A novel by Wayne Edward Boyd
Visit the author's website.
Publication date: October 2010
“One of Hawking's
arguments in the conjecture is that we are not
awash in thousands of time travelers from the future, and therefore
time travel is impossible. This argument I find very dubious, and it
reminds me very much of the argument that there cannot be
intelligences elsewhere in space, because otherwise the Earth would
be awash in aliens. I can think half a dozen ways in which we could
not be awash in time travelers, and still time travel is possible.”
– Carl Sagan, American astronomer,
astrophysicist, and author.
Monday, July 12, 1966.
Schermerhorn Street and Nevins
intersected a few blocks from Flatbush Avenue and Atlantic in
Brooklyn, New York. Several shops, small apartments and
offices occupied the surrounding buildings, including the law office
of David Pierce, father of Mary Pierce, a young woman who lived
across the East River in Manhattan. Below the law office and two
doors along was a smoke shop owned by Gabriel Caprone, an Italian
immigrant whose cousins were rumored to have ties to the mob.
Caprone stored a nine millimeter revolver under the
counter, just to
the right of his cash register. Not that it had done him much good
the last time he was robbed. Perhaps one day it would save his life.
It is the best he could do to make an honest living to support his
young wife and two small children who lived upstairs.
One hot summer day, Caprone peered from behind the cash
saw a peculiar customer enter his store. A monk, he assumed,
dressed in flowing orange robes. The man had a fairly good muscular
build in his shoulders and arms. He appeared to be in his mid-to-late
twenties or early thirties, had a tuft of hair protruding from the
back of his otherwise shaven head and looked confused. “Can I help
you?” Caprone asked gruffly, yet politely.
“You got a holograph station?” the monk asked.
“For making a 3D phone call.”
“There's a pay phone out on the street.”
“Yeah, I saw it. Quaint. Uses coins.”
“You need some coins, Mister?”
“How do you use coins in the phone?”
“You just drop a dime into the slot and make your call!”
“How do I get some change?”
“You buy sumthin' – you get change,” Caprone insisted as
professionally as he could muster. He had long ago learned the art of
extracting blood from a stone.
Nodding, the monk glanced around, picked up a New York
plopped it more confidently on the counter than Gabriel had expected.
He handed over a one dollar bill. Gabriel accepted the bill, opened
the cash register, and returned ninety cents. This seemed to confuse
the monk, who carefully counted the change twice. Finally, he looked
up and asked, “Is this right?”
“Is what right?” Crapone asked.
“You gave me ninety cents.”
“The paper cost a dime, and you gave me a dollar,”
explained, but the monk continued to appear disoriented. “You okay,
Mister?” Caprone asked.
“I'm fine,” the man in orange replied, “I don't
that door was locked.”
“My door isn't locked, Mister.”
“No, I mean just around the corner. 305 Schermerhorn
Street. No one
answers when I ring the bell. And those trees across the street.
There should be a parking lot and building there.”
Caprone sighed. “Mister, what's your name?”
“Paul McPherson,” he answered. “Why?”
“Listen. Nobody lives at 305 Schermerhorn. That's the
The monk McPherson frowned dismissively, closed his
wallet and a
small business card fluttered to the floor.
Caprone cleared his throat and moved his eyes downward.
McPherson looked down and saw a business card at his
feet. He picked
it up and read the note scribbled on the face: “Meet me at the
south-west corner of Central Park, 6 PM.”
“Isn't mine,” he said.
“Fell from your wallet,” Caprone insisted.
Paul McPherson glanced at it again then shrugged,
crumpling the card.
It's nothing, he thought. Turning to leave he dropped it in a
wastebasket as he casually glanced at the date on top of the paper.
“July 12, 1966.”
He took two more steps toward the door and then stopped
looking at the date on the paper again. Slowly raising his eyes, he
noted a wall calendar by the door. A photograph of a woman in a
one-piece swimsuit was visible above the date: July 1966.
“What's the big idea?” he asked aloud, turning to face
standing behind the cash register. “Is this some kind of prank?”
“S'matter?” Caprone replied incredulously.
“Did you sell me a sixty-one year old newspaper?”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I mean the date, both on the paper and the calendar.”
“What about it?” asked Caprone, but McPherson simply
the newspaper's front page, as if it were self evident. Caprone
looked at him with a tilted head. “Mister, that's the correct
McPherson rolled his hazel colored eyes and shrugged. No
paper was only ten cents. Practical joker. Tucking it under his arm,
he stepped outside.
“How many people have you and I killed over the years?”
Agent Hilmore whispered as he picked up the large manila envelope
from his chair and sat down beside his colleague. All the seats of
the meeting room were now filled.
Caufield frowned and cleared his throat. He shook his
head but said
“Okay. Lemme rephrase that. How many have we removed –
out – eliminated for the sake of the secret government?”
“Don't know, don't care,” Caufield resigned. “More than
remember. What's with you today?”
“For Christ's sake, Caufield! Have you even looked at
They both glanced at the sealed envelopes on their laps.
“I've heard about it,” Caufield calmly replied. “Sidney
talked about it last night.”
Hilmore frowned and continued with a voice hinting at
“Dale's a prick. This is about a monk. A goddamn friggin monk.”
He cast a glance back at Prateep Tripathy who sat two rows behind,
wearing sunglasses over his pockmarked face. Tripathy, who had a
small bandage on his forehead nodded and twisted his lips into an
unsettling smirk. He knew what a monk was, goddamn it, being
from Orissa, India. It was Tripathy that let them get away on the bus
up in the Himalayas. That costly mistake was why they were all
gathered here today.
A door on the side of the room quietly opened and a
wearing a fedora and a trench coat appeared. Removing his hat and
coat, he placed them on a nearby chair and took his place behind the
podium. Mounted on the wall behind him was the traditional round
emblem with a bald eagle standing against a blue background. The
eagle glared regally to the left as he stood proudly clutching a
skeleton key in his claws, wearing a vest of stars and stripes.
At over six feet, the man had a square jaw and dark,
His complexion was pale and expression firm. Adjusting his
eyeglasses, he fastened the Bluetooth microphone to his ear. He
tapped it gently and heard the boom from the speakers.
His eyes fell upon his chief hitmen, Special Agents
Caufield, and then on Tripathy who filed yesterday's report. He noted
Tripathy's wound on his forehead. An armed security guard stood at
the doorway, flanked on either side by men dressed in black suits,
white shirts and wearing dark glasses.
One of them held a black briefcase with a Walther PPK semi-automatic
pistol and silencer inside.
“Morning, everyone.” His voice was deep and deliberate.
most of you follow the news, so there's nothing much to say about the
kidnapping. You already knew Professor Cali was working with us.
Unfortunately, our reconnaissance agent, Mr. Tripathy here, almost
had the matter in hand but they slipped away from him in India, and
now it's up to the rest of us to get to them.” He again glanced at
Tripathy, who returned the glare through his mirrored sunglasses.
“As you know, Professor Cali was working on an important
and to tell you the truth, it's the stolen goods that went missing
with him that absolutely must be recovered. The Professor is
He raised his right arm, hand open, gesturing toward the
envelopes on their laps as he paused to take a sip of water and clear
his throat. “So if you have any questions before we dismiss you to
read the file, now's the time to ask.”
A hand rose. He acknowledged a woman in the back.
“What about the drugs? Any of them missing as well?” she
There had been concern in the press that some of the
psychopathic drugs might have been stolen. These drugs, developed to
control the threat of terrorism, proved to be most effective when
combined with electroshock therapy and hypnotism to bring an enemy
completely under one's control. They had first been reported in the
Washington Post in a special exposé on government tactics to
infiltrate terrorist cells around the world. The drugs were, however,
still experimental in nature, and the exact dosage had yet to be
“No,” the man at the podium lied. “The drugs are safe.
we're concerned with is the missing prototype.”
Hilmore perked up in his seat. Prototype for what?
The man at the podium looked to see if any other hands
went up. They
didn't yet know about Paul, Mary or the little man. They would learn
about them in the report.
“Just remember: you must refrain from either confirming
any knowledge of what you read, and you should notify Q43 of any
attempted inquiry. Is that clear? Remember: this is Code B. The
President doesn't want this to affect his re-election campaign.”
Hilmore glanced down at the manila package on his lap.
He knew what Code B meant. Another assassination to protect another
President. Since the collapse of the World Trade Center towers 74
years ago, the National Security Agency and Central Security Service
had become independent from congressional scrutiny. Only the
President of the United States could review operations. Even that was
on a need-to-know basis. Elected officials like the President were
generally kept out of the loop. If the President was favorable to
operations, then the NSA/CSS would support him. Otherwise a scandal
would materialize to thwart further involvement.
Picking up his hat, the man at the podium concluded:
This meeting is adjourned until tomorrow, same time. You have
twenty-four hours to familiarize yourself with the case. After that,
we get to work.”
With that, Sidney Dale settled his hat on his head and
scooped up his
Caufield rolled his eyes in disbelief as they rose from
“Fine with me,” Hilmore commented dryly. The audience
moved toward the outer secured area.
Emerging from the meeting room,
they passed through the lobby and proceeded down the hallway toward
the elevator. Hilmore and Caufield parted amicably with a
handshake and Hilmore headed for his office.
Once alone, he dropped into a comfortable chair and
hefty packet carefully. Turning it over, Hilmore saw TDC's
traditional wax seal with their triangular insignia on the back.
Breaking the seal, he removed the report and read the cover page.
It was a quotation from the late Carl Sagan, an
Pulitzer Prize-winning author from the last century. “I can think
half a dozen ways in which we could not be awash in time travelers,
and still time travel is possible,” the author wrote.
Hilmore flipped through the remaining pages and sighed.
like killing religious people, but he knew he'd do what was
necessary. It didn't help that Hilmore's nephew was a Hare Krishna.
York. June 10, 2027
Paul McPherson stood scanning the towering mass of
stone, metal and
glass that soared from the sidewalk to the sky, one thousand, four
hundred fifty-three feet above and then again at the address
scribbled on the crumpled paper in his hand. It was late afternoon.
The sky was clear and the weather was warm. A mild breeze cooled the
sweat from the top of his shaven head.
When the light turned green the hydrogen and electric
vehicles pulled to a stop and the monk followed the pedestrians
across Fifth Avenue and walked a few yards down Thirty-third Street.
Passing through the revolving doors, he entered the three story high
lobby of the Empire State Building and searched for an elevator. He
did not get far.
Two men approached him from behind. One, a tall man with
grabbed his left arm firmly. The other, a shorter, stocky man with
gray hair, firmly gripped his right arm. “Gotcha. Come with us.”
They placed his hands behind his back and locked them in place with
police-issue metal hand-restraints.
Ushered roughly inside an elevator, the monk found
by a very tall gentleman with gray skin, dressed in an expensive blue
silk suit wearing a black cape with gold trim. Hanging on either of
his arms were two women – one an attractive blonde with an
hour-glass figure, the other a round faced woman with red, spiked
“Hello McPherson,” greeted the caped man as the two
entered and the elevator doors closed behind them. One of the men
punched a button on the wall, and the elevator began ascending.
“What's the meaning of this and how do you know my
“Most people stay dead when they die,” replied the caped
“Stay dead this time.”
“You're going to kill me?”
“Of course! Let's say your trip is canceled.”
The monk never heard the reply. He woke up inside a body
to the bottom of the East River.