Something In The Air
Seeing the silhouette of a male figure on the other side of the front door, a figure that I was all too familiar with, I quickly pulled off my father’s old blazer, just in the nick of time.
The door swung open and right there before my very eyes was a younger version of my father than I remembered from my childhood. I stood stock still and looked right at him. He looked right through me as if I wasn’t there. He pulled off his denim jacket and threw it over the back of a kitchen chair. Then he emptied the contents of his trouser pockets onto the formica topped table. Amongst a few coins was a slip of paper, I just had time to see that it had ‘Denny Betting’ printed in bright red at the top. Underneath the title I could see scribbled in ink ‘five pounds to win on Old Leather Jacket at 20 to 1.’ It was enough for me to know that my father had done as I asked him to in my last letter to him. So far so good, all was going to plan. Then my father picked up the betting slip and went upstairs, apparently none the wiser about my presence.
It had become clear to me that I had to be actually wearing his jacket of blazer to be able to travel back in time or for my father to see me. If either was draped over my arm there was no movement. I sat back down and tried to think this through.
Discarding the thoughts that it was all in my imagination or some sort of psychological delusion I was left with two possibilities. One, I was actually able to travel back to a time long since passed, or two, the past was still in play in some other parallel perfectly synchronised dimension.
I was also curious as to where my father’s clothes acquired this magical power to transport me between the two time zones. What chemical qualities might the blazer and jacket possess to achieve all of this? The question I asked myself was, where did that power come from?
Then I remembered that during the war my father had served time as a sailor.
Was it possible he had had something to do with what was called the so called Philadelphia Experiment whereby a warship had been tele-transported from one location to another in a military attempt to make it invisible? Could my father have been on board the ship in question, the USS Eldridge?
The story was that the experiment was based upon Einsteinien theories about unifying electromagnetism with gravity. The Unified Field Theory was an attempt, they say, to make ships undetectable by the enemy. It all seemed a bit far fetched and was never proven. It seemed like a bit of a long shot to me. My father would have had to have been on board the ship being used for the experiment, or to have had contact with an American sailor who had been on board, and acquired the leather flying jacket from that source.
The thought of the power of electromagnetic fields set me thinking about another possibility. My father was an electrician by trade and was once lucky to survive a substation explosion. The only injury he sustained was a hole in his hand which was grafted over. Also, outside of my parents house was an electricity pylon which were well known for producing electromagnetic fields. Such fields were said to be responsible for the appearance of ghosts from another time. Again, this theory was unproven.
The only other possibility came from a story of my father’s about something that had happened to his younger brother during a wartime sorte over the Bay of Biscay, north of Spain.
My mother once told me that my father had told her about how my Uncle, en-route to England, had flown into some mysterious looking cloud. My Uncle lost all control of his aircraft and all sense of orientation. Apparently the time in the cloud lasted at least two hours according to my Uncle’s wristwatch. Yet when he exited the cloud barely two minutes had passed! The cloud was an acrid ochre through orange colour and smelt of some sort of indescribable fragrance. This was all getting very confusing and getting me nowhere fast.
At last I decided to concentrate on the matter in hand, my father’s ruinous gambling addiction.
Trying to figure out the endless possibilities about where the power of my father’s blazer and jacket got their power from had already taken up far too much of my time and thought processes. I looked at the kitchen clock to see that the race was already over. It was ten thirty in the morning. For sure my father was already on his way to collect his winnings. Indeed, as the local betting shop was but a few hundred yards away he may well have already been to collect his winnings.
I went upstairs to check the leather jacket on the off chance that my father had not only been to collect, but had also returned to put a message in the jacket inside pocket telling me he had collected his winnings, exactly as I had asked him to do.
This time as I reached inside the inside pocket I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. There was a name tag just below the top line of the pocket. And even more surprising was that it was not my father’s name on the tag. The name was that of my Uncle Robert, the pilot who had got lost in cloud over the Bay of Biscay. That re-opened that line of inquiry in my mind. Then my finger tips touched upon the Basildon Bond paper upon which my father and I had been exchanging messages through time. I slowly opened the folded paper to see that yes indeed my father had been to collect his winnings and was now awaiting further instructions. This time my father was in for the surprise of his life. Because this time my plan was to see if he and I could meet up for a chat.
There was no time to waste on this next step. That money my father had won on Old Leather Jacket would be burning a hole in his pocket. I had to get to him before that happened otherwise all would be lost. This was no time to tarry. My mother and father’s future wellbeing depended on what happened next. If all went well it would change their lives forever.
I quickly took the leather jacket and put it on. It seemed to change the whole atmosphere even inside the house. Suddenly I heard footsteps coming up the stairs and my heart skipped a beat.