September 19, 1947 (III)

[Continued from the previous entry]

I crawl into the back seat of the Ford police car.

Every square inch of this car – the seats, the gauges, the dashboard, the material – is from decades ago.

Johnston and Davis enter their front sides and rev up the engine.

Apparently, they were listening to the news station on that tinny dial radio on the way over.

The male announcer’s voice sounds like something you’d hear from those old black n’ white movies, right down to the enunciating and vocal inflections. He’s reporting on a hurricane now plowing through Florida and the damage it’s bringing to places like Fort Lauderdale. I had no idea there was a hurricane down there. July seems early for such a strong hurricane anyhow.

The two cops chatter about the hurricane as we make our way down Dorothy’s driveway into the street.

Am I being punked?

Is this a reality show?  A time-warp experiment to screw with my head?  A real-life Truman Show?

Impossible, of course. Not to mention even the most ethically-challenged cable reality show wouldn’t strip naked an unsuspecting guy and drug him unconscious. And then swap out an entire street into something out of Leave It to Beaver. It’d be a lawsuit screaming to happen.

I muster up the courage to ask about all these “old” cars again as we roll through the subdivision, only to be waved off. Davis occasionally glances at me from the corner of his eye in the front passenger seat. The guys’ chatter has gone quiet.

I get it. They are getting concerned they may be dealing with a mental patient who probably stripped his clothes off on his own, perhaps after a night of booze and drugs. I bet he thinks I took some meth or something. Great.

The car turns right toward Main Street and we make our way through downtown Rochester, a tight suburban town north of Detroit. A downtown that I’m deeply familiar with. It’s home.

Yet so many things look foreign.

Classic cars. Everywhere.

Strange store signs. Vintage.

Crissman’s Drugs.  What is that place? 

Crissmans

(I snapped this photo much later on from a store across the street)

Where’s Sanders Ice Cream store?

Not a Kroger. But it’s called the Kroger Grocery & Baking Company?

Purdy’s Drugs?

Losing it now.

I’m not even sure what I’m wailing about. I shout short commands and questions.

“Stop!”

“Where are we?!”

“Take me to my house on Pheasant Drive!”

“Give me your phone, I need to call my wife!”

“Can you help me?”

All this in between bouts of indistinguishable moans.

This isn’t a joke, or a reality show, or simple coincidences.

I must be dreaming. A lucid dream. That’s it.

But it all feels so incredibly real. Too real.

Johnston is behind the wheel and sternly orders me to calm down. I sense the car moving faster toward its destination, and I think I overheard the cops say they are heading to a hospital instead of the police station.

Meanwhile I continue my meltdown in the backseat. I’m shaking uncontrollably with each unrecognizable block we pass. Nothing – absolutely nothing – is modern. Not one car, not any piece of pedestrian’s clothing, not one billboard.

And my eyesight begins to blur. I feel faint as I struggle to see past greyish, fuzzy tunnel vision. Here we go. This is my escape from a bizarre dream, I try to reason with my mushy brain. I’ll surely wake up next to my wife in my queen-sized bed soon and hear the pitter-patter of my children’s footsteps from down the hallway.

I slowly lose consciousness and topple over in the backseat.

[…]

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