The Late Early Bloomer


Photo provided by Shaktiki Sharma.

This story originally appeared May 1, 2013.

We get Jack Hibbler’s shocking account about finding out what his dad’s dying words, “Jack, you should never have been born,” REALLY meant.

I guess you don’t mess with forces beyond your control, do you?

It’s thirty years later and this is all Jack had to say of it. Although he never went insane, he’s never been the same since.



Ben Hibbler, Jr., my Pop, died on September 12, 1987 and told me I shouldn’t have been born.

I didn’t know how right he was until that fateful day I read his diary.

I went up to the attic, found his typewriter and the notebook where he put his secret writings.  Leafing through the Underwood typefaces, the pages getting yellower towards the back, I noticed the oldest page printed in a different, fancy typeface.

Attached was a newspaper clipping with his birthdate on it. I laid it beside today’s morning newspaper.

Both read:  “Benjamin Hibbler, Jr., born September 13th, 1987 …”





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57 Responses to The Late Early Bloomer

  1. neilmacdon says:

    I’m probably being dumb, but I don’t understand what’s happening here. He was born the day after he died? Nobody noticed? Or are both father and son called Ben Jr?

  2. wmqcolby says:

    No, Jack is the son’s name. He found out his father was born the day before he died. In the intro, I hinted at messing with forces beyond one’s control …. kind of like his father obviously did.
    To be fair, this was a short story/script adapted for FF. There’s much more to the story, but you can only say so much in 100 words.

    I hope this helped. And thanks much for the feedback, Neil.

  3. Sandra says:

    No, I’m not getting this either, I’m afraid. I think the christmas cheer has all been too much for me. I’ll pop back later.

  4. Lynn Love says:

    Ooh, I want to know how he did it now – how Dad went back in time and lived a life he should never have lived. Very intriguing. Nicely done sir 🙂

    • wmqcolby says:

      Ah, thank-you, Lynn. For me, the point of the story was that, and this is the difficulty of trying to make it work back then as a short story, people need to learn before they can do. My plan for the story was that Jack opened a chrysalis in order to help the butterfly to come out. As you know, butterflies need to fight their way out of the cocoon if their wings are going to grow properly. This really set off his dad’s anger because, as we learn later in the story, it is a metaphor for his mistake of traveling back in time, being in a place and doing things he should not have done where he doesn’t belong. Giving people the answers when they don’t understand how the question works is bad. It doesn’t benefit you. As for the dad, I left the time travel method ambiguous, mainly because that wasn’t the point of the story.

  5. Sounds it’s either supernatural or just the normal messup between obituaries and the newborn part of the newspaper… I hope for the later.

  6. Sorry, I didn’t get it either until I read your reply to Neil.Hard to convey in 100 words, but it makes sense now! 🙂

  7. wmqcolby says:

    Well, Clare, I’ll tell you. I didn’t necessarily play fair on this one since it is a distillation of sorts. It’s a much bigger story. As I told Lynn, the story’s lesson is much more than the gimmick.

  8. Wow I feel like I was just pushed through the Looking Glass.

  9. michael1148humphris says:

    Now I need to think, thats gonna be painful.🙂

  10. ceayr says:

    Five out of five confuddlations here, Kent, sorry.

  11. The title helps a lot in explaining where you were trying to go with this story.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Yeah. It’s a bigger story and I only mention a small part of it, a more intriguing aspect of it. In fact, I think I feel confident now of writing it all and sharing it with the rest of you folk in FF Land.

  12. Michael Wynn says:

    So he dies a day before he’s born and therefore has lived a life which had no official existence during which he fathered a son. Am I on the right track? If so, how long was that life and what else did he manage to do and how did it impact on the history of the world? It’s intriguing.

  13. wmqcolby says:

    Yes, definitely you are on the right track, Mike. Ben Hibbler’s life was sixty years. As for its impact on world history, we don’t really know, although, Rochelle had a great idea for a sequel where the kid lives long enough to see his dad go back into time and everything gets corrected. Maybe it was meant to be. She had a great story line on that, but doesn’t remember it anymore. Bummer. It would have been a great sequel. Anyway, the whole point is that we don’t learn unless we make mistakes. Thanks for the questions and for reading.

  14. Dale says:

    I figured there was time travel involved… can’t mess with time.. who knows what else will go awry because of it?

  15. wmqcolby says:

    Indeed, indeed, Dale. I’m hoping to get this story written to where it would be a tightly-written masterpiece.

  16. draliman says:

    Sounds like time travelling fun to me! Sort of “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” kind of a thing, maybe 🙂

  17. Liz Young says:

    Weird story. I didn’t get it either until I read the comments. Guess it’s meant to be part of a longer one.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Yes, it is. In fact, you folks have inspired me to start writing the story again. Both Rochelle and I swear by this technique of writing flash fiction. It makes for better writing.

  18. I read it as a time travel story, so it works well for me! And it definitely lays the foundation for a mind-bending longer story. Time travel fascinates me. So, no, I wasn’t confused, unless I’ve got the wrong end of the stick altogether.

  19. Something strange going on here! I love a story which leaves so much to the iagination.

    My tale is called ‘Oh Bother!’

  20. Time travel can be so complicated. My character is now the proud papa of twins and a scruffy dog. Strange times.
    Happy New Year,

  21. wmqcolby says:

    No kidding? Cool. Like John Lennon said, “Strange days indeed.”

    Have a Happy New Year, Tracey and we’ll catch you again, ready for action!

  22. Hola Kent,
    Time travel isn’t my favorite genre. I’m sure if this story was longer we could get the details of it all. I like it but needed to read it twice. Not a bad thing, since my brain is so relaxed from my vacation I messed up my own story. I’ll fix it tomorrow. Still more holiday celebrations. I like them better.
    Lots of Cheer … 🍷🍷🍷 Un vaso de vino para usted, Rochelle y para mi.
    Que siga las fiestas 🎉🎉
    Happy New Year 2017
    Mucha salud, prosperidad y amor para todo el ano 🍾
    Isadora 😎

  23. wmqcolby says:

    Muchísimas gracias a ti, Isadora. Yes, I’m sure time travel isn’t your cup of tea and that’s fine. My goal is to have a story that tells a tale of loss, regret and maybe a re-think of things that were important at one time and, hopefully, will be again. Kind of a Twilight Zone kind of story where the gimmick is simply there to make the story more palatable.

    You have a GREAT New Year! Disfrutalo!

  24. rgayer55 says:

    Kent this is way to complicated for my pea-size brain. I get the time travel and Twilight Zone kind of thing, but this is more like Abbott and Costello describing quantum physics to a Watusi medicine man.

  25. wmqcolby says:

    Hahahahaha! The medicine man would know more than Bud and Lou, I’m sure.

    Hope you had a great Christmas.

  26. michael1148humphris says:

    Shades of Mary Shelley and Frankenstein. Could we have the unborn child fathering a son, it’s a frightening thought.
    When I first read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein I thought that the author must have travelled into the future to write such a tale. Now I wonder have you been travelling in time,🙂,🌌.

  27. wmqcolby says:

    Hahaha! Maybe. In fact, you hit the nail on the head with that Frankenstein thing. Mary Shelley never said how the monster was animated and that was my inspiration for the time travel method. I left it ambiguous in order to tell the real story.

  28. subroto says:

    His real name was Marty McFly, wasn’t it?

  29. wmqcolby says:

    Hahahaha! It may have been, Sub.
    Happy New Year and, I forgot to say to you last time, good to see you!

  30. He did well not to go insane trying to get his head round that revelation! I love the image of the old yellow newspaper clipping alongside the new one

  31. wmqcolby says:

    Yeah, it’s a good image. I tried for something intriguing that Jack would find out in a kind of subtle way.

  32. Something like Life After Life, I think… admittedly, I’m a little confused too, but I think there’s a bit of supernatural time travel’ish stuff going on here. I love that the same photo brings out something different in each of us.

    All the best in2017, Kent! So grateful that we all connect here each week. Such a special thing!

  33. wmqcolby says:

    Thank-YOU, Dawn, of being more than a good contributor, but a good neighbor as well.
    Yeah, the story has some sort of fantasy element to it, but I avoid the explanations simply because I only want to allude to them in order to make the story premise proven.

    Have a great year! See you in a few days.

  34. Lots of intrigue here; you’ve left us all wondering!

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