What can this strange device be?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
What would you do with a second chance to get things right? Would you be greedy, arrogant, and thoughtless of others around you or would you be apathetic, compassionate and selfless? A time machine that exists today. Nothing else moves us like music. The songs you grew up with still bring you to joy and pain. Help me with this. I've gotta right it down or I'll go crazy. I've had this in my mind since I was 14 years old!

Submitted: March 09, 2014

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Submitted: March 09, 2014

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What Can This Strange Device Be

 

If you find this radio, please be careful.  This is a warning that exceeds any and all warnings you’ve ever encountered before.  If you are reading this, it means that you have taken the back housing off the unit.  That was what I did.  I also found a note.  But, as I usually do, I threw it away and dismissed it as garbage.  The note also warned me of my fate and my responsibility to the next “owner”.  If you tune the radio to the far left of the dial, you will hear a blast of emergency S.O.S. signals.  Keep searching the far left of the dial until you find it.  Immediately after you have found it, allow a few moments to intensify.  Immediately, turn tuner dial to far right – as far as it will go.  You will hear no sound, no song or radio call sign.  Leave it on.  Hold it near your heart.  What follows is nothing short of a miracle.  Remember:  Be responsible.  Please, be careful.”

He found something strange.  He remembered that he hadn’t eaten in a few days.  The back of the strip mall where two restaurants sat was as good a place as any to dive into the dumpster.  He was spotted by an employee from the Chinese place taking out the trash and sitting with a half-smoked cigarette.  “Hey, Maxy!  What’re you doing?  I haven’t seen you in ages!”  the apron-clad shirt-stained boy hollered.  As Max made his way towards the auburn-haired lad, with the pangs in his stomach reaching insatiable levels, knowing that soon he’d be dining on two-hour old crab rangoons and MooShu chicken a la King Buffet,  a dominating figure of a man threw open the back door.  “What are you doing having a smoke, Thane?  Get your sorry ass in there and clean the tables!  We have customers waiting for a clean place to sit!”  The round man then turned his gaze towards Max.  Max stopped in his tracks.  “And you:  Get The Hell Out Of Here or I’m calling the cops!”  he scolded. When Max heard this command, he performed such a beautifully executed “one-eighty” that his Company Commander for his boot camp squad would have been proud.  He continued his fast paced escape towards the other end of the alleyway.  He peeked around to see if this rotund man was still looking at him.  He was not.  Max began his search for another meal.Max wasn’t always homeless.  He was a well-respected real estate leader in the community – the one off the coast, not this one.  He left his hometown after the newspaper printed all the horrible details about the suspicious death of his wife.  Max was the main suspect.  But, everyone knows that he couldn’t have had anything to do with it.  It was poison but, there was no direct evidence linking him to the crime.  Max was facing 25 to life.  But, after a long waiting period in county jail, Max finally went to trial and was found not guilty.  But, the shame of doing time and the personal guilt he had for not taking care of his sweetheart was too much to bear so Max moved on.  Max has been on the streets for seven long years now.  But, he can still smell the Victoria’s Secret perfume she wore.  He can still remember the song they danced to at the wedding reception when for the first time they were introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Max Lundgren.  He was thinking of her – again, when he jumped into the dumpster from Crunchy Fries ‘N Shakes.  The pain in his gut was now a bowling ball of anxiety!  He was searching frantically for something – anything to eat.  He found a few old chicken pieces, an unopened carton of spoiled milk and something that looked like an old transistor radio.  He hadn’t seen anything like this since he took a look in grandma’s top dresser drawer when he and his family were visiting grandma after grandpa died.  Grandma said it used to be grandpa’s and he would listen to all the wonderful new songs and catch the weather and news stories!  Grandpa loved it.  Max put the AM Radio into his pants pocket and jumped out of the dumpster.  “Hey!  What are you doing here?  Get out of here!  Maria, call the cops!”  A loud voice came from a small woman in a waitress outfit!  Max didn’t have time to pick up the sandwich remnant or the spoiled milk carton.  He ran as fast as his legs carried him!  Away from everyone, Max sat down under the big oak tree at the end of the city limits.  Tears welled up in his eyes and his body started shaking from the crying he was doing.  Max felt the little aluminum and plastic box dig into his buttocks as he sat.  He reached around for it.  He stopped blubbering.  He inspected the little square.  The dial on the left showed “On/Off” and Max used his thumb to turn the device to the “On” position.  It did nothing.  He turned the bright gem around to inspect for a battery.  He opened the coffer with his long, yellowed fingernail.  The battery was there but, what is this?  There was a piece of paper with handwriting preventing the battery from touching the contact point to operate.  Once the parchment was out of the way, the “On/Off” was operable.  The songs coming from this electronic antique were scratchy, melancholy tunes from his teen years:  The Temptations, Buddy Holly, Johnny Rivers and more.  Even when he switched the dial, the songs remained from the same era.  On the occasional commercial, the products that were being advertised were from days gone by.  He even heard an ad for a Marlboro Cigarette!  These ads have been outlawed by the censorship elite.  Max read the note a loud.  “If you find this radio, please be careful.”  Max continued to read but, silently.  He looked around to see if anyone was spying on him.  Silly note.  What does that mean that I have a responsibility?  I don’t have anything.  I have nothing.  Except hunger pains!  Baby, I You’re your Lovin’ by Johnny Rivers played on the radio after the ad for Borax detergent was through.  This was the song.  This IS the song” Max told himself.  Jeannie and I had our first dance to THIS song!  He put the radio on his chest and listened.  He was so hungry that he completely forgot how tired he was.  Maybe a few winks under this beautiful shade will do him good.  As he drifted to sleep, his thoughts were circling that wonderful day and the majestic beauty of the radiant bride. “BEEP! BEEP!” Max was startled awake.  He rubbed his eyes and tried to focus on the 1964 Chevy II – in mint condition, that had just waked him from such a beautiful dream.He had dreamt of Jeannie as he first met her, at the Sadie Hawkins dance that she invited him to.  She was such a mild, timid, pretty little thing.  A lot of boys didn’t look past her braces and freckles.  But, Max saw the inner beauty.  He remembered the Dairy Queen where they went after school and he got the courage up to ask her to go steady!  Kind of like the Dairy Queen across the street, ‘That building looks just like the one – hey, wait a minute!’  Max shoots up off his butt and notices that he is not wearing the dirty homeless clothes he was wearing just minutes ago and lo and behold, he is no longer 55 years old!  He is young!  He is wearing Levi 501 button-fly jeans with a nice clean Polo pull-over and white canvas Converse high-tops!  ‘Wow!  What happened?’ The last thing he remembered was finding a transistor radio and falling asleep near the oak.  But, he’s back in his home town.  As he was standing there in a stupor, a 1973, four-door Buick Wild Cat honked and the driver and passengers hollered in his direction!  “Maxy!  Where have you been?  The boys screamed.  The car made an illegal U-turn in the middle of the road and came to a screeching, rubber-burning halt right in front of Max.  Max just looked at them:  these were all his high school friends at 17 and 18 years old! ‘This can’t be happening!  What is going on?’ “Max, guess who’s going to ask you to the dance?  Jeannie Riley!  Max, that freckled-faced freak has a crush on you!  Cindy and Julie were sitting in the cafeteria and they overheard the freak tell her fat friend that she thought you were nice and she might ask you!”  said the driver.  The driver:  Homer Kramer.  The defensive lineman that flunked out of Junior year just to play one more season in football.  The other boys in the car were all following Homer’s lead in making fun of Jeannie.


© Copyright 2020 Macaroni Mario. All rights reserved.

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