A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 35: Frustration and Angst

Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran

Eventually my animation ended after a couple of run throughs, the finish was an image of the Lewis & Clark map of this area zoomed into our locale; the caption read, “This map was published eight years ago, in 1814.”

The map also showed that we were living on the edge of what was labeled, “Half-Breed Territory”. If my calculations were correct then we weren’t alone.

“We won’t know for sure, but my guess is we only missed meeting Lewis & Clark by about fifteen years. Which is a shame really, cuz I’d really like to know the story behind that entire Sacagawea thing”, I said, “woman with newborn child decides to journey with strange men across the wilderness? Really?”

Well, that brought a verbal reaction from Sonya and a smirk from both Michelle and Matilda. That comment was intended to entice a reaction and the truth is I did want her to accept our reality and re-engage with the team. I did have a choice if it really was 1822, I could simply make her a slave and sell her at the first opportunity. Did I consider that a possible course of action for me? No, but I needed to consider every option if I wanted to keep her alive in our new world. Self-entitlement had no place in our current situation and she needed to adapt and adapt quickly. Sonya was going to be a project.

The clouds had mostly fled for the evening meaning two things: A. It was going to be cold tonight. B. We could get a good picture of the moon against the horizon.

We did B and we put the pictures up against the projected phases for my estimated time frame and the group consensus was that today was April 2nd. I didn’t dare mention to the ladies that according to the cycle it could be 800 years earlier also, I instead went with positives like St. Louis society and fashions of the day. The truth is we couldn’t even begin to know until we met another human. I was hoping for 1822. There was also the darker possibility that we had flipped forward in time, I didn’t even want to imagine that.

So we talked about what might be out there and how we needed to approach it, obviously strolling into town like Gods From the Future would have us burned at the stake in no time flat; advanced weapons be damned.

Sonya decided she wanted to see the calculations I had used; I wasn’t surprised so I cast my research and code to the screen. I first ran quickly through the formulas and logic - it was pretty simple if you were used to that stuff - and then ran through the various lunar cycles and events. Matilda and Michelle were both paying rapt attention as well.

Next I showed the compiled data from recorded lunar history that we had in our archives and compared that to my calculated output. I used the Farmers’ Almanac archive we had for most of the comparison, it was historically accurate and easier to parse going back as far as 1912 (it was first published in 1812 but that data wasn’t available in digital format).

My calculations were accurate to the day up to the end of available data, there didn’t seem much of a chance it would deviate after that. I did lament that I probably could have found longer term data if I had more time and better research access.

I had another beer while I let all that sink in, it was a mind-numbing concept. For the hell of it I pulled up Back to the Future from our video archives and let that run; I needed a distraction after these last few days and it was still a masterpiece of work.

I decided to make some popcorn. Of course I had popcorn in my larder, I had marshmallows also; can’t camp without those. The hot coals of the central fire made quick work of the popcorn. It was a bit trickier to handle without stove top and counter, but I managed to not screw it up too badly. I flavored it up as normal but as I did so I realized just how precious all of those items had become: I needed to be judicious of their use but I also needed to leverage that going forward. Parmesan cheese would be almost worth its weight in gold out here on the frontier, and I had the instructions for making it.

The popcorn was a big hit but it wasn’t long before the reality of the true situation came crashing in.

Michelle was first up to bat when she asked, “What about my farm? And my niece?”

I was pleased that she beat Sonya to the punch, I feared another breakdown from Sonya.

“Let me start with what I think happened behind us”, I went on, “I think that the night of the storm there was a massive emergency over at the linear particle accelerator and that all the emergency services were called in.

“That’s just my guess”, I continued, “but I’m sure I saw their building take that lightning strike also.”

Huge pregnant pause and then I went on, “I think Oscar went out to check on us the next morning and found a huge grove of old growth trees where we used to be.”

I looked directly at each of them and said, “I’m also guessing that it was a time swap, I don’t know but that’s my best guess.”

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