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A Ticket to the Past
I was mortified by what just happened. I’d just watched a tween girl hold a baseball card and vanish in a flash of blue light.
Skye walked in with a big grin on her face. She slapped me hard on the back.
“You made our host disappear. Great job!”
Seconds later, a very excited Billy reappeared. “I just turned a double play! We won the Series!”
I stood aghast. “But the Dodgers won the 1955 World Series…”
I double-checked my phone. That’s not what Wikipedia said. The Yankees won in 7 games. Phil Rizzuto was the MVP, hitting 7 home runs in the series. That simply wasn’t right.
“How would you even know a thing like that?” Skye asked.
Billy grinned. “I hit those home runs.”
“OK I’m confused,” Skye said with her typical blank expression.
“You see, gals, I was Phil Rizzuto!”
“But you were gone, what, thirty seconds?”
“That’s what the card does! It takes you back to that season and you imagine the scenario you want to be in.”
“Wait, you actually change the outcome?” I asked.
“Oh, it’s all in good fun! It’s just a fantasy!”
Billy had no idea what she was doing.
“You realize that Phil Rizzuto never hit 7 home runs in a world series.”
“He did now,” Billy chuckled. “Man, I’m getting good at this!”
The 11-year-old had no idea what she’d done. She actually changed history.
“You realize you’re actually changing real life, right?” I asked her.
“So what, it’s only a game!”
“Baseball may only be a game,” I said. “But it affects a lot more than you’d think. If these cards really do what you say they do, and there are more of them…”
“There are!” she yelled excitedly.
I let out a heavy sigh. “Well, please, stop using them.”
Skye’s usually blank expression became one of wonder. “So these cards, they actually take you back in time and put you in the shoes of the player?”
“Yeah, exactly,” Billy said. She turned to me, “I thought you’d appreciate it,uh, what’s your name again?”
“Sorry, we never introduced ourselves,” I realized. “I’m Phoenix and this is Skye.”
“Phoenix, you seem like you love the game of baseball. Why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to put yourself in your favorite player’s shoes?”
“Because it’s DANGEROUS!” I insisted.
Skye interrupted. “Can you bring stuff back with you?”
“SKYE!” I screamed.
“Really, though,” Skye continued undeterred. “Can you bring something back, like a signed baseball or something?”
“Hmm, never tried,” Billy said, clutching the baseball card as if it were the only thing keeping her alive. “But why does that even matter? You get to play the game as it used to be played! That’s reward enough.”
“It would be if it didn’t actually change real history!” I continued to argue. “Yeah, baseball is just a game, but it’s extremely dangerous to change the course of any past events. You have no idea what might happen by changing the tiniest thing. You know, the butterfly effect?”
“I’m 11, I don’t know these things,” Billy said, wide-eyed.
“How much you want for the whole lot?” Skye asked.
“All the cards or just the time travelin’ ones?” Billy wondered.
“Just the time travelin’ ones. Unless it’s a better deal to take the whole lot.”
“There’s hundreds of thousands of dollars of cards here. But I’ll never be able to sort through them all before Nanny tosses ‘em.”
“Gimme a number,” Skye insisted.
I shook my head. Those enchanted cards needed to be destroyed. At least, that’s how I felt at the time. I didn’t have the imagination necessary to foresee what SKye intended to do with them.
“Twenty-five grand,” Billy insisted. “I’ll take no less.”
Of course, Skye and I didn’t have anywhere close to that. We had 30 bucks, plus our rainy day fund which had maybe 200 in it. But we needed that fund for absolute emergencies like last minute repairs to our car or other unforeseen expenses. We didn’t have anywhere close to making her an offer.
“How much just for the Rizzuto?” I asked.
“But… it’s my favorite.”
“You’ve done enough damage with it,” I said. “Thirty bucks?”
“But… but…” Billy was becoming extremely upset. But she needed to understand how absolutely dangerous these cards are.
“How ‘bout this,” Skye offered. “We give you thirty now, and we’ll sign somethin’ saying we’ll give you thirty grand for the whole lot by the end of next week.”
My eyes almost popped out of my head.
Billy’s eyes almost did too. “DEAL!” she screamed, handing over the Rizzuto card. She jumped up and down. “Now I can save them without worryin’ about Nanny throwin’ em all out! Yay!”
Skye is always quite the deal maker. But that promise was nigh near unattainable.
Until Skye signed a quick note with that promise, handed it to Nanny and we were in the car driving away, and she let me know her plan.
“So no we’re not in the sport collectin’ biz,” Skye said. “But if we get 1955 stuff, we be makin’ bank!”
“But you don’t even know if we can actually bring things back!”
“But we CAN make money by CHANGING history.”
“It’s only baseball. And thirty grand for that many old cards? Even I KNOW that’s a good deal. Even our most skeptical buyers will pay big bucks for that crap.”
Skye was right, as long as we could have someone front the money.