Here we have another visitation from our dear companion Kitty Wang, everyone’s favorite time refugee. A publication in the UK was having an issue on “Foreign Travel”, or “Traveling Abroad” or something along those lines. A friend of a friend asked me to write something so I did. At 400 plus words it was declared too long, so I cut it to 299 words overnight and resubmitted. I was assured they said of being “long listed”. Little did I know that apparently in the UK “long list” is about the same as “shit list” is over here. So here is my shit listed piece, in it’s full length wide screen version complete with all the charming details and clever asides. My friend got long listed too.
The Way Back Home
The problem never seemed to be where you were going, it was more about where you were coming from. Having to establishing a plausible place of departure. Kitty Wang was well accomplished at navigating customs with their baby-steps of logic. Normally she kept a portfolio of travel documents that would be useful in any situation, but this time she had been caught off guard. Kitty is one of those rare people afflicted with “Billy Pilgrim’s Disease”, a condition where sufferers become “unstuck in time”. Without warning she could be swept away to absolutely anywhere, future, past, or “other”, her name for alternate universes. Most recently she had been swept into a remote portion of the Austro Hungarian Empire, charming enough of course, but not new to Kitty who was intent on getting back home. Choosing where to get back into our worlds travel document system is key. Letters of transit and safe passage from a long dead Duke are of no use.
Kitty had often slipped back in at Carnival, where ever it might be. Any small country whose economy depends on tourism is forgiving of paper work problems which can be overlooked. Kitty often plays the part of a circus performer and promise the examiner free tickets. Other reentry scenarios involved being an airship captain attending a UK Steampunk festival, or shouting incomprehensible slogans to all questions regarding her attendance to a World Cup match. This time getting back might be harder. She didn’t have any of her “good” passports with her. Her worse case back up passport was a long out of date, tattered, and pre-digital. At least the photo in this one was Kitty, but there were so many conflicting dates from the future and distant past along with validations from places that don’t exist yet. It would have to do.
The single engine propeller airplane taxied close to the only building near the unpaved landing strip. It was a small one story concrete block combination laundromat, convenience store, bus station, and customs house. Inside the lone
government representative, an older gentleman with a badge pinned to his sleeveless mess shirt, flipped pages trying to make chronological sense of things. Finally Kitty said “I’m sorry, you can see how difficult this is.
The passport was actually my grandmother’s. She was a powerful witch, and I use it in her memory”. With eyebrows up, and rubber stamp down, he called out “Next”!