Calling Time

Discussion in 'The Creative Corner' started by Fred von den Berg, May 5, 2017.

  1. Fred von den Berg

    Fred von den Berg No longer a newbie, moving up!

    May 27, 2016
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    A short story to while away a few minutes of your day:

    Calling Time, by Jack Bellamy

    The red telephone box at the corners of Playfair St and Winslow Rd, on the edge of Frank Banfield Park, in Hammersmith, looked much like any other; with its daubing of graffiti, cracked and broken windows, smell of urine, and plethora of stickers and calling cards advertising the services of twenty-four hour Chinese takeaways, pizza deliveries, taxis, and tarts. But Jonny Fink knew better.

    The red telephone box tucked away on an unassuming corner in the shadow of Charing Cross Hospital, and a stone’s throw away from the thundering traffic on the Great West Road was a portal to another universe. Well, not that exactly, but a door to another world. No, not that either. The red telephone box at the corners of Playfair St and Winslow Rd, in the London borough of Hammersmith, which, to the casual eye of the passer-by, looked just like any other, was, in fact, a time machine. And Jonny Fink knew it.

    Jonny had been admitted to Charing Cross Hospital with acute alcohol poisoning, but there was nothing acute about Jonny’s alcoholism. Jonny Fink was a chronic drinker; a dipsomaniac and junkie to boot, who suffered from delusions of grandeur and was given to hallucination. And now he found himself in hospital with a drip in his arm and several more in the beds sharing his ward. He needed a drink and not the drying-out effect of the saline solution. He needed a swig of Smirnoff or a six-pack of Fosters, or a fix.

    He waited until the night-nurse left her desk to make her rounds of the adjoining wards to ease himself out of bed, slip into his clothes and out of the hospital. He walked, or rather shuffled, down St. Dunstan’s Rd, crossed Fulham Palace Rd and carried on down Winslow Rd.

    Shortly afterwards he came to the red telephone box on the corner with Playfair St. The name brought a cynical smile to Jonny’s face: Fair play was for losers in his book. He fumbled in his pockets for loose change, dialed the number of his dealer: 0821 618 1815, and found himself at just gone twenty past eight in the morning of June the eighteenth, eighteen fifteen, in a field in Belgium, near a small town that shares its name with a train station — in the fray of battle.

    Travelling through time is much like making any other journey. The basic requirements are that the voyager leaves point A heading for point B; these two points must exist for the journey to be possible. The problem for Jonny was that the future, since it hasn’t yet happened, doesn't exist; and so as he was thrown back in time to make his acquaintance with messieurs Wellington and Bonaparte, the red telephone box at the corners of Playfair St and Winslow Rd, in Hammersmith, in London, ceased to be there: as the casual eye of any passer-by will confirm.

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