Reilly, I Hardly Know You
By: Walter Giersbach

School had been a bummer. Moron guys hitting on me. Couldn't wait to get on the bus and go home. I checked my mail during the 15-minute drive and brushed off more morons. But there was a call coming in.

"Glinda, It's Reilly. I found you at last!" Another joker. Normally, I'd just cut the call, but I answered, "Was I lost? Get off the line." I cut the link, but a minute later the phone rang again.

"Wait, Glinda," the guy shouted, "I've been looking for you for days. Where are you? When you walked out of that place on Delancey last week I thought the plague had gotten you."

"I don't know what Delancey is, you creep! And there's no plague."

"Delancey Street at Second Avenue. The Horse's Nose Pub. New York City."

"Never been there. My folks don't let me go to the city because there's too many creeps. And I'm too young to get served in a bar, wiseguy!"

"Wait, Glinda!" This guy was whining now! "You're 26 years old and you have marvelous auburn hair and blue eyes that twinkle and I dried your tears the night we saw that Italian film. You're Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. Your Mom named you for that character in Wizard of Oz…"

"Idiot, I'm 16 and a senior in high school. I live in New Jersey and you're a dirty old man who called the wrong number." Well, guys do say my eyes are my best feature.

The school bus was pulling to a stop at my street. I clutched the phone to my ear like a life preserver and grabbed my books. I stopped on the sidewalk. How the heck did he know Mom named me for the Good Witch?

"Who are you?" I shouted.

"Reilly Callahan. We live next door to each other on East Sixth Street. I edit the shopper news for the East Village. And right now, I'm in a doorway waiting for the rain to stop before…."

"Rain? Idiot! It's like 85 degrees and sunny." Then I paused. "Reilly? How'd you know stuff about me? I've never seen you before."

"Glinda, you have! We've been going together for months. Making wedding plans. A weekend in New England to see your mom where she's living now with your aunt."

"No! Mom and Dad live with me in Jersey!"

"Since your Dad passed away…."

"Shut the hell up! Dad's not dead! He's coming home for dinner. I'll see him tonight." I cut the connection, and then the phone rang again.

"Glinda, this is your number, right? I don't recognize it, but I dialed an old number that I found in the desk at your apartment, and it connects." There was a long pause. Scary long. Then, "Glinda, you're 16? What's the date?"

"Idiot! It's Thursday, May 14., 2020"

Another long pause while I stared at the dumb phone. "No," Reilly said, "it's December 18. The year is 2030." The last came out in a whisper. "Glinda…I'm calling you from ten years in the future."

I needed to go inside and lie down.

"Glinda, listen carefully. My frantic calling, … I think you're ten years in the past. Kurt Vonnegut, that writer, he called it a chronosynclastic infundibululum. From a book I read. The Sirens of Titan."

Now this guy had my attention. "So…you know me?"

"You're my neighbor. My fiancée. You're an advertising agent, fashion clients and stuff. A successful young exec."

"You are…you are in my future? You know all this about me? And what's this about being engaged?"

"Glinda," he said very low and serious, "This call is our only connection, across ten years of time. Promise you'll meet me at the Horse's Nose Café on Delancey. Tomorrow!"

"Tomorrow? I have school!"

"Tomorrow, ten years from now. When you're 26, December 19th, 2030. If I hang up, I may never hear from you again. Please!"

"Reilly, you know, you sound like a really nice guy. I can tell from your voice. My Mom's calling now and I gotta go."

"Glinda, please promise! December 19th, 2030!"

"Okay, I wrote it down. You say we're going to be married? Wow! I'm looking forward to meeting you."

"I'll try calling you. Every day in spite of the walking dead. Everything west of the Hudson River is blockaded by the Army to keep the epidemic away. There's no cure for the plague. And before we meet, remember to carry your dart gun. Use it if you see someone frothing at the mouth. In fact,…. if we can't speak to each other before we meet, know that I'll never stop loving you."

"Reilly!" The line went dead, and I broke into tears as I stumbled into my house.

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