Friday, December 25, 2009

A Madman Christmas Carol (excerpt four)

From chapter 5

After a trip to the bathroom. he saw a figure dressed in a simple suit sitting on one couch and gesturing with his hand said, "Greetings, sit here."

"Carl ... Sagan? The man whose presentation of facts and philosophy caused me to question my religious beliefs and eventually decide to abandon the lies of the church."

"Yes, but you know that. Why did you just day it?"

"You died in 1996; not everyone knows who you are."

"Sigh. Anyway, I am here to show you your past; that what you are now is not what you were and that you can't change it since it would affect who you are."

"What? I do remember who I was. My biggest problem with that is I don't forget things."

"Still. I am here to show you your past holiday seasons."

******

"Pay attention." The ghostly figure of Carl Sagan points towards the tv and it kicks into action. Ken grabs the remote to change the channel but realizes he has no control of what is being displayed.

It shows a bunch of people sitting around a console tv set in a smoke filled room. Ken focuses his attention and realizes it is his grandmother's house with versions of his now deceased uncles most of whom have either a cigar or a cigarette in one hand and an Old Style beer in the other. He also sees his father who appears eerily similar to him as his age at that time is what Ken's age is now. Looking at his father's comparatively thinner body, Ken defending himself states, "If I smoked 2-3 packs of Lucky's a day, I would be as thin as he is."

He then hears the announcer on tv " ... with Stenerud missing a game winning 22 yard field goal attempt, this playoff game is going into overtime; coach Stram can't believe what just happened."

With his jaw open, Ken replies, "1971. Municipal Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri. The day I became a fan of the Miami Dolphins. Larry Csonka's 25th birthday." He then notices a six year old kid sitting on the floor watching the game asking questions about it. "I was very chatty; wanted to know as much as I could. Still do." He smiles. "I didn't realize how close that first missed kick was."

The ghost of Carl Sagan responds, "You see how changing one little thing in the past could affect the present. You could have become a Chiefs fan." Ken shakes in fear at what was said.

Now the view on the tv set changes as the announcer states " ... and Garo Yepremian's 37 yard field goal ends the longest game in NFL history as the Miami Dolphins advance to the AFC championship with the 27-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. They will face the winner of tomorrow's Baltimore Colts Cleveland Browns game tomorrow to decide the AFC championship."

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