A second fragment of fiction

“This is my boomstick,” yelled Bob.

The villagers looked at him incredulously and returned to their business, if perhaps a bit more slowly. Bob cycled the bolt on his rifle, which made a satisfying thunk as it fed a cartridge into the chamber.

The villagers continued going about their business with nothing more than a few wary looks, but the apparent tranquility was swiftly broken as Bob raised the rifle to near-vertical and fired a shot into the air. With the loud report, several villagers ran from the square; others stopped what they were doing and dropped behind cover.

However, one tall woman simply turned towards Bob and said, “That wasn’t funny.”

“Well, at least it got someone’s attention.” Bob returned the rifle to a relaxed carry. “I take it you know what this is?”

“Yeah, and ‘Boob Stick’ was only funny when Bruce Campbell said it.”

Bob looked at her for a moment. “Whoever you are, you’ve sure gone native. How long have you’ve been here?”

“Put that away and we’ll talk.”

Bob removed the clip, then opened the bolt and slung the rifle on his back. “This good enough?”

“For now, yes,” she said, nodding. She gestured with her hands for the villagers to get up, then spoke briefly in their language. They slowly began to get up and resume what they were doing.

“Seems like you’re American too,” she said, “and recently arrived from your behavior.”

He nodded. “Mind answering how long you’ve been here?”

“Nine years. It was 1997 back when I appeared here. Is it 2006 over there?”

Bob shook his head. “Twenty-twelve. Does that mean time passes quicker here than there?”

She muttered something under her breath, then replied, “I don’t know. You’re the first person I’ve met who might have been from the same Earth, or at least one close enough to get a recent movie reference. Some of the others have had calendars which were just … different … or come from the 1500s.” She shook her head. “So I don’t know; maybe your Earth was always six years ahead of mine.”

“Fair enough.” Bob sighed, loudly, and extended his hand. “My name’s Bob.”

“For now, you can call me Alice.”

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