of information to prevent this from happening a second time!

To this end I have stolen a pencil and some stationery from my father’s desk in the study.

I can never reveal the truth of what has happened to the six-year-old son that they once knew. For all intents and purposes it is imperative that I keep it secret, for I fear that the truth would be devastating to them – especially to my dear mother.

It is a task that I know will be near-impossible to achieve without constant and concerted effort – yet, all energy MUST be exerted to conceal my true nature.

If memory serves me well, my mother had a way of discovering all my ‘secret’ hiding places. I will have to find a better and…novel means to conceal these notes. Even more important, as I am at the age where I have not yet learned to read or write, I will have to make sure that she never catches me in the process!!!

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