Lt. Jack Gagann was safe and would go on to become Lt. General Jack Gagann of West point. Sam felt right, like all the pieces had fallen into place. At that moment, the erstwhile time traveler felt the wave of quantum displacement come over him.
The electric blue-white displacement wave subsided. Sam was standing on a raised platform with a microphone in his hand. Sam looked out at a crowd he could only barely see for the floodlights.
Boos, jeers, and hoots of derision greeted Sam's dumbfounded silence. Cries and taunts of,
"Go back to the kitchen!"
"You want me to laugh, cook me a meal!"
"Take it off and dance fer me baby!"
Sam looked to the side of the stage. He could see a balding man in a decidedly UGLY plaid jacket. The man was motioning frantically for Sam to leave the stage. The bewildered quantum physicist obligingly left the stage to join the man in the 'used car salesman jacket'.
The balding obnoxiously dressed man greeted Sam thusly,
"Brenda, what happened to you, you were doing your set and then you froze up?"
Sam was nonplussed but tried to answer,
"I don't want to hear it; take a break go home, come back Friday and we'll see what happens, OK, Kiddo?"
"Uh, Sure, Yeah, Yeah, that's probably a good idea."
Sam left the stage and went out to the parking lot getting outside, Sam looked back and saw he had been in a comedy club called "The Chuckle hut".
Looking down he saw he was wearing a powder blue dress and low-heeled shoes. The purse was probably in the car. No, women take it everywhere, a grown woman would never leave her purse in her car. Somewhat crestfallen, Sam went back into the club to find the purse in the hands of a cocktail waitress with an understanding look on her face. She handed him the blue bag and told him,
"It's O.K. Suge, I know how it is, next time just don't let the crowd get to you that way."
Behind her, Al was motioning for Sam to go outside to talk, so Sam mumbled thanks and beat a retreat.
All of the cars looked old, but not rusted, it was obvious that this was an early decade, possibly the 1950's or 1960's. Al stood next to a two-tone station wagon in red and tan. That was probably Sam's car, or rather, the car of the woman he leapt into.
The woman he leapt into. Sam was a woman again. Like Sammantha Stormer in 1961, like Darlene Monte in 1958 and like several other women throughout the past 45 years of Dr. Sam Beckett's lifetime. Given that women comprised half of the global population, Dr. Beckett was surprised he did not spend more time in panties and heels.
Fishing around in the purse for the keys to the car, Sam found them and got into it. Al was waiting in a sitting position in the front passenger seat, so, Sam started the car and pulled out of the lot.
"Sam, your name is Brenda Baker, that's your married name, your maiden name was Wisnewski, and it's June 7th 1960. "
Sam read the Driver's license and learned he, or rather SHE was 30 years old. This as Al served as his own personal Nav system, guiding them to a largish house in a niceish suburban housing development outside of Chicago Illinois.
When the station wagon pulled in, Sam saw a police squad car waiting with a cop talking to a stern looking man that looked in his forties.
Pulling to a stop and getting out of the car, Sam walked up to the house, and looked at the police officer and the older civilian. When they saw her, the two men concluded their conversation and the officer drove off.
That was when the bad news really got started.
"Brenda what in heaven's name were you doing out this late at night? Who was looking after the children, who was, never mind, get in the house."
Before Sam could get in the house on his own, he was pulled in, then thrown against the wall and the older man stormed at him,
"You are MY wife and you'll do as I tell you, I am the master of this house and I will NOT be defied, DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?"
Then the first blow landed, and his words punctuated each following blow.
Then he stopped hitting Sam and walked into another room.
"Clean yourself up, you don't want the kids to see that you don't know how to obey me."
Behind him Al was furious, a multicolored tower of holographic rage. Sam picked himself up and limped into the kitchen. Al followed him and seethed for a few moments before the handlink noisily reminded him of the job at hand.
Sam daubed at his cut lip and bruised face as Al started talking.
"Well, Sam, not that this will come as a huge shock to you, but you're here to do something about Brenda."
Sam, for his part was still trying to process what had just happened. All of his fighting skills, all of his abilities in self-defense had deserted him and he felt completely powerless. Moreover, it was as if he had not wanted to fight back.
"Al, what happened in there, I just let that clown beat me into the carpet. It was like I couldn't or wouldn't lay a finger on him, what is going on?"
"Sam, Brenda is in the waiting room quoting Physics textbooks and talking about YOUR theories, it's like this is the worst level of neurological cross-pollination I've ever seen."
Staring at the empty sink, Sam asked his best friend,
"What am I here to do, AL, Tell me what to do so I can get out of here, so I can stop feeling like this."
"Sam, feeling like how?"
"Feeling weak, feeling helpless, and worse, Al, feeling as if somehow for some reason I deserved what happened to me. I KNOW that's a load of crap, and I still feel that way."
Albert Calavicci shared his friend's bewilderment and helplessness and had his own anger join it. Anger at his inability to offer anything more than words and verbal encouragement, Sam didn't need a walking greeting card, he needed someone to beat that bastard in the Easy chair reading his paper to death.
Sam finished cleaning up the mess from the ogre's temper tantrum and told Al.
"Get out of here and go kick on Ziggy until he comes up with some kind of plan or the reason I'm here or SOMETHING, because failing any of that, I am out of here as soon as that monster isn't looking."
:"Sam, we already have the reason you leapt into Brenda. You're here to save, her and her two kids, From him. Calvin Baker, 45 years old, runs a religious supplies store in Aurora. He's got a mean temper-"
Sam bit out words laden with sarcasm,
"Oh, gosh Al, does he, I'm glad you told me, I NEVER would have guessed."
Al, regretted his turn as 'Captain obvious', but in his defense, he was almost as rattled as Sam by the situation.
"Like I was saying, You, or rather Brenda has two kids, Chad and Sharon, ten and seven respectively." Then the hand link beeped and burbled and Al, read the data in the screen.
Sam, in 48 hours, 'Smilin' Cal' beats Brenda to death and blames it on a fictional nameless assailant. Chad sticks it out for five more years, but then runs off to join the army and dies in 'nam, almost as he walked off the slick. Sharon runs away when Chad does and spends the next years on the road, when she's fourteen she starts hooking and she dies at seventeen from pneumonia, caught in one of those houses for unwed mothers."
"Well that rips it, Al, I'm leaving, and I'm taking the kids with me."
"Sam where are you going to go, it's 1960 Domestic abuse as a legal complaint doesn't even exist yet and women, especially housewives like Brenda have NO SKILLS Sam, NOTHING."
"Get out of here and come up with a better plan then. Meanwhile, I've got to clean up this mess.
Admiral Albert Calavicci stepped through the imaging chamber door and watched it close on his friend's holographic image.
Walking though the connecting hallway to the waiting room Al ran into Dr. of psychology and clinical psychiatry, Verbena Beeks. Al, looked at her and asked,
"Well, Dr. what's on Brenda's mind, have we got anything at all to work with?"
Admiral, she is a very bright, very funny, and very engaging woman. She's even managed to engage one of the Marine guards in friendly conversation. She is also deeply troubled, the victim of long-term physical and mental and emotional abuse. If it weren't for her sense of humor and her own inner strength, she would probably have been all but dead by now, reduced to the domestic drudge, that her monster husband wants her to be."
"Can I TALK to her, Dr.? Sam needs information and he needs it badly. There are things we need that just aren't in the public records."
"Oh, Yes, now, As I said she is a very strong and nimble minded individual. Now that she's over the initial shock she seems to have adjusted to being in the body of a man. She's also taken this place in stride I think she used to read a fair amount of science fiction before she was married."
"That's great Dr. Beeks, now if you'll pardon me," and Al walked into the waiting room where the body of his best friend sat on the bench with it's knees tucked up near its chest, not in fear, but in a very feminine posture of contemplation. When it saw him enter, it said, brightly,
"Hey, 'Christmas tree', what's say, I haven't seen anything that loud since Spike Jones and his City Slickers."
There were three kinds of abuse victims.
1) I deserve this; it is my lot in life
2) Why is this happening, won't someone help me?
3) Everything is great; I've got no problems at all.
Brenda Wisnewski was a category three.
Sam was just getting around to cleaning up the last of the mess from dinner and the beating when two faces, one male, one female peeked out of the hall and into the kitchen. A ten-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl. Sam wanted to check the kids for signs of physical abuse, but needed an excuse to get them to stand for it, then it came to him, He was their mother. Sam opened his arms and the two moppets ran into them, Then Sam checked the over by hand and found fresh bruises below collar lines and above wrist cuff lines. The Jerk was beating his kids as well.
"Chad, Sharon it's O.K. this is never going to happen again, not if I have anything to say about it."
Chad was not an imbecile and neither was his sister, clearly they took after their mother.
"You always say that, and then he hits us and yells at us again, and you."
"Yeah, I know, I know, but this time, even if he yells and screams we won't be around to see it. You'll see what I mean tomorrow morning, until then get to bed and try and get some sleep."
The worst part for Sam came three hours later when Sam had to sleep in the same bed with the very man that, earlier had beaten him into the linoleum. Fate or God or time or whatever force was leaping Sam around in time, was kind to him that night. All the man wanted to do was sleep, he didn't even look at or talk to his wife. That respite gave Sam time to think, time to figure out a workable plan for saving, Brenda's life, and her children's future.
In addition to all that, the man next to him snored loud enough to sound as if he was a B-17 bomber taking off.
Brenda Baker liked where she was, these folks were good eggs, the guy in the loud clothes kept leering at her, but she didn't mind that, not really, not after being married to Calvin. Her only worry was for Chad and Sharon, what was happening to them while she was in this strange faraway place?
Admiral Calavicci and Dr. Beeks both told her that she was here because a man named Dr. Samuel Beckett was in her life and her shoes, and he was there to fix a problem. Brenda hoped that Dr. Beckett would save her kids from her husband.
Admiral Calavicci, who kept insisting that, she call him "Al" said they had a theory about that.
Sam was there to get enough money, to allow Brenda to leave Calvin and take the children with her.
The Chuckle hut had an open mike contest and the grand prize was five hundred dollars and a guest shot on the Danny Thomas show.
The question was, could a quantum physicist be funny.
Brenda didn't know the answer to that, but she doubted it.
Not that Brenda would have entered that contest in the first place. Joking around in front of her kids and some of the other wives in the neighborhood was one thing, but being out there among the people was something else and the one time she tried it she thought she fainted and that was when she found herself here, laying on that weird table thingy in some guy's body.
The next morning Sam rose having not slept a wink the might before. Laying next to the monster that had beaten him the night before, sleep was a no go, luckily, as a genius and veteran researcher, Sam was no stranger to white nights and all night jags.
Sam sent Calvin off to work with a pancake breakfast and a sizable sack lunch, that seemed to please him as he left with a smile and told the person he thought was his wife,
"Now this is more like it, Brenda dear. See, you CAN be a good wife if you want to."
Then he left in the Studebaker he rode around in. They were obviously a two car family not because he was being nice, but because he did not want to be inconvenience by having to lend his car to his wife for errands.
When Calvin Baker left, Sam fed Chad and Sharon and was about to send them to school when Al materialized and informed him,
"No, no, Sam, it's summer vacation, they don't have to go anywhere."
"Al, what have you got, how is Brenda?"
Al tapped the handlink, then gave it a side slap and told Sam,
"Sam there's a 91 percent chance you're here to win the open mike Comedy contest and use the prize money to get away from the 'Bible monster' and get Chad and Sharon away from him. The first time around Brenda never had the self-confidence to get out there and do her material, so well that's why She never got out. That's why she was killed."
"Oh Great, Al, so I have to win an open mike contest, when I can't be funny. Al, you remember the last time I tried with those two comedians in Vegas in the fifties, it was a disaster."
"Oh, yeah, Sam, but that was a group act, this one's solo, that's a lot easier. Look, you don't even have to worry about material I can feed you stuff from Rosanne Arnold, Lisa Lampinnelli Paula Poundstone, you name it."
"And what happens when those comics try to come out, and those jokes have already been done, Al?
"Sam, that's the beauty of these small time clubs and lounge acts, Sam, nobody remembers the jokes, just that they were funny, so you can do what you want and no problem."
"No, Al, If I'm going to do Brenda's act, shouldn't I do BRENDA'S stuff?"
Al paced the room thinking and walked through an end table that to him wasn't really there, and then told Sam,
"O.K. well get Brenda to write you some stuff, and we'll put in on a teleprompter and I'll hold the teleprompter, how does that sound?"
"Where are you going to get a teleprompter, Al?"
"No sweat, Sam there's one lying around in the White Sands public affairs office; we can just grab it and use it."
"O.K., Al, you get that set up and I'll get Chad and Sharon out of here before Calvin Baker get's home."
"Great, Sam, Oh, your best bet for a place to stay is the cocktail waitress from the club last night her name is,"
Al prodded the handlink and cajoled the answer from it.
"Myrtle Tyler, She knows who Calvin is, she met him once, so She'll be sympathetic. Now go get everything packed up, Sam I' get Brenda to write us up some of her material"
Sam Nodded as Al opened the imaging chamber door and disappeared through it. When that happened Sam went into the master bedroom and started packing Brenda's belongings. That took less time than Sam thought it would as other than clothing and a few books and jewelry items, Brenda really didn't have all that much. Just a few keepsakes and mementos. Taking time to look at them, Sam got a picture of a younger girl that like to have fun and make other people laugh. Looking though the shoebox from the back of the closet, Sam found something else. A lock of blonde hate in a pastel blue ribbon a locket, that when opened showed a picture of the Cocktail waitress from the club. Sam also found a wispy blue neckerchief monogrammed with the initials M.T. in curlicue letters. These weren't thing a friend would give, there were keepsakes from a lover, or at least someone who was in love and the box was a lady's shoe box.
Sam packed it and all the rest of Brenda's belongings. Then helped the children pack their things, when they realized they were leaving, they were relieved. It was as if there was no real fatherly bond between Calvin and his children. Yet another question for Al the next time Sam saw the Retired rear Admiral.
With that, Dr. Sam Beckett piled the children into the 1954 Chevrolet nomad and peeled out of the driveway, speeding away from Calvin Baker's 'happy home'.