Friday, February 29, 2008

The Sweetbrier Bakery

I love the smell of a bakery. There’s just something familiar, warm and inviting about it; do you know what I mean? Sure you do. It’s the collective memory of aroma and scent so sweet. And oh, what a bouquet it is. I revisited that fragrance this very day; Gentle Reader we (the family and I) celebrated leap year 2008 by paying a visit to the Sweetbrier Bakery, in Dorchester, NJ.


These days I’m all about the low-carb and the high protein. The diet’s been good – it’s been working and, unfortunately, I’ve got a lot to work with. I’ve been good but every now and again I run into a situation – like TODAY where I bend my carb shunning ways; and oh, I’m so glad that I did. I took one of their cards and I hereby quote, “Sweetbrier Bakery – A Natural Foods Bakery – All of our recipes are made from scratch and contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients. Baked goods made with organic ingredients can be ordered. We also have cholesterol free, dairy free, wheat free, and “Blood Type Diet” friendly baked goods.”

When I hear the words “Natural Foods” I gotta tell you, I shudder a bit. While healthy it may be the stuff you get at supermarkets is kind of bland. This is NOT the case with the Sweetbrier Bakery! Who knew that organic ingredients – dare I say, “healthy” ingredients could be so good? The owners and staff have a love and passion for what they do and the area they serve. They are sweet people. The walls are dotted with art and photos from local artists and if you know the area you just might spot some familiar sites.

Oh man, it’s good and worth a visit. They are located at 3890 Route 47 Dorchester, NJ. 08316. They are, “Just south of the intersection of Routes 47 and 347.” Try it the next time you’re in the area on your way to the shore or in your travels. Great people, great natural food bakery goods and the coffee’s pretty good too!

I’ll have to walk off the carbs and it’s back to the high protein grindstone tomorrow – TODAY, though, I feast!

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Ok, let’s geek out a bit…

Oh my.

“Good luck keepin’ up.”

With lines like, “Let’s face it, this is not the worst thing you’ve caught me doing.” May is gonna be a good month.

BTW - Ain't It Cool News broke this one.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Chicken or the Oscar

The Academy Awards were on TV last night. It was the lowest rated ceremony in a long time. Why, who’s to say? It could be for a lot of reasons; perhaps your every day average movie going slob didn’t feel represented? Too much time spent on the “red carpet” as opposed to being spent in the love of film? Too many dance numbers? I don’t know. What I do know is that that little golden statue and I were at it again this year. Here were my picks: ; now let’s see who won this year.

Best Supporting Actor – who I chose: Hal Holdbrook for “Into the Wild”. Who won? Javier Bardem for “No Country for Old Men”. One nuthin’ for the golden boy.

Best Supporting Actress – who I chose: Rudy Dee for “American Gangster”. Who won? An incredibly HOT woman who wore no make up to the Oscars, Ms. Tilda Swinton for “Michael Clayton”.

Best Actor – who I chose: Daniel Day-Lewis for “There Will Be Blood”. Who won? Daniel Day-Lewis. Oh yeah, I’m feelin’ it.

Best Actress – who I chose: Cate Blanchett for “Elizabeth – the Golden Age”. Who won? Marion Cotillard for “La Vie en Rose”. Shake it off, baby – shake it off.

Best Visual Effects – who I chose: “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”. Who won? “The Golden Compass”. BTW, “The Golden Compass”? Please.

Best Animated Feature – who I chose: “Ratatouille”. Who won? “Ratatouille”. YES! Brad Bird is a genius. -SNIFF- I smell a comeback.

Best Makeup – who I chose: “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End”. Who won? “La Vie en Rose”. What? Who? I’ll rent it and let you know BUT you’ve got to go a long way to beat out the job that was done of Pirates III.

Best Adapted Screenplay – who I chose: “No Country for Old Men”. Who won? “No Country for Old Men”. I’m nippin’ at his heals.

Best Original Screenplay – who I chose: “Juno”. Who won? “Juno”.

Best Director (s) – who I chose: “Joel & Ethan Coen - No Country For Old Men”. Who won? Why it was, “Joel & Ethan Coen - No Country For Old Men”. OH MY – I do believe we have a tie.

Best Picture – who I chose: “No Country for Old Men”. Who won… “No Country for Old Men”! OH MY GOODNESS – EVIL CHICKEN WON BY A NOSE!

What’s creepy is the fact that I haven’t seen most of the movies that were nominated. The trick is to think the way the Academy thinks. Still and all, it was close this year.

I didn’t watch the full broadcast and missed the memorandum. I caught it on Youtube but I either missed them or they were not mentioned but Mr. Roy Schider and Mr. Brad Renfro who both passed away not all that long ago may not have been mentioned.

I’ll see you next time Oscar. Until then know that ’08 was MINE!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Want To Believe

Cue the theme music.

Scully and Mulder are coming back to theaters this summer – July 25, 2008, to be exact; X-Files 2 – on the big screen. I am one X-Phile that can’t wait. Here’s Ain’t It Cool News’s coverage from WonderCon:

Man… It’s good to be a geek. Harry and company do a great job of getting news that’s well, pretty cool. The vernacular on the site can be distracting when you read some articles and talk-backers so be fair warned – if you can look beyond that Harry’s site is the gold standard of geekdom.

And now, back to topic.

Friday nights during the nineties started with watching the X-Files on TV. What a great little show that was. If you get a chance check it out in reruns or rent the series. If you want a reminder of just how cool the show was check out: - it’s a great X-Files site and where I grabbed the “I Want To Believe” poster that used to hang in Mulder’s office before being burnt out in season 6 (?). After 202 episodes, 9 seasons of broadcast television the X-Files threw in the towel in 2002. The series, for me, didn’t end on the high note that it really deserved. X-Files was cutting edge when it was in it’s prime. The show lost it’s footing after David Duchovny (Fox Mulder) left. Oh the stories were good but the draw was the relationship between Scully (played by the amazing Gillian Anderson) and Mulder. The show suffered from Favoratus Disappearis and it was palpable.

I always felt that there were more tales to tell within the world of supernatural conspiracy, creepy monsters of the week and alien abductions. I know that I’m not alone in this belief. "X-Files 2" could be just what Chris Carter (creator, writer, director) needs to carve out an X-Files movie franchise.

I’m hoping that he does, after all – I want to Believe.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wanderings – The Far Side of the World

One of my closest friends will be traveling to Macau China next month. He’ll be there for about three weeks on business. He told me that it will take him about 36 hours to get there.

Ouch. That’s a long time to be in an airplane.

As he told me this I fired up the latest edition of Google Earth and brought up some pictures.

“Whoa!” I said, “That’s cool.”

“What?” he asked.

“Google Earth has some nice points of interest – wait ‘till you see the pictures!”

“Pictures – you mean you see pictures of Macau?” he asked.

“Sure. ‘Panorimo’ is a part of the Google Earth experience my good man – WHOA!”

“Whoa what?”

“You’ve gotta see this temple when your there. It’s the kind of place that Indiana Jones would go to meet Lara Croft for drinks.”

“And that’s all on Google Earth?”


I revisit this little exchange, Gentle Reader, to plug Google Earth. I don’t receive dime one and in the back of my paranoid mind know that Google will one day make a bid to rule the world through various nefarious techniques of mind control and subjugation BUT I gotta tell you, Google Earth is the bees knees. It’s the real deal. I’ve talked about the joys of Google Earth before but I thought I’d drag my fingers across my Logitech keyboard once more to extol its virtues. If you would like to check it out slide on over to "Evil Chicken's Favorite Places", and click on the link.

My friend has been sent around the world; Las Vegas, Bali, Dubai, India and now Macau China and I was able to see the hotel that he’s gonna be staying at from the comfort of my computer room. I can now live vicariously through others with just a few picked keys and some clicks from my mouse.

I’m excited for my friend for the adventure of travel, the thrill of discovery and, now, for the fact that he’s gonna be loading Google Earth onto his new laptop. He’s gonna love it and I’m gonna love hearing all about his exploits on the Far Side of the World.

Stay safe Dave, you’re in my prayers. Don’t forget to send me a postcard; for some reason, I’ve got a thing for them these days.

Stay safe, Bro.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Toshiba will announce next week that it will cease production on HD-DVD players. It’s over. Blu-Ray is going to be the new standard. Whenever the prices come down, that is. Here’s a better article with the gory details:

Eventually we won’t even have players; everything will be menu accessible via your remote control and stored either on a network by the cable company, your wireless carrier or a central processor in your living room. Oh well, Blu-Ray is what they will be selling for the next decade or so.

I’m just hoping that they go on sale soon.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Polar Bear Plunge 2008

Today was the day, Gentle Reader – Sea Isle City’s 2008 Polar Bear Plunge. What an amazing, wonderful, unforgettable time it was. Can you see my stab wound and third nipple? (Just kidding – it’s stretch marks and a burn scar.) Oh yeah, baby – I’m the real deal.

NOTE: This is a modified copy of a post I made over at SJG (South Jersey Geocachers – check out “Evil Chicken’s Favorite Places.”) No Polar Bear Plunge participants were harmed in the forging of this blog.

The Anatomy of an UNFORGETTABLE Day

1. Arrive at Sea Isle City early enough to be close to the beach. It is here that we park our small SUV full of our gear for the Plunge.

2. Off low-carb eating for the day and Blueberry Pancakes taste even better than I remember. Why now, why not low-carb – why today? That’s easy, this could be my last meal and it wasn’t going to be a chef salad with bleu cheese dressing.

3. Meet other like-minded individuals from SJG who share the same form of insanity and desire to jump into freezing ocean temperatures together as a team. (All told, I believe that there were 14 of us.) “Team SJG” ROCKS.

4. Register, pay yer money and get yer shirt.

5. Find a table and watch the AMAZING SHOW that you will be a part of begin to parade by. I’ve been to New Orleans – on Bourbon Street at night; well, now I’ve been to Sea Isle City – on Landis Ave, under a big tent in the late morning. It is worth the trip even if you’re not making the Plunge. The costumes were a blast and a half; twisted sisters, Marilyn Monroe, Eagles cheerleaders with facial hair, a whole team of Santas, men in kilts, people in sombreros, American Gladiators and a woman dressed in an outfit with stuffed dogs pasted to her shirt carrying a sign that read, “Michael Vick’s Worst Nightmare.”

6. Get out of the tent. You’ve seen enough. The crowd is not feeling any pain, so to speak, and the music is way LOUD. The crowd was friendly but it is VOLUMINOUS; you will NOT be able to move. Get out – besides it’s almost time to get acclimated to the temperatures outside of the tent.

7. You made it out! Great. Now take your clothes off. Well, not all of them. I recommend starting with your shirt. There. Isn’t that better?

8. Grab your camera. It’s time to take up close pictures of the string band and the Ice Queen who sits quite regally on her throne of ice blocks. Grab some more pictures of others in costumes like a gaggle of witches, a cow and a gorilla. Make note of all the gorillas you see – impressive number.

9. Rejoin Team SJG and collect your gear for the beach. While at your vehicle (which we have already established is parked close by to the beach) strip down to your bathing suit and have your dry gear at the ready.

10. Grab your camera and begin to take pictures. Here comes that string band and the Ice Queen, who is still quite regal, on her throne of ice.

11. Grab your gear and face the throng of people ahead of you and your destination. Make sure that any little ones who are with your party are bundled up warmly and safe – it’s winter and a big crowd.

12. Did I mention it’s a big crowd? Make your way to the beach, show your blue wristband and reassemble with your group on the other side of the orange barrier fencing. It is this fence that separates the doers and the watchers.

13. Never forget – it is GOOD to be a doer.

14. Lay down your beach blanket or sheet, put down your gear, make sure all electronics are safe and look over your shoulder – better yet; turn and face the crowd and take a picture. Wow.

15. It’s TIME! 2:00 PM and the first wave of about a hundred people go running into the surf. Watch ‘em go. You’re not on the clock. Be determined, be willful and start your walk into the Atlantic Ocean.

16. Give as many High-Fives as you can to those who are walking / running out. The occasional scream of “YEAH!” or “WHODAMAN – YOUDAMAN!” is good also.

17. Now walk into the ocean (it’s not that bad really – especially if the wind and water temperature aren’t at great odds with each other. Today that magical balance was struck at about 38 degrees.) Keep moving forward – feet, knees, mid-thigh… when the breaker comes (you will know it when you see it) dive under the wave. Let it wash over you.

18. Yes. Now stand and take account of your surroundings. Look at the police boat just a handful of yards away waiting to scoop a hapless Polar Bear Plunger out of harm's way, look to see who is still in with you and look to the boardwalk. Man, that’s a crowd.

19. Whisper a prayer of thanks that: A) you haven’t had a heart attack yet and B) the temperature is not that bad (once your body goes numb).

20. Walk out of the ocean and head towards Team SJG. Take pictures, make new friends and, once you see that everyone is good, get ready for round two. (Be warned – you just may have to introduce your new friends to your wife.)

21. Grab your camera and get back into the surf. Pictures. Take many.

22. Get out; rejoin your group, towel off and change.

23. Take pictures of the kids and other Team SJG members on the ice throne. How cool is that? Sea Isle Ice outdid themselves this year.

24. Rejoin the group, grab your gear and head back to your SUV to drop off your gear and make plans on your next move.

25. Go get something to eat. Did I mention that this is a low-carb free day? Good. Enjoy your open-faced Reuben sandwich and slice of coconut custard pie; you’ve earned it.

26. Toast the man who made it all possible. Yes, the man who proposed the idea all those long months ago – “The Print Shop”.

27. Know that this was only the beginning. Stay warm with the knowledge that Team SJG will be back next year. Life is good.

28. Think about what costume theme the group will be doing in 2009. Oh yes, Life is good.

Thanks again Print Shop! Without you this whole crazy new tradition wouldn’t have happened. 4 out of 5 Chickens can’t wait until next year.

Did I mention that life is good?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Writer’s Strike Is Over

Ain’t It Cool News says so -

Just how much “Reality TV” can a person take?

The Polar Bear Plunge

Gory Details: It’s the 14th Annual Polar Bear Plunge, @ 41st street, @ 2:00 PM.

Even Gorier Details: I’M IN. May God have mercy on my soul.

It just so happens that a friend of mine has always wanted to do this – the Polar Bear Plunge, that is. We were talking one night and he mentioned that he would like to do the Polar Bear Plunge before he died.

“Would you?” I asked.

“I sure would.” He said.

“Well, that sounds like fun – count me in.”

That was about 10 months ago. Well, Uncle Bingo’s come to collect the bill. Sea Isle City is having their Polar Bear Plunge to benefit XXX (Lord knows what – it’s usually for Special Olympics but Sea Isle’s been a little nebulous with this answer). The simple fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter what it’s benefiting. There’s a group of people (yours truly included) who are going into the ocean in February. The ocean temperature is about 37 degrees.

My friend also posted a link concerning the first timer and what he or she should consider. I post this link for you Gentle Reader in the off event that you might just be standing next to me on a fridged beach in the middle of February this Saturday:



I’m going in because I said I would, it might be the beginning of a beautiful family tradition, it’s good to do something crazy every now and then AND, I’m told, it’s for a good cause. Hey, there’s gonna be a parade and an after party (which will hopefully include an EMT with some defibulator paddles at the ready – I hear those paddles can be very warming).

How cool is that?

There will be pictures. There will be mayhem. There will be memories. There’s still room if you’re interested.

For Those About to ROCK We Salute You.

Bring it on.

(Picture of said ‘Polar Bear’ – as usual, is through Wikipedia, my favorite second brain)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Oscar VS. Chicken 2008

Ok. Let me be direct and up front with you gentle reader, it’s not fair for me to take on Oscar this year due to the fact that I’ve only seen about 4 of the films that are nominated this year. In other words, I’ve got one hand tied behind my back.

Misinformation has never stopped me before so bring it on Oscar. Let’s see what you’re made of. The majority of my picks are trying to infuse my mind with just how the academy thinks. It’s not easy but this remote viewing has worked for me in the past so here are my picks for who’s going to be walking away with the statue of the little, golden, bald guy.

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for “There Will Be Blood”. Clooney might surprise me.

Best Supporting Actor: Hal Holdbrook for “Into the Wild”. Nostalgia – the academy voters want to feel like they have an appreciation for the past.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett for “Elizabeth – the Golden Age”. The academy voters want to establish a two-fer; in this instance Blanchett will have won for the same role in two different films. There’s that and she’s brilliant.

Best Supporting Actress: Rudy Dee for “American Gangster”. Blanchett might surprise me, we’ll see.

Best Animated Feature: “Ratatouille”. Pixar deserves any accolades they might receive AND, I might add, Brad Bird (writer/director) is a genius.

Art Direction: “Sweeny Todd”. I want to see Burton and Co. beat out “The Golden Compass”. Burton’s got it coming.

Cinematography: “The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford”, although “There Will Be Blood” might take it.

Costume Design: “Elizabeth – The Golden Age”

Best Director: “Joel & Ethan Coen - No Country For Old Men”. These guys are amazing filmmakers and they are due.

Best Documentary Feature: “Sicko”; mainly because the academy voters are petrified that they will be the focus of Moore’s next movie.

Best Editing: “The Bourne Ultimatum”

Best Foreign Language Film” “Mongol”. I hear that this one is really something to see; Genghis Kahn the early days. It’s on my list.

Best Makeup: “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End”. Get a good look at Davey Jones – amazing.

Best Music Original Score: “Ratatouille”.

Best Picture: “No Country for Old Men” BUT this is going to be close – it could easily go to “There Will Be Blood”. We shall see.

Best Visual Effects: “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”. With all due respect to the work that was done on, “Transformers”, Pirates Rocked.

Best Adapted Screenplay: “No Country for Old Men”. This too will be close and could easily be “There Will Be Blood”.

Best Original Screenplay: “Juno”. The academy voters will vote for this film in this category. I hear that it’s a very good film but I haven’t had a chance to see it. “Ratatouille” I have seen and it is amazing. I’d like it to win but the academy will be too busy patting itself on the back for other things to take notice of an animated movie beating out a live action film.

So. There you have it. Evil Chicken’s picks Oscar ’08. Oscar’s got the upper hand going into this fray but I think I’ve got his number. We’ll see who wins and who loses on February 24th.

Bring it on Baldy

“You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat.”

Roy Scheider has passed. He was 75. Here is Yahoo’s story from the Associated Press;

Chief Martin Brody from “Jaws” is an anchor to American cinema in my mind. Mr. Scheider along with Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw along with a young director named Spielberg struck a nerve in the world’s collective unconscious. The movies were never the same after – the blockbuster was born.

I loved his portrayal of Dr. Heywood Floyd in “2010 – The Year We Make Contact” too. I loved Arthur C. Clarke’s book “2010: Odyssey Two” and watching Mr. Scheider and Keir Dullea in their scenes together was worth the price of admission alone.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family. He was an icon of an American actor and he will be missed.

Friday, February 08, 2008

“Sorrow Hill” Update

The writer / director of “Sorrow Hill” (, Mr. Ronald DiPrimio will be live on the Rick Cahall Radio Show this Friday (February 8th) from 11:00 PM until Midnight on 92.1 WVLT. Ron is a local filmmaker who understands the value of Walt Disney’s words when he said, “Keep Moving Forward”. I can’t wait to see the finished product. He’s a talented guy AND he’s local. Lend an ear.

Ron and Grindhouse Pictures will be holding a production kick-off party. It’s going to be held on Saturday March 1st beginning at 7PM at the MVP Sports Bar in Buena NJ. It sounds like it should be fun so if you’re in the area drop on by and support a local filmmaker!

Give ‘em heck Ron.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Three Monkeys an Ox and a Dragon

Happy New Year! Chinese New Year, that is. It is now the year of the Rat. As I type this little ditty my eyes are drawn to the red and gold Good Luck Lion marionette that hangs in the corner of my room. It was given to us by a close family member named Bat Monkey and it was from New York’s Chinatown celebration last year. The Lion has done well warding off evil the in the Evil Chicken home during the last twelve months and I, for one, hope that he doesn’t come with an expiration date.

As a project to do with the kids we researched Chinese New Year by finding the authentic dates of our particular signs. As it turns out (thanks to Wikipedia, my favorite second brain) one of our member’s (Mother Hen) switched astronomical signs. For years, according the placemats of a hundred Chinese Restaurants; she was listed as a “Cock” or a “Rooster”. Well, imagine my surprise when after seeing this: I scrolled down to her birth year and was rocked by what the months reveled. She missed being a “Rooster” by a matter of three days – she is firmly entwined in “Monkey” territory.

How had this happened? I wasn’t even aware that we were living a lie. Fortunately Wikipedia is there to instruct and enlighten,“…if a person was born in January 1970, his or her element would still be Yin Earth, not Yang Metal. Similarly, although 1990 was called the year of the horse, anyone born from January 1 to January 26, 1990 was in fact born in the Year of the Snake (the sign of the previous year), because the 1990 Year of the Horse did not begin until January 27, 1990. For this reason, many online sign calculators (and Chinese restaurant place mats) will give a person the wrong sign if he/she was born in January or early February.”

How about that? For the last 17 years we have been living under the idea that one of the Founding Members of our family has been a completely different Chinese Astrological sign. It’s quite disconcerting.

The Chinese, however don’t stop there, oh no; there are also elemental influances; for instance Mother Hen and I are “Earth Monkeys” while our oldest daughter Chick 1.0 is a “Golden Monkey”. Our middle child, Chick 2.0, is a “Fire Ox” and Chick 3.0 is a “Golden Dragon”.

Don’t trust your placemat? I don’t blame you. Check out the above Wiki link, scroll down to the year and between the months you were born and Bada-Bing; there’s the gory details.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Schemes of Professor Atoz – A Tale by his Protégée, Ghost Writer and Friend; Warren McLaughlin

NOTE Gentle Reader; the following is a short story that is only the beginning of a much larger series of tales and adventures that are told in the Evil Chicken household to reinforce history lessons. It’s a game we play.

NOTE 2.0 – there are hidden messages in this particular blog entry – notes that will be missed by any and all that read it – save for two particular time agents (Chick 1.0 and Chick 2.0).

NOTE 3.0 – This is based on a true story.

I’ll never forget the summer of 1916. So much was going on in the world; the Germans had sunk the Lusitania killing 1,200 souls including 128 American Citizens in the process in 1915 yet our president, Woodrow Wilson still refused to enter the European conflict. He spent his time making mandates such as signing Mother’s Day proclamations and finding ways to remain neutral in the conflict that was to be the Last Great War. Teddy Roosevelt urged Wilson to enter the war calling the Germans “Pirates”. We probably would have too if not for the events that transpired on the evening of July 30; when cooler heads and much more fantastic happenings prevailed. It was the night I met Professor Cornelius Augustus Atoz. It was the night I should have died.

By means of introduction my name is Warren McLaughlin. I worked at the Black Tom Island munitions depot as a longshoreman. I hadn’t been at the job all that long and I was working late into the night. I’ve never been one to complain all that much when a job has to be done so it was late into the night that I worked. My crew and I had just finished loading a vessel bound for Great Britain. The crew had left the ship that we were loading when I saw this shadowy movement out of the corner of my eye near the cabin house. Back in my native Scotland when we see such things we chalk it up to the fairy folk or some other such figment of imagination. I called out towards where the movement happened half expecting a response from one of the work crew. All I got in response was silence; the silence of anticipation of the unknown. Not being one or shirk my duties I moved toward the side of the cabin house and joined the shadows. I slowly made my way down the side of the pilot’s house when I heard muffled voices. Now I’m no student of language but I could have sworn it sounded like German. I hesitated a moment then I stole a peek around the corner. I made out three figures crouched near a now-open deck hatch. They had some device with wires falling from the back into the gaping hatch below. I was petrified. I knew that something had to be done and I knew that I couldn’t do it alone. I began making plans to exit the ship and to bring back help. But I wasn’t alone watching the trio on the deck.

“Good evening, gentlemen.” A cheerful voice announced as he stepped from the opposite side of the pilothouse. “Which one of you is Thummel?” This new man was of average height and build. He wore a three-quarter length coat and held what appeared to be a pocket watch in his hand. I could tell that he was not a part of the trio by the look of detection on the others faces.

“Who are you?” one of the men said stepping into the light so that I could clearly see who he was – it was Charlie Thorne. He and I began working together about the same time. It couldn’t have been more than a month. His words were phrased in the King’s English with no German accent whatsoever. “How do you know that name?”

“Oh what’s in a name?” the man asked. “What’s important is that you are working for and are under the direction of one Frederick Hinsch.” I couldn’t help but see the fear rip through the trio as they wordlessly confirmed the question that the stranger had posed.

“Kill him!” Thorne shouted as one of the lackeys reached under his coat and pulled out a revolver.

I could take no more and jumped from the shadows, “Look out!” Suddenly all eyes were upon me. The lackey with the gun pointed it in my direction but instead of pulling the trigger, he began to violently shake where he stood. He collapsed in fits while his gun clattered to the deck and slid over the side of the ship. His two remaining comrades began to spasm and collapsed along side him completely unconscious. One of them almost tumbled into the hold of the ship. I looked to the stranger who had his pocket watch pointing in my direction.

“Who are you?” I asked. It took a long while for him to answer as if some great battle of outcomes were raging in his mind. He took a deep breath and took a look at his pocket watch. I noticed that there was some sort of glowing image hovering between the hinged lid and the watch face itself before he snapped it shut and returned it to his pocket.

“I am Professor Cornelius Augustus Atoz and who might you be?” He asked.

“Warren McLaughlin – I’m a longshoreman. I work here.” I said.

“Thank you for saving my life.” Atoz said.

“Saving your life?” I heard the words coming out of my mouth but they were distant; far off like they weren’t even mine at all. I looked at the figures sprawled on the deck. “…Are they?”

“Alive? – Yes they are, mind you they’ll be a bit out of sorts when they wake up but yes, they are alive.” He motioned me to join him as we moved closer towards their collapsed forms. “Allow me to introduce our tormentors,” he said pointing to each fallen man on the deck, “This is Frederick Hinsch – the leader of a pack of German saboteurs, Theodore Wozniak – the guy with the gun and Curt Thummel – munitions expert.”

“Munitions expert? That’s insane. He’s Charlie Thorne we’ve worked together right here for the last month! We load ships.”

“What do you load?” He asked interrupting my train of thought.


“…Onto the ships. What do you load?”

“Munitions. We are a munitions depot.”

“Exactly. Now where was this ship heading?” He asked. As he did so his facial features lifted as if willing me to see the big picture as to what I was saying. It was a bit infuriating.

“Great Britain.” I said. A sudden lurching in my stomach occurred as I began to connect the dots. “Oh my… If this were to have gone off the explosion would have been…”

“Immense – probably about a 5.5 on the Richter scale. Now let’s see here…” the odd man said as he knelt down and fiddled with the device with the wires. He ripped them from the back and threw the contraption over the side of the ship. “Say Warren,” he said with a smile, “I could use a hand getting rid of the rest of the explosives from the hold and putting these gentlemen somewhere safe.”

“Somewhere safe?” I repeated. Once more the sound of my own voice was distant and adrift.

“Warren. Are you with me?” he asked with a smile.

“Yes. Yes of course.” And with that we got to work. It didn’t take long for us to find the explosives in the hold of the vessel all we had to do was follow the wires. Now as for putting the gentlemen ‘somewhere safe’ – that’s where things began to get strange. The good professor and I dragged them to the inside of the pilothouse.

“So what happens now?” I asked beginning to wonder if Atoz was going to alert the authorities or not.

“What do you know of the nature of time, Warren?” he asked.

“Not much, save that it flies when you’re having fun.” I said.

“Ha! Too true.” He said. “What if I were to say to you that time is a river. It flows from the mountains of creation to the oceans of the future. It exists and has always existed. As finite beings, it is impossible to perceive this concept on the whole – it’s simply too big for our minds to grasp. Unless, of course, you've been on the shoreline.”

“…The shoreline?” I asked.

“Yes – from the shoreline you can watch the river traverse the banks and plunge in wherever – whenever you want.”

“That’s daft.” I said. Though, if the truth be known, I was beginning to have several doubts as to the nature and being of this man called Professor Atoz. “It’s not possible.”

“Just bear with me Warren. Now suppose you could go back and make changes.”


“Yes. Subtle changes here and there to produce better outcomes than the ones that fate, Father Time or the ones who exist outside the river of time have planned.”

“Ones outside the river of time?” I asked meekly.

“Focus Warren, this is not about them – it’s about right now; it’s about you and me and how we just saved millions of lives.”


“What time is it?” Atoz asked.

“I don’t know – you’re the one with that fancy watch.” I said.

“So I am.” He said reaching for his watch. “2:40 AM. Warren, what if I were to tell you that in another timeline we didn’t stop these three.” He gestured at the crumpled trio at our feet. “What if I were to tell you that at 2:11 AM the explosion happened; that it shook the Brooklyn Bridge, that the Statue of Liberty was damaged, that the tremors were felt as far away as Philadelphia and that lives were lost.”

“I’d say that a trip to Bellevue might be in order.” I was beginning to plot my own escape.

“I know that it is much to grasp. That’s why I’m going to show you.” He said and with that he turned to the wall that was behind him blank as the crest of the new fallen New York snow. He tapped his knuckles twice and something odd happened – an arched indentation rippled into existence. Impossibly stonework began to take shape in the archway and a heavy oak door with wrought iron hinges appeared. Atoz grasped the heavy iron latch and opened the door. Light poured into the pilothouse – light from the opening of that impossible door.

“Could you get his feet?” Atoz asked.

“…What?” I asked.

“Could you this one’s feet? They’ll be waking in a half hour or so and I’d like to have them somewhere safe when that happens.

“Where are we putting them?” I asked.

“It’s more like when are we putting them really.” He replied grabbing the shoulders of the first saboteur.

“You mean we are putting them into another time?” I asked. This concept was at once completely foreign and frightening to me.

“Well for the most part.” He said. “It’s really a pocket universe that I discovered for times such as these.”

“Pocket universe?” I asked grabbing the man’s legs and lifting.

“Yes. This particular world is now unpopulated… well, save for three soon to be new citizens.” He said as we, with Atoz in the lead, stepped into the world beyond the door. Of all things we were in a stable. We repeated this twice more, leaving the men there on the floor of the stable. When this was finished I looked at the Professor and as the thought came to my mind he began to speak once more.

“Warren, you are a good man. I am in need of good men for the task that is ahead of me. No doubt as you have probably wondered, it would have been easy to stun you and leave you here to increase the population of this world by one more. But that wouldn’t be very sporting – would it?” He smiled.

“You said that we saved millions of people tonight. How can this be?” I asked.

“Next year Woodrow Wilson will call for war on Germany. The U.S. Congress will declare it on April 6th and then, as they say, the rest is history.” He said.

I shuddered at this. It was as if someone had walked across my grave. Wilson never wanted in the war – he was an isolationist. But by blowing this place sky high the Germans would be pushing him onto a course of action that would throw the world into war. Then I considered our intervention and its repercussions. “I would have died tonight in the explosion – wouldn’t I?”

Atoz looked at me with eyes that just may have watched the pyramids being built or the Celts erecting Stonehenge. An odd figure who has inserted himself both into and out of our known history. “You would have been vaporized at 2:11 AM.” He said.

“So I’m living on borrowed time?” I asked.

“We all are, Warren.” He said. “What do you say we go get a pint and talk about what’s going to happen next.”

I looked at the man before me and thought of all the wonders that I had beheld and at all of the wonders the unwritten future could hold and in an instant my lot was cast.

“Yes. I’d like that. I’d like that a lot.”