…from the July 1893 issue
More Fiction: “Welcome Back, Sally Smithfield”
(Note: This is an excerpt from “The Return Of Sally Smithfield”, the second most popular issue in the series history.)
Sally didn’t immediately open her eyes, because she was pretty sure she was suffering the worst hangover in the long history of hangovers. Apparently, coming out of temporal stasis was a much rockier experience than even the New Years Day hangover of 1934 had been.
She heard the deep well modulated voice of a young man speaking to her. It was both very like, yet very unlike Doc’s voice. Also, it made her head throb with every word.
“Please stop speaking”, Sally said in a low, rather raspy voice. “I’m trying to die of a hangover here.”
The young man chuckled and then Sally felt a slight pressure on her neck. Within moments, the hangover faded away. Sally felt like one of the living now, so she opened her eyes and said “I’ll take a case of that stuff, please.”
The young man laughed. It was Doc’s laugh, but the face was about as unlike Doc’s as could be. Very long wavy red hair instead of Doc’s medium length curly black hair, boyish good looks as opposed to Doc’s classic handsomeness, no facial scars, both ears pierced, lightly tanned instead of deeply bronze…only those incredible turquoise eyes provided a link between Christopher Tempest and his great grandfather, James.
As he helped her sit up, Chris began to introduce himself. Sally waved it off.
“I know who you are, I know it’s 2029, I know I overslept for 45 years…I know it all. See, Doc and I rigged up a sleep learning device. Every day for the last 90 years, people have gone to work at a place called Universal News Transcription, where they read the days papers, popular magazines, novels and scientific journals…lots of scientific journals…aloud into a microphone. What they read was transmitted to me. All done so I’d be up to speed when I woke up. It was supposed to end in 1964, of course, but since I was the one who was supposed to shut that business down, it just kept running. Remind me to shut it down soon. Anyway, Chris, I’m Sally Smithfield and I’m very glad to meet you.”
Chris took her hand and shook it. “I’m Christopher Tempest, latest Doc Tempest in the long line, and I’m honored to meet you, Sally.”
An incredibly beautiful young woman stepped forward from the shadows and aided Chris in helping Sally from the suspension tank. She looked quite exotic and Sally pegged her ancestry as probably Indian and Asian.
“My name is Jasmine Sin, Sally. I’ll get you some clothing in a moment, but I think you should see something first. With that, she pulled a covering off a full length mirror and gave Sally one of the 3 or 4 greatest shocks of her life.
When she had climbed into that tank (and it seemed like only yesterday) she had been just over 40 years old. A very fit and healthy 40, but still showing some of the ravages of time and a life of adventure.
The woman she was staring at could not have been a day over 18. There were no scars, no wrinkles, nothing sagging…it was her 18 year old body all over again.
Sally blinked, then turned so as to check herself out from all sides.
“Damn!”, she whispered. “I’m a young hottie.”
Both Chris (who Sally noticed was just as tall, at 6’4″ as his great grandfather) and Jasmine (who was at least 5’10” and therefore towered over Sally’s 5″4″ frame) laughed.
“So”, Sally said as she put on the clothing Jasmine offered, “how come I wasn’t woken up in 1964 and what the hell happened to my Doc Tempest?”
The new Doc Tempest stopped laughing and looked Sally straight in the eyes.
“The answer to your first question is a rather convoluted tale. The answer to the second is something I’m hoping you can help me find out. We’ll discuss both over a nice dinner.”
The thought of food made Sally’s stomach grumble.
“Sounds good to me, Chris…err, I mean, Doc. I haven’t had a bite to eat in 90 years and I’d kill for a good Chinese meal.”
Doc chuckled again. “Well, since we’re about 3 blocks from Chinatown, I think we can pull that off. Just be aware that San Francisco has changed quite a bit in 90 years and I doubt that sleep learning gadget included pictures.”
That said, the three of them walked out the door and into Sally’s new life in the 21st century.