"Lakpa Alma and the lost Sherpa"
by Marc Carlson
Copyright 2005 by Marc Carlson
This page last modified 17 December 2005

           The Darkness was soft, warm, snuggly and squishy, sort of like a woman’s, well never mind, that’s neither here nor there…

           The vibration against the back of the man’s head was a bit much though and was gradually pulling him from the darkness where he was otherwise perfectly happy. The hard gritty feeling pressing against his back and legs was less than comfortable, too, come to think of it. And that loud clattering noise, clanging and rumbling like God’s own alarm clock. He turned his head towards the noise and slowly opened his eyes, gradually focusing on the rather painful-looking steel edged wheels coming toward him down the track. He sat up sharply and continued into a forward roll ending only at the at the cement curb. Overwhelmed by painful nausea he leaned to one side and yakked on the street’s paving bricks.

           After the nausea had subsided a smidgen, he realized that he was bipedal and staggered shakily to his feet. He began to examine his surroundings.

           The Third Street Railroad System Car rattled slowly down the street. The only other person on the street at the moment was the white-clad milk-wagon driver staring at him from a block away. The wagon’s horse was even staring at him. This may have been because the man was as unclothed as a new-born child.

           He shrugged and looked at the buildings nearest to him, mostly made up of storefronts: “Renovating and Repairing”, “United Cigars”, “No cigarette satisfies like a Camel”, a barbershop, suits, hats, shoe repair and Loew’s 42nd Street Theater with the “Worlds Greatest Sound Pictures – coming July 6 & 7, Lon Chaney in Where East is East”, and “Emil Jennings in Betrayal and Hear, Stan Laurel Comedy”.

           Across the street there was a construction site with a building slowing climbing to scratch the sky. There were two large signs on the wooden fence, one over the other, proclaiming “Chrysler Building, Occupancy 1930 … now renting FLOORS – OFFICES – Store, ready early spring 1930.”

           Based on the signs, he assumed that the street he’d woken up on was 42nd St., which made the intersecting street Lexington Avenue. That meant that the intersecting street to his right, just past the Chop House, whatever that was, was Madison. He knew it had to be sometime in the summer of 1929, since the Chrysler building was begun in November of 1928 and the stainless steel spire would go up in October of ’29 inversely to the stock market, making it the tallest building in the world until it was eclipsed by the Empire State Building in 1931. Besides, ‘Where East is East’, a choppy, poorly directed, and, for the time, mildly pornographic film (what with the hints of incest and Indo-Chinese lesbians) had come out in 1929 to pretty dismal reviews.

           Pretty good, he thought, for a guy who had no clue about who he was, what day it was, how he got there, or where his pants were. He must be a time traveler.