The Thick Man

By Lord Manticore

Prologue
     “Topping headlines today, global warming reactionaries once again came out on Christmas to try and prove that the planet is going through potentially catastrophic changes that could threaten life on Earth. Released video showed computer-generated footage of polar ice caps melting into the ocean. To refute known evidence that the footage shown is artificially generated, the voice over noted a date-time stamp in the lower left hand corner of the video, which was indicated to come only from a digital camera.
     “The White House fired back by continuing to vow to capture these wanted environmental terrorists and subject them to…”
     Jacob turned off the video stream and turned to face the door to his office, when Albert Jobs, his chief scientist, came crashing through.
     “Boss, boss, we’ve done it! We’ve finally proven Verne’s theory of temporal relativity.”
     The CEO of Manticore Laboratories looked at Albert in a way that showed slightly less than complete excitement. “You’ve said this before Albert, usually right before your budget comes up for review.”
     Albert looked back at Jacob, not completely realizing the implication of the statement. “Yes…well, that’s neither here nor there. This time, we really did it; we were able to jump an object over a period of time.”
     “Is there any proof of this, or are you waiting for the object to reappear like last time?”
     “No sir. This time we have a video feed and everything. It’s…”
     “You didn’t save the footage to a hard drive or anything did you?” Jacob had the look of a hunted man as he said this, worried about a lot more than a simple breach of security.
     “Well I think that Johnson might have made a backup…”
     “You fucking idiot! Like we need the National Service coming in here tearing up the place because of your crazy ideas. You know that the President squashes anything that might pose a threat to our sovereignty, and if we don’t present this in the correct light, then you’ll be wishing you were sent to Guantanamo Bay with the other jaywalkers. You know that the NS has access to every file and bit stream in the country.”
     “But boss, it’s not like…”
     “That’s it Albert, I’ve had it. I allowed your project to go on as a favor to Dad before he died, but I’m not going to risk a trip to that murder factory in Death Valley just so you could prove some cockamamie theory of time travel. You’re fired, your team is fired, and if you’re not out of here in five minutes, I’ll call the NS myself.”
     Finally sinking in that his ideas were not as well received as he had always thought, Albert slunk out of his former boss’ office. Before the end of the day, he had been arrested, tried, and found guilty of treason in the second degree. He was sent to Death Valley Federal Recovery Center, where he survived for three days.


     While Albert was getting the last lecture of his life, a man by the name of William was sweeping and mopping the floor of the labs in which Albert formally worked. It was safe to say that William, or Bill to his friends, was not a happy man. His father was a politician who lost his power in the witch-hunts of the fifties; so that by the time William was twenty-one, all there was to inherent were a few political buttons and some mementos. Now approaching sixty, Bill was part of the meager resistance movement that vainly pushed against the government’s twisted policies. Although the number of members by this time was few, with resources to match, they were a determined bunch. Each felt that, should this invention work, it would be their ticket to taking out the head of the serpent, the one that started all of this temperance and forced “Christian” social behavior. 
     William himself was chosen for his clean cut role model behavior as well as the remnants of his political background to get inside and keep an eye on the project. DNA (modified at near prohibitive costs) indicated that Bill had never drank, nor did drugs that had not been federally proscribed. He was welcomed into the project by Jacob personally, never knowing that Bill knocked back beers and scotch like the average American drained federally approved orange juice. With the project closed indefinitely, the resistance felt that, based on the information that Bill had given them, they had no choice but to try to work the machine. 
     The machine in question looked similar to a telephone tube in a large city, with a dim blue light on the top and bottom. Nearby was a bank of computer monitors that tracked all manner of information, including what was needed to plot a time to move to. Bill had surreptitiously set this to 1913, the year before the start of the Temperance League and the beginning of the end of good times in the country.
     Snuck into the lab was Bill’s needed equipment: a grey suit reminiscent of the early nineteenth century, an emergency flask (filled with Johnnie Walker Black, circa 1942, the last year that it was made), and over a thousand dollars in period currency. The mostly paper dollars were older than the time period he needed to go to, but Bill knew that it was still accepted tender and that he wouldn’t get too many looks as long as he didn’t flash his money around. It took awhile for him to set everything up, as the security cameras were randomly following his movements in the lab, but he was set to go as the clock approached midnight.
     Bill grabbed his duffel bag and was set to hit the startup button when he heard a female voice at the door.
     “Stop right there, Mr. Clinton. I’m Special Agent Daley and by the order of the President of the United Temperate League of America, you are under arrest for crimes against humanity, high treason, and conspiracy to commit alcoholism. Move another inch and you’ll be joining your friends in the Valley.” She was a smartly dressed woman, sporting a long flak jacket and a badge. Only someone from the National Service would walk in so boldly, knowing that he or she had the ability to instantly sentence someone to “recovery” as the government put it, or just plain death as it was commonly referred to. 
     “Ma’am, I’m just cleaning the controls and the lab here. I don’t know…”
     “Shut up, Satan. We know all about your friends’ plan to try and subvert the government for your own alcoholic, anti-religious pleasures. You will step away from there, or else.”
     Thinking that it really was now or nothing, Bill slammed the button down and grabbed the bag as the pistol started going off. One bullet ricocheted off the panels and everything began sparking as Bill leaped into the tube. Another agent entered the room and attempted to taser Bill, but the electrical lines bounced off the plastic edge, sending off its own sparks briefly. Before the leads hit the floor, Bill was gone.

1

     Bill landed squarely on the ground with both feet. As he looked around, Bill realized that he was standing in the middle of a field of wild grass. The laboratory that Bill had recently left was located about 30 miles due west of Chicago, and based on the research done on the area, the resistance had learned that it wouldn’t be until the late fifties before the first families that formed the city of Naperville would arrive. It was also determined that there was a rail line just a mile or so to the north that Bill would be able to walk to and catch a train ride into the city. As it was still dark, Bill changed into his wool suit and began walking to where the line was supposed to be. His suit chafed the entire time, since the material was no longer commonly used in his now former time.
     The first sign of trouble was about an hour after Bill arrived. He was able to figure his bearings by locating the North Star and started heading in the right direction. However, the rail line that was supposed to cut through Will County into the big city wasn’t there. It was in fact nowhere to be found. It was the new moon, so there was almost no light to help him, despite the lack of clouds in the sky. Rather than finding out how far off course the machine had placed him, Bill decided to start walking towards Chicago. Bill was in pretty good shape for a man of his years, but an eight to ten hour hike was not his idea of a fun evening. However there was no time to hash things out. Even now those NS agents could be trying to figure out how to bring him back to the present for “rehabilitation.” As it was, Bill had set the controls to bring him back in a month, assuming he could be brought back. Not even the inventors knew if anything could be brought back from the past, they simply had not gotten that far in testing yet. 
     Soon, Bill was able to find a dirt road and movement got a little easier. It was even easier a couple of hours later when a farmer had pulled up in his wagon, offering the well coiffed gentleman a ride to the farmer’s market in the medical district. This was actually better then Bill could hope for, as the person he was looking for was a medical secretary before she began her killing spree on the country’s carnal freedoms. In the early morning ride, Bill did not notice that certain items that were known for the time were not where he thought they would be. 
     This changed as the farmer entered the city as dawn began to spring from the low-slung buildings of the downtown area. It took Bill a moment to get used to the Loop skyline without the Federal Building or Temperance Tower looming over the state like roving eyes. However, as Bill took in the new sights, he noticed that there were no skyscrapers at all. In fact, there didn’t seem to be a single building over perhaps three stories tall, and he knew that wasn’t right. As he approached the medical district where the city’s farmer market was held each day, Bill saw that the hospitals and even the doctor’s school was made almost completely out of wood, with only two buildings made of brick. That was when Bill actually noticed the road itself. There was no asphalt to be found and only the main street was made of brick, the rest being leveled dirt. There were also no cars on the road. Bill knew in 1913 that, while cars weren’t exactly everywhere, certainly enough people owned one to be a common sight in the city. 
     Thanking the farmer for the lift, he hopped off the wagon and walked into a soda fountain nearby. Ordering a coffee and a paper, Bill paid with a five dollar bill without paying attention. The pharmacist looked at the bill and stated that he didn’t have enough to make change. He stated to Bill that the bill was only 10c. Mumbling his apologies, Bill took out a dime, paid the tab, and then opened the paper. The date on the paper read May 5, 1893! Bill couldn’t believe his bad luck. Panicking, Bill almost spilled his coffee, garnering a concerned look from the pharmacist. He buried himself into the paper to avoid the glance, and continued to read on. It seemed clear that he was definitely back further then he wanted to go. However there was no mention of a Temperance League in the paper, which left Bill relieved. The biggest news items in the paper were the opening of the World’s Fair on the south side of the city the Friday before and small concerns about a possible depression. 
     After a few minutes, Bill calmed down and thought about it. His target, one Elizabeth Perkins, was in her late forties when she started the movement and began lobbying Congress. Coming back an extra twenty years could actually be to his advantage. It could be easier, he thought, since as a younger woman, Miss Perkins could be easier to manipulate away from temperance and into something more normal. It would change history alright, he thought. It could end the wars that America had fought or caused in its attempts to force the rest of the world to follow its tune. Finally, Bill could go home and have a drink without worrying about someone stoning him for it.
     At that moment, she walked in the door. Bill looked up from his paper and almost dropped his cup again. She was definitely younger than in most of the pictures that he had seen, but it was definitely Elizabeth. Rather tall, but with fine cheekbones and a pert nose, Bill couldn’t help but look down slightly at the large breasts that must have been terribly painful to hide under all those layers of clothing. The clothes had almost done the trick, but to a carnal man such as Bill, he knew what lay under there and he had a hard time making his look not too obvious.
     “Good morning, Mr. Thompson. I’d like to pick up my morning licorice, if you would please.”
     “Certainly Miss Perkins. And how are things in the secretarial pool these days?”
     “Well, Dr. Simpson retired on Friday, so I’ll be sitting around for a few days while another doctor is found to replace him.” Elizabeth looked saddened at her boss’ leaving. 
     “Doc Simpson was a fine general practitioner. He even helped take care of my back a few months ago. I’ll surely miss him.” 
     Returning Mr. Thompson’s warm smile, Elizabeth said “Yes I know. He was like a father to me. Taught me everything about medicine I know and how not to partake in liqueur like some of those doctors do.”
     Bill winced internally as he heard this. It wasn’t going to be easy to turn her towards the bottle, but he didn’t have a choice. He had a country to save, even if no one realized it yet. Elizabeth left a moment later and Bill asked the pharmacist about her. 
     “She’s one of the best secretaries in the city if you ask me. Has been here for over three years now and works for the university. And by the way, I caught you looking at Miss Perkins and might want to watch yourself. It’s rather rude to look at a woman like you were and that is an easy way to spend a few days in the city jail for lewd behavior.”
     “Well I apologize, sir, but I didn’t mean to look at her like that. It was just that she reminded me of someone I knew.”
      “I do hope you intentions are honorable, sir. Especially someone as old as you, looking at women like you had something indecent in mind. I think it’s time for you to be getting to work if you ask me. That is, if you even have a job.” The pharmacist started giving Bill an unsavory look of his own. Bill grabbed his belongings and left quickly, making apologies as he went. He didn’t see the smile and broad laughter coming from the pharmacist afterwards. 


     After his encounter, Bill headed back to the farmer’s market for an apple and a place to sleep. Bill had not gotten any rest in over a day now and it was beginning to take its toll. Soon enough, Bill found a sign that said “Doctor’s Hotel.” Bill didn’t debate for long and walked into the lobby. It was quite nice on the inside, but it was certainly not new. Walking up to the concierge, Bill asked for a room and received one without question. He used his real name without thinking about it, but stated that he was from New York.
     “Oh, so you’re here to apply for the physician’s position then?” inquired the clean shaven man behind the counter.
     Bill thought of this briefly and then said yes. A moment later he was given a room key and went upstairs. Paying an extra fifty cents for a private bathroom, Bill had stepped out of the steaming bath when there was a knock at the door. Upon opening, Bill saw on older gentleman, wearing spectacles and leaned softly on a cane. 
     “Mr. Clinton, I presume?” the older man spoke.
     “Why yes, sir. I am. I apologize, but you have me at a loss. How may I help you?”
     “Oh it is I who should apologize for my manners. My name is Franklin Anderson, Doctor Anderson, and I am the head of the teaching department of the university. I understand that you were inquiring about a position here?”
     Deciding that pretending to be a doctor could be a way to get close to Elizabeth, Bill decided to go along with it. “Yes sir. I happened to overhear that the university had just opened a position and I was curious about it.”
     Inviting Dr. Anderson in, both exchanged a bit of small talk. Then a bit of an informal interview took place, in which the doctor asked Bill several medical questions which, given where he had arrived from, were simple even for one without a degree to answer. Bill only messed up one, almost mentioning penicillin in giving an answer. He covered quickly, stating that he had heard of some experiments being worked on back east, to which the doctor responded good naturedly that there were always rumors like that.
     In the end, the doctor offered Bill a position with the university in a teaching capacity. Bill didn’t know what do about offering credentials, but Dr. Anderson said that Bill can send back to New York for them at his leisure. Bill was asked if he could start tomorrow and Bill accepted. Finally, he was told that a secretary would be assigned to him as that was normal and would he be offended by having to work with a female. Trying not to laugh at the question, Bill said that it would be no problem. 
     Bill spent the rest of the afternoon ordering suits for work and finding a place to keep his money. Despite everything he paid for, nearly $950 went into a new bank account and he had the room at the hotel for a full month. Near the end of the day, Bill received a letter from the university; Miss Elizabeth Perkins would be his medical secretary until further notice.

Journal Entry: May 5, 1893 – There was an author who stated that it was the best of times and the worst of times. Whoever wrote that didn’t have my day. Getting shot at for your ideals can put a lot into perspective. I can only hope that the Service will be unable to figure out how the machine works and can never bring me back. If I can complete my goals, then it won’t matter, as when I do get back, my world will be completely different. 

I ran into “President” Perkins this morning as I was fumbling around the city. I might have over jumped my time, but it was definitely her. The only thing missing was her bony finger sticking out, practically staring a person to death for daring to enjoy themselves. I have to admit though that she was, I mean, is a looker. I almost started drooling over her knockers when I saw her. As much as I hate the time period, I can appreciate how the local fashion helps to defy gravity as it were. I can only hope to be able to take advantage of her some day.

Speaking of which, I managed to get a position at the university and get her as my secretary as a bonus! Get this; I was hired on as a doctor! I can’t believe how easy it is to get away with almost anything here. No Internet, no mandated spy in every apartment complex and block, no wondering where the cameras were in each room, I’m not even sure if they have cameras here yet. I have to admit though that all this freedom could go to my head and I could still mess this all up with one slip of the tongue. Here’s to hoping for the best.

2

     The next morning, with foreknowledge available, Bill just ‘happened’ to run into Elizabeth at the soda fountain. Donning his cap, Bill introduced himself and offered to buy her a cup of tea to get to know her.
     “Well, Dr. Clinton, that is rather unorthodox. I would prefer a more professional relationship.” Elizabeth looked at him rather sternly, gathering an uncouth impression of her new boss from the get go.
     Trying to recover from his faux pas, Bill said “Oh, I do apologize if you feel that I’m not being a gentleman. I always make that offer to the people that work for me. I like to get to know people, rather than just think of them as subservient.”
     “Oh…well. That is a rather novel approach, doctor. It is rather late for breakfast tea, but perhaps we could interview for the lunch hour?”
     “Certainly Miss Perkins. I presume that I will have some duties to attend to for my first day, but I can certainly let you know when I’ll be available.”
     “That will do, doctor. Would you escort me back to the university please?”
     “Certainly, ma’am.”
     “Well if we are to work together, doctor,” said Elizabeth as she slid her hand into Bill’s arm, “you may refer to me as Elizabeth.”
     Feeling the swell of her right breast against his elbow, Bill looked down and said to her, “Well in that case, when we’re not in the office, you may call me Bill if you wish.”
     Elizabeth blushed as she looked up at the gentleman old enough to be her father. “Well you New Yorkers are certainly informal. You will take some getting used to after working with Dr. Rosenthal. It might take some time to refer to you by your first name.”
     Bill nodded his understanding, but internally he felt conflicted. It was clear that it was going to take some time to wear down Liz (he couldn’t think of her in such “civilized” terms) and his time was limited. He was also having a hard time keeping his thoughts pure. Even in a muted state, Liz’s sexuality was rather apparent. He kept his thoughts on how he would impress his new bosses and not on how that soft fabric contained a heaving bosom that Bill thought would feel wonderful in his hands. 
     Reaching the university soon enough, the two parted and Bill headed to Dr. Anderson’s office. He spent the rest of the morning going through the grand tour of the department meeting his newfound peers. Although all the doctors on residence were of about the same age as Bill, he certainly looked younger than the rest, a fact that more than one physician mentioned in passing, referring to how lucky he must still be with the women. Bill thought that was amusing, given the amount of pure chivalry that seemed to ooze out of every pore of every person he had met. It was just after twelve before he made it back to his new office, which was laden with books. While there were no classes to teach until the fall, he was expected to work on curriculum as well as see patients once he got familiar with the school. He had just enough time to make sure his emergency flask was tucked in his sock when Liz came in, ready for lunch.
     There was a Greek restaurant nearby that Liz said was quite the place and so they were off. Bill didn’t remember any such places in his time (the Greeks were considered to be too decadent and were “recovered” in the aftermath of the Temperance War), and was looking forward to a little spanikopita for once. They walked into a rather spacious dining room and the waiter offered both of them seats. When the waiter asked if they wanted a beer, Bill practically fell out of his chair. He had never been asked if he wanted alcohol and it was likely that the waiter was on a one-way trip to the Valley for saying that in public. He managed to recover, but not without a quizzical glance from Liz. He ordered a beer just to hear the words come out of his mouth and asked if Liz would like one. Her eyes went wide and said, “It’s certainly a bit early for that, don’t you think?” 
     The waiter left before the tension built any higher while the couple stared at each other. Bill looked at Liz and realized that he really had his work cut out for him. 
     “I didn’t mean anything offensive by that. I was simply asking out of courtesy.”
     “Well I certainly hope that you don’t think of me as that kind of woman. I am not someone who simply falls all over her boss like some of the secretaries at the university, and I would kindly respect that you not consider me as one of those secretaries.”
     “No certainly not, but I thought that perhaps you drank a beer to get the vitamins and minerals from the grains involved.”
     “Well I have heard of that, doctor. However, I do not imbibe as it is simply not part of what I do.”
     “Have you ever tried a beer?” Bill knew that psychology was barely known at this time and perhaps a little of it in his corner might help him. 
     “No I haven’t. Why should I?” Liz looked at her boss in wonder. He was simply nothing like Dr. Rosenthal. This man actually drank alcohol! 
     “Well as I mentioned, there are certain vitamins and minerals that are essential to the body. As well, one cannot with certainty say that they will not do something unless they have tried it once.” 
     Liz thought this over carefully for a moment. She was not dumb in any sense, but she could not find fault in the doctor’s logic. With a sigh she said, “Well perhaps you’re right. I’ll try it once, just once. And then we’ll not talk about this anymore, agreed?”
     “I can agree to that; however you might find that you’ll actually like the taste.”
     “I’ll be the judge of that, doctor.”
     “Fine then, I’ll go and fetch the waiter.” Bill got up and walked to the back, where he saw the portly waiter. Taking on a look of a man about to be beaten, he asked the doctor if he needed anything.
     “I certainly do.” Bill then leaned over and spoke in a conspiratorial tone. “My secretary is about to order her first beer and I certainly do not want it to be her last ever. Can you get her something that will make her want to have some more, if not with lunch then certainly some other time?”
     With a sly grin, the waiter looked back at Bill. In his hand was a two dollar bill. The waiter blinked and then said in a thick Greek accent, “I believe that I have just the thing, and in fact, she might want to have one or two more before the end of lunch.”
     “Well I don’t want her to get drunk right now, but I do want to set the seeds up for later.”
     “Well that should not be a problem for what I have in mind. It will be just a moment.”
     Plan in hand, Bill walked back after using the restroom. At the table were two beer bottles, both brown with the old vacuum caps. Liz looked at her bottle with a combination of trepidation and near-disgust. “So I’m supposed to drink this then?” Liz asked when Bill sat down.
     “Give it a try, whether you like it or not, I’ll pay for the drink, and if you don’t like it, then I’ll not bring the subject up again.”
     Still looking at her boss with more than a little dread, Liz opened the cap and took a sip. The change on her face was almost a complete opposite of before. She took another sip to be sure and said “I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but this actually tastes rather good!” Liz took a third sip, a little larger this time, before setting the bottle down. With a smile on his face, Bill proceeded to order lunch.


     “And then she said ‘why don’t you come up and see me sometime,’ like she was enticing him or something.” Liz waved her arms in a manner that would not have been expected an hour ago. With most of a second beer in her by this time (thanks to the waiter who brought to her before she had a chance to protest) Liz was certainly a lot looser than before. Liz was also, as Bill noted, a bit of a chatterbox after a couple of drinks.
     “So,” Bill started to ask as he took a bite of lamb, “what did the doctor say?”
     “Well, he *hiccup,” ‘scuse me. He said…well actchually, he blushed seven kinds of red and backed off as quickly as he could.” Liz began laughing hard enough to make her eyes water and her cheeks flush. Bill couldn’t help but notice how her blouse bounced slightly as she laughed. 
     “Shall we take care of your bill, sir?” The waiter had come up, and could barely keep his eyes off the slightly intoxicated secretary. Bill followed him back to the bar while Liz finished her beer in three gulps.
     “Your friend, she seems to be quite a fan of the beer, yes?” asked the waiter.
     “Yes she certainly is. Is this the only restaurant in town that offers that beer?”
     “No, there are quite a few places that offer it. Just ask the bartender to put a shot of vodka and a bit of sugar in it and she’ll be just fine in a couple of hours.”
     “Really? Well, I’ll have to keep that in mind,” Bill said as he left a quite generous tip. Bill had just found a way to take care of the whole Temperance League once and for all, and he was feeling almost celebratory. That’s when he noticed Liz trying to get up out of her seat. He managed to get to her just before she fell down on the floor.
     “Doc’r Bill, what happened to the floor? It seems to have gone all tilted on me.” Liz held on to his arm like it was a life raft. She got her legs under her, and then Liz buried her head in his chest, giggling like a loon. “I thing that you got me chipsy. How am I going to go back to work like this?”
     Bill could think of a lot of things that he could do at that point, but he knew that if she got too drunk, then the hangover that would almost certainly follow would definitely make her swear off liquor for good. “Why don’t we go back to the office and have some tea, which should balance things out for you.”
     Liz fortunately wasn’t really drunk at this point and once out into the fresh air, she got some of her bearings back. By the time they reached the office, Liz was still feeling loose but more buzzed than anything else. Fortunately for both of them, everyone else had left for classes for the afternoon, so no one saw Liz in her rather unusual mood. The rest of week, Bill took her to lunch each day to get to know her, but Liz would only limit herself to one drink and certainly no spirits. However, Bill knew that he had found a crack. Now to just work it open in the next couple of weeks.
Journal Entry: May 9, 1893 – Well, so far so good. Liz has taken her first steps towards being a fine, upstanding alcoholic and today was a fine day indeed. Took Liz to lunch (again) and even managed to convince her to have a second beer. She didn’t become as loaded today as she was on Tuesday, but I don’t think she was feeling a whole lot of pain. The fact that she has actually become comfortable around me is a good thing. Unfortunately she looks at me like her father instead of someone she would want to fuck. One thing I hate about getting old, most people in this time who are my age either have one foot in the grave or wish they did. Modern medicine has nothing on this crude society.

I’m keeping this short. I plan to hit the Loop this evening and check out the jazz bands here. Another banned item in my century. This ‘dixieland’ stuff has nothing on what the underground created in the deep south, but I hear from my new acquaintances that it is mighty fine. 


3

     The sun was beginning to set on a breezy Friday evening when Bill decided that it was time to go out. Although progress with Liz was there, it was slow, and quite frankly, he hadn’t had any fun in decades. He heard a student in passing telling a friend that a new German restaurant had opened up in the Loop and Bill knew which one it was without hearing another word. The Berghoff was world famous for its cuisine and the rumor was that there was a speakeasy in the basement of the restaurant during the First Prohibition. It certainly couldn’t hurt to go and have a few beers and see what the nightlife was like at the turn of the twentieth century. 
     Wearing a suit for the occasion (which appeared to be about the only thing to wear in this decade), Bill jumped on the trolley and paid his penny fare. Twenty minutes later, as the streetlamps were being lit, Bill was dropped off only two doors away from the restaurant. It was interesting to see no lines waiting to dine in the main hall. In fact, Bill was able to walk in and grab a seat in the corner of the bar. There were many people here, almost all men, but it was not too packed. Bill had gotten used to ordering a beer in public, but it took effort not to grin fiercely at the nickel a stein price for one. He did smile however when a huge beef sandwich and pickle on a plate was placed in front of him and was told that it was on the owner. He started giggling when some nearby patrons started talking about this new food at the World’s Fair being sold, something called a hamburger. They thought it would never take off. One thing that the Temperance League couldn’t get rid of was good greasy food. Soon, the stein was empty and Bill ordered a second. 
     An hour or so had passed and Bill was having a good time. He talked to a couple of gentlemen who had told him of a burlesque show on Dearborn Street near the new Historical Society Building. He was also told that was a good place to pick up a lady, if he was so inclined. Bill was dressed rather well and looked like he belonged to the upper class. Given how wealthy he was in comparison to most people, he wasn’t against having to pay for it if necessary.  Perhaps if he could find a ‘lady’ who was not averse to drinking a few herself, it might turn out to be a good night after all.


     After finishing another beer, Bill left the restaurant after leaving a nice tip. This would be a good place to take Liz for lunch, he thought. Practically free food and beer that flows faster than she could react, she might end up needing an escort back to her place. Thoughts of Liz wearing a corset, stockings, and nothing else fueled Bill’s walk across the Chicago River to the north side of the city. It was definitely more well to do than the businessmen and street beggars in the Loop. Although Bill did see a couple of people down on their luck asking for spare change, beat cops were there quickly to move them along. 
     Soon enough, Bill came to Dearborn; a right turn and a block later he came upon a two story building with a sign that said “Lucy’s Burlesque.” Pretty self-explanatory Bill thought. Paying the bouncer at the front door, Bill walked in and it seemed like he had walked into paradise. The inside seemed rather spacious, with a lowered main floor and tables all around. There was a stage up front in the middle, and currently there was a dancer holding large feathers across her front and Bill swore that was all that was covering her. There was a long bar off to the left that covered the length of the building. At the bar were several women, some with men and some without. All of the women, and including the ones that were sitting throughout the place, wore dress that sharply contrasted with what Bill had become used to seeing in the last week. Legs were on display everywhere, many wearing stockings, but of a light or nude color to show off their long legs. Cleavage was also on display here, with busts large and small trying to break free of the corsets and coverlets that most of the women had to have been wearing. Bill felt like the big bad wolf at a pig convention. With a grin that could light the room, Bill walked up the bar and stood calmly waiting for a bartender.
     “Hey ya, daddy, wha’cha doin’ in this join’?” A statuesque woman came towards him, but it was immediately apparent that only the crowds near the bar kept her on a straight path instead of a careening, scenic trail. Bill could smell the woman before she came in contact and she smelled good. Bill could recognize the smell of gin almost anywhere. The femme gintale came bloodshot eye to eye with the nearly six foot tall man and stopped herself by putting her dainty hand on his chest. Her giggle sounded like wind chimes, with her jiggling breasts providing the wind. Bill had a good feeling that this would be a good evening. 
     “Well I’m new in town and I had heard this was a good place to go. Was my friend wrong?” Bill naturally grabbed the woman’s hand and used to help her balance a little. 
     “You’d bedder believe it pal. ‘S the best plash to be to shee the ladies.” 
     “Well I can certainly see a lady now,” Bill said, prodding the conversation along.
     “You bedder ‘elieve it doll.” The lady wrapped her free arm around Bill’s shoulder and whispered in his ear, “and I’m definilly a woman.” With that, she buried her face in his shoulder and began giggling again. 
     “You can say that again.” With that, the two introduced themselves and Nancy asked if he’d like to buy her a drink. She said this with a lopsided grin that said she wouldn’t remember a thing in the morning. Then Nancy popped up and said, “Wai’minute. You gotta meed my friend.” With that Nancy began to drunkenly drag her new friend over to the tables.
     Bill started to become disappointed, expecting to meet another gentleman who might not be so thrilled about his girlfriend rubbing herself against a stranger. He was pleasantly surprised to find that at the table was in fact another woman. She did not look quite as pretty as Nancy, but was still definitely worth looking at. Her chest seemed to be almost spring-loaded however as her small knockers stood almost straight out in front of her. Nancy introduced her friend as Stella (“S’hella” to her best girlfriend) and they sat down as the waiter came up.
     “I’ll have anuder whiskey s’great if you’d please,” announced Nancy loudly.
     “An’ I’ll have wha’ever my new frien’s havin’.” Stella grinned like a Cheshire cat getting ready to taste her prey. She confirmed this as her hand landed squarely on Bill’s knee. 
     Looking up at the waiter with a smile of his own, Bill asked, “Do you happen to carry Johnnie Walker Red or Black by chance?”
     “We actually have both, sir. Red is considered the top shelf here.” The waiter offered a grin of his own, smelling a good tip from an hour away.
     “Red would definitely be preferred, a double if you don’t mind.”
     “Certainly sir.” The waiter left with a spring in his step and already a dollar richer.
     “I thing someone’s tryin’ to ged you drunk Shella,” Nancy beamed. She couldn’t see where everyone’s hands were placed at that moment, but with her own hand on Bill’s other knee, she didn’t really care either. 
     “Nawwww, I ken dring wi’ the besh of hem. We jus’ got a head s’art on Billy here s’all.” Bill knew that they had been drinking for several hours to reach that stage of intoxication even before he sat down. With hands and bodies moving slowly towards him, Bill knew it was going to be the best of times. Presently the waiter returned with drinks and the ladies didn’t wait for anything before the alcohol reached their tongues. Bill and the waiter gave each other a knowing glance and Bill was left alone. 
     “So what brings you two lovely ladies to this fine establishment this evening?”
     “We come ‘ere all the time, don’ we Nanc’?” The lights were lowered for the next act and Stella’s hand worked back and forth between her drink and Bill’s leg. Nancy only nodded, too focused on her whiskey to really say anything coherent. 
     “Ever’ since Nanc’s husman’ died las’ year, we’ve been livin’ the goo’ life. We bot’ live together and enjhoy the schrimple pleasures.” Taking another deep gulp of her strong potable, Stella continued, “Wha’ ‘bout you. Wha’ brings you to our find ‘stablishment?”
     “Well I’m a doctor from New York and I’ve…” Bill looked at the two ladies as the conversation ground to a complete halt. Both ladies looked at each other as drunken realization settled in. With dreamy looks of increasing fortunes in their eyes, the libidinous back and forth became more of an interview for permanent occupancy in someone’s life. Bill took this in stride as he figured there wasn’t any harm in it. 
     Over the course of the next hour or so the ladies continued to ask questions around their drinks and soon, both ladies were sitting in his lap, each trying to nuzzle up against their potential sugar daddy. Bill was concerned for a moment until he looked around and noticed that he wasn’t the only one with a handful of fabric and flesh. There apparently was another reason for the dimmed lights as girls snuggled against their dates (or against each other in a couple of surreptitious cases) and created an impromptu petting party. It was about this time that Bill realized that if he didn’t either leave the table or leave the show with the ladies in tow, his own little petting party might get out of hand. He began to suggest that they leave to find another party.
     “Hrmmm….lesh go bag home *hip* whee go’ plenny boobs,” replied a now thoroughly soused Nancy. Her top had slowly slipped down to a point where she might have needed her own feather to cover up. Stella wasn’t too far behind in that department, but a second double Johnnie Walker left her only the capacity to mumble incoherently and the ability to slowly hump Bill’s knee. 
     It took several minutes and some shifting for everyone before Bill could summon a waiter to ask for the tab.
     “Were the drinks to your liking sir?” the waiter asked, already knowing what the answer was before he even arrived. He had a bet with the bartender as to who would take advantage of Bill first. It looked like a tie this time, the third one in a row.
     “Oh they were most certainly to my liking. I hope this will be enough to cover the tab.” Stella was attempting to hike her skirt up at this point but was less than successful. Bill gave the waiter a five which made the waiter beam like gold in a riverbed.
     “The bill is only two dollars ten sir, do you wish me to make change?” The waiter always asked this, and he could never help but be surprised at the typical answer he received.
     “No, you can keep it. Is there a cab, er…um carriage available to take these lovely ladies home?” Nancy proceeded to pour the remaining contents of her drink down her glistening neck, and then proceeded to do the same with Bill and Stella’s drinks, only taking four swipes to grab Stella’s glass.
     “With a little help, I don’t think that will be a problem, sir. Let me help you with them to the front door.” With rather underestimated strength, the waiter picked up Nancy in his arms (making sure that a hand was within grasping range of a tit) and proceeded to clear a quiet path around the other “busy” patrons towards the front door. Gently pulling on a nipple, Nancy mumbled almost mutely to the waiter about getting herself flushed.
      Stepping outside, the carriage driver immediately recognized two of his regular drunks and helped the waiter and Bill with the ladies (getting his own copious pound of flesh from Stella, with whom he had come to know quite well). Both ladies lived only a few blocks away which was good in one respect. By the time they hit the front door of the burlesque theatre, both women were so drunk as to be unable to walk, let alone maintain their womanly bearings on the long walk home. Both were mumbling certain pleasantries, presumably to each other, completely oblivious to the men in the carriage with them.
     Bill and the carriage driver, Mike by name, got to know each other in a few minutes and hit it off quite well. By the time the horses had reached the ladies well-apportioned home, both had come to an agreement. Borrowing a key from Nancy, Bill helped the inebriated woman upstairs while Mike helped with Stella in the sitting room.

Journal Entry: May 10, 1893 (Morning) – I’ve just made it back to the hotel a few minutes ago, barely an hour before the sun begins its morning climb. I got a strange but knowing look from the night clerk and I get the feeling that the doctors that stay are expected to adhere to some kind of moral standard. I have a feeling that bringing Liz (or anyone else for that matter) would be a surefire way of being kicked out of the hotel altogether. I’ll have to spend some time next week looking for an apartment or something to stay in. Even if I go back in only a few weeks, the fewer obstacles I have the better.

Speaking of obstacles, how does a woman keep so much crap in her room and still be able to move around? I almost broke my leg tripping over an ottoman on the way to Nancy’s bed. Of course, I forgot all of that when we started to get into it. It was nice to see how energetic Nancy became after a little stimulation on my part. Apparently alcohol flows freely in this time, but fashionable inhibitions keep sexual activities to a minimum at best. Needless to say that Nancy was quite vocal in her bliss. 

The only thing better was the carnal symphony going on downstairs. Stella was yelling and moaning loud enough to wake the dead, certainly loud enough for us to hear it. Nancy mumbled that Mike must be here again. She said that only Mike had make Stella go off like that. I think that if Mozart was standing on the stairs between us, he could have composed a new concerto on the spot. 

Finally, the mood died down (that is, Nancy passed out for good) and I packed up to leave. Mike was waiting downstairs in the foyer for me and asked if I needed a ride back to the hotel. I happened to look off to my right and saw Stella, completely nude, lying on the couch with legs spread. I could have swore she slept with a big grin on her face. ‘Stella likes it when I leave her panting and wet on the couch like that. I have no idea how they explain the stains to her maid.’ Mike had a boisterous laugh on that remark and we left. By the time we arrived, Mike gave me an idea of his normal hours and route. He also told me that the ladies are there almost every weekend weather permitting and while they sometimes stumble home alone, it doesn’t happen often. He gave me a knowing tug on his cap when he said that last. 

Anyway, I can feel my bones tugging at me. There’s composition work, but that’s not until the afternoon. As it is, I will be dragging today after I get up.

4

     It was an overly sunny and loud afternoon when Bill pulled into his office. One thing that this place has in abundance, he thought, is coffee. After an extra strong cup began cooling on his desk, Dr. Anderson came in and took a seat.
     “How is your day going so far, Bill?”
     “Oh, it’s not too bad, sir. I was just getting ready to dive into the curriculum when you came in.”
     “Well I know that you have been busy catching up with the rest of the department. However I have something for you. Did you know about the regional medical conference that is an annual event in St. Louis?”
     “I believe that I overheard Drs. Taylor and Thompson mentioning something about it a couple of days ago. It is coming up sometime soon, correct?”
     “Yes, as a matter of fact, it will be starting on Monday morning and I would like you and Elizabeth to attend this one.”
     With a smile on his face Bill responded, “Well…that is certainly an honor. Might I ask how I was chosen over some of the others?”
     “Certainly. To be honest, there are some of the physicians that go from year to year, but due to several sets of circumstances, many in the department are unable to attend this year. Also, something that you had mention in our first conversation made me think of you, specifically about the uses of anesthetics in the treatment of the sick and wounded during surgery.”
      “Oh, well I don’t want to claim to be an expert in the matter. The use of sulfa has become rather commonplace as an anesthetic in surgeries.”
     “This is true. However, as you know, the war that we just had with Mexico left the Army in short supply of sulfa in those battlefield conditions. This conference’s purpose is to look at possible alternatives, such as cocaine, to either augment or even provide an alternative to sulfa.”
     The look on Bill’s face was rather classic. Cocaine in his age was more of a legend than anything else. Supposedly the stuff could kill you instantly and none had been seen in America that he knew of in decades. “Cocaine, sir,” was the only phrase Bill could croak out.
     “Yes, I can tell you’re not a big fan of the drug. Some professionals are like that and I’ll admit that I am not that impressed myself. However, from what’s been said for it as a recreational drug, it could be useful in reducing pain in a wounded soldier. The problem is that the stuff hasn’t been around long enough to determine any long term effects. Perhaps someone from this conference has started work on that. Since you seem to have your ear to the ground on this topic, so to speak, I felt that you and your secretary would be the right people for this conference.”
     Coming back from his shock, Bill spoke up. “Not that I’m complaining, sir, but is having a secretary along commonplace?”
     “Oh certainly, Bill. You can’t be expected to keep your own notes as fast as doctors speak. Elizabeth would be much better at that. I will warn you however. As you know yourself, part of the conference involves socialization, which means parties and soirees that both of you will be expected to attend. While none of the other doctors on staff have told me directly, I understand that some of these functions can become rather…rambunctious shall we say. I will expect you to keep Elizabeth’s honor should anything happen there.”
     “Certainly, sir. I would not see it any other way.” Bill smiled again, only this time to conceal the thoughts going on in his head. 
     “That sounds wonderful then. I’ll send Elizabeth along presently to fetch the tickets. Both of you will be leaving in the morning and you should be able to arrive in St. Louis in the early evening. You will be staying downtown at the Luxor and that is where the conference is also being held. I’ll leave you to your work then. Good day Bill.” With that, the good doctor got up and left.
     Bill could barely suppress the happiness he felt. Not only would he have a prime opportunity to corrupt Liz, he could do it in an environment where no one he knew could see him. It was not like there were any fast ways that anyone would find out if Liz’s “honor” was sullied a bit (or hopefully a lot) while they were down there. Bill began to whistle while opening his first textbook when Liz came dashing in.
     “Dr. Clinton, did you hear the wonderful news? We’re going to a conference.” Liz, in full Victorian outfit, looked fit to burst her corsets. “This will be my first time, can you believe it.”
     “I can believe it the way you’re practically dancing in the office.” Bill continued to grin, having carnal thoughts of cherries and vodka. 
     “Oh, I’m so sorry sir. I couldn’t help myself.”
     Laughing himself, Bill said, “No I can understand. It has been awhile since my last conference. I’m looking forward to it myself. Of course, it’ll take awhile to pack.”
     Smiling herself, Liz glanced around. “I know Dr. I’m just so excited. I’ve never had the chance to attend a conference with Dr. Rosenthal. I understand that there are soirees as well that we can attend.”
     “Yes there is. Plenty of opportunity to have a drink and socialize with fellow physicians.”
     “You mean…to drink alcohol and such.” Liz took on a worried expression and Bill felt a fatherly need to calm her obvious fears. 
     “Well, yes, but there is no need to worry. I take it you’ve never been in such a situation?”
     “No, sir. Is it hard to deal with, I mean with the drinking and such?”
     “Well no, not really.” Bill sat for a moment and thought about how to turn this to his advantage. Smiling back at his secretary, he said, “Perhaps we have time for a little practice.”
     “What do you mean?”
     “We could go to a restaurant and have you practice with a few drinks. This will give you a chance to get used to the idea so you won’t feel so nervous at the conference.”
     “Oh I don’t know about that. I mean, I don’t know if it’s okay to be drinking in public like that.”
     “No no. The idea with this exercise is not to become intoxicated. Rather, learning to pace oneself so that you can drink sociably yet not become sloppy like some in society could achieve.” Bill wondered if this was how snake oil salesman made so many sales.
     “So I won’t actually over partake, but I can still remain sociable and enjoy the conference?”
     “Exactly. It is all a matter of pacing yourself.” While this was certainly true, the pace that Bill was thinking of would allow Liz to be sociable alright. If he played his cards right, Bill thought, this could turn into a real bender. “Let’s head into the Loop, I know of this wonderful place where we could practice, and they offer free sandwiches.”
     “Well, one should never pass on generosity.” Liz was happy that the ‘good’ doctor was so willing to help her survive upper crust society. 

     
     Half an hour and one trolley ride later, Bill and Liz were sitting in the lounge area of the Berghoff. While not packed, there were a fair number of people enjoying the early Saturday afternoon pleasantry. Although mostly men were again gracing the bar, there were several women enjoying the German brews as well. Before Liz were six shot glasses, one each of rum, whisky, vodka, tequila, scotch, and gin. Liz was rather nervous, having never stared down so many potent potables before. Bill sat down momentarily with two more shot glasses, although what was inside could be considered more insidious then the rest of the table combined.
     “Is that what I think it is,” asked Liz, a look of pure dread on her face.
     “Yes I’m afraid it is. A shot of olive oil to keep the adverse effects away.” Bill used this himself to keep hangovers away and to cover the smell of alcohol on the few occasions where Bill had to go to work soon after. 
     “Well, I wouldn’t want to become unruly in the public. Will there be any of this available at the conference? I wouldn’t want to take a chance if possible.”
     “I don’t think that would be a problem. We can probably order it from the hotel kitchen.” Bill looked over at Elizabeth in the dampened afternoon light. Although she was still dressed demurely by Bill’s standards, Liz was considered to be ‘casually dressed’ for the occasion. This occasion called for an open neck and ankles. There were more buttons on her dress than should have been allowed legally. Finally, although her hands were not covered in gloves, the dress went all the way down to cover just past her dainty wrists. Looking over the glasses, he decided to work Liz in to her drunk gradually. Taking the glass of rum, he handed it carefully to Liz.
     “Now this is rum and is likely to be offered as part of the bar service before dinner. This is usually mixed with other drinks, but can sometimes be offered ‘on the rocks.’”
     “OK, so what does ‘on the rocks’ mean?”
     “Well, it means to serve with ice. The ice might not be available at the soiree and also there might not be anything to mix it with.”
     “So if I mix it with something else, then I won’t feel the effects so quickly then.” Liz was already trying to plan how to drink responsibly (if at all) during the conference.
     “Yes this is very true. However, you should get used to the taste first. You can worry about making cocktails later. Now go ahead and drink that down. Then tell me what you think of it.” Bill tried not to look like a lecherous old goat while getting his prey wasted, but he couldn’t help but think wicked thoughts.
     “Alright then, down that hatch.” Liz then drank the shot in one gulp. Bill started to automatically correct her turn of phrase and then had to stop himself from laughing at the way Liz looked at that moment. As soon as the last drop left the glass, Liz’s left eye raised up like a flag during a ceremony. Her right eye in turn lowered to quarter-mast. He succulent lips puckered up and to the left to follow the eyelid. Then she let out a little squeak that not even a mouse could hear or compete with. 
     “Bit of a sweet taste to it?” Bill started giggling at this point, no longer being able to help himself. For her part, Liz could only let out another little squeak. 
     After a moment, Liz managed to regain at least a little bit of her composure. “People drink this stuff?” Liz said in a small voice that reminded Bill of a certain cartoon character’s girlfriend.
     “Well typically not to excess. I can assure you that you’ll get used to it in time.”
     “I’m not sure my throat can get used to it, let alone the rest of my body.” Liz actually crossed her eyes briefly to try and get her mind off of the taste of the raw molasses that just went down her throat. She related to Bill that feeling as she came back down to earth.
     “Yes, rum tends to be a bit on the sweet side, usually. There are some types of rum that could clean the inside of a coffee pot.” Bill laughed again, although he knew it wasn’t that funny.
     “Well I hope to never run into any of that stuff.” Running her hand across her forehead briefly, she stated, “I can see how some doctors proscribe it for colds though. It definitely warms the stomach.” Liz closed her eyes for a moment to relish the feeling. Bill watched hungrily, also relishing the feeling of the virgin lightweight falling before him. Grabbing the next shot glass, he held it up to Liz. He made sure that this had just a touch of sugar to offset the kick that Liz was about to receive.
     “Now this is vodka. It comes from the wonderful back area of Russia. This one doesn’t have quite the kick of rum, but it has been known to warm many a belly around the world.” Bill grinned, knowing just what else the drink could warm when given to the uninitiated. Liz looked at him warily, yet already she seemed a little more relaxed than before. She took the glass and this time sipped it a little. She then looked into the glass, almost as if she were expecting a snake to jump out. When no snake appeared, she drank the rest of it down, although more slowly than before.
     “I don’t think I’m *hip* excuse me, I don’t think I’m supposed to just gulp the drink am I?” Liz looked better after this drink. At least she wasn’t gagging, Bill thought.
     “Well no, not typically. If you’re offered a shot glass like that, the preferred practice is to drink it fast. However there is no need to do that here.”
     “Oh, I shee…I mean see.” Liz leaned back on the settee and moaned softly, obviously enjoying the sensation of the alcohol working through her system. She shot back up when the bartender came up, carrying two plates of beef sandwiches. Liz almost leaned over too far, giving both men a brief glance of her bosom hanging over the top of the table. The bartender gave Bill a knowing glance and then smiled and went back to his duties.
     “Ooh, sandwiches. I feel so starved right now.” Liz giggled to herself as she picked up the overflowing delicacy and began to take a bite. Bill couldn’t believe just how much of a lightweight she was. This was beginning to turn into one of his better afternoons in years.
     “Ready for another drink?” Bill asked nonchalantly. 
     “Hmnd jddio.” Liz tried to say around the beef in her mouth. Then laughing to beat the band, Liz swallowed and said, “Alright. Whish one?” Liz had not even noticed that her grasp of the English language had slipped a little. Bill looked at the remaining glasses, the olive oil now temporarily forgotten. He picked up the gin glass and passed it to her.
     “That would be gin you have there. I understand that it tends to be a popular drink among ladies. Go ahead and give it a try.”
     Liz grabbed the shot glass with a look of confidence and handily washed the beef down with the distilled spirit. She was not paying attention and realized the gin tasted like beef and told Bill this, giggling to herself.
     “That’s because you had half a bite of your sandwich still in your mouth,” Bill said, laughing as well. “You never tasted the gin.”
     “Well…do you shrink…I mean shrink that I ‘ave a real taste then?” Liz blinked slowly, now obviously feeling the early effects. She then blinked and said, “Is it me or ish it warm in here?”
     “I don’t know, but I can go and get another glass for you.” Bill got up and headed to the bar. The bartender gave him a stern look, and then started to laugh. In a smooth German accent, he said to Bill, “Do you not think that perhaps you are a bit young for that lady?” Bill looked at the barkeep, swallowing the words like some bathtub gin. Then both started laughing uproariously.
     “I’m merely introducing my secretary to the world of alcohol in advance of a conference we are attending.” Giving the tender a smirk, the man replied, “Well that’s good to know. I thought you were simply trying to get her under the table for some petting.” The bartender ended this with his own smirk. 
     “Well to be fair, I was going to take her back to her place for that.” With that, both men began laughing again. Bill ordered another shot of gin and proceeded back to the table. What he saw almost made him drop the glass. Liz was sitting on the edge of the soiree blearily looking at the table. All of the shot glasses were empty and it was clear that Liz was becoming pie-eyed right in front of Bill’s eyes. She was also attempting to undo a fourth button on her dress and there was just the start of a bit of cleavage showing. What stopped Bill was the fact that it was just a glimpse of what must have been a wide expanse of titflesh just lying underneath those layers of clothing. It wasn’t until hours later that Bill realized the only thing saving him and Liz from a stint for lewd behavior was the semi-private booth Bill had the forethought to get.
      Bill sat down next to the boozy secretary and it took Liz a moment for her to recognize him. When she did, she swung her arm and knocked Bill on the forehead before she got it around his shoulder. “Billsy Willy *hiphip* how ya doin daddy?” Liz laughed in a very unladylike way and then let out a belch that even Bill was impressed with. Liz then noticed the gin glass in Bill’s hand. It took her three tries to grab it and then she just drained it down faster than a kitchen sink. Liz tried to put the glass on the table but missed entirely, landing on the floor between her legs. 
     “Iss preddy warm i’ here don’ you thing?” Liz said, trying to get another button undone. The top of her dress was now fighting a war to keep her melons tucked in completely. The way that Liz was starting to cling to Bill made him realize that it was time to go.
     “Perhaps we should go back to your place so you can get ready for the train ride tomorrow.”
     “*hic*Thas a gre’d idear. We can grake the alckehol traste mess there.” Liz giggled softly into Bill’s shoulder. She then gave Bill a peck on the lips and said, “You’re beein real good to *hip* to *hic* to *hic* oh heck, I’m drinked.” Liz then sank her tongue down Bill’s throat to relieve the pressure. “Lesh go. We can dring and…” Liz drifted off in words, but with a Cheshire grin on her face. 
     For his part, Bill had never moved so fast since his days in high school. He had his emergency flask and given Liz’s current state, he figured he didn’t need much more than that. Almost pouring Liz into a carriage, he gave the driver an extra dollar not to say a word. He then looked over at Liz and she blinked slowly in the afternoon light. “Dija bring some more dooze for me to test tas’e?” Liz said, trying to push the top of her dress down to get some air. It had the effect of pushing her tits up and together into what looked like an almost obscenely tight valley of cleavage. Bill pulled out his flask and held it to her.
     “This is considered top shelf whiskey. I think you might…” Bill never got the rest of the sentence out as Liz grabbed the flask and started gulping. The Johnnie Walker was gone in little more than 30 seconds. 
     “Mmmm…tha’ wash hummy. *hip* *hip*” Liz began rubbing the top of her left tit, her body more or less on autopilot at this point. Her humming turned into soft moans as he started to rub both her tits, which by this time were quite exposed. At that point the carriage pulled to a stop. There was a knock at the door and the driver said, “I know you asked me not to say anything, but there is a back door to her building if you wish to take your lady friend to her tenement that way.” Another dollar and Bill whisked his boozy partner up to the third floor. 
     It took almost 15 minutes to get Liz undressed from all the clothes she had worn. Seeing her in the flesh made Bill feel thirty years younger, especially as Liz did her best to return the favor, although much less successfully. Liz’s breasts had been encaged in a corset and a bra. How both together could have held up what had to have been at least a DD cup was beyond him. Beyond her massive melons, there seemed to be only a little bit of a soft tummy on her. Her ass was small but also quite soft. What wasn’t soft was Bill’s member, which had been saluting the flag for a better part of an hour now. Liz noticed this and proceeded to take care of her boss in a way that she would have never thought of if she were sober. Bill’s last coherent thought was thinking about why Elizabeth’s bedroom was oval in shape.


     It took Bill almost an hour to get her clothes back on her and into bed after she had passed out. It wasn’t that getting an ensemble on was overly difficult, but doing it to 130 pounds of dead weight increased the degree of difficulty significantly. Packing her clothes for the trip took another half an hour, but Bill figured it was for her benefit. It was nearly 8pm before Bill returned to his hotel. When he arrived, there was a telegram waiting at the concierge. 

Dearest William,
     Both Stella and I had a wonderful evening last night. Stop. We both hope that you are able to attend the party again this evening. Stop. Will be waiting for you at our usual table. Stop.
Nancy and Stella. Stop.

     It took a few minutes of decision, but after a nice hot shower, Bill felt randy and energetic enough for another round. Bill found himself in front of the burlesque theater at 9:30 and well-lubricated versions of Nancy and Stella sitting in his lap soon after. Both were drinking Johnnie Walker Red and it was clear that neither one were used to drinking the good stuff. Both had bloodshot eyes and neither was capable to putting together an entirely coherent sentence. 
     After explaining to the ladies (three times) where he had to be the next morning, Nancy made the decision to continue the party at her place. Mike the cab driver was not outside; however it was not hard to find Nancy and Stella’s mansion. With no competition it was decided that Bill would satisfy both women. Needless to say Bill staggered home a few hours later with a wide grin and three satisfied women in his thoughts.

Journal Entry: May 11, 1893 (train ride) – I’ve made it to the train, although just barely. What passes for alarm clocks in this day and age leaves a lot to be desired. Liz met me on the track and she appeared to have no memory of yesterday (thank goodness). She was worried that she might have made a fool of herself at the bar, but the last thing she remembered was the shot of vodka. I made up a quick story that the heat of the afternoon had affected her and I escorted her back to her apartment. I had mentioned that she had fallen asleep by the time we got there. She was quite worried that something might have happened, but I am pretty sure that I convinced her that I was a complete gentleman. As it was she thanked me for packing my clothes for her and asked that I not mention her experience with anyone. Have to love those nineteenth century inhibitions.

We’ve just passed through Decatur and should arrive in St. Louis around 8 or so. Liz is asleep in the seat across from me, although how someone can sleep on a wooden bench that bounces along at 30 mph is way beyond me. I might need a drink just to numb my ass from the ride. Hopefully, Liz will need one to.

5

     Monday morning had Liz and Bill in a large conference room with more than 300 doctors, most with their own secretaries and personal assistants. The main topic of the day was the use of alternative medicines during surgeries. There were a few lectures on certain items, none of which Bill had ever heard of before, so he figured that none of them had ever become widespread. Over lunch with several other physicians, Bill mentioned casually how perhaps how certain funguses could be used to create an antibiotic that could relieve pain and perhaps even infection in patients. Bill knew he was pushing it with changing history, but he didn’t see any harm in helping the human race out a little. Most of the doctors looked at him like he was joking, but there was one person who listened to Bill with some interest.
     The afternoon was spent mostly in arguing over the effects of cocaine as anesthesia. It was rather heated as some physicians mentioned that some of their patients seemed to find cocaine rather addictive. Bill was astonished at first to not hear of anyone dying from using the stuff. After awhile though, after thinking about it, he knew the Temperance Party in his time was never above using fear tactics to keep the average citizen in line. It no longer surprised him to hear that cocaine wasn’t as bad as he had heard. Not that he wanted to try it himself. He was surprised to hear Liz say that some of the girls used the stuff at parties. 
     What both Liz and Bill were looking forward to was the soiree scheduled for that evening. He wasn’t sure if Liz had heard anything talking to the other secretaries, but Bill had overheard some of the doctors’ talk about the soiree as if it were one of those forbidden Mardi Gras parties. His suspicions began to be confirmed when Liz came back from a break with a rather perplexed look on her face.
     “Is everything alright, Elizabeth?” Bill was concerned that perhaps she had already been propositioned which could cause many problems for the elder statesman.
     “Well it was a rather odd thing. I was leaving my room to come back down here and there was a woman in the hallway.”
     “Ok so what is the issue with that? I thought most of the ladies were rooming on the fourth floor.”
     “Yes, we are I believe. The funny thing is that this woman was just standing there in her bloomers and corset, kind of swaying back and forth. I walked up to her and asked if she were alright, and she almost fell down trying to turn to look at me. I think she might have been intoxicated.” Liz looked worried. It was clear from Bill’s perspective that Liz was hoping not to turn into that during the conference and he silently cursed the drunken souse for possibly ruining his plans. Liz was still talking and he missed a few words in his revelry.
     “…and I asked her why she was in just her under garments. She told me that she had actually lost a bet with some doctors and she had to come to the soiree dressed like that! I don’t think she was in much condition for doing anything, so after finding her room, she simply passed out on her bed.” Looking up at Bill, she asked, “I wasn’t like that yesterday after drinking that liquor, was I?”
     “Oh no, certainly not. I think that woman must have been given something else to act so strangely.”
     Visibly relieved, Liz smiled and said “I don’t want to end up like her after a couple of drinks.” Liz walked back to the table, leaving Bill to his carnal thoughts.
     Five o’clock arrived and it seemed everyone was happy. The conference for the day was finally done and all were looking forward to the soiree. Bill sent off a telegram back to Chicago to let them know how the first day went and then proceeded up to his room. Walking into the hallway, he could have swore that he saw two doctors going through a door, with a well pickled woman between them. Smiling and thinking about his good fortune, Bill went inside his room to get ready. He told Liz that he would meet her where the soiree was being held before dinner was served and told her to have fun and mingle. 
     It was almost six-thirty when Bill arrived and he was quite surprised at what he saw. There was champagne and liqueurs everywhere. There seemed to be not a soul in the room who did not have a glass in his hand. Finding the bar, there was an actual line for the bartenders’ services and it was several minutes before he made to get an order in. With a glass of Jack Daniels neat (the small supply of ice was already temporarily depleted) and a smile, Bill walked over to his assigned table. What he saw made him actually spill his drink this time. As a nearby waiter cleaned up his glass and ran to get another one, Bill simply stood there.
     Sitting at the table was Liz, although you would not likely recognize her at that point. Her Victorian dress was partly undone and her massive cleavage was there for everyone to see. Two physicians were on hand, nibbling on her neck and keeping her glass refilled (punch perhaps? It was hard to tell). Under the table it was clear that her legs were spread and doctor number two was trying to move enough layers around to get to her bare legs. Bill looked around briefly and there were a few others watching the scene discreetly. There were also a couple of other secretaries at nearby tables who seemed to be in similar situations. Bill slowly walked to the table and Liz just happened to turn around.
     “Billy! *hiccup*” Liz practically screamed. “”Ish my bess b*hop*ossy boss *hip* bob in town.” Liz giggled almost incoherently, not even caring that she was practically only half-dressed. Although Bill was pissed that these physicians obviously took advantage of her position, it was no less than what he had planned. The three doctors nodded to each other in silent agreement and the younger gentlemen moved on, presumably to other areas. Bill sat down and asked what had happened.
     “Whadja mean, wha’ ‘appened? I jus’ wen’ and had liddle munsh is all. An’ thos’ nish loctors ‘n’ I ha’ a gread conservation.” Liz looked down and finally noticed her state of dress. “Oh shid, my *hip* my *hic* my *hic*” At that point, Liz gave up talking and finished her punch in four gulps. A waiter brought two glasses of Jack and before Bill could stop her, Liz swiped the first one from the table and began drinking steadily, too numb to even notice that she was drinking 100-proof whiskey. Bill gave up trying to get her to slow down and attempted to re-button her dress when the rest of the table guests arrived. Bill stopped again in surprise. With three men and four women, it was clear that someone was sitting on a lap. It was also clear that, while none of the women were as far along as Liz in her state of undress, it was clear that there was not a single sober woman at his table. All of them leaned on their men for support. None of the men seemed worse for wear and one in fact commented that Liz seemed to have jumped ahead of the curve. Everyone, including Liz, laughed at that, and Bill give up in trying to dress his hammered secretary.
     Dinner arrived soon after, and it turned out to be a seven- course meal. Each course came with its own different liqueur, and Bill would have sworn that the women were receiving larger portions than the men. Although the doctors attempted to carry on conversations, by the dessert, all of the women were too soused to let this continue. One of the women slid under the table and Liz later abruptly commented that the women had been down there for a long time. By the look on the doctor’s face, Bill assumed that he certainly wasn’t minding. The physician with two women was essentially drowned in titflesh as both women found ways to open their dresses enough for their sweet casabas to fall out. By this time, the entire room had seemed to turn into a bacchanal. Women in various stages of dress were making out with any man (or woman it appeared) within reach. One of the doctors at the table laughed and said that the cocaine had really kicked in this time. Bill for his part looked concerned and so the physician explained. 
     “It’s something the conference had been doing for years now. The women are usually directed to the fruit punch bowls, which are mixed with various alcoholic concoctions. By the time dinner is being served, almost all of the women are in such a state to be too numb to notice that they are becoming intoxicated. Then, each course that the women are served has a little bit of cocaine mixed into their food. That and all the alcohol being served turn virtually all of them into lust-driven nymphomaniacs. It is a wonder that any of us can keep up with them. 
     “And if you think this is bad, just wait. Each night is like this, but the last night is a masquerade ball. There are typically drugs and alcohol free for the taking and by then, our secretaries know that they are free to do as they please and none of this will ever get back to their departments back home so that there are no repercussions. It’s a perfect setup for all of us. Oops, looks like you’ve lost yours, by the way.”
     Bill looked over and sure enough, Liz was beginning to crawl under the table, mumbling that she had found the girl. The combination of booze, cocaine, and gravity had finally taken their toll. When Liz bent over, her corset finally gave up the fight and let her tits fall completely out, her nipples rubbing against the hardwood floor. Another doctor laughed and mentioned his predicament to Bill to him. A moment later, there was a different type of moaning began under the table and Bill pulled up the table sheet. He had heard that women sometimes got together to have sex with each other in private in his timeline. However, he had never seen it himself, at least until now. Bill knew it was going to be an interesting night indeed. 
First Interlude

     It was well after 6am when Agent Daley finally sent her team off to get some rest somewhere in the building the machine was welded into. A long six hours had passed and together the four of them were able to do little more than to figure out how to turn the thing on and off without having to pull the plug. Everyone had bloodshot eyes and even Angela (only two people had ever called her by her first name, and both of her parents were “recovered” in Death Valley, Angela’s 21st birthday present to them) was becoming stressed. The other agents practically dragged themselves out of the room while Angela made a call to headquarters in D.C. A male voice came out and immediately Angela noticed the background static making it hard to hear her boss at the other end.
     “This is Minister Bush. Go ahead Agent Daley you are on a secured line.”
     “Minister, sir; it is difficult to hear you, is there a storm in your area?”
     “No Agent, I can hear you just fine. Stop delaying and give me your report. Have you located the last rogue terrorist?”
     “Yes minister, sir. However, the terrorist had managed to program the machine and was able to just escape as we entered the lab.”
     “So you are say…the machine is actually working?” The static was growing steadily louder. However, she had her orders to report. If the minister wanted to hear whining, he would have hired someone else.
     “Yes minister, sir. As far as we can gather, the terrorist retreated approximately a century in time. It was clear that he meant to do harm to the country based on the theories that the scientists came up with.”
     “Well, how…you get the mach…again?” It was almost impossible to understand the minister at this point and before Angela had a chance to say something, the line died. A moment later, the agent gave up trying to get in touch with her boss. That was when she first noticed the light. Angela went towards a window. 
    The light was a pure white in color and covered the horizon from one end to the other. Angela made it to the window in time to see the last of the Chicago skyline disappear into the veritable wall approaching her. It came on fast and despite her knowing that there was nothing she could do to outrun it, her feet turned the body around and began to move towards the door. Angela made it as far as the computer console before the pearly wall hit the side of the building.
     “My God, what has he done?” was Angela’s last thought before the wave hit her dead on.
6

     “My God, what have I done?” was the first thought that Bill had. He then bent Liz over the table and proceeded to introduce the young maiden to her first doggy style. Not that one could recognize Liz in her present state. She was completely nude by this point, her tits bouncing against the top of the table, her hard nipples rubbing the linen in a rough manner. Her hair was a complete mess more resembled a beehive built by stoned wasps then anything resembling a hairstyle. Her left leg was hoisted all the way up and was draped over the woman lying, semi-conscious (and a doctor would say semi-delirious) with lips connected in a way that nineteenth century inhibited society would not even try to describe.
     At this point, Liz was little more than a wet, warm, fleshy pile of goo. If anything, even more alcohol had been placed at the tables after dessert. Once Liz had come back up for air after her ménage a deux, the first thing she grabbed was a bottle of Jack Daniels. She then grabbed Bill by the collar (eventually) and gave him a kiss he would not soon forget. A small orchestra began to play as the men began the party in a fashion that would make Bacchus proud. Two hours later, the older gentlemen began to retire to their rooms, some with and some without one or more women, almost all of whom had become completely naked. In the back of his mind, Bill wondered a bit about how he was remaining viable for so long, but then Liz beckoned to him again.
     By the time Bill began pulling the train with the unknown personal assistant, there were about two dozen men and their “dates” around the ballroom. Liz had consumed almost the entire bottle of Jack and was doing little more than mumbling into the hairy nether regions of her new girlfriend. This was more than enough for the other woman, who, if it were possible, was even more soused than Liz. Finally, Liz ran out of gas and fell out of Bill, slowly sliding from the table and finally landing underneath, her top half covered by linen, with a china plate dangling precariously over her on the table. The assistant popped up like a marionette, flinging the plate and cracking Bill’s knee, before completing her maneuver and landing head first on the floor. Her pliability was such that she was able to pull herself into a sitting position, not even noticing the lump that was already forming on her head, and then finally passed out, lying back to back with Liz. 
     For his part, Bill was thinking of old saying about being under the table and thanking God the assistant had poor aim. Grabbing a passing waiter (all of whom had seemed completely oblivious to the Bacchanalian that was playing before them), Bill asked to have their clothes sent to their rooms. Grabbing his own pair of underwear, Bill grabbed Liz and threw her over her shoulder. Listing slightly to the left because his knee, Bill took his conquest and began heading towards the exit. He almost tripped over the redhead who bobbled over towards him on some psychotic intercept course. The new lady (Jessica as she attempted to introduce herself as) propositioned herself to Bill in a manner he had never heard, nor would never hear again, and the three partiers headed up to Bill’s suite. The rest of the evening proceeded in a manner that could not really be put into words, before Bill finally ran out of gas thirty-four minutes later. Bill only knew of this because he had heard the bells of a nearby church strike midnight as he finally lay down for the evening. 


     Bill woke up the next morning to a rather interesting sight. Lying on top of him, taking a sip of vodka, was his secretary. Both he and Liz were naked and it was clear that some parts of him had woken up before others. 
     “Doct’r Clinton, I presume?” Liz stated matter of fact. She then leaned forward, aroused nipples brushing against Bill’s stomach, and belly laughed at her own joke. The laugh didn’t last very long, as her movements caused a different and far more pleasant feeling to hit her. Moaning softly, Liz continued, “I know ev’ything there ish to know ‘bout you, misser.” Liz slowly blinked then took another sip. It was clear that for some at least, the party was not yet over. 
     Without missing a beat, Bill retorted, “Why Liz, what do you mean?” 
     “I mean,” Liz drawled, “tha’ my frien’ Jess’ca tol’ me all about thish confer’nce. Thish kinda schtuff goes on all da time. You jus’ didn’ wanna tell me to keep me a’ home.” All the while, Liz slowly worked her body in a manner that sent Bill reeling. It was clear she was going to remember this when she sobered up, Bill thought. Seeming to read his mind, Liz continued to stumble along.
     “I did shober up a cobble o’ hours ago an’ I wan’ed to have you arres’ed. Bu’ Jessica tol’ me ev’rything, including how you were the only one who took my honor las’ night. Shee said, ‘Lizzhie, your boss woul’n’t led anyone near you at all las’ night. I wish my bosh was tha’ kind.’” Liz paused for another drink and leaned back. After coming down from her high somewhat, Liz gave a small belch, followed by more liquid breakfast. 
     “Well Liz, I have to be honest. I didn’t know about the carnal part of the conference anymore than you did. No one in the department gave me any kind of a clue.” Despite the situation, Bill’s age and experience had so far allowed him to keep his wits, but with Liz beginning to writhe above him, it wasn’t easy.
     “Well, it…ummm…doeshn’ madder now. Hmmm. Bu’ I godda secred…I’ve wan’ed to be carn’l with you for *hip*…ummmwhile now. Annumm….ughm…you know wha?” The last word came out more as a loud moan, increasing in volume.
     “What’s that?” Bill actually crossed his eyes trying to hang on for dear life.
     “I wanna be carn’l ‘gain!” Liz screamed, as they both came at the same time. Liz leaned back, her tits bouncing like beach balls on linoleum. She was able to hang on to her bottle, and Liz slammed several shots as the orgasm began to subside. Bill for his part was quite happy at the circumstances. It looked like the start of a beautiful relationship. 
     “Bud you godda p’omisch nawto tell n’body ‘bou’ usch.” Liz suddenly looked at her new paramour with fierce eyes. Even though her comprehension of English was almost negligible, she knew Bill had to make a decision to make before they went any further, alcohol fueled or not. “I wan’ you for a relashionship, bu’ we godda be goo’ ‘bout this. An’ you can’ shay a word abou’ my dringing. I don’ wan’a loosh my jhob.” Liz was beginning to have a hard time keeping her head up, but she knew what Bill would say next was important. 
     “Of course, Liz. I promise not to say a single word about any of this, at least until you want me to.” Bill, in post-orgasmic haze, was thinking about how his own world was looking right now, with their “savior” was drunk as a skunk and with temperance the last thing on her mind.
     Liz, for her part, interpreted Bill’s words slightly different than he intended. Her head snapped up, a smile as wide as it was long. “I knew you wan’ed my m’rr’age for han’! To our marr’age!” Liz then drank heartily, leaning further and further back. Her head hit the bedspread as the last drop hit her tongue. Liz wouldn’t wake again until late afternoon. Bill laughed softly and then took the empty bottle out of her hand. The sun had just climbed above the horizon and no one knew just how much history had changed. It was likely for the better in Bill’s opinion.
Second Interlude

     Angela came to slowly, as if from a deep sleep. She looked around as she raised herself up on an elbow. It looked as if nothing had changed, the tube the fugitive used to escape was still working, with its dull blue light. Angela stood up and went to the window from where the light came from. In the early morning light, she looked out onto the parking lot that the agents’ cars were parked in. At first, it looked as if nothing had changed. Rubbing her eyes, Angela looked out again and began to notice some odd details.
     Most notable were the cars themselves. Two of the cars were parked close to the building and they seemed fine. However, another car and the field operations truck were parked further back that was the first item that Angela’s trained eye noticed. The front of the car looked normal and completely in sync. However, from the back seat to the back bumper, the car appeared as if it had been torched or something. The paint was completely gone, the frame had rusted completely through and the right door had fallen off the hinges. The tires were not only flat but also looked as if several holes had been ripped through it.
     The operations van looked nearly the same. What set off the analytical part of Angela’s mind was that the van had looked as if there was a line separating the working part from the rusted out part. Looking down and past the van, Angela saw not the outer part of the lot, but long grass as tall as the van’s back bumper. The asphalt that was supposed to be there was almost entirely overgrown. Looking out further, Angela noted that the road leading to the building was also overgrown with grass and weeds. It looked to be nearly undrivable. 
     “Agent Daley, is everything all right in here.” John Turkleton was Angela’s number two on the team and if anything was even more temperate than she was. He was the one that turned up the files on this operation.
     “No John. It’s not all right. Come here and take a look at the parking lot.” John came over and looked. Letting out a slow whistle, the non-descript man simply looked out at the impossible. 
     “Look,” Angela said, “something very weird is going on around here and I have a sick feeling it has to do with that temptator. Grab Grey and a car. Head into town and see what you can find out. Meanwhile I’ll stay back and work on the computers. We’ve got to bring Clinton back before he causes even more harm to the country.” Angela looked over at her teammate, the first look of worry on her face. John grabbed a notepad and left the room, leaving Angela to look back at the prairie that had sprung up from literally nowhere.

7

     Bill arrived to the lecture hall only a few minutes late. The first thing that he noticed was that several secretaries were not in attendance as he had expected. In fact, it looked as if most of the remaining women were looking slightly worse for wear. Hairstyles looked tired, as if done only as an afterthought. To Bill’s delight, the overall fashion had definitely gone towards the casual with much more cleavage on display than on the previous day. It was clear the lecturer was being driven to near distraction with so many hills and valleys for him to view. 
     Sitting near the back he looked over to see one of the secretaries taking a drink and from her ability to sway with breeze (even though none were present) it was clear that she was a couple of sheets to the wind. Bill silently went tsk-tsk and then laughed quietly. The doctor next to her was not paying much attention to the lecture and focusing intently on the amount of leg being shown under the table. Bill adjusted himself and thought about how much fun he was going to have for the next few days.


     By the second evening it was clear that an understanding had been made between most of the doctors and their subordinates. Bill noticed that only a few doctors from the previous evening were not in attendance. The women were wearing much the same as the previous night, but much like his lectures, the cleavage was on display everywhere. Ladies across the room were much less formal than before, casually talking with many of the doctors both young and old. Bill also noticed that cocaine was being passed around with the champagne and cocktails, little lines sitting on small trays. Both doctors and secretaries helped themselves to the early appetizers. 
     Liz had appeared in Bill’s suite only twenty minutes before. Although she complained of a headache, she otherwise seemed quite happy with herself. She had called a tailor in the afternoon and had her dress subtly altered, as she put it, so that Bill would have easier access to her nether regions should he was feeling like petting during the meal. After a few smoldering kisses Liz and Bill left for the party arm in arm. Upon entering the ballroom, Liz headed directly for the bar, where only a few women had so far had the courage to drink away from the copious punch bowls. Looking at her peers and superiors, she handily knocked back a shot of Johnnie Walker and smiled to the crowd of politely clapping patrons. 
     By the time that dinner was being served, Liz had definitely made up for some lost time, but was still (mostly) in control of herself. That was until her friend Jessica arrived. She was with her boss from the previous night, who introduced himself as Dr. Timothy Banks. Jessica and Liz greeting each other with a kiss that left nothing to the imagination. It didn’t help that Jessica leaned heavily on her girlfriend, already quite intoxicated from the dozen glasses of punch she had been offered (Jessica had been “volunteered” to help setup the banquet by taste-testing the various bowls of punch being made). One hand landed on Liz’s left tit and from that point never left her body, bringing Liz to several orgasms, about one for each course offered at dinner. 
    The dessert course was served, but no one at Bill’s table paid much attention. By then, Liz and Jessica were joined by another woman and while Jessica was being handled by her boss, Liz made it clear that only one man could penetrate her that evening. Bill nodded in agreement each time, but for some reason spent nearly an hour speaking with another physician about some of the ideas Bill casually mentioned at Monday’s luncheon. With Liz rather busy, it gave Bill a little more time to rest up before he had to perform his role. He was certainly enjoying himself, but as with most women just discovering sex, he “re-learned” that the female typically had far more energy than the male, particularly if that male was nearly three times her age.
     As it was, Bill was able to bring his services to bear for a particularly drunken secretary who could not get enough of his cock or Jessica’s body. It was after eleven when Bill finally managed to drag the two ladies back to his room and even then, the banquet room was nearly half full from partiers. Bill fell asleep somehow, despite the sounds of gurgling alcohol and orgasms carrying him to the land of slumber.
     The next two days in St. Louis were nearly a blur to the new couple. It was clear on Wednesday, with Liz sleeping peacefully (if still drunkenly) in Bill’s arms that she was smitten with him. Despite the many offers that she had received from various physicians throughout the evening (particularly when Bill was giving an impromptu lecture to a dozen or so doctors on the benefits of mold and spores in medicine), she refused all of them. The women on the other hand were another story. Word had gotten around quickly about which women were more “flexible” with their paramours than others and Liz had quickly become amongst the most popular, not the least reason because of her drunken creativity to the female form. What started as a bit of a trick to get the secretaries intoxicated on Monday had turned into a full-fledged bender by the end of the feast Tuesday night.
     Liz did not make it to the first conference on Wednesday morning, and in fact less then a dozen women were in the lecture room that morning. Those that were there were either older women who had obviously been to the conference several times, or in a couple of cases, still completely loaded and were basically there as “quiet” entertainment. The lecturer, to his credit, was somehow able to continue speaking on the topic viral infections without anything distracting him. When it was found out at the end of the lecture that his own secretary was under the podium playing with his rocks, the lecturer was given a standing ovation. The rest of the morning was spent asking the man the secret to his superhuman endurance. 
     When Bill returned to his room that afternoon, Liz had left a note that she had gone with Jessica to a “secretarial party” and that she would see him at dinner. True to her word, Liz did in fact show up, with another six women in tow. All of them appeared in the dining room wearing corsets, stockings, a bottle of alcohol (Johnnie Red for Liz, as this seemed to have become the drink of choice courtesy of her paramour) and nothing else. All of them were leaning on each other for support and it was clear that the bottles in their hands were not the first drinks of the day for any of them. It took Liz about twenty minutes to find Bill and when she finally stumbled up to him, both her and Jessica dropped down into his lap and proceeded to make themselves cozy with his face and lips.
     Bill didn’t get to have much dinner that night. 
     Thursday night was definitely the high point of the conference. Everyone had a chance to pick a costume for the ball and Bill chose simple masquerade masks for both himself and Liz. Several women wanted to show up sans any clothing, and while Liz was one of them, Bill convinced her to wear something sexy and seductive. Not having many options in that time and age, Liz decided on a similar outfit to the previous evening, but in black. Liz had remained drunk for nearly sixty hours straight so far and it was unclear if she would make it through the evening.
     “Billy bill bi’ip’lly. I jhus’ wan’ed you to grow tha’ you c’n do fairyone, if you wan’a do ano’der one or ‘omethin’.” Liz was attempting to talk at the same time that she was attempting to button up her corset. Her complete intoxication was such that she had been little more than a talking blow up doll since that morning. Her girlfriends (one of which was still sleeping in Bill’s bed) were in much the same state in their own suites and it was not clear just how many ladies would show up to the ball in any condition to have a ball. Liz was running on shear willpower but it was clear that she was slowly running out of steam. However, despite all of his attempts (he was becoming rather tired from all the exertion himself), Bill was unable to convince Liz to simply stay in the room.
     Arriving into the ballroom (after properly buttoning up his very drunk girlfriend), they saw that the party had started without them. Liz gave Bill a very sloppy kiss and tried to tell that she would see him back in “their” room. Bill only understood three words, but it was clear that Liz wanted to try other people and she was really too drunk to try to talk her out of it. With a shrug of her shoulders, Bill grabbed a flute of champagne, put his mask on, and started to walk around. 
     Many of the couples were in carnal bliss. Without dinner being served tonight (it was more of a buffet in many ways than a traditional dinner) and with alcohol and cocaine being passed around, it was clear that this would be the big blowout. Friday was set aside as a day of recovery rather than that of lecturing before everyone headed for home on Saturday. Bill enjoyed a couple of sifters of a regional whiskey (the Johnnie Walker having disappeared, “it is so popular among the women for some reason,” one of the waiters mentioned) and enjoyed a couple of women, but his heart wasn’t quite in it. For the first time, he noticed that was a bit jealous that other men would be enjoying Liz this evening and not him. He was certainly no longer seeing her as simply the target of a mission but more of someone he would like to spend more time with. 
     As Bill walked around the room that evening, he spent some time looking for Liz. Every time, he would find her pleasuring another woman, usually with a bottle in her hand or held to her mouth, but never with another man. Bill was rather pleased but slightly disturbed at the same time. He knew from her actions that she was saving herself for him and him alone, which made him feel pretty proud of himself. However, even in his own time, lesbianism was very rare and open displays were a good way to end in up in recovery somewhere hot and dry. Bill tried to not think of it much, but his upbringing kept bringing him back to those thoughts.
     By about midnight, Bill was completely exhausted. Four days of bacchanalian pleasures can wear out even a top form athlete and Bill was not in that great of shape. Moving slowly through the molasses-fast ripples representing various bodily forms, Bill found Liz, on the floor, with two women in carnal positions of delight. All three were completely passed out, one with a champagne flute sticking out of her twat. Being curious, Bill tugged on this, causing the woman to turn face up, a long moan escaping her throat. With a hefty tug, Bill pulled the flute out, with a loud popping noise accompanying the throaty groan escaping the woman. She twitched uncontrollably for a few seconds and then passed out again. 
     Liz was pulled into a standing position, but it was clear that Bill would be doing most of the work to get her back to their room. A rather creative waiter offered bill the use of a dinner cart on a “short term rental” agreement. Five dollars cash passed hands and soon Liz was being pushed through the hotel in all her glory, legs dangling off the side of the cart, as Bill pushed her to the stairs. Silently wishing for an elevator, Bill tossed Liz over his shoulder and slowly climbed the stairs to the third floor. Thanking God for not having a higher room, Bill managed to make it to the room and then promptly passed out on the bad, with his girlfriend lying peacefully next to him. She had moved not a muscle the entire time. 


Journal Entry: May 16, 1893 (afternoon) – The conference is now over in all but name. We have tickets to ride back to Chicago tomorrow afternoon at three and I believe that Liz will be awake by then. As to whether or not she will be sober at that point…
She has slept peacefully since last night (and boy can she snore!) and I have to admit that I was beginning to worry that she had to much to drink and might have been suffering from alcohol poisoning. Fortunately, Liz woke up around noon and tried to talk to me. It was clear that she was still to drunk to do much, but at least she was now somewhat coherent. She asked for some food and I placed an order. Liz had passed out again by the time room service had arrived and it has been three hours since. She has begun to move about on the bed, so I think she will wake up again soon, hopefully somewhat sober.

Something that she had said to me when she was awake disturbs me. She said “Bill my love. I love you so much. I can’t wait to do this again.” She then gave me a deep kiss and repeated her love to me. I know that the amount of booze that she drank had something to do with feelings, but I’m wondering… Besides, it is something that I’ll have to think about. After all, no one knows whether or not the machine still works, or if I’ve changed history enough, if the machine even exists. It is quite likely that I’ll be stuck in this rather backwards time for the rest of my years, and I am certainly not getting any younger. If Liz does really love me as she says (and I mean her talking, not the Johnnie Walker) would it be wrong to return the affection? I don’t think so. 

It is too bad that I can’t take her back with me. But I can’t even imagine what that would do to the life and society that I know of.

Third Interlude

     Agents Grey and Turkleton finally returned to the lab at around three in the afternoon. Angela heard the car and went to the window. It was clear that the sedan was gone through some rough patches and as it was, the car had difficulty pulling into the parking lot through all the grass and weeds that covered the road leading to the buildings. Looking out, Agent Daley saw that both men looked distraught and disappointed, which did not help her mood at all. With three other agents left behind, they had been able to do little more than figure out the basic parameters of the software used to control the time travelling device. It was determined that the ‘rogue terrorist’ had gone back to 1893, but they had yet to figure out how to get there themselves, or more importantly, to get the man back here to the lab. 
     Trudging into the control room, Turkelton dropped what looked like a backpack, likely filled with material. The problem was that, like the cars outside, this looked as if it had been sitting in acid, with several holes all over.
     “So what did you two find out?” Angela asked the men. Each of them looked back at her, as if what they had to say was stuck in their throats. Grey finally spoke up. He was slight compared to his contemporaries, but he knew how to get the most out of information given to him, which made him almost as important as Angela herself.
     “Well, ma’am. It would appear as though we may very well be the last people left alive.”
     Angela goggled at her subordinate. “What do you mean, alive? Was there a fire or something? Are we the last people in the area and there are others around? Please be more specific.” Angela was close to freaking out at this point. She had been to trying to contact people all morning, starting with her boss and eventually trying to call her team. There was absolutely no response, not even a dial tone. She was afraid of what Grey’s answer would be.
     “No ma’am. There was no fire, at least nothing that would explain our environment. As far as we can tell, there was a viral infection in this timeline. Maybe twenty years or so ago. Apparently the medicines available at that time weren’t up to the task and apparently the virus mutated. The last information that we could gather was that there were no survivors.”
     Angela looked down at the ground. Just hearing what Grey said could not have made any sense. There were people here just a few hours ago. It was a complete shock to her, as it was to her agents. Then she thought, it was him. It was all Clinton’s fault. He caused all of this.
     “In your research,” Angela said through gritted teeth, “did you find any past references to our terrorist?”
     “As a matter of fact,” said Turkleton, “we did find something interesting. It would appear that a group of doctors, including a Doctor William Clinton, were given the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1904 for the invention of penicillin. It was awarded posthumously in Clinton’s case.”
     Angela came to here senses for a moment. “Wait, wasn’t penicillin invented after the Great War in the twenties?”
     “That’s what I had thought,” said Grey. “At least certainly after the year in which the terrorist traveled back to.”
     “So it is quite possible that Clinton changed history by introducing this into society. At least now we know what his ‘contemporaries had sent him to do.” Angela looked at the computer console. “Our priority now is to get that device to work and to reverse the damage.”
     “There is likely another issue, ma’am,” said Grey. When Angela prompted him, he continued. “With any primary means of power gone, I am assuming that the building is running on backup power of some kind. We may not have any time left to get the device to work.”
     “So get working on it. Now.”
     Within a half an hour, the word came back. There was about twenty-two hours of backup power left. The good news was that the generator ran off of gas. The bad news was that there was no gas left in the building and any gas that could be pulled from another source was likely would be too stale to operate the generator. Once the power was gone, it was likely gone forever. Angela got to work on the console.

8

     The next couple of weeks could best be described as an alcoholics’ paradise. By the time that Bill and Liz returned to Chicago, they come to an agreement. It was clear that Liz had feelings for Bill and he did not disagree with her. It was also clear that Liz loved her alcohol. What she didn’t love was word spreading about her new loves. So it was agreed that nothing would be mentioned about her drinking and what went on at the conference. In turn, Bill would ply his new girlfriend with as much booze as she could handle and all the fun that being drunk entailed.
     That night, neither one could celebrate, as both were quite tired, hungover, and aand neither the hotel nor her tenement apartment would be very accommodating of a “celebration.” However, the next day, Bill decided that living in the hotel was less than an ideal situation. It didn’t take too long to find himself a house to live in. Doctors were very well regarded in this last century and it took little for Bill to secure himself not only his new home but nice furniture as well. After a few hours, his bar was well stocked with the best alcohol the local taverns could provide. A couple of hours after that, his bedroom was well supplied by a rather nubile and soused girlfriend. 
     Over the next couple of weeks, by day Bill and Liz worked in the office as a normal couple of people would. After work however, the happy couple traveled around town, hitting the taverns and burlesque shows, having drinks and generally enjoying each other’s company. They even met Nancy and Stella. Liz and Bill both had a very enjoyable time that evening. 
     It was a couple of weeks after the conference when Liz mentioned the World’s Fair.
     “You know Bill *hic* ‘oney? There’s thish fair goin’ on an’ I’d really thing tha’ maybe we’d shoul’ go onna real da’ *’ip.* Wha’ do you thing?”
     After thinking it over for a moment (and fixing Liz another drink), Bill replied “Sure, Liz. I think it would be nice for us to get out and enjoy ourselves for a day.”
     “Why don’ we do Sa’urday? I thing tha’ woul’ be a greaday to go an’ have some fu*cup*.”
     “I think that can be arranged. Would you like to be drunk or sober for this outing?” Bill said this as Liz attempted to quiet the jiggling of her breasts in their corset as she was on a nearly continuous hiccupping fit. She attempted to respond to her boyfriend, but could get out little more then *urps* and *hics* before an engorged nipple popped out of the corset, trying to get some fresh air in the afternoon breeze that Liz was creating. Bill simply smiled at the spectacle. Saturday it was then.


     With all unnecessary power shutoff, the agents figured they probably had an extra couple of hours of electricity available. However, the tense atmosphere only grew as afternoon gave way to early evening with no change in how to bring back the rogue fugitive. A cold front had started to move through the area and with some of the windows in the upper floors being knocked out from lack of maintenance; even the lab had become slightly chilly. None of the heaters could be run though as that would drain the remaining power long before sunup.
     Angela had silently begun to despair as the last of Chicago’s sunlight dropped beyond the horizon when she finally heard the words that she had longed to hear.
     “Agent Daley? I believe that we’ve figured out a way to bring the terrorist back.”
     “Do you know if that will change what’s happened here so far?” Angela was acting out of character by actually smiling in front of her subordinates. She was known as the “ice boss” for a good reason, but not now. Angela was practically shuffling from foot to foot and not from the cooling air. A quirk that did not go unnoticed in her teammates.
     “Well, ma’am I’m afraid that we simply don’t know the answer to that. All of this theoretical stuff is beyond us at this point.”
     “I understand. Even if it doesn’t change anything, we’ll still have him. We can take care of that issue, even if it turns out to be our last orders.” The look on the team’s faces indicated that no one had wanted to think of “last orders,” at least not yet.
     “Alright then. How long will it take to set everything up?”
     Maybe an hour, ninety minutes at most. We’ll have enough power for one, maybe two shots to pull him back. After that, we’ll have to hope that any external sources of fuel are good enough to run the generator.”
     “Get started then. It’s either now or never.”


     Standing at the corner of 51st and Lake Street (in his time, the spot Bill stood on was a six-lane freeway known as Lake Shore Drive) Liz looked around in awe at the splendor that was the Columbian Exposition of 1893. The fair itself stretched for miles to the north, south, and west. As it was, with Bill and Liz stood at the easternmost point, with Lake Michigan fifty yards behind them. Grandiose buildings stood before them, being exposition outposts today and world-famous buildings tomorrow. Only ten feet in front of them was a brewhaus stand, with a hawker advertising strong Bavarian beer and good German whisky. Bill was willing to try anything once and Liz had already tried several “Bavarians” and was already a touch giggly.
     “I thing we should try some of tha’ Blavarian, Billy.” Liz laughed at her own private joke. Bill merely smiled, knowing that there were a couple of hotels that they could go to if they needed to “recuperate.” Bill walked her over to the stand and then told her that he was going to get them a couple of hamburgers. When he explained to Liz what they were supposed to be, she made a face at him.
     “Migh’ as well buy ush some steaks, love. Soun’s disgusting.”
     “Well you never know, it might be worth trying once.”
     “Isn’ tha’ what you shaid abou’ whisky?” Liz giggled as she leaned precariously against Bill, her bosom rubbing against his wool coat. The cool afternoon breeze was enough to leave a couple of discrete bumps on her chest that allowed Bill’s imagination to take him away to the line for the burgers.
     “It was nearly ten minutes before Bill reached the front of the line. On a makeshift grill were little more than slabs of beef, only slightly chopped up and could have just as easily had been a cut of beef as opposed to the all-beef patties that Bill grew up on. To his side, a couple of businessmen were discussing an article in the newspaper. Apparently, some politician in New York City was walking around their version of City Hall calling Chicago the “Windy City” because of all the long-winded speeches that the local politicians gave to the local papers. Bill smiled to himself, knowing all about long-winded politicians from his own time as well. Stepping up to the counter, he asked the guy if he had any cheese available.
     “Cheese? Wha’choo talkin’ bout, cheese.” Turning around, the native Chicagoan said to the guy on the grill, “Hey Johnny, did’joo hear that? Dis guy wan’s some cheese on his boiger. ‘Ey guy, w’as wrong wit’ my boiger ya gotta put shit like dat on it?”
     “Hey I’m not saying your burgers are bad. They look delicious. I just think a little cheese will make it even better.”
     “Da noive of some peoples,” the guy said, more to himself then anything else. A moment later, the guy came back with a small brick of what looked like cheddar. He cut off a thick slice and put it on Bill’s “boiger.” Putting the result between two slices of hard sourdough, he handed the soggy plate to Bill. Bill then offered the first bite to the guy and asked him to give it a shot. The look on the guy’s face would stare back at millions of customers within twenty years, although neither one of them knew it.
     “Holy shit, pal. Dat is good. Where’d you come up with dat?”
     “Oh, it was just something I thought of. Hey, you got any pickles to go with this?”
     “Pickles?” The guy made a puckered face and said, “Can’t stan’ the stuff. Don’ tell me you likes that stuff too?”
     “Eh, I’m just saying it might be worth looking into” Bill then turned around and left, overhearing the guy telling his cook to go find some cheese and a cutter.
     Bill came back to the brewhaus stand, watching Liz down her eighth glass of beer of the day. She had already begun to sway a little as the potent potables of the day were working against her equilibrium. The hawker had stopped yelling and was “graciously” helping the young lady…towards the back of the stand where there was likely a little more privacy for the letch. Bill came up to protect his girl and the hawker suddenly found some people to sell his wares to. Both of them giggled as they stumbled off, Liz attempting to take a bite of the burger. She made the same face as earlier and mumbled something about knowing she wouldn’t like it. A quick cool breeze gave Bill a slight chill as they walked towards what would someday become the Museum of Science and Industry.


     “Agent Daley, I believe we might have a partial lock on Clinton!” The agent behind the console looked up as if a dog asking for a treat. He got one in the form of another uncharacteristic smile from Angela, followed by a frown.
     “Why only a partial lock? I thought you said it could track him using a molecular sample.”
     “Yes ma’am, a DNA sample. However, we think that his travelling through time may have added some sort of ‘residue’ to his DNA that has made it harder to track him.” It was after midnight by the time the lock was achieved. Dark clouds were slowly gathering and already distant thunder could be heard from the west. 
     “Well whatever works. How long until we can pull him back?” It was clear now that Angela would accept nothing less than complete success.
     “Just a few minutes, ma’am.”


     It was late afternoon when Liz and Bill left the building. With more vendors inside near the various exhibits, Liz was no longer exhibiting “socially acceptable” behavior. Hanging an arm over Bill’s shoulder and talking about what she would do to him at the hotel had turned more than a few heads in the exhibit hall. Bill for his part was rather buzzed himself from all the taste tests he procured that afternoon. He was sober enough to know that it was time to take his mistress to a more private location for a bit of carnal pleasure. As they approached a main street separating the exhibit hall from the hotels across the street, Bill only slightly noticed that his right hand had gone numb. He pumped his hand reflexively as he looked both ways at the intersection.


     “We have a full lock. He is at a public intersection. Do we wait until he is more alone?”
     “No, there’s no more time. We either pull him now or lose him altogether.” 
     “Yes ma’am.” With that, the agent pressed Enter on the keyboard.


     Bill noticed it first. It was an actual car, although few would recognize it as such in comparison to today’s vehicles. It was little more than a frame with a wooden seat and wheel in front. There were four wheels like a car, but the back two wheels were larger than the ones in the front. As it was, it looked as if none of the wheels could handle rough traction, as all the tires were a thin as those found on a bicycle. The contraption, such as it was, seemed to run on steam as there was a large, cumbersome engine in the front, with steam coming out steadily from a chimney. It was a wonder that the driver could see anything. 
     Bill noticed that the driver really couldn’t see anything of use. He was coming on steadily, at a “brisk” fifteen or twenty miles an hour. Not fast by Bill’s reckoning, but the driver’s haphazard driving through the light horse drawn traffic was enough to throw panic into Bill, as both him and Liz were already a few feet into the street. He started to move back, trying to take Liz with him, when he noticed that he was frozen in place.
     Bill turned to look at Liz, but it was like trying to turn in a vat of molasses. Images doubled, then trebled as his face finally reached Liz. Her head was turned in the other direction, away from the oncoming car. It was clear from her drunken condition that she didn’t see or notice the oncoming car. Bill tried to say something, tried to move, but realized at the last minute that it was that infernal machine dragging him back in time. He tried to think if it was time to go back, but even his own thoughts had slowed to almost nothing at this point. His last image was of Liz’s arm moving up. Was she thrown clear of the car? Did someone grab her out of the way in time? Bill would never find out the answer.

9

     Once again, Bill found himself standing in the glowing tube, surrounded by modern machines and with an agent sticking his pistol in Bill’s face. Disoriented, it took him a moment to realize that it was that Agent Daley that almost shot him all those decades ago.
     “Welcome home, mister, or should I say, Doctor William Clinton?” Angela backed up two paces, never moving her pistol from the target. “It would appear that your mission is accomplished, wouldn’t you say?”
     Bill didn’t know what to say. “So the Temperance League is gone then?” Bill said hopefully.
     “Oh yes indeed, doctor. In fact, you managed to get rid of the whole human race. They are all dead, thanks to your early invention of penicillin.”
     “What? I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Bill said sincerely. But then, he did know what she was talking about. It was the conference, talking to those ‘peers’ about the use of certain funguses in creating an antibiotic. He didn’t think anything of it at the time, but if what the agent was saying was true…Bill visibly deflated, before a flash of lightning brought him back to his senses. 
     “Well I’m afraid, doctor, that we simply don’t have enough time to discuss your contributions to the field of medicine. You see, it would appear that bringing you back did not in fact change history back to where it was. In fact, your meddling has doomed all of us. Now, since we’re going to die likely sooner rather than later, I propose we kill you off as our last official order and then figure out what to do from there. Any questions?” No one said a word. Everyone in her team knew that she was nearly fanatical in her job as a Special Agent. It was not surprising, even in the finality of the situation, that Agent Daley would get her final man.
     Angela lifted her gun slightly, aiming for Bill’s face, when Turkelton suddenly spoke up. “Ma’am, you’d better take a look at this first.” 
     The agent walked towards the window, gun still aimed at Bill. For his part, Bill was too scared and shocked to move. He was still thinking of Liz and her fate back in the last century. Another flash of lightning made Bill look towards the computer console. At the same time, Angela looked out the window and looked on in surprise and wonder. It was the same wall as from the previous night, once again heading steadily towards them. 
     A quick series of lightning flashes and a now familiar hum began. Angela turned back towards the tube as Bill began to lose definition again. “NO YOU BASTARD!” Angela screamed as she began firing her pistol. The first shot went wide and nearly hit the edge of the console. The second bullet was much closer to the tube but still missing Bill, who was now transparent. Angela never got off a third shot, as the advancing wall of light hit the building at that moment.

Epilogue

Open battlefield, 22 miles north of Rome, 350 B.C.

     Bill came to inside what appeared to have been some sort of primitive field tent. The ‘room’ he was in was large and it was clear that he had fallen into some sort of celebration or party. The musical instruments died suddenly as the first soldiers noticed his presence. Before he could react, Bill was surrounded by what had to have been Roman soldiers, each armed with a short spear and all of them aimed at him.
     “Um…hello everybody,” were the first English words spoken in the Old World. 


     Angela woke several hours after the first wave had gone through. Unbeknownst to any of them, another wall of light had passed through. Angela looked up to see a man, likely a security guard, holding a strange looking rifle at her. He then spoke, but it was not a language knew of. If she had to guess, it would have been a combination of Latin and German. Not a word of English was spoken by the man.
     “What have you done, Mr. Clinton,” Angela mumbled, as the guard motioned her to a standing position.

The End.

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