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  • Time Trip

    The nightmares were back.  They never really left.  Frank awoke breathing heavily.  His shirt was drenched as if he had just run a marathon.  Frank’s wife Sarah awoke rubbing her eyes.

    “Did you have the same dream again?”  said Sarah.

    “Yes, I was close this time.  I could have saved him.”  said Frank.

    “You have to stop punishing yourself.  It’s not your fault.”

    “If I was there I could have done something to stop it.  I am sure of it.”

    “There is nothing you can do now.  It is time to get ready for the reunion.”

    Frank’s Mother would always arrive last to the Pilgrim family reunion.

    Frank Pilgrim was enjoying his retirement.  After working several years with Horizon Communications, he received his gold watch and pension.  He and his wife Sarah had saved over the years to buy a house on the Hudson River.  This house would become their legacy house, a house they could pass on to their children and their children’s children.  Where had the time gone? Frank thought.

    The Pilgrim Family Reunion happened every summer.  No matter what was going on with all the family members they found a way to make it back to Frank and Sarah’s home.  Everyone would make a long weekend out of it.  Frank had everything he needed.  Almost.  There was something missing.  There was something looming and he knew it.

    The doorbell rang.  The echo of the bell reverberated ominously.  He knew who it was.

    Frank went to the door but his feet were dragging.  He should be happy to see his Mother.

    He opened the door and a gust of wind pushed him back.  Frank’s Mom, Margaret Pilgrim, was standing there looking down.  She raised her head up to meet his face.  Margaret had been a beautiful woman.  She had been the face of Comfort Soap and Detergent in the 1950’s and did many commercials and advertisements for them.  In the advertisement, her brunette hair was tied up in a bun.  She wore a dress and an apron holding some laundry.  Her blue eyes glowed and seemed to come right through the box of detergent.

    But now the glow in her eyes had faded.  Her hair had thinned to a stark white.  Her skin had become worn with wrinkles like little highways up and down her face.  It had not just been the progression of time, Frank knew,  that had caused these changes.  Her husband was murdered.

    “Hi Mom.” said Frank.

    It took a moment for Franks Mom to recognize that he had said something to her.  She was wrapped up in a moment where she was not even sure if she was here.

    “Oh, hi Frank.” she said.

    They both stood there knowing what was coming.  Frank knew what she was going to say next.  I miss him.

    “I miss your Father, Frank.”  She collapsed in his arms.  Frank caught her and realized how frail his Mother had become.  She was always such a strong woman when he’d been a child carrying him around in one hand while she would do the chores around the house.

    “I miss Dad too.”  Frank commiserated.

    They hugged each other.

    “Come on in Mom.  I know some kids that will cheer you up quick”.  They walked into the house and the kids ran to Margaret saying, “Nana Margaret!”  Frank’s Mom felt better being surrounded by her grandchildren and she forgot about her deceased husband at least for a little while.

     

    The Pilgrim Family reunion was another success and everyone went back to their homes.  Frank drove his Mom back to the Woodlawn section of the Bronx where he had been born.  After saying goodbye, Frank started driving home but stopped off at the local Gasco to fill up his tank.  Where he parked his car was the perfect vantage point to the bus stop across the street.  This Bus Stop had been one of the stops in his father’s route as a bus driver.

    A blue BX 160 bus came by down East 233rd street right on queue and made a stop picking up hurrying passengers.  At seven o’clock every night that his father worked Frank would get the leftovers from dinner and bring it to him at the bus stop.  He would get on the bus with him and sit in the front seat facing his Dad so he could see him driving.  He loved watching his father drive the big bus.  He was amazed that his father could make those wide turns and watch him turn the wheel with ease as if he were a Captain of a gigantic ship in the ocean.  His father loved to have his son on his bus route.

    While Frank was sitting at the Gasco looking at the Bus Stop, an ambulance sped by with its siren wailing like a hungry baby.  There were certain triggers or reminders that brought him back to his father and the single moment he couldn’t forget.  Anytime he would see a bus go by it would remind him of his Dad.  The fact that he was at the place where he used to meet his Dad was bad enough.  Now the ambulance zooming by the bus stop brought him back to the time when his father was murdered.  There was no escape now.  He was reliving it.  His father had been killed a little after the time he would of have picked him up at their usual time.  The killer was never found.  What was the killers motive?  Was it for money or revenge?  Witnesses had said that the killer was wearing a hood.  The one time he didn’t get in the bus with his dad was the last time.  He blamed himself for this over and over.  He was only a teenager at the time.  What could he of done to prevent this?  He wasn’t sure.  But he did know there might of have been a better chance of his father surviving if he were on the bus with him.  That was all he needed to know to punish himself all the years afterward.

    Frank also recalled his father had the charm of a Leprechaun.  He seemed to always say the right things at the right time.  If he met one of his friends on the bus with their children he would say to the child, “Hello Princess” in his Irish brogue.  The child laughed.  The parent smiled.  He also did something that wasn’t entirely legal, but did it quickly it was hardly noticed.  He would cover the place where the token was dropped with his hand if he knew the person walking on the bus.  The patron walked by and it was as if he had put one over on the bus company with his sleight of hand.  The next person that Seamus didn’t know paid the fare.

    Frank also thought back to his father’s murder.   What was the motive of the killer?  He wondered what his father was thinking at the time when he was shot.  I worked hard to get here and don’t deserve this.  I’ve done nothing wrong.  He probably thought.

    The ambulance came after several critical minutes.  His father had already lost a lot of blood.  By the time, they had got him to the ER he was in a coma.  Frank and his family rushed to see him.  Looking at him lying in the bed was surreal as if some mannequin had replaced their father.  The man they knew had a zest for life.  Now he was robbed of his life and replaced by this imposter.  Several wires were attached to his body monitoring his vitals and a tube to his throat keeping him alive.  His father’s lungs sagged back and forth like an accordion.

    Frank wanted to approach his father but wasn’t sure how.  He felt terrible that he wasn’t on the bus with him when the murder occurred.  He grabbed his hand,  almost feeling as if he was grabbing a lifeless statue.  He gripped his father’s hand hoping he could wake him out of the coma.  Suddenly, his father’s hand shook in response to his grip.  Franks’ eyes lit up and then he screamed for the nurse.

    “He’s alive!”  Frank cried.  “His hand moved!”

    The nurse rushed over looking at all the machines and conferred with the doctor who had quickly come into the room.

    “This is normal when someone is in a coma but his status hasn’t changed.”  The doctor said.  “I’m sorry.”

    Frank and his family were devastated.  Meanwhile, they continued to watch Seamus for several weeks without any changes.  They would continually ask the nurse and Doctor for an updated status report, but their answers would never change.  Finally, the nurse approached the family with a piece of paper asking them to sign it.  It read in bold letters: DO NOT RESUCITATE.

    What does this mean?  Frank had thought.  He had a feeling it was not good.  He asked his Mom and she told him that the Hospital would turn off the life support to his father with their permission.

    Instead, he kept clutching his father’s hand tighter as if the only thing that was keeping him alive was his contact.  This was the hand that played catch when they threw the baseball around.  This was the hand that held his hand as they walked to school in the morning or helped him with his homework.  He remembered when he was riding his tricycle making stops at every tree by the sidewalk as if it was a bus stop on his route just like his dad would make.  His father was his rock and best friend.  Franks’ eyes welled up as he looked at all the machines that kept his Father alive.  Was this all that was left of Seamus Pilgrim?

    The doctor approached Frank and his Mom with his head lowered trying to comfort them the best as he could.  “Mrs. Pilgrim it has been over a month for your husband and it is part of our protocol to give you the option of not resuscitating.”

    “What are his chances?” asked his Mom.

    Well, I’m not God but we haven’t seen any brain activity for over a month.  There was too much trauma.”

    If only I was there when you were shot Dad.  Frank thought.  I could have helped.

    “I don’t know what to do Doctor.  This is my Husband we are talking about.  There must be some hope.”

    “He’s brain dead,” the doctor said with gravity. “The machines are keeping him alive.”

    Frank and his Mom hung on a little longer but gave in to the constant badgering from the hospital and insurance company which advised they would no longer pay for a person who was clinically dead.  God bless you Dad.  I wish there was something I could do to save you.

     

    Now Frank had his hands on the dashboard of the car crying by the Gasco in front of the Bus Stop, reliving every moment.  Before driving home, he stopped off at the Watershed Pub in Woodlawn for a drink.  It was a bar his father liked to frequent.

    As he walked in it was hard not to notice the big sign on the door stating DOLLAR BEERS ALL DAY LONG.  How could they only charge a dollar for beer all day long?  Frank thought.

    Rory was tending bar as Frank walked in.  The bartender was getting on in years and if his face was a roadmap it had a lot of miles on it.  His whiskey nose shone like Rudolph’s.

    “What will it be, lad?” Rory asked.

    “A pint of Harp.”

    Rory got Frank his pint and got one for himself as well.  “How’s it going, lad?”  he asked.

    “It’s okay Rory.”

    “You’re thinking about your father, are yah?  I knew your father Seamus.  He was a good man.  I was friends with him in the old country.”

    “You can see right through me, Rory.  I miss him very much”.

    “Tis a shame what happened to your Dad.  Cut down in the prime of his life.”

    “Over the years I’ve been thinking what would have happened if I was there at the time of the murder.  If there were a way I could change time.  I could have made a difference.”

    Rory started coughing violently and bent over.

    “Are you okay?  Let me help you.”

    Rory gathered himself and took a long pull of his pint.

    “I’m better now, thanks.  Too many days in the bar are finally catching up with me now.  I don’t have a lot of time left, I’m afraid to say.”

    “I’m sorry to hear that.”

    Rory nodded.

    “I really wish I could have been there to help my Father.  It has been haunting me.  By the way Rory,  how can you afford to only charge dollar pints all day long?”  It must be putting you out of business.”

    “Well, that is a good question, lad.  I have made a lot of money throughout the years and my time is running short.  I would like to show you something, but let’s do a shot first.  It’s on the house!”

    Rory brought over two shots of Jameson’s and they quickly drank them down.  To Frank the shot felt warm going down his chest and enjoyed its trip.  Rory’s nose turned a little more red after his shot was finished.

    Rory and Frank started walking to the back of the bar.  As they walked Frank noticed several pictures on the wall that he never noticed or just missed before.  There was a picture of Neil Armstrong on the Moon saluting with Old Glory right next to him.  Following that photograph was the horrifying 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers.  To Frank, the wounds were still fresh when he thought about all the brave souls that were lost on that day.  He had personally lost some dear friends who were firefighters and policemen.  Finally, there was a photo of the tragic JFK assassination as the limousine drove through Dallas.  All watershed moments, he mused.

    Rory led Frank into the basement turning on the lights.  This room was enormous.  Rory had a warehouse full of cases of beer, kegs and liquor.  Upon closer inspection, Frank noticed that some of the names of the beer he didn’t recognize like Harley Davidson Beer.  Some others he did recognize but hadn’t drunk them in over twenty years like Miller Genuine Draft, Schaefer, Michelob, Schlitz, Stroh’s and Mickey’s Malt Liquor.  There was also cases of Wine Coolers which Frank didn’t think anyone bought anymore.

    “You’ve got quite a variety here Rory.”  Frank noted.

    “Aye Lad I do and I know what you’re thinking.  How did I get all this old stuff?”

    “The thought did cross my mind.  Nobody drinks this stuff anymore.”

    “You’re  right, Laddy.  But people drank it in the past.”

    “And it was mighty cheap years ago, wasn’t it?”

    Rory started coughing again, even harder now.  He went down on one knee, almost collapsing on the floor.  Frank helped him up.

    “Me time is almost up, Frankie.  Too many trips into the past you could say.”

    “What is that supposed to mean?”

    “Well, I might as well tell yah.  You’re not going to believe me, but I’m going to be meeting my maker soon.  Now tell me Frank, the thing that haunts you the most is not being able to save your Dad?  Is that right?”

    “Yes, you’re right.”

    “And what year day did he die?”

    “October 27th, Nineteen eighty-four.”

    On the other side of the room past all the beer and liquor was another door.  There were several locks on the door which Rory started unlocking. “Now you’re going to find out how I can sell dollar beers all day.  Think about your Dad Frank and the day he died.”

    Rory opened up the door.  It creaked open and sounded as if it was an old tin man needing some oil.  The sight that Frank saw was familiar, like a normal vision he might have seen if he was on Corona Avenue in Woodlawn.  Many of the shops and bars looked familiar.  This was a Woodlawn he was familiar with until the BX 340 bus lumbered by with a large sign on the side saying RE-ELECT REAGAN in 1984.  The bus was choking out black smoke from its rear.  No hybrid bus should have that much pollution.  Frank thought.  He looked to his left down Corona Avenue toward the Gasco Station and saw a sign.  GAS SALE!  REGULAR GAS ONLY $1.20.

    He walked toward a car that was parked and looked at his reflection in the car window.  He couldn’t believe his eyes, but he was young again!  His belly and white hair were gone.  They were replaced with a flat stomach and jet black hair.  Somehow he was a teenager again.  What kind of trick was this?  Was this a Hollywood set?  Frank didn’t see how any of this could be true and started feeling delirious.  Rory pulled Frank back into the basement of the bar.

    “Don’t worry Frank, you’ll be okay.  That always happens the first time.”

    “What the hell just happened out there Rory!  How did that happen?”

    “I knew you wouldn’t believe me so I had to show you.”

    “Was I back in 1984”?

    “You were back at exactly the time that you thought about.  I know this is all confusing.  The way it works is you concentrate on the exact time you want to go back, but it has to be a place you have been before.”

    Frank rubbed his head as if he had a massive headache.

    “You can’t go back to somewhere in the past that you haven’t been to before.  You also can’t go into the future because you haven’t been there yet.  It’s all a wee bit crazy I agree, but this is what I’ve experienced.”

    “Let’s just say if I did believe you is there anything else I should know?”

    “Yes Lad, when you’re trying to change something in the past you won’t have a lot of time to do it so don’t start looking around to find the girl who blew you off for the prom or something else.  Find out the date and time right away.”

                Frank was sitting on a case of beer trying to wake himself up as if he was in a dream. 

    “I haven’t told you this, but I am selling this bar and they are going to be knocking it down for multi-level apartments so whatever you are going to do you better do it fast.”

    Frank started thinking about all the good times he had with his father.  He wanted him to see what he had accomplished and to be a grandparent to his children.  There was so much more they could do together if he were alive.  He stood up from the case of beer and started walking towards the door.

    “What do I have to lose Rory?”

    “That’s a good question Frank.  I’ll be here waiting for you as long as I can until they start knocking the place down.  Good luck, Laddy.”

    Rory opened the door and Frank walked out into the past.  He was back out on Corona Avenue and saw the BX340 bus go by again with the same elect Reagan sign in 1984.  He was a teenager again and wearing his baseball uniform with his Yankee hat that he wore when he played with the Boys Club.  To his left was where he needed to go.  Just two long blocks and then cross the street and he was back at his Father’s bus stop.  There was a kid on the corner selling newspapers.  He grabbed a Daily News and looked for the date.  On the cover, the headline was USSR PERFORMS NUCLEAR TESTS.  PRESIDENT REAGAN GATHERS JOINTS CHIEFS OF STAFF.  The date on the newspaper read October 27th, 1984.  Another headline read REAGAN/BUSH BUSY ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL AGAINST A CONFIDENT MONDALE/FERRARO CAMP.  The paper portrayed a picture of Ronald and Nancy Reagan on a boat with the American flag in the background.

    Frank started walking towards the Bus Stop.  On his left side was a large building full of Co-op’s and across the street was a supermarket that his Mom always took him to.  On the front of the supermarket door, there were many sales notices.  GALLON OF MILK TWO BUCKS!  DOZEN EGGS ONLY ONE DOLLAR!

    Frank couldn’t believe the prices, but it made sense being in 1984.  A girl who looked like Olivia Newton-John was walking towards him wearing a headband and walkman.  He asked her the time and when she took off her walkman she heard Jump by Van Halen blasting.  She stated it was 6:45.  He started walking faster.  He had to be at the bus stop by seven.  One block to go.

    The last block he was on was a long sidewalk with grass on both sides.  Across the street was the Gasco.  Up ahead he saw some boys waiting by the corner right where he would cross the street.  As he got closer the kids were in better view.  There were three boys that looked close to his age.  They were wearing baseball uniforms with red hats, shirts and socks.  All three of them were holding baseball bats.  The boys were facing each other seeming to be having a conversation.

    As Frank came closer they all suddenly turned towards him hitting the bats against their hands.  They were now in front of him blocking his path.

    “Hey Dude.”  one of the boys, probably the gang leader, said.

    “Hello.”

    “Where are you going Dude?”  the boy repeated with a smirk.

    “I’m taking the Bus.”

    “No shit Sherlock!  We know what you are trying to do.”

    “I’m just taking the bus and that’s it.”

    They surrounded Frank holding the bats in their hand.  Frank didn’t have a lot of time left.

    “Listen, like it would be totally awesome if you just turned around and left.  My name is Henry.  This is Jose and Jamal and there is no way, man that we’re letting you on that bus.”

    Frank looked over Henry’s shoulder and he saw a bus coming down East 233rd street.  It looked like his father’s Bus.  He tried to walk around them, but they pushed him back.

    “What’s your hurry!”  You’re not getting on that bus.  There’s always somebody that comes and tries to change something and we are here to stop them.”

    Frank saw the BX160 sign on the bus that was coming down East 233rd street.  He could see his Father with his blue MTA shirt on.  The bus was pulling up to the stop.   Frank pushed the boys aside and ran for the Bus.  He could make it if he hurried.  There were a lot of people getting on the bus.  The boys ran after Frank and tackled him, dragging him back.  Frank could see his Father scanning the crowd looking for him.

    “Noooooo!”  Frank screamed, falling to the ground.

    The boys picked Frank up.

    “This is bogus,”  Henry said.  “But you left us no choice.  Now we’re going to have to kill you.”

    The boys started swinging their bats at Frank.  He broke loose and ran back towards the Watershed.  At the Watershed, he turned around.  The red sluggers had already started walking back to their original position.  Frank could hear them laughing.  He opened the door at the Watershed and walked into the present.

    As Frank closed the door behind him he heard a loud crash as if the roof was collapsing.  The crashes were continuing and it sounded like a wrecking ball was hitting the building.  Frank called for Rory and he came down the steps into the basement.

    “You were gone for a while Laddy.  How did it go?”

    “Not good Rory.  I met a lot of resistance.  They don’t want me to get on the bus.”

    “Well, you better get your butt in gear son because I can’t hold off the demolition team much longer.  They want to knock this building down to start working on the apartments.”

    “I’ll do my best.  I have to think of something.”

    “May the road rise with you!”

    Frank opened the door and reentered his past.  When he walked out on Corona Avenue again it seemed if he just rewound a movie that he recorded.  The same BX340 bus went by with the ELECT REAGAN sign.  The same kid was selling newspapers on the corner.  He started walking toward his destination.  He met up with Olivia Newton-John again and she said it was 6:40.  This time Frank crossed the street hoping the Red Sluggers from Hell wouldn’t notice him.  He was on the other side of the street walking toward the Gasco.  He kept looking at the boys across the street and they hadn’t noticed him yet.  The sluggers were in a circle as if huddling up to go over an important play on the field.  He kept walking trying to stay unnoticed.  The Red Sluggers suddenly sprang towards him, screaming and yelling with their bats held high.  The boys stopped a couple of feet ahead of him.  Their black eyes glared at Frank.

    “What’s your hurry Dude!”  Henry said just as before.

    “I just want to get on the bus.”

    “This is like totally bogus Dude!  You’re not getting on that bus.”

    The Red Sluggers approached Frank swinging their bats as if they were taking batting practice.  Frank started backing up and looked behind him.  There was a cop writing a ticket for a car that was doubled parked.  He ran up to the cop.

    “Officer can you help me?”

    “Sorry, son we can’t let you get on that bus.”  the policeman said.

    “How do you know I want to get on the bus?”

    The cop started laughing and the boys were laughing also.  Everyone was against him, Frank realized.  In a quick move, he grabbed the cops gun, waving it at the boys and the cop.

    “Hold on their son,”  the policeman cautioned.  “You don’t want to do anything stupid.”

    “I’m getting on that bus!”  Frank said with determination.

    The cop’s face transformed from a look of concern into a contorted twist of rage.  He ran at Frank screaming.  Frank fired the gun at the cop but missed badly.  The police officer was almost on top of him and Frank fired again hitting its mark.  The Cop crumpled and collapsed on the street.  The bus was coming.  The Crimson Sluggers ran towards Frank cursing and screaming.  Frank fired the gun at them hitting Henry in the leg causing him to fall forward.  The other two tripped over Henry and gave Frank an opening.  He sprinted up Corona Avenue.  His father’s bus just pulled up.  Frank heard a clang on the street and to his left a bat sailed past.  He could hear the boys behind him yelling.  The last passenger was getting on the bus ahead.  He could see his father was disappointed again not seeing him.

    As he was starting to cross the street on East 233rd street, a tractor trailer was speeding up the hill on his left.  There was no time to wait for the light to change red.  Another bat whizzed over Frank’s head and just missing him.  The boys had gained ground and were right behind him.  Frank dashed across the street.  The bus closed its doors.  The tractor trailer blasted its horn and picked up speed.  It wasn’t stopping.  Frank felt a hand grasp at his shirt.  He jumped towards his father’s bus and the tractor trailer just missed him.  The boys behind him weren’t so lucky as they were struck by the tractor trailer. Frank slammed his hands against the doors of the bus and his father was surprised to see him.  He got on the bus just before it left.  In his haste, he dropped the gun before he got on and wished he had it right now.  The bus was crowded, but he managed to get in his old seat facing his Dad.  He was so happy to see his Father.  He thought he would never see him again.  He touched his Fathers hand on the steering wheel, the hand he never thought he would touch again.  He didn’t want to let go.

    “I thought you forgot about me Frank.”  his father said.

    “I was just running a little late Dad.”

    “I guess in your haste you forgot my dinner.”

    “Sorry about that Dad.  I totally forgot.”

    “No problem Son.  We will get something at the end of the route.”

    “That sounds good Dad.  It is great to see you again.”

    Frank had some many thoughts racing through his head.  His job wasn’t finished yet.  He was on the bus, but he had to figure out who the killer was before his Dad was murdered.  He didn’t think he would be able to do this over again with the demolition of the Watershed.  He surveyed the crowd in the bus and it was an eclectic crowd.  There were some teenagers in the back of the bus who looked like they were coming home from High School.  There were some elderly women near him at the front of the bus.  In the middle of the bus was a businessman who was wearing an expensive charcoal suit reading a newspaper.   There was a homeless person near the businessman who had his head down drinking a tall boy.  What connection could any of these people have to his Father?  Or was this just a random shooting?

    The bus stopped on Webster Avenue to pick up more passengers.  Frank stood and readied himself, scanning the crowd.  Several people walked to the front of the bus to exit.  The businessman was close to his father and reached into his pocket.  Frank strained to see what he was grabbing and was almost on top of him.  The businessman turned towards Frank with his hand in his coat pocket.  Frank had his fists clenched waiting for his next move.  The man took out a pair of glasses and gave Frank a sarcastic look as he walked out of the bus.  Frank almost collapsed but had to stay vigilant because more people were getting on the bus.  His father was doing his old trick with his hand covering where the customers dropped the tokens to the people that he knew.

    Frank counted at least ten to fifteen new passengers that boarded the bus as it pulled away.  He was frantic trying to observe everyone’s movements while trying to spot anything suspicious.  The bus continued on Webster Avenue.  There was another stop in a couple of blocks.  It was so crowded inside.  For a moment, it seemed to Frank that everyone had turned looking directly at him.  He heard a voice inside his head.  We know what you are trying to do.  You are going to fail.  Give up now.

    Someone ran in the middle of the street and his father had to slam on the brakes pushing everyone forward.  The bus started again and crowd went back.  Arms reached out and pulled Frank back with the crowd toward the rear of the bus.  He fought back, but the crowd was too strong.  He heard that taunting devilish voice inside his head again.  It is almost over now.  Your Father is going to die.

    The next bus stop was close now.  Someone pulled the cord above for the next stop and the bell went off.  His father put his signal on.  Frank strode forward like a running back giving a second effort to get over the goal line.  The crowd did move up and Frank was making slow progress.  It was if there was a great tug of war on the bus with the line of people sagging back and forth.  Frank could see a line of people outside waiting for the bus.  The bus halted and the passengers started getting off.  It was almost impossible to see everyone, but he got as close as he could to his Dad.

    As the new passengers started getting on Frank heard from behind, “He’s got a gun!”  That was the sign that Frank looking for and he looked to the rear.  He luckily also heard in front of him in a low tone, “Give me your money.”  He turned and saw a hooded man holding a gun at his father.

    The shocked passengers on the bus collided at the exits trying to get off.  Frank jumped and grabbed the arm of the assailant holding the gun in front of his Father.  Frank pulled the arm towards him and to the left.  The hooded man in the front fired just missing the crowd in the rear and hit the wall in the back above the seats.  The second man at the rear of the bus fired at Frank.  The bullet zipped by Frank’s shoulder.  The bullet’s final destination was the windshield and it exploded upon impact.  Shards of razor sharp glass scattered.  Seamus put his arms up to protect himself from the falling glass.

    Frank continued to struggle with his father’s would be killer.  They both fought for the gun and in their battle Frank pried the gun.  The second man in the rear of the bus was just a distraction and was part of the greater effort to stop him, Frank realized.  He recalled from the police report that his father’s killer was wearing a hood.

    The man in the rear of the bus fired at Frank.  He ducked and got a shot off hitting the man in the rear of the bus.  Then, without hesitation, he shot the man he had knocked to the ground in the struggle for the gun.

    Police and ambulance sirens blared nearby.  Frank ran over to his Dad and hugged him.  He had done the impossible and saved his father.  Something in Frank’s gut told him he had to get back to the Watershed before it was too late.  He ran before the police came with his father yelling for him to come back.

    I hope to see you soon Dad.  Frank thought.

    Frank made it back the Watershed and opened the door to his future.  After he closed the door he landed into a pile of rubble.  The basement he originally was in was demolished.  The stairway to the bar was destroyed.  He looked above and the roof of the bar was ripped off.  He yelled for Rory and didn’t get a response.  A construction worker approached and looked down at Frank amid the rubble.

    “What are you doing down there!”  the worker asked.

    “It’s a long story.  Can you get me out of here?”

    The construction worker threw Frank a rope and he pulled him out.

    “Where’s Rory?”

    “Who’s Rory?”

    “The owner of this place.”

    “Oh, the owner.  That old Irish guy.  He died.”

                                                                                 

    It was time again for the Pilgrim Family reunion.  Almost everyone turned out again and was having a great time.  The bell rang.

    “Looks like we have some more visitors.”  said Sarah.

    “Yes, we do.”  said Frank.

    Frank hurried to the door.  He opened up the door and his Mom was looking at him with a joyful smile on her face.  Next to her was his father, quite alive though he found it hard to believe.

    “Dad?”  Frank uttered in surprise.

    “You act as though you haven’t seen me in a long time.”  his father said.

    “It’s good to see you, Dad.  You’ll never know how much.”

    About The Author

    Jim Keane

    Jim born in the Bronx, New York is a short story fiction writer. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Mount Saint Mary College, and has attended several fiction and creative writing classes. Jim is working on more fiction stories, and starting work on a novel. He currently resides in Westchester, New York with his family.