A while ago the tech guy on Shortbread Stories referred to “Deleting Historical Events” I loved the term and this was the result.
I love my computer; the hours and hours we spend together. Locked in the semi-darkness of the office, everyone else in bed, while the fire ticks and spits as the logs reduce to glowing dust.
I have checked my e-mails, updated my website and transferred some money into my savings account. I’m not ready for bed, my mind is still buzzing, too much mental stimulation. Another brandy will be one too many and I don’t want herbal tea.
I open Wiki. Type in Kennedy. I don’t know why, it just happens, my fingers make the decisions. They do the tap dance while my mind watches in mild amusement. Up it comes; pages and pages of information. Kennedy as a surname, the Kennedy clan, the Kennedy Space Centre and of course John F Kennedy: 35th President of the United States.
I am of the generation who remember, I remember exactly. I was sitting at the dining table doing my maths homework. The news bulletin interrupted the usual broadcast.
“There is a report coming in from America that President Kennedy has been shot. We will bring you more news as we have it,” or words to that effect. The world stopped for a moment, we all looked at each other blankly, my parents and I.
“It’ll be a hoax, it always is.” That was my dad.
This was before instant news, so we waited. We didn’t wait long. The rest of the night’s viewing was a woman playing sad music on a grand piano. Yes I remember. I remember the horrible empty feeling, someone young and handsome with a glamorous wife, little children. Oh dear.
The devil is on my shoulder. I know, yes I know I shouldn’t do it but I do. I am a member and have entered bits of information in the past but always with care and diffidence but tonight, tonight I have madness in me. I go to my Userpage. I tell myself there is no way this will get through. Anyway it’s only a bit of fun. My fingers write the article.
“John Fitzgerald Kennedy: 35th President of the United States narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in Dallas, Texas.
The president was travelling in a motorcade through the city streets with the First Lady on November 22nd 1963. A shot was fired from the Texas School Book Depository and officers on the scene quickly surrounded the building. The body of a male who was later identified as Lee Harvey Oswald, an employee of the Book Depository, was found alongside an upstairs window his dead fingers were clutching a high calibre rifle. At post-mortem it was discovered that Oswald had suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage which was probably brought on by the high level of stress. A mass was held shortly after the incident to give thanks for the safety of the President and First Lady.
It was later found that Oswald was acting on his own and that he had an obsession with Jacqueline Kennedy. He had been known to tell friends that she should have married him. His rooms were full of pictures and memorabilia of her life from her childhood to the day of his death.
I realise that this will probably mean that I will never be able to post on Wiki again but as I said madness has taken me or maybe it’s just the juice of the grape. My fingers press the send button. Immediately I regret it but it’s too late. It’s gone.
Shit! Why did I do that?
Oh well, no real harm done the Editors will censor it immediately, and I can convince them that I was writing fiction and submitted in error. The fire has cooled and tiredness has overcome the madness. I turn off and go to bed…
The clock alarm is a nasty intrusion but flips quickly to the news bulletin as I struggle to open my eyes.
“Good Morning. This is BBC News on Monday 6th June 2011. This is Alex Salmon. It has been announced in the last few minutes that John F Kennedy, former president of the United States, who served two terms in the early sixties has died today aged ninety-four. President Kennedy will be mainly remembered as the driving force behind the Lunar Exploration missions and it is generally accepted that had it not been for his personal drive and enthusiasm, colonisation of the moon would never have been possible.”
A cold chill spreads through me, I can’t breath. I open my eyes to a strange room. This is my home but not my home there are subtle differences. The photographs on the bedside cabinet are still there but they are altered. I pick them up one by one. My husband and myself at our wedding. The baby ones, school ones. The children’s graduation they are all slightly askew, the gowns are different colours and my son looks different. I shake my head, bad idea. I must leave the brandy alone.
The flat screen television inexplicably glows into life and there is the huge image of my boy. The background is strange, darkness surrounds him.
“Hi Mum, hope I didn’t wake you. I thought I’d give you a quick call before I go to work. We are outside today so you won’t be able to Skype me. Are you okay?”
“Simon, where are you?”
“What? How do you mean where am I? I’m at work,” he laughs.
“Yes, but where are you?”
“Mum, have you been on the sauce again?! I’m at work – Lunar Module three. I’m outside today. Kitty and the kids send their love. We’re looking forward to seeing you next week. Cape Canaveral approved our leave. Have some steaks ready for a barbecue. Got to go, see you next week. Bye”
Oh my God, what have I done?