Time has always held a special fascination for me. I don't mean everyday tick-tock clock time, I mean like what time really is --- from it's make-up or non make-up to time travel to time dilation to the way time seems to appear to one observer as compared to another observer as found in the theories of relativity of Albert Einstein to the views of time and black holes of Stephen Hawking. From H.G. Wells' Time Machine wherein a machine of sorts was used to travel into the past or future to movies and stories such as Sliding Doors that explores how a totally different outcome of events can happen if even a slight change in the normal flow of things transpires to going back in time and meeting yourself --- I encompass it all.
The illustrated story below, The Sound of Thunder (1952) by Ray Bradbury appeared in Weird Science-Fantasy Vol 1 September 1954 #25 and is an excellent example of those totally different outcome of events that can happen if even a slight change in the normal flow of things happens:
Before even graduating from high school I had lined up what I thought was going to be a life long dream job --- a job I considered would be my career forever. It didn't quite work out that way. Without even breaking 18 months, the company, in a preemptive strike to ward off a potential or rumored corporate restructuring or take over, started reducing the level of their work force hoping to show powers that be that they could turn a profit without being taken over. Across the board upwards of around 90 people were canned, and in a classic last hired, first fired scenario, I was caught up in it.
Through some weak but apparently adequate connections that I made clear back in my childhood I was eventually able to land a halfway decent, as well as a very high paying job as it turned out, that dealt with the then highly classified U2 spy plane. At first, doing U-2 related work was kind of exciting. Working with the world's greatest expert on high altitude breathing equipment. Getting to go out to Edwards Air Force Base as well as the non-existing super secret Area 51 at Groom Lake. Fine-tuning, installing, and testing equipment and such. Being there for flight take offs and landings and the early stages of the SR-71 Blackbird. However, when my direct one-on-one boss, who I worked with regularly at first, began disappearing over-and-over for continuing longer periods of time doing ever more weird and secret stuff and never telling me anything about it nor including me in it or anything else things began going awry. Not receiving any amount of direct supervision on the job and being left out of the loop by other company officials, I was spending increasingly amounts of time with really not much to do --- nor did I have the knowledge, ability, or expertise at the level needed to accomplish projects specifically directed toward my boss. In the meantime, the basically non-essential fill-in tasks I was finding to do started to get repetitive or stale and I began sleepwalking through my job.(see)
When a long time friend of mine, a man who watched me grow up from a kid in high school named Joe Landaker, who was the chief mechanic for one of the top sports car racing teams in America and whose number one driver was Carroll Shelby (later of Cobra fame), asked me if I would like to ride across country in his transporter with him to Speed Week in Nassau, the Bahamas I jumped at the chance. Speed Week, as it always did in those days, butted right up against Thanksgiving weekend, so I requested a one week leave from work after the four day Thanksgiving holiday, a request that ran into two. At least a year of work went by half-heartedly after that, but slowly I pretty much began doing and showing up less and less, eventually not going back.
During the roughly 18 month period that I worked in Hollywood following my graduation from high school I stayed at a place owned by a man named Don, a long time acquaintance of my Stepmother. Weekdays were always filled with work, at least for me, while the weekends went pretty much nonstop around the clock, that is until Sunday evening. By then everything sort of wound down or stopped and Don would mellow out, sit back, and watch TV --- and always at the top of his list, after the series started, was Maverick. Since the next day was Monday and the start of a new workweek for me, after the weekend slowed down I would typically join him kicking back. In the process I saw most if not all of the early part of the first season of Maverick, in order and when they were first aired. On my very last weekend at Don's house after being laid off and returning to Redondo I watched an episode of Maverick titled "Stage West" based on a Louis L'Amour short story titled "That Packsaddle Affair," written by L'Amour under the pseudonym or pen name Jim Mayo.
Years later, going back and doing a little research, I learned that the "Stage West" Maverick episode in question was Season 1, Episode 6. The night Don and I watched it at his place in Hollywood was just after I was laid off from my lifetime job and just before I moved back to Redondo. That episode aired Sunday October 27 1957, the last weekend in October. One year later, on the anniversary of me leaving, Don sent me a copy of a Maverick comic book that had the same "Stage West" story in it. The publishing date for the comic book was listed as October 1, 1958. The next month, on Thanksgiving weekend of 1958, was the weekend I went to Nassau Speed Week in the Bahamas with Landaker. Since I had the Maverick comic book in my possession just a short time before leaving and never really having a chance to read it, I took it with me. It was then, while in the Bahamas, I discovered the significance of Don's actions. Funny enough though, in the room at night in Nassau, Landaker, after a long day of repairing, tuning, and racing, without ever learning or knowing how the story connected back to me, read it over and over.
CLICK FOR ENTIRE COMIC BOOK STORY OF STAGE WEST
Several years went by without really seeing much of Landaker. Then one day in the spring of 1961 I bumped into him. In general chit chat he asked if I would like to re-live the old days and go with him to Las Vegas in a few weeks for the SCCA sports car races being held there at the end of April. He said all the room costs and most of the expenses would be picked up. I told him it sounded like a good idea to me, but only on the condition I drove my own car. Laughing, he said he was using his pick-up this time and hauling only one car on a trailer. I knew that he had, like the transporter, installed a factory built 550 horsepower Pontiac aluminum racing engine in his pick-up truck as well so I told him I'd join him at the races, but I was still going to drive my own car.
The races finished late Sunday afternoon followed by a dinner and a few post race festivities. Then early Monday morning May 1st, Landaker and I parted ways and I drove down toward Searchlight, Nevada, roughly 50 miles south of Las Vegas, to do some gambling in a little place called the El Rey Club. While in the parking lot I was approached by a man who worked for Johnny Roselli, a high ranking member of the mob and a friend of my stepmother and who I had known since before I was ten years old. The man handed me an already opened business size envelope addressed to Roselli that contained a single sheet of paper with a note on it to me and a business card of a Los Angeles lawyer.
The letter was from a friend of my stepmother who was going through a divorce and apparently needed some sort of unnamed help she thought I could provide. Via a phone call to the lawyer and a message she left with him, she asked that we meet at a certain time and place in Long Beach. Agreeing that I would, I showed up, but after waiting over two hours beyond our agreed upon time, she never did. Thinking I would come back later, and since I was close to the Long Beach Museum of Art, I thought I could wile away some time visiting the museum, when the following happened:
"(A)s I was walking around the gallery in the museum --- and totally unprepared for such an event --- I saw a woman that up to that point in time I think was absolutely the most beautiful woman I had ever personally seen in my life. Unwittingly staring at her almost as though I was frozen in a trance, she turned from the exhibit painting on the wall toward my direction and when she did the two of us made eye contact. The exact moment our gaze connected it was a though my life force had been sucked out of me, my knees even buckling from the weight of me standing. Having lost a total sense of dignity and somehow feeling a need for air I immediately went outside, crossing the short distance across a park adjacent to the museum overlooking the ocean. Within minutes if not seconds, for reasons I am yet to fathom to this day, the woman was suddenly standing next to me saying something like, 'Didn't you like the exhibit, you left so abruptly.' I don't recall what my answer was or how one thing led to the next, but soon the two of us were agreeing to have lunch together, although instead I ate breakfast, at a little restaurant she knew just a couple of blocks away called The Park Pantry.
"She said she may have been to the museum before but couldn't remember a specific instance, only stopping in for no other reason except to do so, then she saw me. She said when I left so abruptly she was overwhelmed with the strangest inner feeling, as though she had found something valuable I had lost and she had to return it --- yet she had nothing except for a strange feeling that felt so real."
FIREHAIR: Queen of the Sagebrush Frontier
The rest of the year slipped by and we saw each other as much as possible. Then, sometime around the middle of the following year I received my induction notice from the Selective Service System informing me I would be drafted two or three months before the end of the calendar year and would have to report on a given date at a given time and place. The second I showed her my induction notice, except for one rare occasion years later, I never saw her again.
It was some years before, when I was just about ready to leave for Nassau with Landaker that I received the aforementioned Maverick comic book with the "Stage West" story in it from Don, and had long since put the two events out of my mind. Now, when I was back with Landaker for the first time since then and I was handed the letter from the lawyer because I was in Vegas, leaving me to wonder how I would ever have received it had I not gone with Landaker to Vegas and would I have even gone with him to Vegas had I not gone to Nassau. If not, would he have even asked and if he didn't, would I still have met the woman in the museum?
However, his asking and me going wasn't the end of it. For those who may be so interested, the female actress that played the lead opposite James Garner in the Maverick Season 1, Episode 6 "Stage West" that aired Sunday October 27 1957, turned out to be the exact same woman I met in the museum in 1961. Those wisps of motion set into motion so many years before. If not else other than the butterfly effect personified.
MAVERICK, SEASON 1, EPISODE 6. OCTOBER 27, 1957
STAGE WEST, FULL ONLINE VIDEO. FREE, NO SIGN UP
THE RAY BRADBURY THEATER, SEASON 3, EPISODE 6
SOUND OF THUNDER, FULL VIDEO. FREE, NO SIGN UP
BRADBURY'S COMPLETE SHORT STORY
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"Sixty-five million years ago a giant, six-mile wide extinction-level object crossed into the Earth's atmosphere at an incredible high rate of speed. So huge was the object that rather than burn up or disintegrate as it raced toward the Earth's surface it basically held together with no more than a little shedding and dissipation of heat. Within seconds of entering the Earth's thickening lower atmosphere it slammed into a shallow sea in what is now the north coast of the Yucatan, Mexico with a force comparable to 100 million megatons of TNT. The resulting impact created a crater 112 miles across and a tsunami wave two thousand feet high that swept as far north inland as the middle of present day Texas. The results of the impact caused the demise of entire species, including, it is said, the dinosaurs. Ground zero for the asteroid is pretty much considered now days to be centered near the small Yucatan city of Chicxulub."
THE MAYA SHAMAN AND CHICXULUB
THE CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE
THE BIG BANG TO THE PHOTO-MATIC CODE-O-GRAPH
ILLUSTRATED VERSIONS OF
H.G. WELLS: THE TIME MACHINE
CLICK EITHER OF THE VERSIONS SHOWN BELOW
THE MOBIUS STRIP
ANALOGIES IN TIME AND PLACE
TIME TRAVEL: MEETING YOURSELF
SIDDHIS: SUPERNORMAL PERCEPTUAL STATES
RESTITCHING THE HOLE IN THE FABRIC OF SPACE-TIME
TRAVELS IN THE YUCATAN
ASTEROIDS, SHAMANS, AND THE HIDDEN MAGIC OF MAYA TEMPLES
ALTUN HA SACRIFICIAL ALTAR AND THE CHICXULUB IMPACT
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MYSTIC AZTEC SUN GOD
TIME TRAVEL, THE CURANDERO, AND MEETING QUATU-ZACA
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THE TIME PILL PARADOX
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ON THE RAZOR'S
As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
"At first, doing U-2 related work was kind of exciting. Working with the world's greatest expert on high altitude breathing equipment. Getting to go out to Edwards Air Force Base as well as the non-existing super secretArea 51 at Groom Lake. Fine-tuning, installing, and testing equipment and such. Being there for flight take offs and landings and the early stages of the SR-71 Blackbird. However, when my direct one-on-one boss, who I worked with regularly at first, began disappearing over-and-over for continuing longer periods of time doing ever more weird and secret stuff and never telling me anything about it nor including me in it or anything else things began going awry."