Welcome to the new Stream of Consciousness fiction blog.

A serial adventure in fiction by Brad Sondahl

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Chapter 34
Help I am trapped in the future!
by Phil Steen

I was hoping to talk to Alice, to tell her about being stuck in the present, but when I went to find her, I just found a note:

Phil, we were supposed to go shopping for a new hydrangea.  I've waited till 2:30. You obviously forgot.  So I'll get the kind I like.

I  didn't even know we needed a new hydrangea.  I wasn't even sure what a hydrangea was.  But I looked at my watch and it read 2:35.  Missed her by 5 minutes.  I tried calling her cell phone.   I got the voice mail, so she must be talking to someone.  Well, she could pick out the hydrangea herself, just as she suggested.

    I decided to bicycle over to Larry's house, just for the exercise.  And once there, I thought I'd visit with him.  When I got to his door, there was a message--"UPS, leave any extreme sports gear at the door--I'll be back in 10 minutes."  There weren't any packages, but I sat and waited at least 10 minutes, then decided to give up on Larry.  I bicycled around the park some, then headed home.

    Alice wasn't home, but she'd left another note.  

Where are you?  The Pioneers Banquet is at 5:30.  I've gone ahead.  Come as quick as you can.

Missed her again...  The phone rang, but whoever it was hung up by the time I got to it.  I was beginning to feel isolated, and out of sync with the world.  As I raced to get dressed up in my cowboy clothes for the banquet, I wondered if I might still be stuck in some other weird time continuum.  What if I was, for instance, 5 minutes in the future of everyone.  I might never connect with them again.  Then I thought, maybe I've always been five minutes in the future, since I'm not very connected to anyone anyway.  This thought slowed me up a bit, but my natural buoyant nature got me out of that philosophical nosedive.  I set off for the Legion Hall where I assumed the dinner was.  Assumed was the operative word, since there was no one there when I got there.  At least there was a note on the door:

    Pioneers Banquet moved to the Grange Hall,
       due to electrical problem in kitchen.

I set off into the country, trying to remember where the Grange Hall was.  Since I navigate by landmarks, first I had to remember what the Grange was near.  After driving around for an hour or so, I remembered it was near the old railroad tracks, so then I located it fairly quickly.  I would have even  broken the Chief Guys Command and asked for directions, but there was no one out to ask...  Unfortunately, they were just finishing sweeping up when I pulled in the parking lot.  I vaguely knew the guy sweeping, so I asked if he'd seen Alice.  Indeed, he remembered her leaving just about 5 minutes ago.
    As I proceeded home, I wondered whether, if I were stuck in some other weird time continuum, if it was the future, the past, or something other.  I was so busy wondering that I missed a turn or two, and after slowly getting reoriented, arrived home pretty late.   Sure enough, there was a note from Alice:

    I can see you were home sometime because you moved the other note!  I've gone to bed, but wake me with a good excuse, or I expect to find
in the morning you had a horrible accident , in which case I will still have mixed feelings about all this.

This required some serious thought.  Alice thinks philosophy is a wonderful thing, but she may not accept getting stuck in the present tense or in the future as valid reasons to blow off a charity banquet.  I seemed to always be about 5 minutes late, which one might interpret as being stuck in the past.  But the fact was, in each of those occurences,  if I could have gotten back into the past 5 minutes, things would have been fine, so clearly I was stuck in the future...  What's more, I was writing this in the past tense, which means I'm really even further into the future...  

    I crept into bed quietly, even though I figured she wouldn't notice I was there for 5 minutes or so.   I tried to get it untangled in my head, which led to my rapidly falling asleep...  When I woke up, Alice was still beside me.  I was so overjoyed, I woke her with a kiss.  Unfortunately, she was a little behind me in waking up, as she rolled over and went back to sleep.  This was nothing new--our sleep patterns have always been a bit out of sync.  But now I wonder if it's due to one of us being out of place in time...

Use this chart to find the next of the cartoons (first 47  entries) or the stories (starting with  1 A River Too Far 5 rows below week 8)
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Week 47
(cartoon ends)
1. A River Too Far
2.The Reunion
3.The Daily Grind
4 The New Car and Treasure
5. The Big 
6. The old
7. The Ravine Runner 8. The Fabulous
Folk Festival
9. Druid
10. Goats of
Christmas Past
11. The Secret Six 12. The Great
White Hunters
13. The Old School
Lost in the City

What's in
a name?
The Curse of
Bently Manor
Shortbottom Possessed
The Lost
of Iraq
Phil Steen
for President!
Phil Steen
for Rehab
The Adventures
of Handiman
and Fiberwoman
Pirates of the Puget Sound
Building a platform, plank by plank
The Quest
for meaning
Larry and
Phil to
The Rescue
Hurrah for
the Reds,
Whites, and
How I spent
my summer
I am
trapped in
the Present
Help I am trapped
in the future
Nose of Death