How My Imagination Works

I don’t know how it is for others, but this is how it is for me: a little while ago, I was sitting out on the steps in front of my house with the warm afternoon sun on my face and beer in my hand. I’d just cracked open the beer, and was looking out at the street, which also serves as the parking area for our little community. There were a few cars, but no people. From the house door, however, I could swear I heard music. I listened more closely.

It sounded like music from the late 30s or early 1940s. It wasn’t Bing Crosby (I’d recognize that in a second), it was instrumental. It had a tinny sound to it, as if the music came from an old AM radio with a single speaker, an old radio.

That’s all it took. All at once, my street faded and I was sitting on a stoop somewhere in Brooklyn in the early 1940s. The music playing was coming from a radio perched up on a shelf in a candy store next door. The cars had mostly vanished from the street, and were replaced by people walking up and down the block. Some kids were playing in the street, and I could smell something, something like hot dogs and sauerkraut. It was wonderful.

It lasted only a fraction of a second, and then I was back on my stoop, with my beer and those tinny sounds coming from next door.

I love it when something like that happens.

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.