As the feeling of his body being reassembled began
to subside, Leaper Doctor Samuel Beckett opened his eyes to find himself in a
dark, enclosed space. After the shock of being in such a strange place began to
pass, he noticed that he wasn’t alone and was rather restrained in his space.
Sam sensed that his surroundings were bobbing up and down, almost as if he were
on a boat. “Where am I this time?” he asked himself mentally, listening to
the occasional giggles coming from his companion, and noticing the slight stench
of alcohol on the other man’s breath.
After about a minute of wracking his brain, trying
to figure out where he was, Sam felt heard a muffled rumbling, which sounded
like water falling, that was getting louder and louder. Just when he thought the
noise couldn’t be more deafening or his heart pound any harder, whatever this
thing that Sam was in began to jostle violently and suddenly a strong pull of
gravity caused him and his cohort to involuntarily shout, “Ohhhhhh boyyy!”
September 27, 1989
Niagara Falls, Ontario
The sensation of an eternal falling ended with an
abrupt impact, worsening Sam’s already-throbbing headache. The other man was
whooping and yelling, occasionally saying, “We lived! We lived, Peter! Ha ha!
We’re famous!” over the thunderous roar of the waterfall. The leaper
couldn’t believe that he was trapped with this maniac; still unable to
conceive where he could possibly be, except maybe in the empty ballast of a
boat. At least he knew his first name now.
The sound of the water crashing down from above soon
subsided, and the strong current began to carry Sam and his partner downstream,
with the time-traveler uninformed as to what was going on in this place, wishing
that his observer would show up soon to shed some light, so to speak, on the
situation. With the other man still laughing quietly and occasionally slapping
Sam’s shoulder, he waited the many long minutes in the dark before he could
sense them slowing down.
“We did it, Peter! We beat Niagara Falls!” the
ecstatic daredevil said excitedly when they unexpectedly stopped.
The circumstances suddenly dawned on Sam. “I’m
in a barrel that just went over Niagara Falls!” he whispered to himself,
“Damn straight!” came a reply from the other
After hearing some voices outside of whatever they
were in, Sam now thinking they must be in a really large barrel, some light
finally appeared as, to Sam’s astonishment, the ceiling above him, the lid of
the barrel, was removed. He could now see that he was face to face with the
other man, who was dressed only in a cowboy hat and a tie.
“Way to go, guys!” came a chorus of voices,
accompanied by some hooting and hollering, as they were both suddenly hoisted
from the over-sized steel barrel and set down on the riverbank. Sam looked in
awe at the Horseshoe Falls, the only portion of Niagara Falls that can support
the infamous yet dangerous daredevil barreling. He just couldn’t believe that
he just went over them in a barrel, not to mention with a mostly-nude man, who
was now approaching him.
“Woooooo!” he yelled, and then gave Sam a bear
hug. “We’re going down in history!” he continued, running around with his
arms in the air as if celebrating his favorite sports team winning the
championship, receiving high fives from the onlookers. After some more
congratulations from the other people who rescued him from the barrel, Sam could
“The police!” everyone said at once as if they
were expecting this, and began to panic as they were retrieving the barrel from
the river, which looked to Sam to be steel and about ten feet across. They could
hear the cruisers coming to a stop not too far away, and in a few moments,
somebody began to speak through a megaphone.
“This is the Niagara Parks Police. Stop where you
are and prepare to be arrested!” the officer ordered. “Do not make an
attempt to escape!”
Sam realized that the officer didn’t have to say
the traditional, “We have you surrounded,” as he could hear motorboats
coming toward them, complete with spotlights that encompassed their location
beside the river. The other men had just gotten the whopping barrel out of the
water as the police officers disembarked from their boats, handcuffs ready.
Quantum leaping through time has landed me
in some hot water before, but never has it been water that’s tumbling over a
cliff onto a bunch of sharp and deadly rocks below. I could have lived my life
without going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, but I suppose God or Time or Fate
or Whatever decided that I needed a little jolt of excitement; as if I didn’t
have enough already in my “career” as a time-traveler.
At the police station, Sam waited with Geoff, his
fellow daredevil from the barrel who was now wrapped in a blanket, as well as a
couple of their accomplices. “It’s bad enough that they’re charging me for
going over the Falls, they just had to tack on the ‘indecent exposure’
charge too, didn’t they?” Geoff said to Sam sarcastically, receiving a humoring,
“Yeah,” in response from the leaper.
“Geoffrey Petkovich and Peter
young female officer questioned innocently as she approached them.
“Yep, that’s us,” Geoff answered.
“Come with me,” she ordered, taking on a
no-nonsense attitude. The two got up immediately and followed her until they got
to the staff sergeant’s office. She extended her arm to indicate them to go
inside, whereupon a rugged-looking man in his fifties met them. “Sit down,
gentlemen,” he said, not looking up from his desk. The policewoman shut the
door and left, leaving Sam and Geoff looking at each other as the staff sergeant
continued his paperwork. Sam remarked the nameplate on the desk reading “Staff
Sgt. M. Eaton”. “Now, what do you think you were doing going over Niagara
Falls in the middle of the night?” he asked quietly.
“Well, Sir, you see…” Geoff began, looking to
Sam for help. Shrugging his shoulders, Sam shook his head. “Do you really need
to make a big deal about this? I mean, shouldn’t the Falls be open to whoever
wants to enjoy them?”
“Oh boy,” Sam mumbled, realizing that the
situation might be worse than he first thought.
“You aren’t answering my question,” the
sergeant said, still serene as he placed his pen down on the sheets of paper in
front of him. “Why did you think you could get away with going over
that waterfall?” When no response came, he finally looked up, his eyes cold
and hard. “Do you know how many people have died doing that? Are you just
trying to make trouble for us, or do you have a death wish?!” He demanded, his
voice much less calm now.
“Uh, well…” Geoff began, trying to make up an
excuse on the spot.
The sergeant glared at Geoff and growled, “Either
you’re trying to make our job more difficult than it has to be, or you were on
a suicidal run! Tell me which!”
Sam decided to attempt putting in his opinion.
Perhaps this was the whole reason he was here, to keep these people from being
thrown in jail, and he would leap out after this interrogation. “Well, Sir, I
think we were just trying to see the dangers of barreling over Niagara Falls for
ourselves. Now that we’ve seen it, I guess we’ll be going…” Sam began to
get up from his chair, anxious to get out of this police station and out of this
“Hold it right there, boy!” Eaton barked. Sam
quickly sat down again. “What about you?” he demanded, turning his attention
“I don’t think your question is fair, Staff
Sergeant. I mean, that’s a false dilemma, isn’t it? Either we were this or
we were that?” Geoff said, his university degree in philosophy shining
through. The look Geoff received from Eaton could have turned a gorgon to stone.
“Don’t try to smart-ass me, son! If what your
partner in crime here says is true, then you were causing trouble for me. When
you cause trouble for me, you cause trouble for the park. When you cause trouble
for the park, you cause trouble for the province. See where I’m going here?”
Eaton bellowed, standing from his seat behind the desk and, with his hands
fisted, leaned toward them over his desk, supporting himself on the desktop.
“Yeah, now you’re on a slippery slope,” Geoff
quipped, giving Sam a look of exasperation and shaking his head as if it were
some kind of game. It was then that the leaper realized that this man had no
idea about the kind of trouble he was in, and even thought that Geoff may still
“I’m saying this will get to the prime
minister’s desk, you little shit-disturber,” the staff sergeant grumbled.
“I’m gonna throw you both in jail this instant! Myself!” Walking around
from his desk, he opened the door of the office and grabbed both of the
offenders by their arms. “Constable Hall, go tell those other morons that they
can join these two in our common holding cell,” Eaton told the young woman who
had waited outside his door.
She nodded respectively with a quiet, “Yes sir,”
in response and headed off to the area from where she had escorted Sam and
Experiencing no resistance, Eaton delivered his two
prisoners to a large jail cell, already with other offenders inside, one of
which was passed out on a bench. The sergeant shoved Geoff and Sam in and locked
the cell. “Another officer will be by soon to give you your phone call. Oh,
and bail is one thousand dollars. Each.” With that, Staff Sergeant Eaton
charged back to his office just as Constable Hall and two fellow officers
brought in the others that had been arrested at the docking site of the
“This is just great,” Sam muttered to himself
just as the familiar sound of the Imaging Chamber’s door opened before him,
watching as Observer Rear-Admiral Al Calavicci stepped through.
“Yeah, no kidding,” Geoff responded, perhaps
finally becoming conscious of the situation.
“Wow, Sam, you’ve really gotten into it deep
this time!” Al exclaimed cheerfully, poking at the handlink. “Ziggy says
that Peter’s family makes bail for both of you tonight, but still! Think of
the criminal record these guys’ll get… not that it’s a serious offence, in
my opinion. What’s wrong with a little dare devilling? Not that I’d do it
“Unless there was a pretty woman involved, right?
Thanks, Al,” Sam murmured sarcastically, getting an expression of confusion
and hurt from Geoff.
“Hey, we did this together, man! First off,
you’re the one chasing women, and if Sergeant Jerk-a-lot wasn’t so damn
serious, we coulda gotten out of here easily.”
“He’s wrong there, Sam. So far, history hasn’t
changed, but once you’re out of here, you have some work to do since there are
some things that seriously need fixing.”
Al’s somber words caused Sam to let out a sigh.
“Well, I guess all that’s left to do now is call my parents…” Sam
commented, looking to Al as he gave the leaper a confirming nod.
As if on cue a young male officer approached the
cell and questioned, “Peter DeBernardi?” Sam lifted his head and went over
to the door, whereupon the officer opened the cell and led Sam to a phone at the
Picking up the receiver, Sam began to point his
finger to the dial, suddenly realizing that he didn’t know the telephone
number. “Oh, right, Peter’s parents’ phone number…” Al mumbled when
seeing the look on the leaper’s face. “Here it is,” said the Observer,
reading off the seven digits. When a female voice answered on the other end, Sam
said, “Hi, Mom? Um, I’m in jail.”
Geoff had argued with Sam about handling the
situation in Eaton’s office, giving Al no chance to speak with Sam, until
Peter’s parents arrived, both of them looking very upset, with due cause.
“Hi Mr. and Mrs.
DeBernardi,” Geoff greeted
them, getting a silent and vicious-looking response in stereo. The couple,
looking in their mid-fifties, were quite the pair: The husband was tall,
muscular and had a shock of short blond hair, while the wife was much shorter
and portly, with dark, mid-back-length hair with streaks of gray beginning to
show. Sam wondered if Peter, and thus his aura, looked more like Father or more
“Peter, what have you done?” Mrs. DeBernardi
demanded, somewhat flustered.
“Well, Geoff and I, you see, we kinda went over
Niagara Falls.” Sam couldn’t believe the mixed reaction. Peter’s mother
nearly burst into upset tears, while her husband’s face lit up and he let out
a proud laugh.
Giving her husband a glare at his response, Mrs.
DeBernardi asked with distress, “Is this your solution to the divorce? Trying
to kill yourself?” She pulled a white handkerchief from her pocket to dab at
her moist eyes.
“Divorce?” Sam involuntarily repeated as he
looked at Al, who nodded.
“If you and Geoff had stopped arguing for two
seconds, I coulda told you about Peter’s recent grief.”
“Don’t worry, Son,” Mr. DeBernardi said.
“We’ll go pay the bail for the two of you, the rest can take care of
themselves, and Petkovich can pay us back. In cash.” Giving Geoff an
untrusting glare, he put his arm around his wife’s shoulders and walked down
“Jeeze, your parents seem pretty sore at me,”
Geoff stated when the couple had left. “Just ’cause it was my sister
that you cheated on Jenny with doesn’t mean it’s my fault!”
Sam just looked at the man, surprised that his host
had done such a thing. “W-well, just as long as we’re out of here, I
suppose,” Sam told him trying to change the topic, giving Al a perplexed look.
With a grimace, the Observer poked at his handlink.
“According to the court records,” the Observer
began, “Peter cheated on Jennifer DeBernardi, his wife of seven years, with
Amelia Petkovich, and Jennifer arranged a divorce based on grounds of adultery.
Peter ended up losing everything, including visitation rights with his two kids,
and had to pay child support, which broke him even after every pay check.” Al
dropped the handlink into his pocket as he shook his head. “If you’re going
to cheat on your wife, you should make sure she doesn’t know the other
woman,” he said, sounding unimpressed with Peter’s antics. “What an
“I can’t believe you’d say that!” Sam
blurted out, giving Al an appalled look.
“Say what?!” Geoff retorted, squaring his
shoulders. “Look, we were partners in this thing, Pete, and you’re really
putting a damper on my good mood of surviving! It’s bad enough that your
parents hate me because of you and my sister.”
Sam, feeling pretty low even though he wasn’t the
adulterer but merely inhabiting his aura for a while, turned to Geoff.
“You’re right, I’m sorry. I’ll try to talk to them, make them understand
that the only ones to blame are Peter DeBernardi and Amelia Petkovich.”
Getting an affirmative yet doubting nod from Geoff, Sam sat down, right in the
middle of Al.
“Hey, watch it!” the Observer yelped and jumped
sideways. “Sometimes I think you don’t appreciate me as much as you should,
The leaper stared at Al, annoyance clear in his
expression. “Go away,” he mouthed silently.
“Fine, fine,” Al griped, opening the Imaging
Chamber door. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow then.” With a tightening of his
lips, the admiral stepped back through the white, glowing rectangle, and slowly
disappeared as the Door closed.
The car-ride home was devoid of any conversation,
giving Sam the relief of not having to make any mistakes while talking, but he
also felt uneasy with the tension between everybody. Once they arrived at
Peter’s parents’ house, Geoff looked sheepishly at the DeBernardi's and
asked to stay the night.
“What’s wrong with your place,
Peter’s father demanded roughly.
“Oh, nothing, I just wouldn’t want to put you
through the bother of driving me home this late at night, that’s all,” he
answered, sincerity in his voice.
“That’s not a trouble. You’re lucky we bailed
you out,” Mrs. DeBernardi growled as she looked at her husband and son.
“Dave, why don’t you two go on inside? I’ll take Geoff home.” Without
hesitation, Sam and Mr. DeBernardi complied, and the black sedan sped off.
Once the car was out of site, David turned to who he
thought was his son. “Well, boy, I guess we’d better get to bed,” he said
as he slapped Sam’s back a couple of times. “I still can’t believe you did
“Uh, yeah, thanks,” Sam answered, and headed
into the house.
Turning on the entranceway lights, Dave threw his
coat on the hook by the door and turned to the stairs. “Good night, Pete,”
he said, and proceeded up the steps to his bedroom. Sam nodded in response and
looked into the living room to see a fluffy, off-white blanket draped on the
couch, along with clothing strewn about on the floor, evidently overflowing from
a beat-up suitcase located at the foot of the sofa.
Looking around the room, Sam caught a glimpse of a
gold-framed mirror and went straight for it, eager to discover his host’s
aura. Peter had an average build with short, dark-brown hair and bright, green
eyes. Surrounding the mirror were multiple picture frames, and one in particular
caught Sam’s attention. A wooden frame contained a photograph of Peter, a
blonde woman, and two young children, a boy and a girl. “This must be
Peter’s family,” Sam thought as he glanced at some other pictures of
what looked like a younger Peter with his parents and two other boys.
Exhaustion suddenly overcoming him, Sam replaced the
frames on the mantelpiece and flopped down on the red, cushy chesterfield,
wrapping himself in the heavy woolen blanket.
At seven o’clock, Sam awoke to the unrelenting
rays of the sun piercing his eyelids and rousing him from the surprisingly
comfortable sleep. Glancing at the east-facing window and the golden beams of
light, he groused, “Musta forgot to close the curtains last night.” He
stumbled off of the couch and headed to the window to draw the elegant, royal
purple drapes closed.
Now happy with the room being much darker, Sam
sighed contently and began to return to the sofa, only to be blinded by Al
arriving through the Imaging Chamber door. “Close the door!” Sam hissed,
covering his eyes with the back of his hands as he continued his walk to the
couch, banging his big toe on the suitcase. Stifling some obscenities, the time-traveler
sat down, looking at Al ominously.
“My, my,” Al teased, “aren’t we grumpy this
morning? Get up on the wrong side of the couch?” However, his pleasant demeanor
didn’t last as his face turned to a frown. “Sam, did you notice if Peter’s
mother came home last night?”
“No, I fell asleep pretty fast… why? What is
it?” Sam’s expression turned to one of great concern as he stood up, still
fully clothed from the previous night.
“Well, Ziggy says that she’s in the hospital, as
a Jane Doe,” Al reported grimly, punching a couple of keys on the handlink to
continue the stream of information. “Her 1988 black Mercedes ran into the
median barrier on the Queen Elizabeth Way, that’s the main highway around
here.” When the Observer saw the look of shock and horror on the leaper’s
face, he quickly continued. “Now don’t worry, she’s in stable condition,
but still unconscious. It seems she didn’t bring any I.D. with her, so they
have no idea who she is. The license plates seem to have been missing as
well.” Al furrowed his brow, trying to understand why the plates were missing.
“Oh, it turns out that in a couple of months, the police find the plates on a
car stolen from a dealership in St. Catharine's. Some nozzles musta seen the
accident and used that as their chance to get some free plates.”
“What about Mrs.
DeBernardi?” Sam said, after
changing his shirt while Al talked. The dirty one had wrinkled and adopted
Sam’s body odor over night.
Putting on a blank face, the Observer continued.
“I told you, Sam, she’s stable at the Greater Niagara General Hospital. The
only thing is, really, that this didn’t happen in the original history. You
must have changed history somehow last night,” Al answered, giving Sam that
“Oh no,” Sam mused. “Geoff asked to stay the
night, but my, I mean, Pete’s parents refused, so she drove him home. So this
is my fault? Was he in the car at the time?” Al shook his head no, and
suddenly looked over Sam’s shoulder.
“Who are you talking to, Pete?” Dave DeBernardi
questioned as he reached the bottom of the flight of stairs, looking in at Sam.
Sam, thankful for the ancient-looking device that
stood on the end-table, glanced at the antique phone and said, “I, uh, I was
just on the phone, Dad.”
“Did your mother sleep downstairs again last
night?” Dave replied, not waiting for a response. “If you don’t hurry up,
you’re going to be late for work,” he continued, turning around and heading
to the kitchen while thinking nothing of his son being on the phone so early.
“If you’re late again, you know they’ll fire you.” He stopped at the
basement door and called, “Monica?”
Giving Al an uneasy glance, he took a few steps
before saying, “Mom’s in the hospital, Dad. She was in a car accident.”
That stopped Dave from moving, who just stood there for a moment, whispering a
monosyllabic word that sounded quite desperate. “Dad? She’s stable, but she
hasn’t woken up yet.” Slowly, he placed his hand on the doorway and sighed,
and turned around. “You’d better get to work, Son. I’ll go in and check on
“No, I can’t let you go alone, Dad. Don’t
worry, I’ll drive us there.”
“Sam, if you go, Peter will lose his job. He’s
already requested time off for the court hearings for his divorce,” Al
intervened, placing the handlink into his pants pocket.
on to work, Pete. I’ll be all right,” Dave answered, breathing heavily to
repress his tears as he passed Sam to grab the set of keys to another car that
Sam supposed was in the garage. Dave DeBernardi grabbed his jacket from the coat
hook and left through the front door.
After a day of working on a dock, something that
felt customary to him for some reason, in St. Catharine's and feeling guilty the
whole time for inadvertently causing Monica DeBernardi’s accident, Sam drove
home in Peter’s 1978 Volvo that he had found in the two-car garage. He took
the Queen Elizabeth Way in both directions to his chagrin, and he passed the
accident site on the way home. Every minute of driving made him think of
Peter’s mother in the hospital, and how it was his fault for not reinforcing
the self-invitation that Geoff offered.
Al had checked in from time to time, making sure
that he knew how to get to and from work and what his job duties were in
between. Luckily, Peter’s main function involved the forklift, and Sam felt at
ease there, the strange familiarity somehow comforting to him. A flash of faces,
probably from a past leap, went through Sam’s mind.
Once back in Niagara Falls, Sam followed the road
signs to the hospital. After having parked and entering the large building at
the main entrance, the time-traveler waited about a quarter of an hour before
being able to talk to the receptionist.
“I’m looking for, uh, Mrs.
said, a little disconcerted from not remembering her first name.
“What’s she in for,
hon?” asked the
receptionist, making Sam think of this being a prison rather than a hospital.
“Oh, yeah, her. I remember her being brought in,” she said sadly after Sam
told her she was in a car accident last night. “The former Jane Doe.” The
distasteful chuckle that followed made the leaper scowl at her slightly.
The receptionist grabbed a binder and began flipping
pages, and told Sam the room number. He muttered thanks and headed for the
elevator. Upon entering the room, shared with three other patients, Sam saw
Peter’s father sitting by the first bed on the left, one hand of his wife
between his two.
“Dad?” Sam questioned, glancing first at the
nameplate above the bed, relearning that her first name was Monica. “How’s
she doing?” Silence followed for what seemed like an eternity.
“She was awake an hour ago, but only for a few
minutes,” Dave answered, rubbing his wife’s hand gently. “The doctors say
she’ll be fine, but I’m still worried. Oh, Pete, I’ve never been this
worried in my life!” Sam began to approach him, seeing the unshed tears in the
“Your brother Jake drove down here all the way
from Cambridge when I called him,” he continued. “I couldn’t reach anybody
in London, though. Jake went to our place and said he’d keep trying to call
Marc and Uncle Stan.” Remembering the photo of Monica, Dave, and three boys,
Sam figured it must have been the three sons with their parents, and Jake and
Marc were Pete’s older brothers.
Sam nodded in understanding, placing his hand
briefly on Dave’s shoulder. “She’ll be fine, Dad,” he reassured, and
then asked him if he wanted to be alone. The leaper barely detected the slight
nod, and left the room.
Noticing the beehive of activity that was the
nurses’ station, Sam approached the desk, hoping to find out the specifics
about Monica’s condition. “Excuse me, could I see the charts for Monica
DeBernardi?” he enquired the corpulent, older-looking nurse who seemed to be
“And who would you
beeee?” she demanded, rather
gruffly after barking orders at two younger nurses who had been gossiping. Sam
managed to stifle his laugh when she accentuated the word “be”.
“I’m Dr. Beck-,
er, I’m her son,” the leaper
responded, becoming meek at his mistake. “Could I please see her charts?”
Sam crossed his arms over his chest, trying to be at least somewhat
Grunting as she stood up, Queen Bee went over to the
rack of current patient records and pulled out a flimsy orange binder. “All
her information is in here, Dr. Becker,” she grumbled as she handed the
folder to Sam. “Her husband somehow already knew she was here, unaware that
she was still a Jane Doe. Said his son told him that. How did you know?”
Sam just looked at her blankly, holding the binder.
“I, oh, it must have been one of my brothers,” he lied, hoping that she
would believe him. She just made a snorting noise in response and sat down
amidst the other busy nurses as the leaper walked to a waiting area to read
Upon returning to the nurses’ station, Sam found
it occupied by only one “worker bee”. Glancing at the clock on the wall, he
noticed it was six o’clock. “They must be having their dinner break,”
Sam thought. He set the binder back on the counter, having discovered that,
though Monica wasn’t seriously injured. She had suffered a mild concussion and
a sprained ankle. He was thankful that it wasn’t too severe, and agreed with
the diagnosis that she would recover easily with a prescription of bed rest.
Re-entering the room that housed Monica and three
fellow patients, Sam saw Dave dozing lightly in his chair, their hands
intertwined. Figuring it would be best to head home, he took one last glance at
the couple and headed back to the hospital parking lot.
back had been more frustrating that Sam originally figured. Traffic was worse
than when he had left the dock and he couldn’t believe that the majority of
the drivers actually had their license. He managed to reach Peter’s parents’
house shortly before dusk and found a red, early-model miniature-van in the
laneway. Pressing the left button on the garage-door opener, Sam returned the
little Volvo to where he had found it this morning and entered the house through
the door in the garage.
“Hello?” Sam called out when he had closed it.
He suddenly heard the laughter of children and then what sounded like a stampede
racing toward him. Two identical girls and an older boy came running at him,
trying to yell over each other, “Uncle Petey! Uncle Petey!” All three
clutched to his legs and Sam temporarily lost his balance, supporting himself
with the wall, waiting for the children to release him.
“Hi there, Brother,” a man, about Peter’s age,
smiled as he approached the bundled mass of affectionate children around Sam’s
legs. “C’mon, kids, give him some breathing room, huh?” Once they let go,
the three ran off down the hall and back into the living room.
“I hope you don’t mind, but I cleaned up the
living room. Looks like you’ve taken it over,” the man said, and then added
with a bit of hesitation, “I had to bring the kids with me since Vicky’s
working overtime tonight.”
Taking an educated guess that this was the brother
that Dave had mentioned, Sam responded, “Oh, that’s fine, Jake.” Suddenly,
Sam’s stomach, not having been fed since he leaped in, grumbled loud enough
for Jake to hear, causing them both to laugh; the leaper’s was more nervous.
He always found it a little unfair that the people who surrounded him on leaps
knew the leapee so well, and he knew nothing about any of them.
“There’s some leftovers in the fridge,” Jake
said as he pulled Sam into a quick, brotherly embrace. “Thank God that Mom’s
gonna be all right. When Dad called this morning he had no idea what condition
she was going to be in.” Sam nodded in agreement and headed to the kitchen
while the other man returned to his children.
The leaper found some chicken and vegetables on a
plate covered with aluminum foil in the refrigerator, and promptly put it in the
microwave oven, setting it to cook for three minutes. After about four seconds,
Sam heard loud crackling and popping noises and saw blue sparks inside of the
microwave, and his mouth gaped open as he pulled the door open as quickly as
possible. Ripping off the foil, and chastising himself for forgetting something
so obvious, he replaced the plate and started the microwave again, turning
around to see Al grinning like the Cheshire cat.
“You know, Sam,” the Observer began, his eyes
dancing with mischief at catching his friend committing such an embarrassing
“Don’t start with me, Al,” Sam warned, fixing
his gaze on Al.
“They say it works better by leaving the foil on,
but that’s in a toaster oven, not a microwave oven.” Waiting a beat
as Sam glared at him, he threw in one last menacing quip. “Then again,
that’s for TV dinners, not leftovers.”
Sam let out a breath through his teeth and sat down
at the kitchen table, watching the appliance warm up his chicken. “So what am
I here to do, Al? If it was to get Monica in an accident, shouldn’t I have
leaped before I hit the couch last night?”
“Sam, don’t worry about her. She’ll be fine.
Ziggy says she’s out of the hospital in a few days, but it’s just a minor
blip in their lives. So far you haven’t changed any of their history all in
all, except maybe their auto insurance premiums,” the holographic projection
of the admiral reported. “There’s still the matter of Peter’s ex-wife.
Ziggy insists that you’re here to make sure that Peter gets visitation rights
with his kids, or to lessen the amount of monthly child support, or both, or
maybe even more than that.” Sam sniffed at the number of options, common to
Ziggy, that were presented. “That’ll help Peter get out of his parents’
“Jennifer, that’s the
ex-Mrs. DeBernardi, has a
job that pays at least double Peter’s salary, but she works long hours.
That’s why he claimed in court that he was feeling alienated by his wife, so
when the opportunity for an affair showed itself, he decided to take it.”
Shaking his head sadly, Al released the handlink from his hand as it landed in
his pocket, simultaneously with the beeping of the microwave oven.
“How am I supposed to do that, Al? If Peter, who
must really care about his kids, couldn’t get the courts to change their
decision, what makes Ziggy think that I can?” the time-traveler demanded as he
removed the plate and set it on the table, looking through different drawers for
a knife and fork.
Al shrugged at Sam’s comment and paced back and
fourth a couple of times. “Maybe, if you can prove that Jennifer was cheating
on Pete, you can counter-sue, or something like that? You know, make it an equal
divorce instead of her simply cutting Peter off and then sucking his bank
“Was she having an affair?” Sam questioned with
some chicken still in his mouth, somewhat astonished by the Observer’s
statement. “I mean, if she was, that would certainly be something to counter
Once again, Al shrugged. “I have no idea. It was
just a thought, Sam. Maybe her ‘long hours’ were to spend some time with the
boss, if ya know what I mean.”
Sam met Al’s eyes again, at first rolling them at
the Observer’s insinuations, but then his expression became thoughtful.
“I’m just thinking, continuing your ‘thought’, Al, if Peter was sneaking
around with Amelia, then he wouldn’t necessarily be, uh, ‘paying
attention’ to his wife as well, right? Then she might have to search out
someone else to satisfy her.”
“Not necessarily,” Al said, smiling
mischievously. “I can imagine if I was cheating on Beth, which I never have
and never would do, just to clarify,” Al said, wagging a finger at Sam.
“But, I think I’d be able to handle both of them.” The Observer stood
there, looking like a peacock with his plumes presented perfectly.
Sam smiled wanly, and then heard a sudden outburst
of children's' squealing from the living room. “Not all men have your libido,
Al.” The hologram let out a small chuckle and began pacing again and pulled
the handlink from his pants pocket after it squawked at him a few times.
“Well, in any event, Ziggy seems to think now that talking to Jennifer outside
of court would be best. The hearing is on Monday, so you have three days to do
“Not a bad idea,” Sam answered. “But,
there’s one other thing on my mind. What about Amelia? Are she and Pete still
seeing each other?” Sam shoved another fork-full of chicken into his mouth,
and chewed as his observer checked with the handlink.
Al shook his head. “No data on that, Sam. Ziggy
says that you’re best bet is to call her up and find out. There’s nothing
that says that they ever get married, but considering how Pete’s life turns
out after the divorce, Ziggy is now saying that there’s a seventy-four point
three percent chance that you should be trying to mend things with Jennifer
which might lead to them to prevent this divorce.”
Choking on his food, Sam coughed a couple of times
while Al watched him worriedly. After catching his breath, he impaled a baby
carrot and carefully put the vegetable in his mouth. “That sounds a little
impossible, doesn’t it? By the sounds of it, Jennifer is really angry at Peter
if she’s going to the extent of barring him from even seeing the children.”
“Sam, it’s what Ziggy’s predicting. It’s the
children that will really suffer here, right? But you know Ziggy… you know
that she’s not always right, and I think from time to time you have
achieved the impossible,” Al retorted encouragingly. “So if she is right
this time, you have to fix things with Jennifer somehow. Keeping that in mind,
maybe it would be best to lay low and, you know, stay at home this weekend, if
you catch my drift?”
Completely understanding Al’s metaphor to stay
away from Amelia, he nodded as he saw the Imaging Chamber door open. “Go play
with the kids or something,” the Observer suggested, getting a small smirk
from Sam. “Just hang in there, Sam.”
His connection to the future ceased once again as
the white rectangle of white disappeared from Sam’s sight, and he half wanted
to plant his face in the food remaining on the plate in front of him.
As soon as Sam finished his meal, he got up from the
table and headed into the living room where it looked like Jake had set up camp
for himself and his three children. “Oh, Dad said it would probably be better
for you to stay downstairs, you know how cold it gets down there. Wouldn’t
want the kids to freeze, right?” Jake commented when he saw the look on
“Oh yeah, that’s fine. No big deal,” the
leaper answered with a wave of his hand, used to switching beds nearly every
night, although that usually meant he was in some other place, some other time.
Then, remembering what Dave said at the hospital, he asked, “So did you get a
hold of Marc and Uncle Stan?”
“I got Aunt Clara at home about ten minutes before
you came home. She said she’d pass on the message since Stan was apparently
over at Marc’s, but I couldn’t get an answer there,” he responded. “I
gave them the number for Mom’s room, anyway.”
Looking at his children playing a board game on the
floor, Jake got up from the couch and approached them. “How about when
you’re done this game, you go and watch your ‘Raccoons’ tape, huh?” The
_expression of glee on the children’s faces nearly melted Sam’s heart. Jake
seemed to be a great father.
“Can we watch it now, Daddy?” the boy asked. The
two girls looked at their father with pleading eyes, one of them saying, “I
really, really wanna watch Bert an’ Cedric!”
Jake answered, and the children jumped up and ran off down the hallway to where
Sam assumed was the den. “Be right back, Pete.” Sam nodded silently and sat
on the couch, glad to have some more quiet time to think.
Sam’s time alone lasted about the five minutes it
took Jake to set up the VCR. Peter’s brother and the leaper had about twenty
minutes to talk to each other, mostly Jake asking about the divorce and how
Peter’s two children were. Sam, unsure of how to answer most of Jake’s
questions, simply responded with “fine”s and “all right's. He was also
surprised to find out that both Peter and Jake had children that were twins, and
was curious as to why Al never mentioned it.
Suddenly, Jake’s three children returned to the
living room in another flurry, trying to shout over each other that their video
was done. Glancing at his watch, Jake got up and announced, “Well, your Uncle
Pete and I need some more time to talk…”
“Oh, no, that’s all right, Jake,” Sam quickly
interrupted, wanting to be alone for a while. “I think I’ll turn in early
“All right,” Jake answered, getting the hint.
“You kids get back to your game then. Say good night to Uncle Pete!” The
look on the man’s face told Sam that he knew what was coming.
Petey!” the three chimed as
the hugged his legs again. Sam laughed as Peter’s nephew and twin nieces
released him, and he and walked toward the door to the basement.
“Good night,” Sam answered back, and proceeded
down the stairs.
To his pleasure, the time-traveling scientist found
a bed already made up for him on a long, light brown couch. He also noticed a
telephone hanging on the wall, and began to weigh in his head the options that
Al had brought up. “Should I call Amelia or Jennifer?” Sam pondered aloud,
partly wishing that the Observer were here to help him decide. “Or both?” he
added to his voiced thoughts. Recalling that Al suggested Sam meet with Jennifer
either way, the leaper went to Peter’s luggage and searched for an address
Thankfully, Peter’s previous address and phone
number were listed in the front, and uncertainly, Sam picked up the telephone
and dialed the number. A young voice answered. “Hello?”
“Hi, it’s, uh, Daddy,” Sam said, hoping it was
one of Pete’s twin children, and unsure of exactly how to introduce himself.
“Daddy!” the voice squealed happily. “Where
are you? Mommy says you won’t be home for a while. When are you coming home?
Me and Freddy miss you lots!”
The questions surprised the leaper. “Uh, I’m not
sure when I’ll be home yet.” Quickly, he changed the subject. “Can I talk
to your mother?”
“Mommmmy! Daddy’s on the phone!” the little
girl yelled, forgetting to cover the telephone receiver.
Sam heard the transfer between hands and another
voice came on the line, sounding flat. “Hello, Peter.”
“What do you want?” Jennifer DeBernardi demanded
a little harshly.
“I, well, I just want to talk to you. You know,
about the divorce,” Sam started, hoping that it would provoke Jennifer to
“What about it?”
The time-traveler sighed. “Do we really need to go
through with this? What about the kids, Jennifer? I still love you, and the
kids,” he said, certain that Peter felt that way. After all, Ziggy gave a
pretty good chance that Peter and Jennifer still belong together.
“Well, maybe you should’ve thought about that
before you went running around with that skank sister of Geoff’s!” she
jeered back. “I think the only thing you’re loving is mooching my money and
then sneaking around behind my back with it!”
“Jenn-” Sam began, but he heard the loud
“clunk” of the telephone. “Great, just great…” He hung up his phone as
well and turned back to Peter’s address book, wondering if the number for
Amelia would actually be in there. He thought it would, considering that she is
Geoff’s sister and that wouldn’t necessarily raise suspicion. Thankfully, he
found it right under Geoff’s listing.
“Hello?” came a light, feminine voice on the
“Hi, Amelia,” Sam said without emotion.
“Oh, Pete! Where have you been? Geoff told me
you’re living at your parents’ house now… I’ve missed you! It’s been
over a week. When are we gonna get together again, hon’?” she asked, giving
the answer that Ziggy didn’t have about the relationship between Amelia and
“Uh, I’m not sure yet. My mom, she’s in the
hospital, and I need to work overtime to make up for when I’m in court,” Sam
stated, optimistic that his lie about overtime would seem reasonable. However,
that was the least of Amelia’s concerns. Sam told her all about going over the
Falls and about Monica’s car accident. She gushed at him about barreling over
Niagara Falls, and then she cursed her brother for asking for a ride. “That
boy is always looking for hand-outs. He coulda taken a cab home. Oh, Pete, your
parents are too sweet to have even bailed him out, and I’m sorry about your
mom! Too bad I don’t think they’d ever accept me into your family.”
Bells went of in Sam’s head. Had they discussed
marriage? Was Peter really that interested in Amelia and disinterested in his
already established family? “This really complicates things,” Sam muttered
“What’s that, honey?” Amelia questioned
“Oh, nothing, just getting tired. Can I call you
later? It’s been a rough day.”
Amelia cooed at him for a moment or two before
saying a goodbye and an “I love you”. Sam hung up the phone, his mind a
When Sam woke up, he had breakfast with Jake and the
three children. David DeBernardi had returned home sometime during the night,
but was not awake yet. Jake mentioned that they would stick around until they
got to have more of a visit with Dave. After a heart-filled farewell from his
temporary nieces and nephew, Sam left in Peter’s Volvo for the dock once
again. Al didn’t show up until the noon hour, just as Sam was going on his
“Where have you been all this time, Al?” Sam
insisted, slightly miffed about being left alone for so long. “I really
don’t know which woman Peter belongs with.” The Observer looked at him
apologetically as the leaper perched on his forklift.
“I still think this family needs to be mended,
Sam, and so does Ziggy. Did you make any phone calls last night?” Al answered,
not offering a reason for being away for over fourteen hours.
“I called Jennifer, who hung up on me, and Amelia,
who couldn’t get enough of the sound of my voice,” replied Sam, letting out
an exasperated sigh. “Amelia was talking about marriage, Al. She said that
Peter’s family would never accept her, though. Does that mean that there’s
real love between the two, or has Pete just been using her?”
“Well, you asked where I was, I guess I should
tell ya. I spent a lot of time with Peter since Dr. Beeks couldn’t get a whole
lot out of him.” Al paused for a moment, looking thoughtfully at Sam as he
pulled a Chivello from his pocket. “Like I explained last night, he was
feeling isolated from his wife and needed some ‘companionship’. According to
him, he knew Amelia had the hots for him, so he basically took advantage of her,
but he says that he still loves her as a friend, since he and Geoff are so
“So, I should call it off with Amelia? That
certainly narrows down the selection, but it looks like fixing things with
Jennifer isn’t going to be as easy as it may seem, Al,” the leaper stated,
vaguely remembering the Observer in a different time where he had five ex-wives.
“That’s what Ziggy’s been saying all along,
Sam. I have a feeling that bucket of bolts might be right this time,” the
admiral replied, getting an annoyed squawk from the handlink. “It’s the
weekend, right? After work, why not head over to your house, I mean Peter’s
house, I mean, you know, where his stuff is; where his family lives.”
Seeing Sam simply nod in response, and knowing that
his friend was exhausted, Al asked, “So how were things with Jake’s wife and
kids last night?”
“Not bad… his wife wasn’t there, she had to
work late or something,” Sam answered, running a hand through his hair. “I
think they were heading home this morning, after Peter’s dad gets up.”
Al poked a few keys on the handlink. “Oh, this is
interesting. Jake’s wife doesn’t have a job, Sam. Ziggy also says that her
maiden name is the same as Jennifer’s.” That got Sam’s attention. “No
coincidence, Sam. I guess Victoria must have heard everything from Jennifer,
huh? Couldn’t face her sister’s tormenter?”
“Well, that explains the twins,” Sam started,
receiving a perplexed look from Al. “Jennifer and Victoria both have twins,
Al. Do you pay attention to any of that information Ziggy gives you?” he asked
sarcastically. Al just returned a sticking-out of his tongue as Sam continued
“I guess that must be why Vicky didn’t come…
isn’t that weird, though, Al? Jake could have left the kids at home with
Vicky, unless they wanted to see their grandparents that badly.” The leaper
glanced down at his lunchbox and picked it up. “Find a phone for me, would
you, Al? I think I’ll give her a call after my lunch.”
The Observer, a bit surprised at Sam’s
contradictory plan of calling the woman that couldn’t face him, simply nodded
and did as he was asked. “Well, there’s a phone in the office over there,”
Al said, pointing with the unlit cigar between his fingers. “Ziggy’s just
started searching the Cambridge phonebook for their number. Oh, here it is.”
Reading off the number, Sam memorized it and put the rest of his lunch back into
“There’s no time like the present, right, Al?”
As what usually happens during a leap, I
have to put off another meal in order to try to achieve my main objective. I
didn’t ever think that traveling through time would demand such a sparse diet.
“DeBernardi residence,” the mature, female voice
answered after Sam convinced the secretary to let him call long distance and to
be left alone. “Vicky?” Sam questioned. “It’s Peter.” He wished Al had
stayed, but the Observer had told Sam that there were more variables to run by
“Oh, uh, hi, Peter,” replied Vicky, her tone
sounding anxious. “Jake isn’t home yet. I’ll tell him you called.”
“No, wait, Vicky. I called to talk to you,” Sam
interjected, realizing that she truly did not want to speak to Peter. “Why’d
Jake tell me that you worked late last night? Don’t tell me you were at the
office: I know you don’t have a job.”
“W-what do you mean? Jake told you that I was
working? I never told him to lie for me. I just, it’s just that, I really
can’t face you, let along talk to you, Pete,” she answered, sounding
Sam could not understand why Vicky was acting as she
was. Even if Peter had broken her sister’s heart, it sounded like Jennifer was
getting her revenge anyway. Taking a small breath in, Sam asked simply, “Why
“B-because, well, you cheated on my sister, first
of all. I really like you, Peter, you’re a great brother-in-law and you’ve
always been a great uncle to my kids, but the way you two treat each other, she
is my sister after all, I have to take her side,” came the long and stammering
response that perked Sam’s attention.
“What do you mean ‘how we treat each
“You cheated on her, Pete. I was at your wedding,
and you did agree to the vows of the Church. I don’t understand how you did
that to each other!” Vicky said, sounding more upset now.
“All right, fine, I cheated on her, but what has
she been doing to me? Why do you keep on saying what we’re doing to each
other?” Sam was putting the pressure on now; his sixth sense was telling him
that he had better not give up this line of conversation.
“Well, you know as well as I do what she was doing
at work so late… plus, I mean, she’s being pretty unfair with the divorce
settlement. But like I said, blood comes first with me, especially when it’s
my twin sister, even if she’s equally to blame.” Sam could hear a few
sniffles on the other end between some of Vicky’s words, but right now he
didn’t care. It was what was between the sniffles that gave the situation a
completely different perspective.
“She was cheating on me, too, at the same time?”
Sam exclaimed, not meaning to alert to Vicky that this was news to him.
Vicky became hysterical. “Oh God, Pete, you
didn’t know? Oh no, oh no… I thought you knew. The way Jenny talked about
how staying late for work started out as extra money and grew to something
better with Hank, I thought you knew! I thought you knew,” she babbled out as
she began to sob. “I, I should go. Take care, Pete.” The phone was hung up
on the other end, and the dial tone began to sound in Sam’s ear as he stared
into space, astonished at the new information.
The phone had rested in its cradle for five minutes
before Sam stood up. “Al was right,” he finally whispered to himself after
thinking for so long. The receptionist returned as he was pushing the chair back
in under the desk. “Thanks a lot,” he told her, looking as though he was in
“Hey, it comes outta your pay check,” she said
back with a twinge of humor in her tone, but then asked seriously, “You all
“Yeah, I’m just fine. Actually, I’m better
than fine,” the leaper answered back, forcing a smile. This was what he was
looking for: A way to either prevent the divorce or at least make it equal. He
left the office and returned to finish his meal.
Sam had just hopped up on the forklift and opened
the lunchbox as Al returned. “Well, that was quick. How’d it go?” the
“You were right, Al. I can’t believe it, but you
were right,” the time-traveler answered. When Al’s eyes bugged out before
getting to ask what Sam was talking about, he continued. “Jenny was sleeping
with another man at her office. Some guy named Hank.”
“See? What did I tell
ya? I told you before, Sam,
you don’t appreciate me as much as you should.” The Observer stood proudly
for a moment and then turned to the handlink. “Well, Ziggy says there’s now
a ninety point seven-three percent chance that you’re to prevent the divorce,
but an eighty-nine point nine-eight percent probability that you’re supposed
to get an equal divorce.”
“I don’t think I need Ziggy’s predictions
anymore, Al,” Sam said, hearing the handlink make an insulted squawk sound.
“If Peter and Jenny can forgive each other for their affairs, I’m sure they
could make their marriage work again. I feel it in my gut.”
Al nodded solemnly. “Whenever you say that, Sam,
you’re almost always right. The only problem is, you always take the hard-way
chuckled at the Observer’s remark, and began to dig into his lunch.
Another day of work came and went, and to Sam’s
delight, his Observer returned just as he was getting into Peter’s car.
“Good timing, Al,” he quipped, the leaper’s demeanor lightened since this
leap now seemed to have an end in sight. “You need to help me get to Peter’s
“First thing’s first, Sam. Pete didn’t know
about Jennifer’s affair, either. Dr. Beeks said that could be the Swiss cheese
effect, too,” reported the Observer, and then started looking up the address.
“Uh, all right, just a second here,” Al continued, and as he played with the
handlink, Sam started the car and pulled out of his parking spot. “Well, they
live in Niagara Falls, so I guess you know how to get there from here.”
Sam grimaced at the prospect of returning to the
expressway, but at least it would give them some time to plan what to say to
Jennifer, and as a bonus Al mentioned they could reminisce by listening to the
tunes of the decade. Once they reached the city, Al gave him directions to the
DeBernardis’ home. “The kids’ll probably be home from school, or at the
babysitter’s. Even if Jenny isn’t home yet, I’m sure there’s no harm in
“There is harm, Al, if the children are at home: I
don’t know these kids. Hopefully they have a babysitter since they’re not
old enough to be left alone yet,” Sam said with a pang of worry, not taking
his eyes off the road.
Al was counting off the house numbers, looking for
the right house. “There it is, second one on the right, number 403. Better
park in the laneway, that way Jennifer will block you in,” Al advised,
grinning at his own clever thought.
“I don’t know where you come up with your ideas,
Al,” Sam stated as he put on his turn signal and drove up to the garage door.
“Well, no car here, so I guess she’s still at work,” deduced Sam as he
shut off the ignition. “Should I wait here or inside?”
“If we’re lucky and Jenny doesn’t use the
garage, you can get this car into there, right?” the Observer asked, pointing
with his cigar at the large, gray door and getting the same sly look on his
face. “You know, even more of a barrier to keep you home, and she wouldn’t
know you’re here until you surprise her inside.”
Sam grinned at him, shaking his head slightly.
“You just amaze me sometimes, Calavicci,” the leaper told him
light-heartedly, and he stepped out of the vehicle. Al walked through the hood
of the car as he followed Sam. “Just pull up on that handle, Sam, and we can
see if there’s room in the garage.”
“Why don’t you just go in first and see?” Sam
retorted, annoyed that Al assumed he had no clue how to operate a garage door.
admiral let out a sigh and stuck his head through the door, a small amount of
light coming from a partially covered window, and saw the cleanest garage that
he could remember. “Go for it, Sam.” The leaper reached down and pulled a
couple of times before it gave way and swung upwards rather quickly, passing
through the observer’s body. “We’re in luck!” Al cheered and commented to
Sam about the cleanliness.
The leaper quickly returned to Peter’s car to
start it up again, drove it slowly into the garage, and cut the engine again.
“Now we wait?” Sam asked, closing the large door behind him on the outside.
“I guess so. May as well go inside and make
yourself comfortable. Or, if you really wanna push the right buttons, maybe cook
up a romantic dinner with candles and good china, and then wait for her by the
door wearing nothing but your…” Al commented, getting that lecherous look in
“I think I’ll just go inside and wait, if you
don’t mind,” Sam shot back. “Not to mention, the kids could come home
before her, or even with her! I’m not going to traumatize Peter’s kids,
“Aw, rats,” replied the Observer as he snapped
his fingers. “Kids: They always get in the way of romance,” Al remarked
jokingly. Sam threw his arms up in the air, really only putting up with Al’s
libido because of his ideas about forcing Jennifer to talk to him. As they
reached the front door, the time-traveler began looping through Peter’s key
chain, trying to find the right house key.
“C’mon, Sam, hurry it up!” pestered Al after a
couple of minutes of trial and error with Peter’s keys.
“Just a second, Al! I think this is the last
key.” Sure enough, the final key worked and the deadbolt unlocked.
Inside the house, Sam walked from the front hallway
into the living room, whose floor was covered with building blocks, dolls, toy
cars, and other playthings. “Definitely the house of children,” the Observer
The kitchen was attached, where the leaper thought
over Al’s idea. “What if I did make dinner? Maybe it could be the olive
branch in this situation,” Sam wondered aloud as he began searching through
the refrigerator, which was mostly empty. “Of course, I’d have to go grocery
“Be creative, Sam. There must be something else in
the cupboards that you can find. And I thought you called yourself a chef,” Al
jeered playfully. Sam returned the comment with a snide glance and continued his
searching the root cellar and the chest freezer in the basement for food, Sam
managed to make a meal fit for Thanksgiving Day with some help from Al. Roast
beef with a dark gravy, steamed carrots, sweet potatoes, pickled beets, and for
dessert - ice-cream sundaes.
“Oh, I wish
I wasn’t just a hologram! This all looks so good,” the Observer gushed as he
looked at the plates set on the table. They had even managed to find some
candles in a linen closet and set them up on the table. “When we get you home,
you should consider becoming a caterer, Sam.”
right, Al. If I ever get home, I think I’ll retire,” the leaper said
wearily. “I guess I’d better shut off all the lights in the house, huh?
Don’t want Jenny thinking there’s someone in here when she gets home.”
With that being said, Sam switched off all of the lights that he turned on and
decided to wait in the darkened living room.
almost seven o’clock, Sam. I wonder where they could be.”
his shoulders, noticing that dusk was beginning to settle outside. “I don’t
know, Al. That’s what you and Ziggy are supposed to find out.”
feigned a hurt expression and replied, “Well, it’s hard to center in on the
brainwaves of people you haven’t been in personal contact with. Just be
patient, Sam. It’s a virtue, you know.”
knowing that he can’t help but keep himself busy all the time. “I guess I
could clean up the living room until they get back,” he decided. Getting down
on his hands and knees, he began clearing the floor, making sure that every toy
was in container. The grandfather clock in the corner chimed the quarter-past
mark and Al decided to take a little walk.
walked through the front window and glanced around, seeing a gray car slowing as
it approached the house. “Sam! They’re home!” He yelled, rushing back into
the house. “They’re here. You’d better go wherever you wanna be when they
from the floor, the leaper straightened his clean clothes that he had brought
along in the morning in a duffel bag, telling Jake that he was going to the gym
after work. He sat on the couch and waited for about a minute until he heard car
doors closing and the jostling of a key in the front door. The door opened and
Sam heard Peter’s twin boy and girl bickering with each other as Jennifer
tried to quiet them down. She slammed the door behind her, causing Al to jump
and the children stopped for a minute before starting up again.
on that lamp or something, get their attention,” suggested Al as he saw
Jennifer taking off their coats. Looking to the end table, Sam pulled the string
on the lamp and the illumination stopped all noises coming from the trio who had
just came home.
the twins chorused and rushed toward Sam, jumping up on the couch and giving him
tight hugs and sloppy kisses on the cheek. “Daddy, you’re home! You’re
home!” they squealed. “Don’t ever leave us again, please!”
got the children to release their grip on him and he set them on the floor as he
turned to face Jennifer, whose expression was unreadable. “I, uh, I made
dinner for us. It’s all ready to eat in the kitchen,” he told her nervously.
ate, Peter. What the hell are you doing here?” she demanded, raising her hand
to her lips when she realized that her and Peter’s children heard what she
twins didn’t concern themselves with her language. “I’m still hungry,
Mommy,” Freddy, the son, complained.
added Eva. “Can we have some?”
ahead,” said Jennifer with a cooing tone to her voice, as if trying to make up
for cursing in front of her children. “Just don’t eat too much!” She
called after them as they raced each other to the kitchen. A moment of silence
came over her and Sam. “Why are you here? I told you the only place I want to
see you is in court.”
sounds like an ice princess, Sam,” Al offered, punching keys on the handlink
only to see the odds for breaking off the divorce go up a small percentage.
waited before speaking, she turned around to put her coat on a hook in the
hallway. “Jenny, I’m here to fix our marriage,” Sam said softly. “I
don’t think it’s fair that you divorce me on the grounds of adultery when
you’re equally guilty.”
froze, and questioned quietly, “What – what are you talking about?”
about Hank, Jenny. It’s because of him that you worked overtime, and because
of him that Pete, I, stupidly decided to find companionship elsewhere,” Sam
told her levelly. “I’m willing to forgive and forget if you are.”
you? I don’t care what you say, Peter, this divorce is going to happen, and
I’m going to strip you down to your underwear,” she shot back, not sounding
don’t see anything wrong with sleeping with the ex,” Al threw in cheerily.
“I think she’s bluffing, Sam. Ask her about Hank again.”
want a divorce, Jenny. See how happy the kids were to see me? We can work this
out, right?” the leaper asked sincerely, attempting to make eye contact with
the woman. “What happened to Hank?”
a moment before finally raising her gaze to meet Sam’s. “I ended it. He’s
my boss, Pete, and I ended it because it didn’t feel right anymore. Come to
think of it, it never felt right. To top it off, he’s dropping my salary,”
Jennifer answered, a few tears beginning to show.
let’s go outside for a minute. The kids can take care of themselves,” Sam
suggested, seeing her nod slightly as she grabbed her coat. Al followed the two
outside to the porch where they were silent for a couple of minutes. “Why did
you cheat on me, Jenny?”
running out of money, Pete! It was the only thing I could do… with the
negligible amount of shifts they port was giving you, it was either that or get
a second mortgage on the house. Not to mention, you were less than desirable to
be around, always depressed. If only I could go back in time and stop myself,”
she replied, sniffling from either the chilly weather or from her emotions.
Sam stifled a
chuckle at her remark about time-travel and took in a breath before turning
Jennifer so that they were face to face. “And when they gave me more shifts,
you didn’t want to break if off with Hank, so then I started going out with
Amelia,” the time-traveler summed up, frowning at Peter’s wife. “Amelia
and I broke it off, Jenny. I think it would be best for you, for me, the kids;
our entire family if we could just cancel the divorce.”
between them, trying to read the emotions. Sam was obviously adamant about
fixing this marriage, but Jennifer was tough to examine. “Ziggy says the odds
are holding steady at ninety-two percent now that you’re here to stop the
divorce all together.”
don’t know, Pete. What if there’s someone better out there for me? Vicky’s
the one that told me to stop fooling around with Hank, but when I found out that
you were sleeping with Amelia… do you really think we can live with this on
our consciences?” The tears finally began to slide down Jennifer’s cheeks,
and Sam used his index finger to dry each cheek.
“I have no
problem with forgiving you, Jenny.”
her glance to the porch and she rested her head on Sam’s shoulder. “I was
wrong, Peter. I’m so sorry. There can’t be anyone out there better for me
“Way to go,
Sam! You did it! But, there’s one more thing: You haven’t told Amelia that
Peter won’t be seeing her anymore.” The leaper gave Al an alarmed
expression, before he said reassuringly, “Just kiss Jenny and go home to get
Doing as Al
suggested, he kissed Jennifer on the neck before she looked up and pulled him
into a full embrace, kissing him deeply. “Great. Will this leap never
end?” Sam thought after she broke their seal.
you, Peter DeBernardi,” whispered Jennifer into Sam’s ear.
DeBernardi loves Jennifer DeBernardi right back,” Sam whispered back,
straightening up and stepping back from Jennifer at arm’s length. “How about
we go back inside and eat?”
smiled and nodded, and once inside Sam took the stairs two at a time to find a
telephone on the second story of the house. “Thank God for my photographic
memory,” he stated as he dialed Amelia’s phone number. Sam received a bouncy
greeting on the other end. “Amelia? It’s Pete. I’m afraid that, uh, I’m
not getting divorced anymore. I’m sorry, but it’s over between us.”
that’s perfect! I’ve been trying to call you at your parents’ house for
hours! I guess you’re dad’s visiting with your mom, huh? Well, anyway, I
found a great guy named Hank. Does Jenny know him? They work at the same
place,” Amelia responded, all full of giggles and a big sigh after saying
Hank’s name. “We’re goin’ out tonight, so I should be getting’
his eyes, amazed at how some things work out. “Oh yeah, she knows him. Well I
guess everything worked out for the best, huh? See ya around,” Sam said, and
hung up the phone after a quick good-bye from her.
there, impatient. “What did she say? How’d she take it?”
nothing, Sam wandered out of the room and into the hallway. “She’s dating
Hank!” he whispered loudly, getting a big guffaw from Al. The leaper returned
to the kitchen with his Observer centering in on him from upstairs. “Well,
kids, how do you like the chow?” he asked.
best! You’re staying now, right, Daddy?” Freddy questioned, both children
with the eyes of a basset hound. Jennifer grinned and gave him an affirmative
“Oh, yeah. Daddy’s here to stay,” he smiled, and
felt the familiar tingle as blue, electrical light enveloped his body.
With some leaps Dr. Sam Beckett is dropped
suddenly into situations where all his senses don't come online at the same
time. This leap was lead in by a hypnotic drone that was almost comforting, and
followed by the sense of a comfortable, padded seat surrounding him like a womb.
He settled deeply into the seat with a sigh before his vision came into being,
and opened his eyes to the distinctly familiar sight of medical records. He
blinked in confusion as he momentarily tried to place the drone, and a sideways
tilt of his head put it all together: He was on an airplane - a small one that
sat about a half dozen individuals - and there was bearded man sitting next to
him frowning at his own pile of medical files.
Sam slowly turned his head and looked out the
window of the plane. Below him, all he saw was trees and hills, as far as the
eye could see. In the distance he saw a tendril of smoke drifting skyward from
the treetops and a collection of puffy clouds on the horizon.
He turned his attention back to the pile of
folders in his lap. The top one was open to the medical history of Símon
Delgado, a boy of 10. Sam quickly scanned the dry description of the boy's
health, attitude and physical health. When he flipped the papers aside and saw
the photograph of the boy, his heart immediately went out to him, and he
whispered shakily, "Oh, boy."
The utterance caused his seatmate to turn and
look at him. The humor that glittered in his eyes only accented the sly grin.
"Don't worry, Curt," he said warmly. "There is civilization down
there, trust me. Everything you can do will be not only appreciated, but improve
a lifestyle that is difficult at best on a day-to-day basis." The man
grasped Sam's wrist firmly for a moment, and Sam immediately liked him.
Just as Sam began to feel good about this leap,
his newfound friend stood and dropped his files on the empty seat. "I'll
get you a coffee. Really, you'll do great. We've only lost one doctor. Just take
the 'Beware of Crocodiles' signs seriously."
Sam jerked his head back to the man's face in
fright. He wasn't sure if the grin he saw was accenting a joke or not, and still
wasn't sure as the man chuckled and walked to the back of the plane.