Bob McNeil, writer, editor, illustrator, and spoken word artist, is the author of Verses of Realness. Hal Sirowitz, a Queens Poet Laureate, called the book “A fantastic trip through the mind of a poet who doesn’t flinch at the truth.” Among Bob’s recent accomplishments, he found working on Lyrics of Mature Hearts to be a humbling experience because of the anthology’s talented contributors. Copies of that collection are available here:  

We at CACTI FUR are thrilled to present this new short short by Bob McNeil:

Yesterday Sired Tomorrow’s Ire

     Nothing on that autumn night was darker than the hatred of those lynchers in a Southern forest.  Red flames from torches illuminated the white robes of the 15 Klansmen.  Profanity at its bluest spewed from their lips.  
     “String that NAACP-lovin’ n--,” the leader screamed to his minions before being interrupted.
     “Please, I’m just a f-f-farmer with a f-f-family,” a bald middle-aged Black man in overalls cried.
      In compliance with the loud demand, two portly men tied a noose around the terrified male’s neck.  
     “That’ll stop you from thinkin’ that you’re equal to us,” a crowd member interjected.  
      Unexpectedly, for no understandable reason, a thunderous sound shook the ground, and a peculiar orange light appeared.  The glare, which had the vividness of the sun, irritated the eyes of all.  But that initial blare left the area right away, leaving a tenacious ringing sound in everybody’s ears.  
     Out of a tunnel-long fiery rift, a six-wheeled winged missile zoomed into view.  Judging from the silverish craft’s size at first glance, it could only accommodate a single traveler.  The Klansmen and their captor scanned the ship's nose down to its tailpipe in awe.     
     “What in the name of creation is that?” A scared Klansman asked as he walked away.    
     Silently the vehicle’s sole door opened and a muscular being in a Dargen-styled helmet, a lacquer-colored full-body Kevlar suit, and boots emerged. Almost coinciding with that fact, the flaming entrance receded into nothingness.    
      The foreboding invader quickly used its gloved hands to draw two weapons that looked like handgun-sized pulse rifles from a double shoulder holster. Lightning-jagged rays blasted from the pistols and vaporized the rope.  
     Feeling startled and thankful, the formerly bound man fell.
     “Send that spook to the other side,” the leader ordered while pulling out his own Smith and Wesson Model 19.
      Bullets from all the weapons the sheet-clad used did not even mar the being’s armor. Unaffected by the firepower, the foreboding phantom stood as still as a pillar.   
      Aghast, all of the robed terrorists ran like squirrels fleeing a cat.  
     “The name is Dash Morton.  Tell your friends down in Hades you met me,” the mysterious defender yelled.
     Even amid the enraged retreat, certain fearful people recognized the odd being’s moniker.          
     Not concerned with the lives of homicidal racists, Dash discharged his weapons again.  This time, though, he incinerated each supremacist as they screamed.  Where people and torches stood, fuming piles of embers remained. The wind, acting as efficiently as a broom, swept the cinders to unknown areas of the night. 
     The assassin, seconds after holstering his guns, removed his bullet-impervious headgear. Moonlight revealed a brown-skinned 20-something year old donning a high-top fade.            
     Dedicated to assisting some more, Dash walked over and helped an appreciative soul get off the ground. 
     “Oh, my, my blessed goodness, thank you kindly.  I-I-I don’t know what manner of angel you are, but my heart sure is grateful f-f-for your help,” the mature man said as he cried.
      Suddenly, Dash hugged the bewildered fellow.  Upon doing so, that ice-hard killer melted into an emotional tributary.  Right between weeping, a voice with all the warmth of freshly baked pie said, “Believe me, sir, I, too, am truly grateful.” 
     A couple of feelings vied for dominance in the older male’s mind.  All at the same moment, he felt gratitude for the person who saved his life.  But in stark contrast, revulsion made him remember how his new-found companion used anachronistic armament.   
     “It’s awful f-f-funny how your name is Dash.  Th-th-that’s my baby boy's nickname. I’m Leroy, Leroy Morton.”
     “I know, Dad, I know. Relax if you can.  I must explain that both time travel and that boy of yours at home have something in common.  They’re both infants.  Some smart individuals were not sure whether this trip would kill or correct the world and me.  On getting a chance to choose a past moment, I chose this night.  Now, this alternate universe will give us the loving relationship that another denied us.  This era won’t be the same for either of us from here on out.”     
     Leroy, on hearing those words had the expression of a fish on land.  Fear almost robbed him of air.  Had Dash spoke Bantu backwards it would have made the same amount of sense to the confused individual.  
      Cognizant of his father’s discomfort, Dash returned to his bizarre vehicle and said, “Go back to the house.  Mom and I are there.  A loving existence awaits us.” 
     And then that phantom from another era drove into a void of inferno-intense light.  Both the portal and the interdimensional liberator disappeared.  Standing there alone, Leroy realized that despite the strangeness of his life, the unexpected guest blessed him with more of it.


  1. The story has a very powerful and real message behind it. If scientists could use time travel to end racism, the outcome would be phenomenal. The civil rights leaders who lost their lives for our freedoms would be able to live the beautiful lives they deserved, and all humans could live in peace together. Wonderful story, written perfectly by one of my favorite authors.


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