Joseph Trance

Jack Back -Paddlewack

   Kenneth Dankin settled into his sofa, clicked on his flatscreen and began to scan the net.  Cable channels, e-mails, and all the in-boxes showing him that "You have mail," flashed by the 34" screen.  Kenneth doubbled the fast-forward button and the screen became a blur. He counted softly to himself as he watched the digital clock timer move from second to second.  "One, two, three..." and "Stop."  He froze the screen and looked at the picture before him.

  Jack Back Paddlewack's face filled the 34", and he scanned Kenneth with big saucer eyes.

Kenneth hit the "Play" button and turned up the volume on the wall speakers.

"Getting better at it, Kenny boy." 

"Another second and I would have missed you," Kenneth said.

"No chance of're pre-programed to connect to me, " So time isn't really an issue.  You could have stopped at "one or one-thousand,"  wouldn't have made a difference.

"So, then, Jack, what's the point of the count?  Why even go through it?'

"Because we wanted to see if you would."

"Games,"  Kenneth said.  "Stupid games."

"Gives us something here on the snow-waves to do.  Besides you know how curious you are to see what effect you have on other worlds.   Don't you think it's the same for us?"

"Never thought about it really.  Just connecting with you has been a trip in and of itself."

"Well,...anyway..what's it to be today, Kenny boy?  Where and when to?"

"Never thought you'd ask."  Kenneth reached into his pants pocket and pulled out the list of times and places he wanted to see.  He gazed at the list, and made a decision.

"Paddle -wack me back to 1957, Jack."

"Baby days?  Sure that's what you want?"

"Yes.  I'm curious...just to see..."

"K.., your choice, Kenny boy.  Here we go."

Jack stepped back away from the screen, and the backround mmediately turned into a Forest-Lake Scene.

Lush green trees, crystal blue lake, surrounded on all sides by tall mountains covered with orange and yellow flowers, became Jack's backround.  The canoe lay half in and half out of the water and Jack slowly walked to it.  He turned his back to Kenneth as he approached it and then looked over his shoulder and smiled.

"Ready for a back-paddle through time, kid?" 

"Yes," Kenneth said as he began to salivate at the very thoughyt of it.

"Take me back, Jack."

"Waves will be bumpy...time currents get stronger the further back you go, and fifty years..."

"I's a lonnggg time."  Kenneth said, shaking his head.

Jack moved to the side of the canoe and slipped in.  He sat up and moved towards the back of the canoe and looked out on the lake.  He slowly raised his paddle and pushed off the side of the lake with it.  The canoe moved forward, slow and silent.

Kenneth watched the lake shimmmer as Jack stirred the waves of time.  Jack placed the paddle in on one side and pushed, raised the paddle and brought it over to the other side and pushed again.  Slowly the canoe moved forward as daylight faded and became night.

"Speed it up, Jack.  I don't want to go through fifty years like this."

"Hit the fast foreward button, boy!"  Jack shot back.

"You're the one in control of the Time Flow,"  not me, Jack said.

Kenneth took the remote and hit the fast forward button.  Jack immediately speeded his Paddle strokes as the days and nights flew by on the screen.  Time flew as Jack paddled faster and faster.

"Getting closer Kenny boy, and at this point I just have to warn you.."


"Going back to your baby days may not be what you imagine them to be."

"I don't really have any..."

"Expectations?"  Jack cut in.  "Yes you do...everyone does.  So..what are you thinking..a nice big crib, mommy holding you and "coo-cooing,"  giving you a nice warm bottle?  A fireplace maybe...da-da..reading the  Sunday moma rocks you..? 

"Well...maybe...?"  Kenneth whispered.."Maybe..."

"I'm just warning you, kid, as per the Time Laws.  It may not be all that pretty,"  Jack said as he continued to paddle forward.  "That's all.."

The lake stopped shimmering as the canoe reached the far side of the Lake.  Kenneth could now see his childhood home clearly. It hadn't been there a second before, but then it was.

Jack turned his head and looked over his shoulder.

"Home sweet home, kid.  Ready to take a look?"

The sound of a baby crying came suddenly from an open widow of the house.

Kenneth suddenly felt a wave of nausea and tears filled his eyes.

"Wait, Jack..I don't want.."

"Too late, Kid.  Trips been made.  You're at the other side.  No turning back now.."

Jack slowly stood up in the canoe and put the paddle down.  "Come on, let's take a look see.."

"Wait, Jack.  Wait!"

But it was too late.  Jack stepped out of the canoe and walked slowly towards the house.  With each step Kenneth Dankin felkt his heart sink lower and lower.  The sound of the baby cry got louder, day faded into night, and dakrness grew.  There was no turning back now.  Kenneth knew that he had to go throuygh with it.  He had always known.  This was a trip that would open it all up,  and explain the dreams, visions and other things he had been seeing of late.  There was no turning back now, as Jack Back-Paddlewack walked slowly up the path that led to Kenneth's childhood home. 

(To be continued....)










Just a dip onto the edge of darkness.Joseph Trance, Anmerkung zum Gedicht

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