On patrol that evening, I was consumed by the possibility that lay before me—or maybe I should say behind me. This sounded crazy. And if there is one thing I know after working the streets night after night, it’s crazy. Hypothetical discussions with Rob are one thing, but if I were to tell anyone, they would lock me up.
I’m going to just take the plunge and go back. For my own sanity, I have to take this out of the hypothetical realm and make it a reality. I am going back to 1947.
So, how do I get outfitted for the past? If I’m going to fit in with the late 1940s time period, I need to dress the part. Is there anyone with experience in this type of endeavor? Actually, as I think about it, there are some people who travel back in time fairly often. You don’t believe me? Did you see Pearl Harbor or the Titanic? Movies set back in specific time periods use the talents of production and costume designers to create the film’s authentic look. Now I need to find someone to do that for me.
And as it turns out, I know just the right person. I went to high school with a girl who is now the costume manager for the Guthrie Theater. Michelle always had a flair for the dramatic and starred in most of our school productions. Even though we ran in different circles—remember how much of a big deal that was back in high school—we were still friends. She was in my English class and we got into some heated discussions about whether the great writers had succeeded based on innate talent or through hard work. Looking back, I suppose it was unusual for a jock to have any real appreciation for the arts. I can thank my father for that.
Michelle always had a funky hairstyle, wore a long scarf no matter the season, and had an attitude that took very little seriously. If I placed her in a police lineup and asked you to pick out the drama student, you would pick her every time. We had crossed paths over the years and I heard she had left the spotlight for costume design. Now she runs the costume shop at the Guthrie, no small undertaking for a theater of the Guthrie’s size.
I give her a call and she says she would have time to meet with me tomorrow afternoon. Since this was my Friday—even though it was only Wednesday—I would be off for the next several days. Ahh, the joys of police shifts.
Speaking of meetings, I am running late for meeting up with Angela for our dinner date. Angela—don’t ever make the mistake of calling her Angie—is my fiancé. We had met last May at a mutual friend’s birthday party. I first caught sight of Angela from behind as we both waited in line for a drink. I noticed her long dark hair, her creamy white silk blouse and black skirt, black patterned hose and stiletto heels. No way was this woman going to be this hot from the front. “Don’t turn around, don’t turn around,” I had mentally shouted at her. Surprisingly, she hadn’t heard me and turned around with martini in hand. And man, I was not disappointed. There’s a word I like to use for love at first sight: I call it lust.
I was totally captivated and did my best to charm her. It must have worked; because after four months of being together, Angela recently said it was time to take the next step. As I’ve found in our short time together, what Angela wants, Angela gets. Not one to do anything halfway, she’s planning—by what indications I’ve been allowed to witness—is the largest wedding since Princess Diana’s. Angela is a driven career woman who has her own priorities. I know I made the list of her top five priorities, though I have my doubts I’m at the top. Is this how love is supposed to be?
Relationships have never been my strength. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share—and maybe your share too—but they never seem to last. I’m confident that’s the reason I jumped in headfirst—apparently blindfolded as well—when Angela brought up the possibility of us getting married. Have I had second thoughts? No more than once or twice a day, but that has to be in the statistical norm for bachelors staring down their impending doom. Forgive me if I’m sounding a little pessimistic.
I park my squad on the street right outside Mickey’s Diner. One of the perks of being a cop is there’s always a parking spot when you’re driving a squad car. Mickey’s is an icon in downtown St. Paul. A converted railroad dining car, Mickey’s has been in numerous movies and is the place to see and be seen. For me, it’s the retro feel and the good food that I appreciate. Looking through the window, I see Angela is already seated at a booth reading a magazine.
“Hi, sorry I’m late,” I say leaning in to give her a quick kiss, taking in her vanilla scent. It works for me.
“You should be,” she replies. Her intense green eyes hold the promise of both pleasure and pain. I know which path I would prefer to be on.
“You look absolutely stunning. It was completely worthwhile to fight through the hordes of evil-doers just to be at your side.” I give her my best grin.
It works. Angela smiles, her face relaxing. “Drew, you are a charmer. So, do you want to hear about my day?”
I nod and Angela is off and running through the details of clients, business deals, stock transactions and office politics. It’s not a world that holds my attention and my thoughts drift off to planning for my trip. A trip, by the way, that I have not shared with Angela. Discussing time travel and visiting my long dead father is not something I can bring up with her. Angela needs control, stability, and normalcy, not a fiancé so far off the deep end that the shore is just a distant memory.
I listen to the details of her life, nodding at the appropriate moments. It is clear that Angela is quite driven by her career. At times she has voiced her concern about my own career, saying I am too content with being a patrol officer. She believes I should be seeking a promotion to an investigator position. Angela has said I’m not ambitious enough. I suppose I could find someone more supportive, but why bother?
“Are you listening?” I hear Angela ask, which is never a good sign.
“Of course, however there are times I get lost staring into those smoldering green eyes of yours.”
She gives me an appraising look. “I’m not altogether sure it was my eyes you were looking at.” She smiles. “Either way, as long as I’m the one holding your attention, it’s okay.”
Angela continues. “That Punnett guy is such a prick. He’s an opinionated blowhard. He’s always forcing his opinion on me. Just because he has an opinion doesn’t mean it needs to be heard. I don’t care what stocks he buys for his clients. It doesn’t make it right for mine.” I could see Angela building up a head of steam on this one.
“Do you know how mad he makes me when he second guesses my trades?” she asks. Not waiting for my answer and with fire in her eye, she carries on. “He stops me in the hallway, in front of the senior partners, and says I should have stayed away from the biotech stocks as they will lose significant value in the near future. What does he know? No one can say what the future will hold.”
I’m already thinking that I could find out for her, but I keep my thoughts to myself.
“He’s very disrespectful and that gets me so angry. What would you do?” I’m not altogether convinced she really wants my opinion, but Angela is gesturing so passionately that I’m concerned for the safety of the servers walking by our table. I have seen this before when she becomes increasingly agitated. Being male makes me a problem solver, so I offer the benefit of my considerable wisdom.
“I would grab that prick by the throat and slam him against the wall so hard that several pictures would be knocked off the wall. This would get the attention of everyone in the area, and that’s when I make my point. I’ve found it really helps to get my point across when I stab my finger into a person’s chest repeatedly while I get my face an inch away from theirs and scream at them to shut the hell up. I then clearly state my position that his bloated and disfigured body will be discovered a hundred miles downstream if he ever disrespects me again. Sometimes I conclude our discussion with a punch to the gut. Either way, it’s pretty effective.” I lean back clasping my fingers behind my head.
Angela is staring at me, her open mouth speaking volumes. She is obviously quite impressed.
“Oh my God,” she says. “Are you serious? I would be thrown out on my cute little ass so fast your head would spin. Is that what happens in your world? In ours—the civilized world—we follow different rules. I’m not even sure anymore if there are rules in your world.” Angela stops talking and just looks at me. I have the feeling she is reassessing her view of me. The silence is palpable and awkward.
I may be a bit more clueless about Angela than I had previously thought. It’s times like this that I wonder if I can ever exist in her world. Clearing my throat, I ask her about her new Mercedes, always a favorite subject of hers. Angela is off and running, speaking passionately about the acceleration, the sound system and favorable consumer ratings compared to vehicles from Lexus and BMW. I listen and when it’s time to return to duty, I wait for an opening and excuse myself. I give her a brief kiss and walk out into the night, not entirely sure if the danger lies ahead or behind me.