Good Morning Ted and Jody:
Yesterday a series of fronts moved through producing, rain, then sun then more rain than more sun. While it sounds terrible, it was a recipe for a variety of photo opportunities. So, being me, I took them.
I am afraid not much more happened other than Nancy busying herself with preparation for a class she is taking tomorrow.
I hope this finds you happy, healthy and with a more interesting day to report.
Warmest regards, Ed
066 Melissa Hickson Testifies
Fiction in 1054 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
Melissa Hickson looked at Director Meacham thoughtfully and asked, “Where do you want me to begin?”
Director Meacham replied, “Begin when you first began to empathize with Alice Beaverton.”
“I was pregnant and still working as a matron at Mill Creek Corrections Center when they brought Alice into the hospital block to have her baby,” Replied Melissa Hickson. “I overheard her tell the woman in the next bed about her stingy husband not giving her enough money to furnish the baby’s room. I heard her tell the same story to several other inmates. I . . .”
Director Meacham interrupted, “Did she ever tell you directly?”
“No, I never spoke with her until the day I was assigned to process her out.”
“You never spoke with her before then?” Asked Director Meacham.
“Only once,” replied Melissa. “That was the day the nurse took her Jessica Ann away and gave her to that beast of a husband of hers.”
“What did she say to you then?” asked the Director.
“She was hysterical,” replied Melissa. “She was crying out for her Baby Jessica Ann. She wasn’t talking to me or anyone. I held her and tried to comfort her. I could feel the sobs racking her thin body. I could feel her desperation and I tried to tell her I understood.” Melissa paused and fought back the tears. “I really did understand and I could not tell her things would get better. They never did for me.” Melissa paused.
Director Meacham took the opportunity to ask, “Would you like a brief recess before we continue?”
Melissa took a sip of water and dabbed at her eyes and said, “No, it is best if I get past it now.”
Director Meacham used his right hand encouraging her to go on and said, “Please continue at your own pace.”
‘As I held her I could feel my own baby stirring within me. I felt that my baby was sympathizing with her. That is when I decided to name my baby Jessica Ann. That poor woman,” Melissa paused and looked to where the two Alice Beaverton’s were sitting and said, “I am so sorry I could do nothing for you at the time. Then the nurse came cable, gave you a shot and you went to sleep. I am so sorry.” Melissa paused.
The first Alice Beaverton mouthed the words. ‘Thank you. You did what you could.’
“Ms. Hickson, please continue, but please address us,” He said using his hand to indicate the Council.
“I’m sorry,” replied Melissa. “I think that was the worst of it. I watched Alice grow more and more despondent. She did not joke around with the other inmates. When I got back from my maternity leave I could see Alice had just gotten more despondent. Then when she learned she would be getting out early, then she started to take care, bath more and I saw her smile once. I overheard her talk positively to other inmates. She was positively buoyant when I escorted her from her cell to the changing room and then to the exit interview with the psychologist.”
Director Meacham commented, “That was close to four years. You watched all that time yet made no contact with her. Why?”
Melissa Hickson sighed, “I held her when she was sobbing for her Jessica Ann. I didn’t feel I could help her so contact would only have been more painful for me.”
Director Meacham asked, “When did you decide to get a time travel implant and why?”
“The day I started the week-long sleep training,” replied Melissa. “I had been thinking that Jessica Ann and I needed to get away. But, every place is the same. It occurred to me we could do better in a different time. A time with things was simpler, kinder, and not so rushed. I looked up time travel and got the information and started that day.”
“Why did you pick the 21st Century?” asked Director Meacham.
“I followed Alice there,” replied Melissa.
“How did you do that?” asked Director Meacham.
“I put a finder on her identify tab,” replied Melissa. Since I oversaw her release, I put it on her identity tab before I fetched her. I wanted to be sure she was alright after all she had been through. When she started taking the sleep training I could get close enough to follow where she went when she finally got her implant. I watched her buy a motorized home and she seemed to like it. So I bought one and then I realized that I could stop her suffering by taking her out of jail and bringing her Jessica Ann to live with her in that motorized home in the 21st Century. She went one time without my being able to follow, but I searched her sleeping cubical and found the birth certificate for Sylvia Chu and figured out when she was going. It took five pivots before I found her in the 21stCentury using the finder on her identity tab. When she left the identity tab in the present, I lost her. But no matter, I found her daughter back here and lapped the child after getting her mother out of jail.”
“So, you created the second Alice and the second Jessica Ann. Why?” asked Director Meacham.
“If you had seen the woman suffer, you would have done what I did to stop her suffering,” replied Melissa Hickson with such sincerity that everyone in the room nodded their heads in agreement. “I took Alice to a sleep cubical every night until she finished the course. Then I gave her the implant when she was asleep. I left notes so she would know what to do. I guessed she thought her older self was doing this. I could see she was a lot happier and no longer depressed.” Melissa sat back, folded her arms over her chest as if to say, ‘and that is that.”
Director Meacham surveyed the Council and said, “I think we have several issues to peruse. However, it is getting late, so we will reconvene tomorrow morning.” He brought down the gavel.
Chelsey Davidson rose and said, “Mr. Director, the matter of bail for my client.”
“Tomorrow morning, Mr. Davidson, tomorrow morning. Did you not hear the gavel?” asked Director Meacham.