Bank in Shawneetown, Illinois, built by state in 1839. Note water tank (for drinking water purposes) on sidewalk, left. From a collection of Depression-era photos made for the w:Farm Security Administration. Photographs show easternmost Illinois city on the Ohio River, an important port, banking, and salt producing center in early days. The river, formerly the greatest source of wealth, in January, 1937, completely inundated the cup-like site of the town, resulting in the present devastation. Paddle-wheelers, ferry, levee and flood gauge. Mayor and committee members with petitions to move the town. Buildings of historic interest. Main street, residential section. This image is a work of an employee of the United States Farm Security Administration or Office of War Information domestic photographic units, taken as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain in the United States. Posted by Zeamays.
Interview with Simon Worthy
The Events of Reality 251
Given my extensive knowledge of Dexter Vann’s journal entries and other materials connected with the Chrono Files, I feel I can provide some insight into the motives and feelings of him and his brothers and sisters. This may all be speculative, but I wager you will be unable to prove me wrong.
Dexter doesn’t want to be in the Timeflow. He’s not interested in the Timeflow. He wants to finish college, get a job, and start a new life. He doesn’t want to go on a family outing. He’s sick of the family. He feels they’re only in the way. They’re holding him back.
Dexter’s tired of living in his brothers’ shadows. He’s tired of being judged by his family. He wants to be free and living his own life on his own terms without a bunch of family baggage always following him around.
He had to live at home the first year of college, and he hated it. He feels like it prevented him from having a social life. He feels his family is holding him back. He wants to start a new life without them.
Dexter likes and admires his brothers and sisters. He cares about them. But enough is enough. There are other people in the world, and he wants to be one of them.
He thinks he should be more curious about Fourth Dimensional science, but he doesn’t want to get side-tracked. He wants to finish his studies, not start up a whole new field. He doesn’t want to delay his graduation. Graduation is synonymous in his life with finally living. He doesn’t want to delay his graduation. His whole focus is on finishing now. He’s interviewing for jobs and waiting on applications. He has classes to finish up. He doesn’t need anything else on his plate right now.
Cooper has made trips into the Past in order to study Wilderness and pose as a refugee from there. He is not getting along well with his Alternate’s girlfriend from Wilderness—he doesn’t even know her. She isn’t coming into the Timeflow, so Cooper hasn’t bothered to try to sort things out with her.
Cooper is trying to create a deep cover as a Newcomer from Wilderness. He’s supposed to be dead. No one knows he has no Alternate Self in Wilderness because he’s still alive.
He likes Wilderness, and he likes his new recruits. He misses being around family from being without them so long when he first entered the Timeflow.
Amanda is preoccupied with her job at the bank. She’s been steadily moving up the corporate ladder and now is in line for a Vice Presidency. She loves her kids and losing interest in her brothers and sisters. Her career is priority #1, her kids #2. Her original family isn’t even #3, though her motivations and issues stem from deep-set sibling conflicts and rivalries. Her ambition is till rooted in a desire to compete against and come out on top of Amos.
She now knows about Time Machines, but they are unimportant to her. An entertaining triviality. Amos’s thing, not hers. Unconnected to her career. She doesn’t want to serve Amos’s agenda. She has an agenda of her own. She needs to slay her own dragons. Then she can lord it over the family. She is mid-struggle, nearing the end but not at the end. Dealing with the family now is premature. She wants to confront them as a victor, but she is not entirely victorious yet.
Amos’s time machine is a distraction from her carefully constructed battle plan for advancement at the bank. Her sibling rivalry conflicts have been put on hold while she deals with career issues and her own family.
She’s not in command, so these family outings have little appeal or significance to her. They are too much under Amos’s control for her to try to assume control herself, so she doesn’t try. She wants these outings to be over so she can go back to her more significant life, where she does have control. She is a control freak. Still jealous of Amos and Barlow and Belinda but still dismissive of her youngest siblings. Cooper is the exception for her.
Barlow is having fun with the Time Machine, but he also feeling cut off from his Karma. He hasn’t identified the problem yet—doesn’t understand it as a problem yet. The problem goes away while he’s in the Safe House, and he lets himself have fun. It’s an escape for him. The problems come afterwards. It is only later that he links his problems to the Time Traveling.
He is feeling awkward and anxious around Belinda.
Belinda is the unappreciated, unrealized member of the family. She is the one who has not been recognized for anything. Amos, Amanda, Barlow and Cooper have made a place for themselves in the world. They are admired and self-supporting. But not her. She’s left college but is still working temporary jobs. She has her art but no one is interested in it.
Belinda has a boyfriend, Jack, but he’s more of a friend than a boyfriend. She wants to be a part of the family, but she also wants to be on her own. She goes when Amos asks her because she respects him. He has always treated her with respect. He has always cared, always had time for her.
Barlow avoids her now. Amanda has no time for her. She has no respect for Cooper. Dexter is too busy, too much involved in his education. The same with Zeke. Cartmell is too young to understand. She feels alone in the family. But Belinda is still closest to her.
The Timeflow at first has no appeal to Belinda, but its appeal steadily grows. She sees a way the Timeflow can help her. She sees a place for herself there. She can finally advance, finally do what she wants. She’s no longer a slave to her circumstances.
Zeke has already planned his entrance point to the Brotherhood Lodge. He’s aware of the side gate, but he considers that “Dexter’s entrance.” He wants his own special entrance. When he pops up across the street, he’s checking to see how much of the family has arrived so far. He doesn’t want to make his entrance until there are enough family members present to appreciate his showing off. He particularly wants to wait until Barlow’s there because he knows Barlow will play into Zeke’s game. And he wants Dexter there to irritate him. He knows Dexter is jealous of how smart he it, so he likes to rub it in.
He doesn’t feel he has to show off in front of Cartmell, partly because she’s younger than him, and he knows Amos will be the last to arrive, so there’s no use waiting for those two to show up. And there’s no telling when Cooper and Belinda will get there, either, if they arrive at all. So he doesn’t want to wait on them.
He’s right under the steps when Barlow arrives, but he waits until Barlow’s on the porch to make his appearance. He wants everyone to notice. He’s showing off.
He knows none of the rest of the family will use a subterranean route. They’re too stubborn. They’ll come right up the walk. They’re predictable. They won’t be afraid of the gangers—they’re no obstacle. The gangers should be afraid of them.
Zeke notices the gang, notices the knives. Cooper’s the only one Zeke’s worried about because Cooper is the only one who will take dangerous risks. Every other family member is practically guaranteed safe passage—but Cooper won’t play it safe.
When Amos shoots down the Bystanders, Zeke is not as appalled as the rest of the family. He knows Amos has a good reason for doing what he’s doing. Zeke is envious of what a great theatrical entrance Amos makes.
Zeke doesn’t let himself be surprised by Belinda—but he’s impressed by her masquerade. He knows she too is showing off, but he’s not jealous because she’s not showing off her intelligence. She’s saying, “I can fit in—and you can’t.” The same thing with Barlow. Zeke understands that Cartmell is trying to mask her intelligence and only show off how popular she is.
Cartmell gets out of school to go to the Brotherhood Lodge. She catches a bus up near Big Lake to take her downtown and switches to the Westwood bus. She makes friends on the bus, but Dexter can’t see them from the Lodge.
The reason Cartmell’s wearing her lucky shoes is because she’s afraid of going into a haunted house. Zeke has told her that there’s nothing to worry about, that Amos wouldn’t invite her if there were any actual dangers, but she still isn’t completely convinced. She’s heard too many stories to discount them all.
Part of the reason Cartmell hangs out with the gangers when she arrives is to avoid going to the house. But them being so scared of it helps bolster her courage. By the time she gets into the house, she’s having such a good time and is so happy about missing school that she forgets to be afraid. But once she sees the monks, she moves behind Barlow. She gets over her fear of the Lodge, however, by Reality 252.
Interview with Dexter Vann
The Events of Reality 252
Q: How did you feel about your second ride in a Time Machine?
It was even more fun than the first -- for all of us, except Amos, of course. It didn't seem at all fun for him.
Q: What did the rest of the family think about it?
They all had a good time. I couldn't understand what was holding Amos back. He says these Time Changes don't usually go back more than a few years. The last one dated back only a few weeks. Of course, we don't want to lose our memories of the last few months or years, but I can't understand letting the fear of that spoil your day. But Amos was really somber. You could tell he doesn't like the Changes.
Q: What went on after your journal entry ended?
Amos handed out Membership cards to all of us and Beepers to alert us to the next coming Change in Time. He's really serious about this. To us, it's just a good time. I realize the importance of keeping my memory intact, of course. I'd hate to lose that. And I also see the danger of people messing with the Past however they want to. But I also see the value in relaxing and having a good time and not letting some jerk spoil it for you. But Amos seems to get so stressed out about these Changes, even though he admits the last two have been mild.
He seems different than he was the last time I saw him, back before he called us to come to the Lodge the first time. A different hairstyle, different clothes. He doesn't carry himself the same way he used to. Like he's gone through some transformation or a near-death experience or something that's suddenly sobered him up and made him deadly serious.
Q: Does everyone else agree with you?
I don't think the rest of the family has really noticed the difference. They were having too much fun to pay attention to the one person not having fun. Jackson and Jessalyn played with Cartmell. Barlow played with Belinda. Cooper had fun with Amanda. Zeke and Pete had some hilarious conversation that I couldn't overhear. I had fun too, but seeing Amos so somber and solitary affected me, made me wonder what was going on. Well, maybe I'll find out next time.
Interview with Simon Worthy
The Events of Reality 252
Consciously, Dexter is elated about his trips in the Safe House, but unconsciously, it has disturbed him. The implications of what has happened are starting to register with him subconsciously.
Part of the reason Dexter is the first to feel apprehensive is because he's the only one who got sick during their first trip. He didn't enjoy it as much as everyone else, because of the nausea and embarrassment. And now he's feeling that maybe his getting sick is what caused Brian not to show up for a second ride. Because getting sick like that is so uncool.
Despite the fact that Dexter took drugs the second time so he wouldn't get sick, he was still apprehensive, afraid he'd embarrass himself again and spoil the trip for everyone else. This apprehensiveness tempered his joviality during the second trip and made him more objective. He noticed Amos's dejection. He gave some thought to the implications of Time Travel.
Amos said that only very rarely do Changes go back 20 years or more, but Dexter reflects that 20 years is his entire life. A Change 20 years back in Time could alter his entire life, and that scares him.
NED HUSTON'S CHRONOVERSE