I Met A Time Traveler In A Taxi (The Mysterious Rudolph Fentz)


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In June of 1951, passers by on Wall Street in New York City, took notice of a young man who appeared confused. Dressed in the fashion of a business man, from the previous century, Rudolph Fentz stood trembling but frozen to the spot, in the middle of an intersection. A brush with a taxi cab laid him low, an accident which would lead to the discovery, of several pieces of evidence, which some now claim to be proof, of the existence of time travel.

The young man had a full beard, and the kind of mutton-chop sideburns, that had gone out of style ages ago. He was taken by ambulance to Downtown Hospital in Manhattan. Unfortunately, this was a decade, before US hospitals would have intensive care units. This man passed away peacefully, before he ever regained consciousness. Then it became the officical duty of the NYPD, to identify him... a case assigned to Captain Hubert Rihm, of Missing Persons. There was the name of a tailor, in the neck of the victim's suit coat, a tailor on Broadway, of which no one had ever heard... another label inside his silk tophat, from a hat store that went out of business, at about the turn of the century... and the following items, which were found in his pockets.

A wellworn bronze medal, for coming in third place in a shooting contest. A copper token good for one beer, marked also with a value of 5 cents. It bore the name of a saloon which was unknown, even to older residents of the area. A receipt for the washing of a carriage, and for the feeding and grooming of one horse... issued by a livery stable, on Lexington Avenue in New York, at an address where now stood, a highrise office building. A few of indian head pennies, and seven dollars in paper currency, of which the newest banknote was dated 1875. Business cards which revealed the man's name, Rudolph Fentz, as well as his Fifth Avenue address... and finally a letter, postmarked from New Jersey, and bearing the cancelled postage of a two cent stamp.

None of these objects showed any signs of aging.

Fentz's fingerprints were not on record, and no one had reported him missing. Captain Rihmconducted research, into the location on the business card. It was the address of the Buckingham Hotel, which no longer existed. In 1923 the hotel was razed, to make way for Saks Fifth Avenue.

Rudolph Fentz's name was not listed in the 1951 telephone book, but further investigation revealed a listing for a Howard Fentz, in a much earler phone book from 1939. The police captain spoke to the residents of Howard's apartment building, who remembered him, and described him as an old man, with silver hair. He once worked as a short order cook, at a diner down the street. However in 1940 he retired, and moved away. Rihm was told at the diner,that Howard had passed, five years earlier, but his widow was living in Florida, with her sister. Rihm contacted her by phone.

She said that her husband's father, Rudolph Fentz, had disappeared in 1876 at the age of 29. He would take a walk in the evening, smoking a cigar, because his spouse believed, that smoke was being absorbed by the livingroom curtains. One evening, when his son Howard was possibly two years of age, he left his family's New York City apartment, with a lit cigar, and he never came back. They searched for him in vain, spending a great deal of money, on a private investigator. No trace of him was ever found.

With renewed interest, Captain Rihm delved into ancient missing persons files, in the dusty archives, of the New York City Police Department. He finally located the yellowing pages of a report, on the disappearance of Rudolph Fentz.

The description in the records of Rudolph Fentz, corresponded exactly, with that of the bewildered man who was struck on Wall Street.. but after filing his own report, Rihm was compelled by his superiors to close the case as unsolved. The officer barely survived review by internal affairs, as to his mental competence, and most of the captain's notes, were stricken from the official case file.



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