Ch. 2 — “Harrison Connor, Cleveland, Ohio”

Link back to Ch. 1

 

Lyndsey, Buck, and Ladybird Richardson sit silent, meditating over disquieting thoughts concerning the horrendous death toll occasioned to USS Saratoga.

James heads downstairs to help the adults with their suitcases. It is brief moments after 7:00 p.m.

Now that the folks are home, Lyndsey realizes that the Iwo Jima scenario will become vital to James’ explanation to their parents.

So, the girl picks up the remote control and smoothly ‘drives’ back to the Japanese island, allowing the System to come to rest with the island’s coast sitting in the midst of the screen of the HDTV.

Now all is ready for the anticipated arrival of her parents in the rec room, and her opportunity to render support to the argument DJ must be developing in his mind.

Under normal circumstances, Deej would take the stairs two at a time, but this occasion is different. He is pensive as he walks step-by-step down to the carport.

“How in the world can I explain what’s happened?” he moans inwardly. “It wasn’t my fault; I sure hope they’re not mad at me for getting the sofa smashed.”

“Hey, what’s up, pal?” Dad quickly notes that the boy is in a thoughtful mood.

DJ helps his dad retrieve the cases from the taxi driver, and carry them into the house.

“Dad.” James has to lick his lips to moisten them because of his nervousness.

“Dad, there’s nothing to worry about, but something incredible has happened with the new TV.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve wrecked my new TV, James.”

Russell James Richardson works long hours at the family business as a transportation consultant.

He has fallen deeply in love with what everybody knows is his new toy, purchased with the fruits of his labors after months of waiting.

The 70-inch large-screen, flat-panel, plasma HDTV is a great way to catch up on things at the end of a hard day at the office, which bureau happens to be just down the hall in their home.

To hear that his baby has been damaged, or even destroyed; the thought  beggars description.

He can already feel his hands beginning to tighten around somebody’s neck.

“Who broke the TV?” demands Dianne Richardson, coming in on the tail end of the conversation between father and son.

“Nobody broke the TV, Mom, the set’s fine. It’s what came on it a while ago that’s what is wrong.”

“What on earth are you talking about, James?”

“Dad, you and Mom have to go and see it for yourselves, because you won’t believe it if I just tell you what happened to Lynz and me a little while ago.

A World War Two marine on Iwo Jima came through the TV, and just absolutely shot our sofa to pieces with a huge rifle!

“What? … Are you nuts? … What are you saying?”

“Go upstairs and see what happened!”

The invite is unnecessary; Russell Richardson is already partway up the stairs with Dianne almost flying, as she places a close second.

“Lyndsey, what have you and your brother been up to? … Dad! Mom! What are you doing here?”

Then his eyes fall on the shattered sofa. He speechlessly points it out to his wife of seventeen years.

“All right! Any one of you; let’s have it!” the young mother demands. “Who did that to the sofa? What do you know about this? Buck? Ladybird?”

“Dad, I told you and Mom downstairs that something very unusual has happened with the new TV. You need to look at what Lynz is able to do with the remote control,” James recommends.

Buckminster puts in his two-cents worth, “Son, what DJ is telling you is for real. Maybe you and Dianne should sit down, because you’re both in for an incredible surprise.”

“This is what James stumbled over this afternoon,” Lyndsey begins.

“If Lynz can find that marine again, it’ll show you how the sofa got wrecked,” Deej adds, and, while inwardly cringing, he thinks to himself, “I hope.”

Then to Lynz, “Can you take a crack at going back to where we found Bartlett James and took him over to the rock, and then follow him back to the time when he came to apologize to us?”

“I’ll try.” On the remote, Lyndsey engages the ▲CHANNEL until the Pacific island fills the entire viewing area.

The girl recalls that the initial contacts with Bartlett James were made at a distance of about one mile from the volcanic Mount Suribachi at the far end of the island.

She works her way south toward the high ground. Lynz even tries moving backward and forward in time to try locating the young combatant.

Many thousands of marines are on Iwo Jima, but in battle fatigues, they all look alike; this assignment might be just as difficult as literally finding a needle in a haystack.

Naturally, her parents are beginning this experience at a high level of vexation.

Both are entertaining the thought that it is totally, 100 percent, nonsensical that the TV will display what she directs it to show.

However, at the outset, with the strange phenomenon unfolding before their eyes, they must grudgingly acknowledge that the portal is undeniably real.

“TVs aren’t supposed to do this,” one mumbles.

“James,” Russell queries, “are you able to record this onto a DVD?”

“Thanks for asking, Dad,” the boy responds. “I started doing that as soon as the marine ended his first visit to the house.”

The annoyance, with which they watch initially, changes. First, to growing interest, then awe, and finally they are completely spellbound.

Their daughter is exhibiting great skill in maneuvering the remote control, which is exactly the same way she and her sibling had done earlier. The teen is cautious to ensure she presses only buttons they have used previously, even brief presses on time shift controls.

All are buttons that, she believes and hopes, will cause the HDTV to give the response she needs it to, in order to show their parents the incredible events of a short time before.

Lyndsey negotiates carefully, then, finally, in desperation, pulls up just short of the back of a lone marine.

“Excuse me, sir,” she quietly, yet politely calls out to him.

No point in startling him; but in vain.

The response is instant, violent. The marine turns rapidly on his heel and, without a moment’s hesitation, his M1 carbine jabs into the System.

Once again, the Richardson household is intruded upon by the biting end of a piece of military hardware. Four inches of steel barrel penetrate the rec room’s airspace.

“Vindication!” The word springs into the minds of both youngsters without the need to search for a suitable thought to express their joint relief.

“Who the (expletive) are you people? … You’re civilians! … What do you think you’re doing here? … This is a war zone! … Don’t you know you could get yourselves killed here? … Hey, what on earth happened to your sofa?”

“I’m sorry to trouble you, sir. It is about our loveseat being wrecked that brings us here.

“One of your marine privates, Bartlett James, accidentally shot up our chesterfield a couple of hours ago.

“We wanted to find him to see if he can try to get us some sort of compensation for the damage. Do you know where we might look for him?”

The young marine officer shrugs his shoulders and says, “Bartlett James? … Miss, I’m not sure I’ll be able to help you with that question … There are thousands of our guys here, but I can’t say I ever heard of anyone with that name.”

He gestures with his carbine in the direction of the black-sand beach, presuming that they had arrived on a landing craft of some variety, and says, “You folks better get out of here, while you’re still in one piece.”

“Could I trouble you, before we go, sir? Could you please tell us the time?” she inquires.

“It’s five minutes after three p.m.,” the officer responds, checking his watch.

“Is it still February 21, 1945?” she follows up.

“It is. Why do you need to know this?” he quizzes.

“I’m trying to keep a record of the conversations I have had concerning the damaged love seat.”

“Thanks for your help,” the girl says, and quickly adds, “Sir, may I know your name?”

“Marine Lieutenant Harrison Connor, Cleveland, Ohio, ma’am,” he states. “Sorry about your chair, folks.”

With that, the .30-caliber carbine and its bearer withdraw from the HDTV.

Once again, the back of Harrison Connor is all that is visible of the officer, now diminishing in size as he returns to his official duties.

Three mouths hang open at this turn of events. 1. Russell’s, 2. Dianne’s, and, 3. Ladybuck’s.

No one from this trio has ever seen anything like this, or even dreamed that such an incident could or would occur in their lifetime.

Even Ladybuck, who earlier witnessed the events surrounding the attack on USS Saratoga, is stunned by this most recent experience.

Lyndsey, just to be on the safe side, slowly withdraws from the scene of this latest confrontation with U.S. forces from so many years ago.

 “Lynz, could you show Mom and Dad the action with the fleet offshore?”

David James wants all four older family members to have the same quality of information, so that any decisions can be taken with full knowledge of the facts.

Lyndsey, now knowing that it is shortly after 3:05 p.m. on the day of the Japanese mission against the flattop, has in mind that the events surrounding the vicious attack on USS Saratoga occurred just before dark.

So, after moving the view to the offshore fleet of ships, she moves ahead in time so that the time-lapse-photography effect can be experienced by the recently-arrived parents.

For added verification, she runs backward and then forward, so that they again get the message that, time wise, she has complete control over the view that appears through the screen.

As the light of day begins to fade, the six kamikaze aircraft once again begin their inexorable dive onto the deck of the carrier.

As always, five find success, while the remaining one finds only a cold Pacific grave at the hands of the defensive fire of the picket vessels.

Russell, Dianne, and Ladybird are again moved to speechlessness.

How can this spectacle possibly be explicated in any way that will rationally fill in all the gaps, or sort out the pieces of this never-before-seen jigsaw puzzle?

To the kids and their gramps, of course, this is all ‘old hat.’

“How is it that we are able to see these things happening on our TV?” Russell asks.

“Grandma had a good way to explain it, Dad,” DJ says. “She compared it to something we can easily understand.”

“Russell,” Ladybird continues, “it seems to me that this is just like looking through a window. What we think we can see on the HDTV is real, and live. So, what is actually happening is that we’re seeing it through the television!”

Nonetheless, it is mission accomplished, for James and Lyndsey.

Now, all four of the senior family members have to agree, this is no history program, with vintage WWII footage. This is the real McCoy.

As Ladybird speaks, Lynz ‘chauffeurs’ the family back to a view of the entire fleet at Iwo.

Upon arrival, she ‘backs up’ time wise, so that the scene is fully lit by prevailing sunlight.

#

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