A Large Homeotherm

Robert took his dinner into the study while Ruby finished her dinner alone in front of the little television in the kitchen. She rose from the table and scraped her plate into the garbage can, absentmindedly listening to the local news on the television.

As usual, Robert hadn’t taken the garbage out and it was overflowing. Ruby shook her head. She thought about bringing the whole stinking can down to Robert’s study and plopping it right at his feet.

“He wouldn’t even notice,” she thought to herself and instead dragged the bulging bag down the steps and to the garage. As she opened the door, she was surprised to see the family car parked inside. Robert never parked it in the garage; it was too crowded with his shelves full of research.

He was a scientist and his work required him to respond to his experiments as situations arose. So she wasn’t surprised when he had rushed out of the house late last evening. She didn’t even ask where he was going and she had fallen asleep before he came home.

As Ruby sidled her way around the old station wagon, she noticed that the seats were pushed down and inside, stretching from the rear window all the way to the front headrests, was a shiny metallic tube.

Ruby’s jaw dropped and she let the garbage fall to the floor.

Her hands began to shake and she screamed.

A few seconds later, Robert Prehoda poked his head into the garage. “Oh no... honey, let me explain...” was all he could get out before she nearly knocked him down as she ran shrieking into the house.

“Get it out!”

Inside the cylinder was the body of James Bedford, dead since January 12, 1967; the first man to successfully be cryonically frozen.



Angelina slept with one eye open.

The Comanches had conducted some deadly raids on the little settlement lately. The Mexicans had invaded again and took hostage the city of San Antonio, only seventy miles to the south. Mountain lions and bears were depleting the already meager supply of livestock. Half the population had fled.

These things alone would have caused consternation for Angelina, but there was something else in the works that had her at wit’s end. Twice-widowed, she lay alone on a hard bed in her otherwise empty shotgun-style boarding house, tossing and turning.

The President lived there as a guest for a while but had returned to Washington-on-the-Brazos for an emergency session. It was on this event that her troubled mind focused. She suspected that what came out of that meeting of the Seventh Congress could mean the end of her life on the frontier. It permeated her dreams and she found herself waking several times a night, her heart pounding in her throat.

When she awoke on this night though, December 29th, 1842, it was not from a dream. It was from the real sound of wagon-wheels and horses.

She leapt from her bed and rushed outside, barefooted and still in her night-clothes. Pulling away from the General Land Office were three wagons and twenty men on horseback.

“They’re here!” she screamed, running through the streets, “the scoundrels are here!”

When she reached the cannon at town-center, she turned it towards the fleeing party and struck the flint. An orange fireball lit up the night and the wall behind the group exploded in rubble.

The next morning, after an eighteen mile chase, the official archives of the Republic of Texas were retrieved.

Thanks to the vigilant alertness of Angelina Eberly, Austin would remain the capital of Texas.


The Finest Thing This Side of Heaven

Rabbi Goode leaned against the steel bulkhead and watched the passengers stream by him. He glanced quickly at his watch: exactly one in the morning.

The crowded luxury liner that he was on had been ferrying passengers around the northeastern seaboard since 1926. He may have even seen it at the docks of New York when he was still a child, but he had no memory of it. Thousands of ships called New York home and they had all looked alike to him then.

The Dorchester, as it was now known, was far from her usual route though. On this February 3rd, 1943, she was 150 miles from Greenland. It was freezing cold out on deck and the Rabbi held his gloved-hands over his ears to keep warm.

He soon noticed a young sailor making his way up a ladder through the throngs of passengers. He was heading in the opposite direction of everyone else. As he passed by, Rabbi Goode reached out and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Mahoney, where are you going?” he asked in a concerned voice.

“My gloves,” the petty officer replied, “I’ve forgotten my gloves. It’s freezing! I have to get them!”

“Never mind that,” Rabbi Goode said smiling. He removed the pair of gloves that he was wearing, “take these. I’ve got a second pair.”

The sailor took the gloves and turned and headed back down the ladder. Midway down, he stopped and looked back at Rabbi Goode for just a few seconds before he was pushed on his way again by the crowds.

Fifteen minutes later, the Rabbi and three other army chaplains died in the Atlantic, having given away their gloves, their coats, their life-jackets, and their prayers so that some of the other 900 soldiers aboard the torpedoed-vessel might live.


Don't Make a Wave

West Pender Street in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia was effectively shut down. The American Consulate Office was surrounded by a sea of people. Many of them were yelling. Chanting. Some shaggy-haired kids were playing guitars and singing. Others were camped out on the sidewalks, with their children, sitting, playing cards, passing the time. Newspaper reporters mixed in with the more animated members of the gathering. The aroma of burning cannabis was unavoidable.

Irving was pleased at the peacefulness of the turnout and paused to listen to a man with a microphone addressing the crowd.

“... Five years ago, there was an undersea earthquake in Alaska that sent a wave rolling all the way across the ocean that nearly wiped us out... and now the American military wants to tempt our fate again? Ask Port Alberni if this is a good idea! They remember! How can the Americans not? If they detonate that bomb in October, it could set off a series of earthquakes along the fault line resulting in...”

Irving stopped listening for a moment when he noticed a placard that was being held up near the speaker. It read “Don't Make a Wave! It's Your Fault if Our Fault Goes!”

“Hey, Bob,” he said to the journalist next to him, “Look at that sign.”

Despite the protests, the United States government proceeded with the Aleutian Island nuclear blast.

Two years later, when a second test was announced, Irving Stowe, Bob Hunter, and a collection of other Quakers and environmental and social activists broke away from the Sierra Club in order to take action.

On May 4th, 1972, the “Don’t Make a Wave Committee” officially changed its name to Greenpeace, in honor of the little halibut seiner that the group first used to help direct worldwide attention to nuclear testing.


The Greatest Thing

Things weren’t going so well for Frank Bench. Sales were poor. Bills were piling up. He was on the verge of bankruptcy. When his friend called him with a business proposal, Frank didn’t think twice about accepting.

“I’ll be out of business in two weeks anyway,” he said to Otto, “I can’t see what it could hurt.”

On the morning of July 7th, 1928, Frank turned over the “OPEN” sign in the window of his bakery. He was mildly surprised to find that there were already a few women waiting outside when he unlocked the front door.

“Good morning, ladies,” he said as they rushed past him, “I see you know what you’re loo...”

He was bumped into from behind by a trio of bonneted women carrying shopping baskets.

“Oh! I’m so sorry, Mr. Bench! Is it really ready?” one of the ladies asked him excitedly, holding up a newspaper.

“That’s quite all right, Mrs. Wallace! Yes, it’s on the dis...”

Before he finished, he again had to make way for more customers.

“Pardon me,” he said softly and decided he’d better move away from the door.

He leaned against the wall, scratching his head for a few minutes, watching the customers go in and out. Some even came back a second time.

“Hey, Eddie,” he called to the clerk at the register, “I think I better get in the back and start making some more bread.”

Within two weeks, Frank’s sales had increased by two-thousand percent.

The Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri, wasn’t just selling bread. They were selling time. The bread was already sliced, each exactly five eighths of an inch wide.

Thanks to the spectacular new invention of Otto Frederick Rohwedder, millions of housewives around the world would realize a few more minutes of free time.


The Hammer

Beside the sleepy village of Moussais-la-Bataille, two enormous armies camped. For six days they watched each other through the trees. A probe here. A test there. Neither side willing to betray itself.

At the top of a hill, behind a screen of trees, were thirty-thousand men. Many were untrained. Less than half were soldiers. And of that group, only a third was on horseback. Beneath their heavy armor, they waited patiently in little square formations to defend their homes, built upon the dust of the Western Roman Empire. At the front of the ranks was the Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia.

Below, twice the number of soldiers hungrily waited, most on horseback. For twenty-one years they'd had their run, expanding their territory village by village from the tip of Africa across al-Andalus and into Gaul. Their Governor-General hadn’t expected such opposition here in the middle of nowhere. This was the reason for the delay.

He couldn’t tell the size of the enemy.

His cavalry was put-off by the trees and the steep incline.

It was after all, just a raid. He knew he shouldn’t attack.

But the lure of plunder was too much, and on the seventh day, October 10th, 732, Abdul Rahman sent his men into battle.

All day, the horrors of war were tossed back and forth between the Franks and the Saracens, neither side gaining any advantage. That is, until the rumor spread.

“They’re looting our gold!”

The Umayyad cavalry turned from battle and raced to the supply train to rescue their war-booty. Confused, the foot-soldiers followed. Abdul Rahman was cut down in a Frankish charge, trying to stop the retreat.

Charles Martel, leader of the Franks, would here at the Battle of Tours lay the foundation of the Carolingian Empire and secure Western Europe indefinitely.

Limping Eilmer

The month of March had indeed come in like a lion. The winds howled across the River Avon and gathered speed as they rushed up the gradual hillside a quarter mile towards the monastery. By the time they reached the Saxon watchtower, another 80 feet above the abbey, they shot practically straight up. Dozens of little black birds, jackdaws, circled far above at dizzying altitudes, carried along on the swirling torrents of air.

Eilmer, perched on the edge of the southeastern window, looked up at the little flying dots above him and then down towards the Avon. An intricate contraption of willow-wood and parchment was secured to his arms and legs. He held his precarious position there only with the assistance of two other men, as an occasional gust would lift him off his feet.

“Angels of Daedalus and Abbas bin Firnas, carry me to safety ...”

The monk crossed himself, leaned over the edge of the tower and fell.

The ground came careening at him.

But Eilmer held his arms steady, and miraculously, his vertical descent softened. So much in fact, that he managed to follow the contour of the slope for nearly seven hundred feet, staying airborne for fifteen seconds.

When the Abbot was informed of the human flight, he was not impressed; for when Eilmer was pulled from the marsh after crash-landing, both of his legs were horribly shattered.

His disfigurement led to a more contemplative life, observant to the point that when a comet appeared in the sky on March 20th, 1066, Eilmer of Malmesbury was one of the first to ever notice that it had appeared before:

“It is long since I saw you; but as I see you now, you are much more terrible, for I see you brandishing the downfall of my country.”