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Absolutely Historical – Chapter 5

Posted in erbooker by erbooker on 09/03/2013


Princeton Prof. Henry Nickels, his T.A. Josh Styles and grad student Mary Winthrop go on adventures to discover the true origins of America…

Chapter 5 – The World War III Survivor

(Grad student Mary Winthrop is walking down Main Street in Princeton, NJ past soda shoppes and clothing boutiques, hand-in-hand with new boyfriend and Russian exchange student Wladimir…)

Wladimir:  So President Kennedy was still alive?

Mary:  (nods)  Until Prof. Nickels killed him.

Wladimir:  Is not out of ordinary. Many professors at Moscow University murderers. Policemen murderers. Milkmen murderers.

Mary:  It’s not just that. I’ve come to the conclusion that the professor is selling priceless artifacts to foreign investors. I saw his T.A., Josh, carrying a box labeled “Not James Madison’s Skull”.

Wladimir:  Why don’t you turn him into police? They take him to Murder Jail.

Mary:  I left an anonymous letter with the Dean, voicing my concerns. It’s just that the professor really has shown us incredible things. I’ve met JFK. I’ve seen the Underground Railroad. It was an actual underground train!

Wladimir:  (shrugs)  Is not interesting. I took underground train in New York. It smell like Ukraine.

Mary:  It’s just that for all the terrible things he may have done, Prof. Nickels is still a very fascinating man.

(A Jeep pulls up, driven by T.A. Josh Styles and Prof. Henry Nickels leans out the passenger-side window…)

Professor:  Winthrop, get in. Bring your friend.

Mary:  (frowns)  With fascinating timing.


(The next day Mary, Wladimir, Josh and the professor are trekking through the deep woods of rural northern West Virginia. Mary hurries ahead to walk with the professor as Josh speaks to Wladimir…)

Josh:  Do you know Yakov Smirnoff?

Wladimir:  No.

Josh:  Oh.

Mary:  I’m not sure it was such a good idea to bring Wladimir on this trip, professor.

Professor:  Why not? You seem to be getting on with him. And since you insist on letting your social life interfere with our work, I figured why not just combine the two.

Mary:  So I’m not allowed to have a social life now?

Professor:  What we’re doing here is important, Winthrop. We don’t need any excess distractions.

Mary:  What are we doing here?

Professor:  There is a cabin in these woods where a man lives alone, in complete certainty that the world has ended.

Mary:  So we’re going to meet a crazy person.

Professor:  In 1962, Randall Bammer was utterly convinced that the Cuban Missile Crisis marked the beginning of the end. He moved out here to the middle of nowhere, positive that the Americans and the Soviets bombed each other to kingdom come and that he now lived alone in a post-apocalyptic wasteland; only protected by the surrounding nothingness. He hasn’t left the woods since.

Mary:  So we’re going to meet a very crazy person.

Professor:  We’re going to see a snapshot in time. A window into an era when people lived in fear of an impending doom.

Mary:  Won’t he be a little reluctant to meet people after fifty years in solitary self-confinement.

(A gunshot echoes from a nearby log cabin and the foursome duck as a bullet whizzes by…)

Professor:  Perhaps.


(Prof. Nickels approaches the cabin with a white handkerchief raised. Wladimir, Mary and Josh are kneeling behind a large stump…)

Wladimir:  Your professor is very brave.

Mary:  Our professor is very stupid.

Professor:  (hollering)  It’s alright, kids! Come in!

(The three follow the professor inside where a wild-eyed, scraggly-bearded man in a flannel and crusty pants aims a rifle warily at them…)

Randy:  Khrushchev send you?

Professor:  Nikita Khrushchev has been dead for quite a while now, Mr. Bammer.

Randy:  Well, glory be to God. Now who the hell are you? Government?

Professor:  I am Prof. Henry Nickels of Princeton University and these are my associates.

Josh:  (waves)  Hi.

Randy:  How did you survive the blasts?

Professor:  There were no blasts. World War III never came, Mr. Bammer.

(Mary walks around the small cabin, newspaper clippings of world strife from the 50’s and 60’s coat the walls…)

Professor:  (pulling out an iPad)  I’ve prepared a video of what has happened in the world since you entered this cabin, to catch you up on recent history.

Professor:  (lowers rifle)  A movie? Yeah, I’ll bite. Anybody want some Coca-Cola?

Mary:  (frowns)  You’ve been out here for fifty years and you still have soda?

Randy:  I brew it myself, out of battery acid and sugar. Goes down rough, but the aftertaste is terrible.

Josh:  Both of those are bad.


(After the film, Randy stands up and shakes his head…)

Randy:  No, this isn’t right. This is some sort of Soviet propaganda campaign.

Professor:  No trick. No campaign. I just want to re-acclimate you with the world around you. The world you left under false pretenses. Don’t you want to see what you’ve been missing?

Randy:  Not particularly.

Mary:  Professor, maybe this one’s best left alone. He seems comfortable. He’s made a home for himself. Why upset that?

Professor:  But he’s stuck in the past. He doesn’t have to stay here.

Wladimir:  Mary is right, professor. This man is clearly madman.

Mary:  Wladimir, that’s not what I’m–

(Randy’s eyes widen at Wladimir’s thick Russian accent and he quickly raises his rifle…)

Randy:  Soviet scum!

(Randy fires and Wladimir hits the far wall, leaving a thick trail of red behind as he sinks to the floor…)

Mary:  Wladimir!

Randy:  I knew this was a trick! You Soviet bastards ain’t gonna take me alive!  (runs off back porch into the woods)

Mary:  (holding Wladimir’s head in her hands)  Professor, what do we do?

Professor:  I suggest we make our way back to the Jeep before he returns with bigger weapons. But first, we must dispose of your boyfriend’s body.

Josh:  (holding belly)  Oof, I think I drank too much homemade Coca-Cola.


(Having made their way out of West Virginia and back to civilization, the professor drops Josh and Mary off on campus…)

Josh:  Sorry about your boyfriend.

Mary:  You know it’s funny, but it’s almost as if the professor knew that crazy man would react violently to a Russian in his cabin. You don’t think he invited Wladimir along just to get rid of him?

Josh:  (shrugs, hiccups)

(Mary turns to find Prof. Nickels standing directly behind them in the quiet Princeton parking lot…)

Professor:  It’s like I said, Winthrop: There’s no time for private lives. Our focus must be on our work.

(The professor’s eery grin sends chills down Mary’s spine as he walks back to his office in Winthrop Hall…)

Mary:  (turns to Josh, white-faced)  We have to go to the Dean.

Josh:  Okay, but check out this homemade Pepsi recipe I came up with first: One part battery acid, two parts sugar and a dash of Pepsi for flavoring.


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