Episode 74— Chapter 83
“Mr. Hodges from legal is looking for you. He says it’s urgent.”
The antennae raised on the doctor’s head and he hurried to his office two floors up and dialed the extension.
Only one thing could be urgent!
“Dr. Cantril here. I was told you called.”
“I guess you haven’t heard. Cobb was released by the Atlanta Braves yesterday. If you still want him committed, this may be your best chance. We know where he lives, but who knows how long he’ll be there.”
Dr. Cantril could hardly contain his glee. “That is excellent news! Do you have some people who can pick him up?”
“You bet, just waiting for the green light from you.”
“Let’s not lose a second.”
Cobb tossed and turned on the sofa in front of the television all night, before finally falling asleep just as the sun began to dawn. Hours later, the sound of the phone ringing woke him with a start.
“I’m calling from Dr. Sterling office. Is this Ty Cobb?”
“Good. I will connect you with the doctor.”
“Dr. Sterling speaking.” Cobb’s spirits soared as he recognized the voice of the man who could provide answers.
“Thank you for calling me back, Doctor.”
“Not at all, I invited you to call anytime. What can I do for you?”
“I can’t bear it here any longer, Doctor,” Cobb bared his soul and told the parapsychologist about his pain at being separated from his family, his friends and his world; he shared the enormous depression that was suffocating him. “I’ve got to get back, doctor. Now! I can’t spend another minute here. You said it might be possible…”
“It may be possible, but the pathway back is extremely complex and, even under the best of circumstances, highly unlikely. We’ve never been able to simulate time travel under laboratory conditions…”
Cobb interrupted, “But, how would I go about it, if it could be done?”
Dr. Sterling repeated factors he had mentioned on Coventry’s talk show, “…you may recall the importance of location and timing. You would need to return to the precise location where the time portal opened up. And you must be at that precise location on the precise day and time of the year when you first were transported forward—the earth must be located in the exact same place in its orbit around the sun.”
Cobb felt his disappointment, “Doctor, that was last November. I can’t wait that long.”
“Well, let me ask a question that may prove my point. You claim your last day in your old world was the latter part of November. What day and month did you arrive in the modern world?”
“According to hospital people, the accident occurred in the early morning hours of November 24th.”
“So, if you truly experienced time displacement… and I’m not suggesting you didn’t, you can see that the location of the earth in its orbit around the sun was the same place when you left your old world and arrived in the new…”
“I understand, but I can’t wait another five or six months,” Cobb pleaded in a pained voice.
“This is all theoretical, understand. But I caution you that if the conditions aren’t perfect, it’s extremely unlikely the portal will open up again.”
“What if I just return to the place where it happened?”
“You can try that, but I am very pessimistic that it will work. Do you remember the exact location where your world changed?”
Cobb reflected hard, trying to remember the details. “I remember going to my hotel room after a dinner and large gathering, late at night. The next reflection I have was of walking in the streets of an alien world…”
“Then, it likely happened in your hotel room. Do you remember the hotel?”
Cobb strained to remember, “I do.”
“And the room number. Do you remember which room you were in?”
Room number? Of course. It was “420″, the same as his batting average the season before.
“I do remember, doctor,” Cobb said with hope.
“Good. You must be at the precise location. Even a few feet variance may be too much. The upheaval or epicenter of the molecules—whenever in time it took place—must, in some inexplicable way, interact with your brain activity. At least that’s our theory. If you are not in the same exact spot, in your hotel room, you will miss the intersection of time and space. Most often, travelers claim it occurs during their sleep.”
“Yes, I believe that’s right, doctor…”
“So, even if the bed has been shifted to the other side of the room, you must return it to its original location to enhance your chances of success. Every detail must be identical, even something as minute as sleeping position. Make sure you are sleeping on the same side of the bed as before.” Cobb visualized the room, the bed, as best he could—the memory was vague, but he remembered entering the room late at night.
“So, the ideal conditions require you to be asleep and your dream state must exhibit intense brain activity, or so our theory goes. The rest is up to nature and laws of physics that we don’t yet comprehend. It’s still very much speculative, but that’s the best advice I can offer…”
“Thank you, doctor. I will try it.”
“But I caution you, to have the best chance of success, you should wait exactly one year from the time you were displaced… the same exact day as before, when the earth’s orbit is in the same precise location.”
“I can’t wait that long…”
“I understand. Well, good luck to you, Mr. Cobb. I truly hope you make it back.”
As she was driving home, Savannah heard the familiar ping on her cell phone, indicating a new text. She glanced down, surprised to see Coach Hughes’ name again. When she came to a stop light, she read the text: it contained Gil Garcia’s phone number.
Ten minutes later, Savannah entered her tenth-floor apartment, pulled back the blinds which revealed the St. Louis city lights at night. She changed into her pajamas and sat on the couch, her feet folded underneath.
As Savannah dialed the number, she felt her heart beating more rapidly than usual. Could there actually be any connection between Chase Ripley and Ty Cobb?
The phone rang several times and finally a voice answered.
“Hi, this is Savannah Cain from Sport Report. Is this Gil Garcia?”
“Yeah, that’s me.”
“Well, I was hoping you might have a few minutes to talk. Is now a good time?”
“Sure, why not.” Savannah detected a slight Hispanic accent.
“I understand that you were good friends with Chase Ripley.”
“I don’t know if anyone was really close to him, but yeah, we got along pretty well.”
“Have you talked with Chase since he left the team last fall,” Savannah realized that if he’d had any recent contact with Chase, that would immediately dispel any possible connection with Cobb.
“No, I haven’t heard from him in months.”
“When was the last time you saw him?”
“It was right after he left the team. Sometime last fall.”
“Did he say what he was planning on doing or where he was going?”
“No, only that he was glad to be rid of his old man and Ty Cobb. ‘Two for one’, he said.”
Savannah felt a jolt, hearing firsthand the reference to Cobb and Ripley.
“I heard Chase was a terrific player.”
“Oh, yeah! He was unbelievable. Best hitter I’ve ever seen. But, he hated baseball.”
“Hated? That’s a pretty strong word.”
“He told me that many times. It was his father’s dream, not his.”
“Coach Hughes mentioned the same thing. He also said something that got my interest. Apparently Chase told you that in his house, Ty Cobb was God! Do you remember him saying that?”
“More than once. He told me Ty Cobb ruled at home. His old man was constantly comparing him to Cobb. In fact, Chase told me he was supposed to ‘Hit like Cobb,’ ‘create havoc on the bases the way Cobb used to,’ ‘Be like Cobb.’ Chase told me he got sick and tired of hearing Cobb’s name all the time!”
“That sounds so strange,” Savannah spoke out loud what she was thinking to herself. “If anything, you’d think his father would have been asking his son to play like some of the modern day stars.”
“Not at his house. Cobb ruled there,” Garcia responded.
“I never saw Chase play. Did he really behave like Cobb, when he played?”
“I have no idea. I don’t know anything about Ty Cobb. But, I’ll tell you this… Chase was the complete package. Not only was he a great hitter and fielder, he was by far the fastest player on the team and an expert base stealer, to boot.”
“Wow!” Savannah expelled.
“You should have seen him play…”
“I wish I had. Do you happen to know where Chase lives? I’m planning on coming to Atlanta in the near future and I’d like to try and track him down.”
“Sure. I’ve been there a few times. It’s on my phone. Hold on.” Garcia gave the address.
“Thanks. By the way, did you ever meet Chase’s father?”
“Not really. I heard him ordering Chase around once, but he was already blind. He was really sick.”
“Was there anyone else close to Chase? A girlfriend, perhaps?”
“If he had one, he never mentioned her.”
“Well, thanks for your time. And, Gil, if you think of anyone else who might know where Chase is, I would really appreciate you getting back to me.”
“Sure, no problem. I have your number.”