by cheryl losch
Writers Cramp Entry
|“I’d like to understand how you found me. No one has been able to since the disappearance. I’ve done my best to ensure that never happened. It was the agreement.”
Agreement? I thought, but put that aside for the time being. I knew I had limited time to talk to this woman, and wasn’t sure how this whole genie-in-a-bottle thing worked.
“You have to understand this is going to sound very strange,” I told her as I held my wine glass between my hands, taking a quick sip, trying to keep them from shaking. “I’m not even clear on how it worked, but it did. It’s actually quite a storybook cliché,” I smiled across the table.
“I don’t care what you call it; I want to know how you found me. Now.”
The wine, which had tasted so sweet just moments before, suddenly went sour as I put the glass down and began my tale.
“I was on the beach. I was spending a weekend at a bed and breakfast a couple of hours north of town. Alone. Taking a couple of days away from the stresses of life, the divorce, and ex- in-laws that thought I was the harbinger from the very depths of hell.”
“Bed and breakfast?”
“People rent out rooms in their homes. Other people, usually couples, go there for a night or two, and enjoy the sights. The home owners provide a spectacular breakfast feast and charge outrageous fees for the privilege of sleeping in one of their rooms.”
“Perhaps you should consider it here,” I said, as I looked around the island setting.
“Perhaps,” she replied, not overly enthusiastic about the idea, and gave me a look that would have made Medusa proud.
I nodded my head. “Okay. Yes. How I got here.”
She looked at me with interest.
“I was walking along the beach and a wave washed up an antique looking lampy thing in front of me. I almost stepped on it. I picked it up, laughed at the outrageousness of it and rubbed it anyway, in case it really did have superpowers. Well, it did. And I was not drinking that night,” I said, responding to her one raised eyebrow and downturned frown.
“So, as I rubbed the lamp, this fog emerged, made a fat humanish sort of shape and a deep voice told me I had one wish. I could go back in time and spend it with someone famous. He said I could choose who would it be, and I could ask this person whatever I wanted to know. I decided I wanted to be taken to where you went. I wanted to know where you were. What really happened.”
Amelia Earhart looked at me, poured us each another glass and leaned back her chair.
“Because your story fascinates me. You were an aviation pioneer. You inspired people. You were also just too good to drop off the face of the earth. There had to be something else to it. Did you know your husband remarried just four months after he had you officially declared dead? Nice guy.”
“Yes, I knew that. It was part of the arrangement. The publishing house was suffering. They needed an unknown to bring it back around. What better than a story about a woman pilot, a rarity in that time, flying around the world with only her co-pilot, who then mysteriously disappears. What a story! After the Lindberg biography, there wasn’t many flying adventures to write about. And they needed a new one. I was an unknown, and it fit the bill. Oh, and to answer your next question. Yes, my co-pilot is just fine. We’re quite happy here together.”
I paused, not sure where to go next. “So, you didn’t really land at Howland Island like you were supposed to?”
“Yes, we did. They have a small landing strip there. We messed with the radio communication to make it appear we had a problem. We had sent some necessities and some of our belongings to the island ahead of the fateful flight, and once we landed, we boated to this lovely island retreat we now call home. No one ever heard from us again. And of course, they never found us.”
“Is this island even on a map?” I asked.
“Not that we know, but it is quite self sufficient. It has remained under the radar, so to speak, for years. Until of course, you came along.”
“I swear, I will never, ever, share this information. Chances are it’s one of those things that you don’t even remember when you wake up. Like a dream.”
“So how are you getting home?” Amelia asked me.
I looked around, hoping the genie guy would appear. “I’m not really sure. I just assumed once I asked my questions I’d be sent back. I thought that was how it worked.”
We sat there in silence for a few minutes to see what would happen.
“Looks like your genie may be out granting other wishes,” she said as she poured us one more.
I took a quick drink to try to calm the rising panic. Here I was, back in time, with no way of getting home. I couldn’t help but think of how history just might be repeating itself, except I wasn’t a pioneering pilot, or an adventure addict. I was just me, wanting to experience history. Then leave.
Amelia placed her hand on mine, in an attempt to quell the obvious dread I was feeling.
“Relax, it will work out. Perhaps until your magic-man appears we should look into your bed and breakfast idea?”
I looked at this amazing woman, thought about my divorce, the crazy ex-in-laws, and the crappy job I currently had and wondered why I was in such a rush to get back.
“You have a good point, Amelia.”
“Well then, to the future,” she said as we raised our glasses and toasted tomorrow.
Word Count - 998