A 100,000 word speculative mystery
Friends thought RICK BROWN led a charmed life– until he vanished in 1948, teenaged victim of the explosion in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, that took the life of President Harry S Truman during a whistle stop campaign speech in Salt Lake City. Sixteen years later, his still-grieving younger brother FRANK tinkers with a broken desktop radio in a rented apartment and is instantly transported back to 1955. Panicked at the changes he sees all around him, he runs to the hallway, tripping over the radio’s power cord and just as suddenly finds himself back in 1964– having accidentally discovered time travel.
Curiosity mixed with trial-and error eventually gives FRANK limited control of this new-found time machine. Determined to keep his discovery to himself and travel back to 1948 to save his brother’s life, he gradually learns to control the powerful device. But variations in his own timeline, caused by his experimental excursions into the past, complicate those efforts with deadly consequences for strangers as well as his best friends, GEORGE and ARTIE, and to CONNIE, the café waitress he adores from a distance.
The explosive death of the sitting President created political shock waves as well. The entire country and upcoming election were thrown into turmoil and for the second time in the last 100 years, Congress dispatched troops to the Salt Lake Valley to “help maintain order.” Despite Constitutional prohibitions and multiple court challenges, more than four thousand young soldiers ultimately stepped off their troop trains and once again began calling Camp Kearns “home.”
Opposition also builds in the form of government agents, stationed at various times and places in the past, watching for “rogue” time travelers; those not affiliated with government programs. They ultimately uncover FRANK in 1964, where he’s “framed” for CONNIE’s horrific death and placed in the Utah State Mental Hospital, a place where no one will ever believe a word he says. Meanwhile, government efforts continue, desperately searching for FRANK’s time travel device.
MY BROTHER’S KEEPER is a speculative-historical work of fiction with multiple timelines, embedded into a true-life historical event. The story explores the impact of LGBTQ issues on a mid-twentieth century family relationship, damage caused by the loss of the favorite son, and the hope of a lone survivor to set things right.
Text Copyright 2021 Steven R. Burt All Rights Reserved
Photos Courtesy Utah State Historical Society