The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin
The bookstore clerk who may or may not have been a college student stared at me blankly as I asked for a book about a magician.
“That’s really vague, even for this place. Do you want a real life magician, like David Copperfield? An escape artist, like Houdini? Because if you want Harry Potter, you’d be better off at a major bookstore, like Coles or something.”
I groaned. “This is going to sound stupid, but this is a weird store, so whatever. I was named after a character in a book. I don’t know what it’s called, just that it was about a magician.”
“Well, what’s your name?”
My mother, apparently a closet drunk, had just informed me that I had an uncle. Or, so it had seemed. Being drunk meant that perhaps she wasn’t entirely lucid. After all, she fell asleep immediately after her unexpected revelation. Going back and waking her up would likely generate similar incoherence. Not exactly a productive plan.
I spent Saturday morning reading, as I’d planned. But by the afternoon, I was feeling rather confined. I had been a workaholic the past few years, and it wasn’t easy for me to sit still. I went for a jog in the neighbourhood surrounding the hotel, but even that wasn’t enough to cure my “itchy feet.” I needed to get out and do something.
“Thank you for taking my call, Director Tyson, I appreciate it… Thank you, sir, yes, it has been a difficult couple of days. My hope is that the authorities can quickly resolve the matter, and let the grieving families of my employees have some closure and get on with their lives… We haven’t heard anything specific, no. But my father’s attorney has informed me that I’m in charge of the company while he’s missing.”
I doodled on a pad of paper with a pen while talking on the telephone, and found myself sketching stars and comets. Well, that was appropriate enough.
Diggory Franklin was standing on a street corner, getting into a cab. He was about to go to the coffee house and meet with Calla Wiley. Who, as it turned out, was time traveling from a year in the future to save his life. From there, he would be going to visit his lawyer, Mr. White, and discuss his father’s wishes for the future of Franklin Investments. Because yesterday, the building exploded with his father inside.
In Book 1: Not Your Average Love Song, Diggory Franklin met the mysterious Calla Wiley, twice. Once as a time traveller from the future, trying to save his life. The second time, as a young physics graduate student. Diggory falls in love with both versions, as he tries to make sense of their presence in his life. Not helping the matter is an explosion at work, perpetrated by the terrorist Zebediah.
Johnson was only gone for two minutes. However, he returned wearing different clothing, so it was easy to assume he’d been gone a long time and time-jumped back to talk to us.
“Sorry to keep you waiting,” he said, unnecessarily. “I have permanent quarters set up for Miss Sorley, and a plan for you, Mr. Franklin. Miss Sorley, if you’ll wait here, I’ll return in a moment. Mr. Franklin, if you’ll say your good-byes?”
I waited for him to leave the room, and then turned to Dahlia.
“Well, kid, it’s been interesting knowing you.”
Monday, September 22, 2008
“So you’ll be able to make the delivery no problem?” Digger asked.
“Yes, I’ll head straight there, even if it means being late for your meeting,” I told him.
“You’ll have some time. I’m going for coffee first, to see Calla before she heads to class. It’s only a short walk from there to the warehouse.”
“I’ll let you out up here.” I pointed at the corner up the block. “Good luck with it.”
“Yeah. You seem to really like her.” I smiled.
“I do,” Digger nodded. “Thanks.”
We walked through the garden with Agent Johnson, passing flowers and vegetables. In the distance there was a small hill, and he led us straight towards it. There was a doorway, somewhat concealed by the foliage. We entered, and stood in a white room the size of an elevator.
It was eerily similar to the FBI’s headquarters, with the same white panelling that seemed to light the room itself. There were no discernible exits or windows. Johnson put his hand against the wall, and it glowed around his fingers.
Dahlia leaned against my arm, still dazed by the news that her family was dead. I held her up, and faced Agent Johnson.
“Telekinesis? Like, moving stuff with your mind?” Dahlia said, coming out of her grief at the use of this unfamiliar (to me, anyway) word.
“Yes, exactly.” Johnson nodded. “People have talked of the possibility for centuries, and we tapped into how to do it. It has to do with quantum mechanics and the intrinsic nature of reality…”
We both stared blankly at him. He grinned. “Maybe that can wait. Yeah, anyway, I can travel through time without a chronometer.”