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Letters from my time tra.., p.1
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       Letters From My Time-Traveling Uncle, p.1

           Roman Cardinal
 
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Letters From My Time-Traveling Uncle
Letters From My Time-Traveling Uncle

  by

  Roman Cardinal

  Copyright 2012 Roman Cardinal

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the Publisher. That’s a reasonable request, isn’t it?

  The content of this book is of a historical, educational, and newsworthy nature, and is made available in the name of the public interest. There is a chance there are secret codes hidden in the text. If you can figure any of them out, please let us know. However, this book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Hey, look, a lot of work went into putting this together. Thank you for respecting all of the incredibly hard work and time that went into it.

  “Dedicated to my known, my unknown one.”

  - Roman Cardinal

  “Can I be as I believe myself or as others believe me to be? Here is where these lines become a confession in the presence of my unknown and in unknowable me, unknown and unknowable to myself. here is where I create the legend wherein I must bury myself.”

  - Miguel De Unamuno

  * * *

  Dear reader.

  As many of you know, my cousins and I have published a great variety of books since starting Campfire Publishing. Alternative contemporary fictional always appealed to us, but we were also attracted to historical fiction, biographies, poems, short stories, children’s books, and a wide-variety of non-fiction.

  6 months ago my best friend since college suddenly vanished. Val was investigating the mysterious disappearance of her father and her Uncle Reese. Interestingly, her grandfather mysteriously disappeared before Val was born. She once told me that there was no real investigation into her grandfather’s disappearance. He was always traveling to Africa and South America and Asia and he would disappear for months and months at a time. There were reports that the ship he was on sank on its way to the Kerguelen Islands.

  When her father and Uncle Reese disappeared it was not the sort of thing to report to authorities right away. The family (namely his brother and sister-in-law) figured they could resolve the matter quickly and easily. Well, clearly they did not.

  Last month Val sent me a series of emails concerning her investigation into her Uncle’s disappearance. She and I spoke a few times, too. Finally, she asked me to meet her so she could show me what she found and get my advice. I went to meet her but she was not there. All communications from her stopped. She did not reply to any of my emails, texts, or messages. Days later my assistant called and told me that a large package from her was waiting for me back at my office. I returned and found letters, journals, scrapbooks, stacks of sketches, and more. There was a short note to me that said not to bother contacting the police or F.B.I. or any other areas of law enforcement. She said they did not believe her and they would likely not believe me. She asked me to publish what she sent me. She said that others were going to be delivered in sporadic intervals, and she asked that I publish those, too. She said she had confidence that some of the readers could decipher what was going on and that someone will figure out how to bring everyone home.

  I agreed to follow her request. For the sake of simplicity and expediency, I am simply going to call this “book” by the name of Letters From My Time-Traveling Uncle. You’ll see why when you read them. To establish the foundation of how they were created I am first going to publish the items I found in an envelope with Val’s initial letter.

  Kindly let me know if you figure out any of the hidden ciphers and clues. I need to help my friend out. She needs me. She needs us.

  Regards,

  Roman Cardinal

  Storyology Consultant and Editor

  Campfire Publishing

  * * *

  ---------- Forwarded message ----------

  From: Val

  Date: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 8:59 PM

  Subject: Uncle Reese

  To: Dad

  Dad,

  I got in to this town late last night. Even though I was exhausted and did not know my way around and just wanted to go to the hotel and sleep I thought I would walk over to the store and check it out. It was at the address you told me, but did not seem like the best place for a memorabilia store. I can see that the rents were probably much more affordable when grandpa ran it, but the neighborhood is very appealing nowadays. The monthly rent must be through the roof. I looked in the windows. It was dark. I could not see in too far. The window displays looked nice. Lots of vintage toys and other collectibles.

  I went to the front door and was filed with dread when I saw the electronic lock. I hoped the list of codes you gave me would work. The first 2 codes did not, but the third one did. It is a clever code. Buddy Holly's birthday. Backwards. As soon as I got in I changed the code as you suggested. It is the one we agreed upon.

  The store is packed with inventory. That caught me off guard. It seemed to be an organizational disaster. The vintage toys, albums, posters, and other memorabilia were on shelves, hanging from hooks, leaning against partitions, in cases and cabinets, hanging from the ceiling, and so on. I assume this is the way grandpa had it, and probably how customers like it, so they can feel like they “found” a treasure, and so on. Well, they would be right. In a way, I can see how it can be “comfortable” for people to browse around in. Clearly a storefront memorabilia shop is run a lot differently than our auction house.

  After a few minutes I thought I heard someone walking on the other side of a door behind the counter. I wasn't sure if I should check it out of not. While I looked in that direction I thought I heard the front door of the shop open. I turned but no one was there. I figured I was tired and I better head back to the hotel and get some rest. I drove 14 hours yesterday. I was exhausted.

  I got a wake-up call for 7:00 a.m. and got ready. It is 9:00 a.m. right now and I am heading over to the store.

  I'll email you later.

  Val

  Junior Specialist, Private Sales

  Impressionist and Modern Art, Antiquities, Books, Manuscripts, and Pop Culture Memorabilia.

  * * *

  ---------- Forwarded message ----------

  From: Val

  Date: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 10:22 AM

  Subject: Uncle Reese

  To: Dad

  Dad.

  I’m at the store now. Someone knocked on the door of my hotel room earlier. It was a tall man with gray eyes, in a gray suit, wearing a gray hat. He must like gray. He asked me if Teal was in. I told him he had the wrong room. He asked me again. I told him he made a mistake and I slowly shut the door. I did not move right away. I got the feeling that he was still on the other side of the door. I could hear him breathing. I looked out the peephole but he was not there. Still, I heard him breathing. I made sure the door was locked and called hotel security. They were at my door a few minutes later. They said no one was there. I asked them to please walk me downstairs. I told the manager what happened and he took note of it with security. Then I left and headed over to the store.

  When I got here it was just as I had left it last night. As much as I can tell anyway. There were two large handprints on the door’s glass. Probably someone walking bye checking out the inventory. There was an OPEN/CLOSED door with business hours on the door but I thought I should write one up and be more specific, to di
scourage people from coming by. I found some paper and a marker and I wrote. ON VACATION. BE BACK NEXT WEEK. I taped it to the door and then made sure the door was locked. I did not turn the lights on. I just started looking around.

  The next 20 minutes were spent looking around, acclimating myself to the surroundings, turning a few things over here and there. You can imagine. Then I went behind the counter. The cash register was open. There was $42.45 in it. At first I was wondering why there was money there, with the drawer open, and then I remembered Grandpa once telling me that he always kept some money in the cash register and the drawer open in case burglars broke in. He figured they would just take the cash and leave quickly. He figured if he did not do that then a burglar will just break a $500 cash register just to get the drawer open and see if there was some cash in there. Makes sense. Better that they take some money and leave then destroy an expensive register and maybe other things, too. I probably would have paid more attention to Grandpa’s wisdom if he didn’t always have that cigar burning two inches from my face, or dropping ashes on my arm.

  I tried to open the door behind me but it was locked. I looked around for a key but I did not see one. I then saw a flashing light on the wall. I pushed an ornate box aside and I saw a keypad. Ah! Another digital keypad to open the door. I tried the codes you gave me for the front door but none of them worked. Not even Buddy Holly’s birthday – forwards or backwards. I gave up and started looking around some more.

  That’s what I am doing now.

  More later.

  Val

  Junior Specialist, Private Sales

  Impressionist and Modern Art, Antiquities, Books, Manuscripts, and Pop Culture Memorabilia.

  SENT FROM MY PHONE

  * * *

  ---------- Forwarded message ----------


  From: Val 


  Date: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 11:11 AM


  Subject: Uncle Reese


  To: Dad

  Dad.

  I went through the list of codes you gave me and one of them opened the back door behind the register. I was about to enter but there was a knock on the front door. Since the lights were off and I am in the shadows, I did not bother to answer it.

  I have some questions. I just called and left you a message since you did not answer. I called mom and she did not answer. I called the office and Riley said you two left to try to find Uncle Reese. He said you had an idea of where he might be. He told me that you said you'd be back in a few days. How come you did not tell me? What’s going on?

  Someone is knocking at the front door again. What should I do?

  More later.

  Val

  Junior Specialist, Private Sales

  Impressionist and Modern Art, Antiquities, Books, Manuscripts, and Pop Culture Memorabilia.

  SENT FROM MY PHONE

  * * *

  From: Val 


  Date: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 1:11 PM


  Subject: Uncle Reese


  To: Dad

  Dad.

  I opened the door behind the register and it led to a dark hallway. I felt along the wall for a light switch but there wasn’t one. I pushed the door all the way open in order to get in some of the light from the street coming in through the glass windows. I took a step into the hallway and a light went on overhead. There was a motion sensor that triggered it. I quickly closed the door behind me so no one walking by would see me in the store.

  The hallway was about 20 feet in length. On the other side was another door. Probably for deliveries, I assumed. There was no door handle on the door however. There was 1 door on each side of the hallway. Again, no door handles. But there were keypads.

  I walked forward and then stopped and looked behind me at the door I came through. It closed. There was no doorknob. On the wall was a keypad. I did not think any of this was unusual, of course. After all, we have tight security, too. Despite this store being “untidy” to put it mildly, I did notice quite a number of quality items that could fetch a pretty penny.

  I stopped at the door to my right and entered one of the codes on the list. After 4 tries I found one that worked. The door opened. I turned to go back to the store to grab my laptop. I entered the same code I used to get in, and that worked. I grabbed my laptop and went back into the hallway as the door again closed behind me. I again approached the door on the right hand side and entered the keyboard code again since the door closed while I was gone. I cautiously looked around. It was dark. I felt along the wall for a light switch. I know you know what happened next. I took a step inside and the lights went on.

  I was surprised to see that the office was meticulous. It had a beautiful cherry pine desk about 5-6 feet from the wall. On one side of the room was a valuable collection of Hollywood and Broadway memorabilia. A lot of it was signed. Wasn’t he supposed to send you items like that to auction? On the other side of the room was filled with vintage items associated with music. There were instruments from 19th and early 20th century. There were numerous autographed guitars. Once again, wasn’t he supposed to send that to you? Did you know about all this?

  Behind his desk, along the whole wall were photographs of musicians on and off stage. A lot of backstage photos of Big Joe Turner, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Elvis, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly (of course!), Everly Brothers, and many more from the 50’s. Then pictures of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and many more from the 1960’s. Then I saw pictures of The Eagles, Kiss, Meat Loaf & Jim Steinman, Diana Ross, Nicolette Larson, Edgar Winters, and others from the 1970’s. I then turned around and glanced at the wall across from his desk. There were a great deal of backstage and other casual photos of musicians who had successful careers during the 1980’s and 1990’s. I turned back to Uncle Reese’s desk and began to look around.

  The desk was clear of paperwork. There was a ceramic mug that said ROCKABYE SHOPPE that seemed to be used for coffee or tea. There were other mugs on the desk, but they were filled with unique pencils and pens. There were some small vintage toys that he used either for decorative purposes or as paperweights. There was a little hand-made “car” that was shaped like a shark. It had nails for teeth. It seemed out of place. Perhaps it was a personal item. I sat down in the chair and closed my eyes for a moment. I then opened them and swung around and found myself looking at the framed photographs on his wall. I wasn’t sure whether or not to be impressed that he had so many unique photos of all those musicians. It was interesting to see them casually talking to fans backstage, and their managers, and whoever was around. I have seen countless photos of all those people, but and I never saw those particular ones in any biographies, retrospectives, etc. over the course of my research.

  Then something caught my eye. For a second I thought I saw you in one of the photographs. That is, it was someone who looked like it could be you, if you had longer hair, were a bit thinner, and with a casual posture. I looked closer. Nope. It definitely wasn’t you. Though there was a resemblance, there was something that really set you two apart. That guy was smiling.

  I then figured it was Grandpa. He did have some stories about knowing a lot of the people in the entertainment industry. That’s how he started the store, right? I could not get over the resemblance. If it was Grandpa then that was the first time I saw photos of him with hair

  What threw me next was that the man looked the same, unchanged, in essentially every way, whether he was standing next to Elvis in 1955, and when he was standing next to Janis Joplin in 1968, and when he was backstage with Fleetwood Mac in 1977, and when he was standing next to Michael Jackson in 1986, and when he was standing next to David Bowie in 1995, and when he was hanging out with Belle and Sebastian in 2003, and when was chatting with Katy Perry in 2012.

  I looked at more and more photos and got more and more confused. I then saw a bookshelf along the wall and saw a series of photo albums. One said The Beatles. Of course I grabbed that one first. I opened it and it there were
photographs of the same man standing next to personal photographs with Paul McCartney in 1959, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, and 2009. But he looked the same in every single photograph! I turned the page and there were photographs with him and John Lennon in 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, and 1980. How could John Lennon go from 20, to 25, to 30, to 35, to 40 and the man next to him did not change at all? How come Paul and John don’t look freaked out about it?

  Photoshop, right? Well, it would have taken forever to do all of these! Not only to put the same man in each photo, but to alter everyone’s postures, create different backgrounds, and more than I want to even get into.

  Botox? Cosmetic surgery?

  I looked at the bookshelf and noticed that Uncle Reese had dozens of photo albums. I then saw a framed photograph of you and that man taken at your house. I have not seen Uncle Reese in 10 years, since I was a teenager, but that photo was of you and him. How on earth is this possible?

  I am calling you right now.

  Val

  Junior Specialist, Private Sales

  Impressionist and Modern Art, Antiquities, Books, Manuscripts, and Pop Culture Memorabilia.

  * * *

  ---------- Forwarded message ----------


  From: Val 


  Date: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 2:34 PM


  Subject: Uncle Reese


  To: Dad

  Dad.

  After my last email I went through more and more photo albums and kept seeing Uncle Reese in all of them. All over the world. Concerts here. Parties there. 1950’s. 1960’s. 1970’s. 1980’s. 1990’s. He appeared to be FRIENDS with hundreds of famous people and yet no one seems surprised that the man always looked the same.

 
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