Well, I don’t even know where to begin. I was gone for two and a half weeks. Two and a half weeks in an entirely different universe. I feel like one of those college kids who goes off to Europe for a little family vacation, and comes back all changed and, you know, cultured or whatever. I can get away with saying that because I was one of those kids a few years ago. Europe eventually wears off, though. I’m not sure this ever will.
The first few days were pretty much just as I planned. I caught two games against the Kansas City Swing. The Hops lost the first, then came from behind to win the second. I’m getting more and more familiar with the players over there. Some exciting guys! Chester Stokes, the Cream City second baseman, has been on a tear lately, and has managed to drag his average up and over .300 for the first time all year. As a result, the Hops have moved to within four games of .500. He’s a whiz with the leather, too. I’ll have to find out if they have Gold Glove awards over there. Then I spent the next two days wandering around the city, trying to get a feel for what that universe shares with our own. There are some familiar streets and architecture, but I was surprised at how different it all is. It’s quite disorienting when you try to head for a certain part of town that doesn’t even exist.
I feel compelled to take a break here and say that I’m really struggling with how to convey this all to you. So much happened to me I feel like I could write a whole book. I expect that bits and pieces will come out over the next few weeks, but it’s just too daunting to put down all at once. If you have any particular questions, though, feel free to email me. My address is in my profile.
Anyhow. On the morning of my fifth day in Cream City I awoke with a strange malaise, foggy and grey on an otherwise beautiful summer morning. (I stayed, incidentally, at the Pfister Hotel – I’m pleased to report that no ghosts deigned to disturb my slumber). I was also running out of clothes, so I figured it was a good time to head back to more familiar ground. The Hops were playing a night game, so I walked to the press box straight after breakfast, thinking I’d be back in my Milwaukee apartment within an hour. Frequenters of the Fanpost section may already know what’s coming next: nothing. No large and inviting wormhole mouth to suck me back into my professor’s lab. Naturally, I panicked.
I yelled, jumped up and down, and felt my way around the room like a blind man, thinking perhaps that the position of the mouth had somehow shifted. But there was nothing around me but solid wood. I’m ashamed to admit this, but the next day I broke into an electronics store after hours and pulled a cathode ray tube from the back of a broken TV set. I took it back to the stadium, thinking that I could force the mouth back open, but of course it didn’t work. The day after that, I put an ad in the paper asking for help to travel in time. The only person who responded was a twelve-year-old kid named Richie, who showed up to my room with a thick stack of comic books. Over the course of the next week, I slowly started to give up hope that I’d ever see home again. And then, one night as I was passing by the stadium, that familiar tugging feeling started up in my stomach. I rushed through the gates and up the stairs, closed my eyes, and I was back in the lab. Never in my life have I identified more strongly with Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.
After I got back, was questioned by the police, and apologized over and over to my raging empress of a sister, I finally made it back to the site to catch up on Brewers news. That’s when I saw the comments and posts made my Fred Kapoor, my old professor. For those who don’t know, he’s the one who spent a good couple of months trying to convince me that, rather than traveling between dimensions, I was actually suffering some kind of psychotic break. Then he went to the lab and unwittingly switched off the beam of electrons that would have kept the wormhole’s mouth open. Then he got spooked, started to wonder if I wasn’t crazy after all, switched the ray back on, and briefly fell into Cream City himself. And he hasn’t been heard from since. Professor – if you read this, give me a call. I forgive you, and I’d like to talk. While I’m at it, Salvatore Pompodoro (doesn’t that mean "tomato?") – you can stop leaving messages on my phone. I’ll come to your stupid meeting, okay?
I haven’t been back over there since I got back over here. Working on two weeks, now. I’m working up the nerve to give it another go, though. I’ll let you know when I do.