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An experimental aviator and a cryogenicist is flying over Siberia when forced to land when they find the body of a caveman frozen into a newly uncovered glacier wall – Jimber-Jaw awakens to find his world has changed and it is now the twentieth century!
30 pages, with a reading time of ~0.5 hours (7,520 words), and first published in 1937. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, 2015.
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Credit story to Wild Pat Morgan, that laughing, reckless, black-haired grandson of Ireland’s peat bogs. To Pat Morgan, one-time flying lieutenant of the AEF, ex-inventor, amateur boxer, and drinking companion par excellence.
I met Pat Morgan at the country club bar, one of those casual things. After the third highball we were calling each other by our first names. By the sixth we had dragged the family skeletons out of the closet and were shaking the dust off them. A little later we were weeping on one another’s shoulders, and that’s how it began.
We got pretty well acquainted that evening, and afterwards our friendship grew. We saw a lot of each other when he brought his ship to the airport where I kept mine. His wife was dead, and he was a rather lonely figure evenings; so I used to have him up to the house for dinner often.
He had been rather young when the war broke out, but had managed to get to France and the front just before the end. I think he shot down three enemy planes, although he was just a kid. I had that from another flyer; Pat never talked about it. But he was full of flying anecdotes about other war-time pilots and about his own stunting experiences in the movies. He had followed this latter profession for several years.
All of which has nothing to do with the real story other than to explain how I became well enough acquainted with Pat Morgan to be on hand when he told the strange tale of his flight to Russia, of the scientist who mastered Time, of the man from 50,000 B.C. called Jimber-Jaw.
We were lunching together at The Vendome that day. I had been waiting for Pat at the bar, discussing with some others the disappearance of Stone, the wrestler. Everyone is familiar, of course, with Stone’s meteoric rise to fame as an athlete and a high-salaried star in the movies, and his vanishing had become a minor ten-days’ wonder. We were trying to decide if Stone had been kidnapped, whether the ransom letters received were the work of cranks, when Pat Morgan came in with the extra edition of the Herald and Express that the newsboys were hawking in the streets.
I followed Pat to our table and he spread the paper out. A glaring headline gave the meat of the story.
“So they’ve found him!” I exclaimed.
Pat Morgan nodded. “The police had me in on it. I’ve just come from Headquarters.” He shrugged, frowned, and then began to talk slowly:
I’ve always been inclined to putter around with inventions (Pat Morgan said), and after my wife died I tried to forget my loneliness by centering my interest on my laboratory work. It was a poor substitute for the companionship I had lost, but at that I guess it proved my salvation.
I was working on a new fuel which was much cheaper and less bulky than gasoline; but I found that it required radical changes in engine design, and I lacked the capital to put my blueprints into metal.
About this time my grandfather died and left me a considerable fortune. Quite a slice of it went into experimental engines before I finally perfected one. It was a honey.
I built a ship and installed my engine in it; then I tried to sell the patents on both engine and fuel to the Government–but something happened. When I reached a certain point in these official negotiations I ran into an invisible stone wall–I was stopped dead. I couldn’t even get a permit to manufacture my engine.
I never did find out who or what stopped me, but I remembered the case of the Doble steam car. Perhaps you will recall that, also.
Then I got sore and commenced to play around with the Russians. The war-winds were already beginning to blow again in Europe, and the comrades of the Soviet were decidedly interested in new aircraft developments. They had money to burn, and their representatives had a way with them that soothed the injured ego of a despondent inventor. They finally made me a splendid offer to take my plans and formulae to Moscow and manufacture engines and fuel for them. In addition, as a publicity and propaganda stunt, they offered a whacking bonus if I would put my new developments to the test by flying there.
I jumped at this chance to make monkeys out of those bureaucratic boneheads in Washington. I’d show those guys what they were missing.
During the course of these negotiations I met Dr. Stade who was also flirting with the brethren of the U.S.S.R. Professor Marvin Stade, to give him his full name and title, and he was quite a guy. A big fellow, built like an ox, with a choleric temper and the most biting pair of blue eyes I’ve ever gazed upon. You must have read in the papers about Stade’s experiments with frozen dogs and monkeys. He used to freeze them up solid for days and weeks, and then thaw them out and bring them alive again. He had also been conducting some unique studies in surgical hypnosis, and otherwise stepping on the toes of the constituted medical poobahs.