Now I am sitting in my downstairs den, at the big oak desk I keep in here.
Before I sat down, I checked the closet in the den. There was nothing in there, save some cardboard boxes filled with old books and documents, and an old desktop printer that stopped functioning last year (but which I have neglected to either discard or attempt to fix).
I shut the door of the den’s closet. (I heard it click.) Then I placed a spare chair against the door, wedged under the doorknob.
That closet door will not come open. At least not while I’m in here, writing. While I put pen to paper.
Yes, you got that right. I said: pen to paper.
Sitting atop the side extension of this desk is an iMac computer, with at least one word processing software package installed.
I also own a laptop computer, and a Samsung tablet. Oh…and an iPhone.
Any number of electronic gadgets that can be used for writing. But I will be employing none of these for the task ahead.
Instead, I have removed a college-ruled Mead notebook from the filing cabinet here in the den. (I recall purchasing the notebook at a clearance sale at the OfficeMax near my house a few years ago.) And I’ve taken a ballpoint pen from the top drawer of the desk.
These are the tools that I would have used, had I written a document such as this in 1976. In those days, no one had yet heard of Bill Gates. Apple Computer was still a garage project that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were tinkering with. And so people wrote with pen and paper.
We’re going to do this old-school, you might say.
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I can’t guarantee, of course, that my reliance on antiquated tools will give me the full authenticity I am hoping for. After all, a long time has passed between 1976 and today.
In the summer of that year, I was a seventeen year-old boy, still in high school. My whole life was ahead of me, as the saying goes. So much of my future was yet unwritten.
Today I am fifty-nine…not quite elderly, but certainly within sight of that territory. My perspective has changed.
But all the same, there are days when 1976 feels like yesterday. A part of me has never left that long-ago summer. I suppose that is how the Horseman, and all those other revolutionary ghosts (as I’ve come to call them) have begun to find their way back into the present. I’ve become their conduit.
Yes, I can feel them coming, breaking through into yet another new century. I suppose that’s why I finally decided to take the advice of my family physician. I can no longer pretend that the events of the last ten days are a mere fluke, or hallucinations brought on by ordinary stress.
I don’t know who you, the reader, are. (For the time being, I will assume that you are Dr. Beckman. It is just barely possible, however, that this story may eventually find its way into other hands.)
I will endeavor to tell the story of what happened that summer as faithfully and as thoroughly as I can. Much of what follows you will find to be fantastical, horrific, and downright unbelievable. I ask only that you withhold judgment till the end, before you dismiss me as a charlatan or a madman.
And without further ado, I begin.