Time Canyon, Episode 2 by Tom Weaver

By Weaver
Weaver wrote two Time Canyons, this one and another that involves nunchucks. I honestly forgot how good this one was. Weaver and I talked seriously for a while about pitching Time Canyon as a TV show, but soon realized just how hard it was to write a good story about the Canyon. One episode idea Weaver imagined didn't even deal with time travel; instead, it covered an Evil Knievel-type stunt man jupming the Canyon on his motorcycle. If only TV could be so entertaining. (CL)

For years, human beings have sought ways to travel through time; machines invented, concoctions ingested, warped-glasses peered through, but to no avail. Mother Nature, however, invented time travel when she invented the mountains, fields, valleys, and rivers that dot the Earth. She hid her time machine well, but all that was needed was a mishap, an accidental stumbling upon, to discover the mystical powers of Time Canyon. No one really knows who discovered Time Canyon and no one really cares either, I guess. This is what is known about Time Canyon:

1. It is to be found somewhere in the mountains of coastal Southern California.
2. You can only use its powers once.
3. It only works backwards in time, never forward.
4. It does not transport people or items back in time. Instead, Time Canyon takes voices back in time and shouts them into the ears of one specified recipient.
5. Time Canyon does not make any guarantees, nor is it responsible for any misuse and/or byproducts of its powers.

Without further ado, I present to you a tale of another man and his yearning for vocal time travel.

The Cause and the Cure OR Rinse and Repeat

August 14th-1995-4:26 PM-Birchwood Mental Ward: Paul Douglas and Frank Meers stroll through the wooded grounds of the Birchwood Mental Clinic in southern California. Both are aloof and have an empty feeling inside of their hearts after visiting their friend Roscoe for the first time. In stride, Paul lazily destroys an anthill on the corner of the walking path with his shoe. He keeps his unfocused eyes pointed downward as he speaks. "That wasn't Roscoe in there, you know?" "Yeah, his brain is..." Frank pauses his words while grabbing a fistful of gold chains from around his neck. He looks Paul in the eyes, unable to speak with reserve. "...fucking fucked. He heard things, and all he kept mumbling was 'The voices, the voices.'" Paul nods his head slowly as the two friends continue down the path until they stop at a vacant park bench and sit down.

"Roscoe was such a good guy, but nothing went his way all his life," Paul said with sympathy. "He never complained, either, but it obviously was building up until he snapped." Frank turned his head and just stared at the clinic after hearing this. "He got shit on more than a public toilet, and deserved none of it."

Paul and Frank remained seated in silence for minutes, unable to continue any conversation until Frank finally spoke. He clenched his numerous gold chains once again, his eyes lighting up. "We can change this, though." Confused, Paul responded with nothing more than a blank stare. Frank continued, "There's a place called Time Canyon where we can go." The two spoke back and forth, Paul asking all sorts of questions, and Frank explaining the rules and power of Time Canyon.

After about fifteen minutes, they decided to go, but not before the most important question was asked. "How the hell do you know it even works?" Frank smiled slyly, gently sliding his words out into the open. He shook his gold chains with both hands, "I used it to get these chains, man."

"What? You told everyone that you saved a bus full of rappers ten years ago, and they thanked you with their gold! It was your best story," Paul ranted.

"I lied about that, " Frank confessed. "I really used Time Canyon. I spoke to Mr. T back in 1985, and had him put all of his gold into a suitcase and send it to me. I told him I was God."

"So it'll work, right?" Paul asked. Frank just smiled and pointed at his chains.

August 21st-1995-Time Canyon: Paul and Frank are at the edge of Time Canyon, nervous, but ready to save Roscoe's life. They have decided to tell Roscoe the winning lottery numbers for the $47 million jackpot on June 30th. After researching the newspapers, they discovered that nobody won the prize that day, so Roscoe would claim all of the winnings for himself. They had also pinpointed a location and time to send Roscoe the message. Knowing the rules, Paul took a deep breath and read from the script he wrote yesterday, so not to say the wrong thing.

"June 29th! Six in the evening! 421 West Pine Street! El Verde, California! Roscoe Peters!" hollered Paul with nervous excitement. He continued, yelling clearly, "Roscoe, this is Paul! Play the lottery tomorrow! The winning numbers are as follows! 3, 9, 18, 22, 39 and 40!" Paul turned to Frank, almost hyperventilating. Frank smiled back at his friend, "Let's go and count Roscoe's money."

June 29th-1995-Roscoe's House-5:55 PM: After crying for fifteen minutes, Roscoe composes himself and enters his bathroom. He stares sullenly at the pack of razor blades resting on the edge of his sink. After a moment of mental contemplation, he disrobes and steps into the tub and begins to take a shower. All lathered up, he places his head under the showerhead, hoping that the hot water will massage away his sorrow. In quiet, disturbed thought, he hears a deep voice inside of his head. He cannot make out any of the words, though. Frightened with his heart racing, Roscoe turns off the water. He now clearly hears the words: 3, 9, 18, 22, 39 and 40! Roscoe gets out of the shower and begins to cry once again, thinking that he has just now lost his mind. He spends the rest of his night sitting on his couch, unrinsed with the soap hardening on his naked body.

June 30th-1995-6:59 PM: Roscoe remained in his apartment all day, avoiding all human interaction. He even refused to answer the phone when it rang in the early afternoon. Frightened by its clarity, and mentally paralyzed by the message, he spent his day haunted by yesterday's voice. Numbers made the voice even more unsettling. The mounting stress and the dense depression of a long string of failure had shifted his psyche to the brink of collapse. The retaining wall of his sanity had been breached once he had heard the nonsensical words in the shower. In a last-ditch effort to calm himself, Roscoe sank his face into a pillow and screamed with all of his might, temporarily soothing his emotions when the adrenaline kicked in. Collecting pure air into his lungs in short, rapid bursts, he felt better. There were still things tormenting him well within his mind, but they had been pushed back enough to focus on reality. Seizing this opportunity, Roscoe needed to occupy his mind with anything other than his trials. A book requires too much inner thought, so he opted for television.

As luck would have it, Roscoe had his television set to the channel that broadcasts the state lottery, boasting a jackpot of $47 million this evening. Scratching the flecks of dried soap off of his shoulder, Roscoe watched with no interest. He knew a new program would follow this slight interruption. As each numbered ping-pong ball was displayed, Roscoe began to shudder with fear and confusion. He heard these numbers before. After all six numbers were displayed in ascending order on the screen, Roscoe stared at them, his body unable to move. Tears trickled down his face. Three days later, he was sent to Birchwood Mental Clinic, where all he said for the rest of his tortured life is, "The voices, the voices!"

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This page contains a single entry by Weaver published on April 8, 2002 8:04 PM.

JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK: a Club 11 review by Mike Wargo was the previous entry in this blog.

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