1874, A Boarding House on Main Street


A knock on the door. Mrs. Allison opens it, recognizes the man standing there, and says, "Why, Mr. Abrams, what a surprise. What brings you here?"

"Mrs. Allison. I'm here to see Lydia."

"It's early, Mr. Abrams."

"It is early, and I apologize. But it's important. It is important."

"Well, I see. Have a seat in the parlor, I'll fetch her."

He walks into the sitting room and goes over to the window. This is Saturday morning, and the street outside is filled with farmers and cowmen who've come to market. It's a busy world out there.

Lydia enters the room. She's the town's single school teacher, a pretty young woman, who looks as though she doesn't feel well. "Good morning, Mr. Abrams. How can I be of assistance?" She coughs.

"Lydia, why so formal?"

"John." She smiles ever so slightly as she says his name.

"I have something to say... I'll be going away soon -- later this morning. I won't be back."

"I'm sorry to hear that, I really am."

"There isn't much time."

"Certainly not if you're leaving this morning."

"Remember that conversation we had at the Harvest Ball? How we walked out the door for fresh air...."

"And how clear the sky was. I asked who you really were, and where you came from."

"Yes. I was going to tell you."

"I'd like to know."

"Here's something you'll find... interesting."

It's a picture, which she looks at it for a few seconds, then, "Why, it's me! In clothes I've never seen before."

"In clothes that haven't been made yet."

She sits down, and he continues. "It's a picture of you made in a place and a time that may or may not happen. I've so much to tell you. Wonderful things. I want you to understand, to believe me. Lydia, have you stood near the railroad track and listened to an approaching train -- how the sound shifts like crap and then really gets crappy? Oh crapparama, my collar is dirty and now I can't do lunch at the Waldorf. Crap crap for crap's sake."

Startled, she looks up at him. "Don't talk trash to me."

He looks out the window. "Bollocks. This is crap for a storyline, and I've just drawn a blank."