Type ShortStory
Date 1951-01
Tags science fiction, time travel, racism

Dark Interlude

A man from the future, Jan Obreen, a student, travels back in time to the twentieth century, to learn about the past. Once there, he meets a girl, Susan Allenby--falls in love--marries her. He tells her about his origins, and when the girl's brother, Lou, returns home, Jan tells him the story as well. Lou is skeptical, but, seeing that his sister is happy, they plan to have Jan work with them on the farm for a while, until he can get on his feet.

Interspersed with the story itself is a scene of Lou telling the sheriff about it--because it seems a crime has been committed. But why? All is going well enough, until, discussing the future, they get to the topic of race:

"He said that by his time--starting after the war of something-or-other, I forget its name--all the races had blended into one. That the whites and the yellows had mostly killed one another off and that Africa had dominated the world for a while, and then all the races had begun to blend into one by colonization and intermarriage and that by his time the process was complete. I just stared at him and asked him, 'You mean you got nigger blood in you?' and he said, just like it didn't mean anything, 'At least one-fourth.'"

"Well, boy, you did just what you had to do," the sheriff told him earnestly, "no doubt about it."

"I just saw red. He'd married Sis; he was sleeping with her. I was so crazy-mad I don't even remember getting my gun."

"Well, don't worry about it, boy. You did right."

"But I feel like hell about it. He didn't know.''

"Now that's a matter of opinion, boy. Maybe you swallowed a little too much of this hogwash. Coming from the future--huh! These niggers'll think up the damnedest tricks to pass themself off as white. What kind of proof for his story is that mark on the ground? Hogwash, boy. Ain't nobody coming from the future or going there neither. We can just quiet this up so it won't never be heard of nowhere. It'll be like it never happened."

Name Role
Fredric Brown Author
Mack Reynolds Author

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