Chapter 7

Written by: Ken Burns

I stared at Patty, just that little bit bleary eyed but fascinated.

She caught my drift in a way that only great minds in unison can.

The world started to turn grey. The images around us became a blur. I was used to the time travel effect. It didn’t make me feel like vomiting. Now I was a professional. The multiple images around us stopped. I looked around and smiled.

“This is exactly where I want to be.”

I hugged her like a long-lost sister.

She smiled but her eyes became teary.

“Me too,” she whispered into my cold right ear. It was definitely winter.

The newspaper stands on the pavement had one last copy of the New York Times. Patty handed me an American quarter.

I pulled the copy out. The 8th December 1980 was clear in the top righthand corner of the front page. We looked at each other again knowing we were in about the right place at the right time: 9:45pm.

Looking across the street I could see the corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West. The Dakota Apartments stood proudly looking out over the city. Built in the 1880s they were a testament to architectural brilliance. On a bench across the street a man in a heavy winter coat sat with a shopping bag by his side. Positioned under a street light he could clearly read the paperback novel he held in his gloved hands. 

“That book is called Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger,”

said Patty.

My heart dropped. I felt like vomiting but not as a result of time travelling. I was very nervous.

Patty brushed my hair to the side and kissed me gently on my lips.

“This time guardian knows you were born for a purpose in this life. That’s why you came here when I gave you a choice.”

 

I ran down the street, confused, and said to myself, “You have a purpose. Don’t shy away from it.”

Looking back Patty who was clearly calm but acknowledging that I needed space. Being a time traveller made me much less tied to one place. New York was not my home.

Patty was now waving her arms to get my attention.  There was an anxious look on her face.  That meant it was time to act.

I ran back breathing heavily in the cold.

A limousine pulled up outside the Dakota. John Lennon and Yoko Ono got out arm in arm and walked towards the main door.

The man across the road was now in the alleyway next to the Dakota. 

 I was quick enough to discreetly get across the road to get between him and the limousine couple.

My words were clear but rehearsed as I held both hands out in an offering of peace.

“I’m here to change history.  Don’t do it Mark Chapman.”

Comments

Who doesn't remember the moment when John Lennon was shot so needlessly. This took me right back to that moment. Vivid and this chapter flowed well.
As always, Ken, I am always fascinated by your style. It is so unique and natural and easy to read. This really is clever, almost 3D with regards the action. We are there and yet we are on the outside looking in, pictures of the man flicking through our minds, unable to help John. A really unforgettable piece in my opinion. Loved this, Ken.
This was about research and tone. Had several goes to get it to the stage I was happy to make it public. I'm looking for an emotional reaction.
It worked, Ken. The ending gave me goosebumps!