Twice in a Lifetime
"All That Is Forgotten Is Not Lost"
Mr. Smith was walking through down L.A., presently visible to those around him. He had decided to explore the city a little before it was time to go meet Olivia Harding, who was about to die from cancer.
As he passed by an alley, he suddenly heard a threatening voice.
"I want your money, kid!"
"But I don't have any!"
Mr. Smith peered around the corner. A masked man was threatening a boy of about 17 with a gun.
"Give me the money or somebody's gonna get hurt," the man growled, raising the gun.
Mr. Smith gasped. He couldn't stand by and just watch an innocent kid be hurt . . . or worse.
Impulsively he rushed forward and tackled the man. "Run, kid!" he yelled. The teenager looked hesitant, but at Mr. Smith's insistent yell he took off to call the police.
The masked man in rage lashed out and hit Mr. Smith on the forehead with the back of his gun. Mr. Smith, dazed from the blow, loosened his grip and staggered backward. The man then shoved Mr. Smith into the wall, where he hit his head and slowly sank to the ground. Mr. Smith saw and heard the man laugh and run off. Then the blackness closed in.
When Mr. Smith opened his eyes, he found a kind-faced, white-haired doctor looking down at him.
"Well, kiddo," he said, "glad to see you're finally awake. That's quite a bump you got!"
Mr. Smith slowly raised his hand to his head. Feeling the bump, he winced. Looking around, he realized he was lying on a bed in a hospital room. But instead of a hospital gown, he was wearing the clothes he'd had on in the alley.
"Uh, yeah," he said, a little perplexed. "Where am I? And who are you?"
The doctor chuckled. "Forgive me. I should've introduced myself. I'm Doctor Mark Sloan, and we're at Community General Hospital."
"Uh, okay," Mr. Smith said slowly. What is going on? he thought to himself. I can't seem to remember anything! "What am I doing here?" he asked.
"Do you remember what happened to you?" Dr. Sloan returned the question with another one.
"No," Mr. Smith replied. "I can't remember anything!"
"The police found you in an alley," Dr. Sloan said. "The young man who called them said you'd saved him from being shot by a robber."
Mr. Smith considered this. "I guess that's what must've happened, then," he said.
Dr. Sloan nodded. "Do you remember your name?" he asked next.
Before Mr. Smith could answer, the door opened and a young man walked in.
"I'll tell you his name," he said. "That's Mr. Smith, and he's late for an appointment!"
"Oh, I see," Dr. Sloan said, apparently unfazed by the man's sudden appearance. "Are you a friend of this Mr. Smith?"
"Co-worker," the man replied. "I'm Mr. Jones. How's he doing, doctor?"
"Well," Dr. Sloan replied, "he seems to be doing very well, considering he was knocked unconscious after both being struck with something—probably the back of a gun—then shoved at the hard wall. He seems to have a temporary loss of memory, but that's not too uncommon in these cases . . ."
"Do you think he can leave the hospital?" Mr. Jones asked, not really listening to what Dr. Sloan was saying.
Dr. Sloan paused, considering. Finally he said, "Okay, but have him call me in a couple of days . . ." Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith were already gone.
"The things you get into," Mr. Jones said to Mr. Smith outside. "You'll have some explaining to tell Judge Othniel."
Mr. Smith stared blankly at Mr. Jones. "Who?" he asked incredulously.
"Come on, Smith, this is no time to play games," Mr. Jones exclaimed.
Suddenly he vanished, and Mr. Smith found himself facing an balding, elderly man wearing glasses and carrying a black bag.
"Oh, so here you are, Mr. Smith," he said. "I hear you got into a bit of trouble."
Mr. Smith looked around in bewilderment. "Uh yeah," he said finally.
"You missed your assignment," the man went on. "I had to send Mr. Brown."
"Look, pal," Mr. Smith interrupted, "I have no clue what you're talking about! What assignment? Who's Mr. Brown? And who are you, for that matter?"
The man stopped talking and looked at Mr. Smith, concerned. "Tell me, Mr. Smith—do you remember anything?"
"No!" Mr. Smith exclaimed. "I have no idea who I am—the name 'Smith' doesn't mean anything to me! And I don't know who you are, or Mr. Brown, or the guy that got me out of the hospital! Or how I got into the hospital in the first place, for that matter! I don't remember anything!"
Mr. Jones suddenly appeared and handed the man—whom Mr. Smith had decided was the Judge Othniel Jones had spoken of—a portfolio with a sheet or two of paper inside. "The doctor's report, Judge," Mr. Jones said.
The judge nodded. "Thank you, Mr. Jones." He opened the portfolio and read the report.
"What's it say?" Mr. Smith asked, coming over to look.
"Well, Mr. Smith," the judge replied, "it says here that someone struck you with the back of a gun, and that you also hit your head on the wall. Do you remember how it happened, Mr. Smith?"
"No!" Mr. Smith said in frustration. "I told you—I don't remember anything!"
"So you really do have amnesia?" Mr. Jones said. "You weren't just fooling around?"
Mr. Smith glared at Mr. Jones. "Of course I'm not fooling around!"
Judge Othniel finished reading the report, then looked up. "Well, Mr. Smith, the doctor thinks your amnesia is temporary . . ."
"Oh, great," Mr. Smith muttered. "And just what if the doctor's wrong?"
"Mr. Jones has to leave for an assignment," the judge announced, ignoring the comment. "Mr. Smith, why don't you go with him and see if you can regain your memory on the assignment?"
"Uh, okay," Mr. Smith said hesitantly.
Instantly the surroundings suddenly changed. Mr. Smith stared at a clear, rubbery film that surrounded them. "What's this?" he asked, sticking his hand out to touch it.
"It's, um, kind of a . . ." Mr. Jones wasn't sure how to explain it.
Suddenly a pretty woman in her forties walked through the film. "What's happening?" she asked.
"Well, actually, miss," Mr. Jones said, "you're dead."
"What?" the woman was incredulous. "That's ridiculous!" She looked out through the film and saw herself lying on the road, with police officers clambering around. She turned back to look at the three men. "Well, what happens now?" she asked.
"That's a good question," Mr. Smith broke in. "What does? What's going on around here?"
"Hold on, I was about to explain to her," Mr. Jones whispered. Turning back to the woman, he said, "Well, if you had a big regret or something in your life, you now have a chance to go back and change it."
The woman's eyes brightened. "Really?"
Judge Othniel smiled at her kindly. "Yes, Agatha Taylor," he said.
Agatha's eyes took on a reminiscent look. "I wish I had had a chance to tell Frank that I loved him."
"Frank?" Mr. Smith asked.
Agatha nodded. "A boy I loved in high school." She shook her head sadly. "I never told him that I loved him. I was always too shy or wondered what he'd think of me. Today I found out that Frank died. He had been all alone. He never found true love."
"And you would like to go change that and tell him you loved him?" Mr. Jones asked.
"Yes," Agatha said.
"Done!" Judge Othniel took his gavel out of his black bag. "You will have three days to try to change things between you and Frank. All your memories will be intact, but no one will recognize you. Go, with the blessing of God Almighty and his court." He banged his gavel on a nearby tree stump.
Instantly the scene changed. "Where are we?" Agatha asked, looking around.
"Seems to be a classroom," Mr. Jones commented.
"My old classroom!" Agatha exclaimed.
Mr. Jones looked at the nameplate on the desk Agatha was standing by. "'Louise Carter,'" he read.
"Hey, look at this!" Mr. Smith called. "It's a calender, dated November 1971."
"1971!" Agatha repeated. "I was in high school then! I was seventeen."
Just then the door burst open and high-school age kids started streaming in. A pretty girl with red, curly hair slid into a desk just behind a cute boy with dark hair.
"That's me!" Agatha said in a whisper about the red-haired girl. "And that boy is Frank!"
"Wow!" Mr. Smith commented. "So we really went back in time? Like in a time machine?"
"Uh, sorta like that," Mr. Jones said.
"What is it with this guy?" Agatha whispered to Jones. "Why doesn't he understand what's going on?"
"Uh, it's a long story," Mr. Jones replied. "He, uh, kinda has temporary memory loss . . ."
Agatha looked at Jones strangely, but before she could ask any more questions, a stern-faced man came in and walked to the front of the room. "Class," he began, "this is Miss Carter. She is the new substitute teacher," he said of Agatha.
Agatha tried not to look shocked as she nodded to the class.
"And these are Jim Jones and Richard Smith," the man went on, introducing Jones and Smith. "They are Miss Carter's classroom aides. Please welcome them."
"Welcome," the class chorused in bored voices.
"Please treat them with respect," the man said. "Welcome to Roosevelt High," he added solemnly, shaking the new arrivals' hands, then leaving the room.
Agatha just stood there, unsure of what to do, when Mr. Jones nudged her. "Just . . . teach," he whispered.
"Well, um, class, before we begin, I would like to know your names and a little about you," Agatha said, coming out of her little "trance," thankful that she had been a teacher for fifteen years and wasn't completely clueless on how to go about teaching the class.
"I'm Peter Lennon," said a boy with longish black hair, who looked like he'd just woke up.
"Pete's always bored. He hates school," a brown-haired boy near the back volunteered. "He likes to make paper airplanes or catch a few z's on his desk when he's especially bored. By the way, I'm Jude Akins."
"So, let me see if I have this right," Mr. Smith said in the cafeteria later that day. "You run some kind of Second Chance business with the judge guy, and the people have three days to make right what was wrong, and right now I'm tagging along on your latest assignment."
"Uh, that's kinda the idea," Mr. Jones said. Mr. Smith's turn in the cafeteria line came, and Mr. Jones, who was the very last in line, stepped back to briefly talk with Judge Othniel, who'd appeared.
"How are things coming?" Judge Othniel asked.
"Well, the kids seem pretty acceptive of us so far," Mr. Jones replied. He threw his hands up in the air. "But it's so strange to see him like that." He indicated Mr. Smith. "Not remembering who he is, or who we are or anything about what we do . . ." He shook his head. "I'm worried. What if he never gets his memory back?"
Judge Othniel and Mr. Jones watched Mr. Smith for several more minutes, and then it was Mr. Jones' turn in line.
During lunch, Agatha noticed her younger self smiling shyly at Frank as she passed by him on her way to her table. Frank gave her a little wave, then walked to his own table.
Agatha's younger self then looked around and noticed almost all the tables were empty. Except for . . .
"Hey, how would you like to come sit with us?" Agatha called from the table she was sharing with Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith.
Young Agatha looked hopeful, but said, "I wouldn't want to intrude . . ."
"Oh, nonsense!" Agatha exclaimed. "Come on over, Agatha," she said.
"Well, if you're sure you don't mind . . ." Young Agatha made her way over to the table and sat down by Agatha. Jones and Smith said hello, then waited to see what Agatha would do.
After a few minutes of small talk, Agatha leaned over and said conspiratorially, "I saw you smiling at Frank. You like him, don't you?"
Young Agatha nodded, slightly embarrassed. "Yeah. I do. He's like, the cutest boy in the class, probably in the whole school. He's also the only boy who was nice to me when I first moved here two years ago. I think . . ." She paused, wondering if she should tell this to a complete stranger. "I think I love him, Miss Carter."
Agatha smiled. "Well, honey, why don't you tell him?" she asked gently.
Young Agatha looked at her like she'd just arrived from the moon. "Tell him?" she repeated incredulously.
Agatha nodded. "Yes."
Young Agatha shook her head. "I can't tell him. What if he laughs at me, or what if he thinks I'm a total dork?"
"I don't think he would," Agatha said. "You said he was nice to you. I'm sure he'd be touched."
"Well, maybe . . ." Young Agatha still looked a little doubtful.
"Honey, let me tell you something." Agatha paused. "I loved a boy in high school, too, and I never told him I loved him. He never found love, and he . . . died, all alone."
Young Agatha was startled. "I'm sorry, Miss Carter," she said softly. "Do you think that would happen to Frank?"
"Well, honey, it would be better not to take any chances, wouldn't it?" Agatha said. She grinned. "And hey," she added, glancing at a calender on the wall and apparently remembering something, "I just remembered! The Sadie Hawkins dance will be held at the end of the month. Why don't you ask Frank to go with you?"
Young Agatha considered this. Finally she said, "I think I will." She stood up, having finished her lunch. "Thanks, Miss Carter. I'm going to ask Frank now." She got up, threw her lunch tray in the trash, and headed off.
Agatha looked satisfied that she'd done her job. "Well, case closed," she said. "I'll ask Frank to the Sadie Hawkins dance, and tell him I love him, and everything will be fine."
Mr. Jones shook his head. "Actually, it's not that easy," he said.
"It's not?" Agatha and Mr. Smith both asked at the same time.
"No," Mr. Jones replied. "There's usually some kind of twist to everything . . . I'm not sure what the twist to this is . . . yet."
"Seems pretty simple right now," Agatha commented to Jones and Smith. "I just know things will work out this time!"
Agatha didn't see her younger self for the rest of the school day. Strange, she thought to herself. I wonder where I am?
After the final bell had rang, Agatha turned to Mr. Jones and said, "I think I'll go look for . . . me," she finished. "See how things went with Frank."
"Good idea," Mr. Jones replied.
Agatha wandered off down the halls. I think I have a pretty good idea of where I went, she thought, remembering her old favorite place to go as a high school girl. She headed for the library.
Sure enough, she found her younger self in one of the study rooms, looking gloomy. When she heard Agatha come in, she looked up quickly, and Agatha could see her eyes were red. Something went wrong! she realized.
"Hi," she said softly.
"Hi," Young Agatha mumbled.
"Do you mind if I sit here too?" Agatha asked. Young Agatha shrugged. Agatha took a chair. "Is something wrong?" she asked gently.
Young Agatha sniffled and nodded.
"Do you feel like talking about it?"
Young Agatha heaved a sigh. "I was going to ask Frank to the Sadie Hawkins dance, but when I found him, Lisa was talking to him."
"Lisa?" Agatha queried, a strange feeling forming in her stomach. Lisa had been a real wild girl in high school. She wasn't Frank's type at all.
Young Agatha nodded. "Lisa Abrams, a girl Frank's occasionally dated. And she was asking Frank to the dance! And . . . well, I heard Frank say yes!"
Later on that day, Agatha was walking through a nearby park, unsure of what to do. Suddenly Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith appeared beside her.
"I don't know what to do!" she moaned upon seeing them. "I remember Lisa Abrams. She and Frank went out a couple of times last year, and a couple more this year. Then she did ask Frank to the Sadie Hawkins dance this year, '71. They started steady dating immediately afterward, and after high school they married. Frank always kind of had his eye on Lisa in high school, I think. He didn't realize how she really was. Lisa was so wild, partying all the time and even cheating on Frank. Today, before I died, I found out that their marriage fell apart. What am I going to do? Frank is just going to be so hurt by Lisa!" she sobbed.
"Well, there's still time," Mr. Smith consoled her. "Things could change."
Just then Agatha's younger self suddenly appeared. "Miss Carter! Miss Carter!" she screamed, running towards her.
"What it is, honey?" Agatha asked. She glanced at Jones and Smith.
"Forget we're here," Mr. Jones said. "No one can see us right now except you."
"What are you doing here, honey?" Agatha asked her younger self.
"Well," Young Agatha said, "I found out that Frank asked Lisa on a date tonight and they've decided to go steady," she wailed.
"Steady!" Agatha gasped.
"But that's not even the worst part," she went on. "Jenny McBriar told me that a couple of weeks ago, when Lisa was steady dating Martin Stevens, she stepped out on him three times!"
"Three times!" Agatha echoed.
Young Agatha nodded. "That's when they broke up." She shook her head. "Frank thinks it's a dream come true that Lisa has asked him to the Sadie Hawkins, I'm sure. He's had his eye on her ever since she moved here. I'm sure of it! But he's going to be so hurt by Lisa!"
"Doesn't Frank know how Lisa runs around?" Agatha asked gently.
Young Agatha shook her head. "No. If he has heard anything about it, I'm sure he thinks it's just a rumor."
"Is there any chance it is?" Agatha asked, though she knew it wasn't.
"No," Young Agatha replied. "Jenny doesn't pass along gossip; she only tells what she knows to be true." She ran a hand through her hair. "I'm worried about Frank! What should I do?" she asked.
"Well," Agatha said, "the best thing would be to tell him about Lisa."
"Yeah, but, like I said, he'd only think it was a rumor," Young Agatha protested. "Maybe he'd even think I made the story up because I want him and didn't want Lisa cutting in!"
"Oh, I doubt he'd think that," Agatha said gently. "He'd realize that you aren't that kind. If the person I was dating was a cheater, I'd definitely want to know about it," she tried to encourage her younger self.
"Thanks, Miss Carter. You're right, I should warn Frank." Young Agatha turned around and walked out of the park. Agatha, Jones, and Smith watched her go.
Young Agatha wandered through the downtown streets. She still had a few lingering doubts about whether to tell Frank how Lisa had cheated on past boyfriends. After all, he'd probably think she was just making it up. Or was it possible, just possible, that Jenny hadn't been right?
All of her doubts fled when she passed by a local dinner-and-dance restaurant. Lisa was just coming out with a cute guy by her side. And it was not Frank.
They had definitely been on a formal date. Lisa had on a sparkling evening gown, and the guy was wearing a suit. They were holding hands and laughing.
"How could Lisa act like that?" Young Agatha thought angrily to herself. "As if she hadn't already pledged to go steady with Frank!" Purposely, she turned around and headed off to find Frank.
Thirty minutes later, she was knocking on the door of Frank's house. His mother answered.
"Why, hello, Agatha," she said warmly.
"Hi, Mrs. Turner," Young Agatha replied. "Um, is Frank here?"
"Yes, he is. Come in, and I'll call him." Mrs. Turner held the door open and Young Agatha stepped into the living room.
"Frank!" Mrs. Turner yelled up the stairs, "Agatha Taylor is here!"
"I'll be right there, Mom!" Frank called back.
Young Agatha waited nervously for Frank to come down while making small talk with Mrs. Turner. After five minutes, Frank appeared. "Hey, Agatha," he greeted her.
"Um, hi, Frank," Young Agatha returned the greeting.
Mrs. Turner smiled. "I'll let you two talk." She got up and went into the kitchen.
"So what's up?" Frank asked.
"Well, um, Frank, I don't know how to say this . . ." Agatha looked down at the floor.
"What is it?" Frank asked, a little worried now.
"I saw Lisa going out with some other guy." The words came out in a rush.
There was a long stretch of silence. Young Agatha wondered if Frank had left the room. She looked up and found him staring back at her in disbelief.
"Are you sure it was Lisa?" Frank asked.
Young Agatha nodded. "I'm positive."
Frank didn't say anything again. Suddenly he stood up, eyes flashing. "I don't believe it," he said coldly.
Young Agatha gasped. "You think I'm lying to you? Frank, I'm trying to help you!"
"Yeah, well, you're sure doing a good job of it," he snapped. "Telling me Lisa is cheating on me!"
"But, Frank, I saw her with another guy . . ."
"That doesn't mean they were on a date, Agatha, and you know it!"
"But they were all dressed fancy," Young Agatha protested. "And they were holding hands. Frank, I'm sorry, but it was definitely a date."
Frank continued to glare at her, then turned and headed upstairs.
"Frank . . ." Young Agatha began.
"I don't want to hear it, Agatha!" Frank snapped. He went into his room and shut the door. Young Agatha just stood there, unsure of what to do now, then turned and walked out the door.
The next day at school, Agatha noticed that this time as her younger self came into the classroom, she didn't stop to look at Frank adoringly. And Frank seemed a lot more quiet and reserved than he usually was.
"Do you know what's up?" she asked in a whisper to Jones and Smith.
"They had a fight of some kind last night," Jones replied.
"Frank thought that, uh, you were lying about Lisa running around with other guys," Mr. Smith added.
"Oh no," Agatha groaned.
Before she had a chance to find out any details, the last student entered the room and Agatha had to start the class.
Frank basically ignored Young Agatha all through the school day. When the final bell rang, he found Lisa and asked her for a date that night. She accepted. Young Agatha, passing by then on her way home, saw.
Agatha, watching the scene unfold from the doorway of the school, sighed and shook her head. "I haven't helped any, have I?" she sobbed. "Everything's still the way it was before—actually, worse! Lisa will still leave Frank, and he'll never find true love and die lonely!"
Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith watched Agatha from across the schoolyard, invisible to all around them.
"Go talk to her," Mr. Jones encouraged.
"I don't know what to say," Mr. Smith objected.
"It'll come to you." Mr. Smith turned to say something else to Mr. Jones and discovered he wasn't there. He looked around, gave up, and walked over to Agatha.
"Don't give up," Mr. Smith said softly. "There's still time."
Agatha looked at Mr. Smith through her tears and slowly nodded.
Mr. Smith paused. "I think we need to follow Frank tonight," he said slowly. "I think something bad is going to happen."
That evening, Frank drove over to Lisa's house to get her for their date. Before he got there, though, he came upon a flashy red convertible. Bert, a rich guy from school was driving. Lisa sat in the passenger seat, laughing and enjoying the car's speed.
"Hey! Hold on! Pull over!" Frank yelled.
"What?" Bert yelled back, though he could hear perfectly well. Unseen by anyone, Agatha, Jones, and Smith appeared from around a corner and watched.
"I said, pull over!" Frank screamed.
With a resigned sigh, Bert pulled the car over to the curb. Frank got out of his car and stomped over to the convertible, his eyes full of anger and hurt.
"Lisa, what are you doing with Bert? I thought we had a date!" he exclaimed.
Lisa nodded. "We did, Frank. And I'm sorry, but then Bert came along and invited me to go for a ride in his car . . ."
"Oh, sure . . ." Frank said sarcastically. "Just a little ride. And what's that?" He pointed to a gleaming object around Lisa's neck. "Isn't that a ring? The kind of ring you wear when you're going steady with someone?"
"Now, Frank, honey, I can explain . . ."
"Oh, you've explained perfectly!" Frank snapped. "You've just agreed to go steady with Bert! And you're still wearing my ring, too! How many guys are you 'going steady' with right now? Five? Ten?"
"Frank . . ."
"Why don't you split?" Bert broke in. "We were having a nice ride."
"Oh, I'll leave, alright," Frank said. "Just as soon as you give me my ring, Lisa." He held his hand out.
Lisa stared at it, then pulled a ring out of her pocket and handed it to Frank. Bert revved up the convertible's engine and they rode off.
Frank stood in the road, staring at where they'd been, digesting everything that had happened. Lisa had been going out with other guys, just as Agatha had said. He climbed into his car and started the engine. He took off faster than he meant to. The car shot forward and suddenly crashed into another car that was just coming around the corner.
Agatha gasped. "Oh no! Oh no!" She rushed over to the accident site. "Somebody! Call 911!" she screamed.
"I'll do it," Mr. Jones volunteered, rushing off to find a phone. Mr. Smith stood in shock. He definitely hadn't expected for something like this to happen!
At the hospital, everyone waited anxiously for some news. The driver of the other car hadn't been injured, but Frank had been, and they weren't sure of the seriousness of his condition yet.
Suddenly the door opened and Young Agatha burst in, her eyes wide and fearful. "What's happening?" she demanded. "I got a call that Frank was here in the hospital!"
Agatha nodded slowly. "He is, honey. He . . . he was in a car accident tonight," she said softly.
"Oh no!" Young Agatha gasped. "Miss Carter, he's going to be alright, isn't he? Mr. Jones? Mr. Smith?" she asked, looking at the two young men hoping for answers.
"We don't know, Agatha," Mr. Smith said gently. "We can only hope and pray."
Just then the doctor came into the room. "Well, it's good news," he said. "Frank has just woke up. He has a few cuts and bruises, but other than that, he seems to be okay. He's asking for someone named Agatha . . ."
"Oh, that's me!" Young Agatha exclaimed, hurrying over. The doctor led her down the hall and into Frank's room. When Frank saw her enter, he brightened up considerably. "Agatha!" he exclaimed. "I'm so glad to see you!"
"Frank! I'm so glad you're okay," Young Agatha said softly, coming over to his bedside and taking his hand.
"Agatha, you know, you were right about Lisa," Frank said after a pause. "I saw her with Bert tonight. She had his ring." He sighed. "I was so blind. And it was awful of me to yell at you like that."
Young Agatha smiled. "That's okay, Frank." She looked around conspiratorially, then leaned down and whispered in his ear, "I love you, Frank."
Frank smiled and held Young Agatha's hand tighter. "I love you too, Agatha."
Agatha, Jones, and Smith watched the scene from the doorway.
Suddenly, a bright flash of light enveloped them and they were standing in what looked like a bookstore.
"What's happened now?" Agatha asked, a question which Mr. Smith echoed.
"We're back to the present now," Mr. Jones said grandly.
Agatha looked around, a little confused.
"Hey, honey, those new books came in today!" a voice called from a back room.
"Oh . . . Oh, they did?" Agatha called back.
Mr. Jones smiled. "You married Frank after college."
"I did?" Agatha said, looking very excited.
"Yes, and you opened this bookstore and run it together," Mr. Jones went on.
"Do we have any kids?" Agatha asked.
"And two grandkids," Mr. Smith supplied, then looked a little confused himself. "Wait a minute, how did I know that . . ."
"We'll leave you and Frank now to get on with your new lives," Mr. Jones said.
"Oh, thank you so much for helping!" Agatha said, hugging them both. "Will I ever see you two again?" she asked.
"You won't remember us when we leave," Mr. Jones replied. "Or anything about the past three days. You'll only remember the new life you've created for yourself and Frank."
Agatha sighed in resignation—she wished she would be able to remember them—then smiled. "Well, I'd better head back there and help Frank unload those books," she said.
As she turned to go, a gentle breeze wafted through the store. Agatha looked around then, a little disoriented—then remembered about the books and hurried off to help Frank.
Mr. Jones turned to say something to Mr. Smith. He was appalled to discover that Mr. Smith had slumped against the wall. Oh brother, what now? Jones thought, kneeling down next to him.
Before he had a chance to say or do anything, Mr. Smith's eyes suddenly fluttered open. "Hey, Jones, what're you doing here?" he asked. "Did the police catch that mugger?"
"That mug . . ." Jones couldn't figure out what in the world he was talking about.
"Yeah, the guy that was trying to hurt the kid!"
Judge Othniel appeared suddenly. "Mr. Smith is referring to what happened before he was struck with amnesia," he said to Jones.
"But how could he . . ." Jones paused. "You mean he has his memory back?"
Judge Othniel nodded. "When Agatha forgot about you two and the events of the past three days, Mr. Smith also forgot about the events, but regained his memory."
"Why are you guys whispering? Did something happen to the kid?" Mr. Smith asked.
"No, Mr. Smith, he's fine, and the mugger has been caught," Judge Othniel replied.
"Well, that's a relief! Hey, sorry I missed my appointment," Mr. Smith said.
Judge Othniel smiled kindly. "That's quite alright, Mr. Smith." He paused. "You've done more good than you could ever know."
Mr. Smith gave Judge Othniel a strange look. Judge Othniel only smiled and started to walk toward the door. Jones and Smith followed, and they headed off to their next assignments.