Mayday 1990 – Leonard Nimoy and the Bank Stickdown

SPNN Entertainment, Harvard Square, North American Landmass, Sol III – My heartbeat quickened as I dodged and weaved across JFK Street (which many of the natives still called Boylston Street), avoiding the primitive manually-controlled internal combustion groundcars. But it was a one-way two lane thoroughfare, and they were moving slowly, towards the busiest intersection in this Earth town called Cambridge.

The non-digital traffic control lights overhead ordered stops frequently to allow the native hoards of students, workers, and non-native consumers and tourists to safely cross the street – a technology not much more advanced than bearskins and stone knives. The trinary fuzzy-logic green-yellow-red sequence of incandescent lights in the unnetworked controller were intended to be translated as move, prepare to stop, and stop, by driver and pedestrian alike. In practice, all the sentient lifeforms interpreted them as move, move faster, and rapidly decelerate.

It was difficult to ignore the heavy smell of incompletely burned fossil fuel in inefficiently tuned and maintained piston engines. This was ironic, since the bank’s building housed the famed automobile mechanics advisory firm of Click and Clack, producers of Car Talk on the third floor; confusingly, their office window was labelled Dewey, Cheetham & Howe

Reaching the odd-numbered streetside’s non-slidewalk, I turned right and slowly strode along the unpowered sidewalk towards the bank on the corner, trying to avoid drawing attention to myself. But the 2D movie company had recently finished filming its Harvard Square scenes and the additional native crowds of onlookers had left, and my long black hair covered my ears.

As I perambulated, my mouth was dry, and I hefted the light bag I was carrying. After all, I was walking with a note demanding a raising of hands and a transfer of cash. It was a crime to take money from a bank in this manner. But I had travelled through time to this May day in 1990 for a specific purpose, and was determined to go through with it, despite the risk.

Leonard Nimoy holding a cup of coffee

Leonard Nimoy in Harvard Sq directing "The Good Mother"

It was the only logical thing to do. I owed a debt of honor and was determined to pay it, whatever the cost. Most of the risk centered around the bank guard. If he was nullified first, then I could command the bank officer who was my target to order the tellers in their bulletproof glass protected enclosure not to trigger the silent alarm.

But it is truely said that even the best of plans does not survive contact with the enemy. The guard had been added after the student riot years protesting Viet Nam, but wasn’t there today. I waved at the nearest teller reassuringly as the native-born bank officer rose from his chair easily despite the Terran gravity.

“What can I do for you today,” he asked. and raised his hand to grip mine. I gripped his, moved our locked hands up and down in the native fashion, then let go and said “This!” And I quickly reached into the flat bag and withdrawn the demanding note, rapidly hyperventilating to pump extra oxygen into my lungs for more energy and stamina.

The bank note demanding he take the money.

Leonard Nimoy - Harvard Sq money note

I then immediately withdrew a United States of America non-electronic paper unit of currency called a “five-dollar bill” from my paper bag and placed it in my hand. Then I raised both my arms high above my head, and started to hold my breath. He looked puzzled, but started to read the demanding note.

“Dear Ed, this is a stickdown.  (That’s the reverse of a stickup.) I’m standing here with my arms in the air because you are going to take this $5 bill from my hand. If you don’t, I’m going to hold my breathe until I pass out (praise Gandhi). Please take the money and save me. Your friend, Spike.

PS. – thank you for the picture you took of Leonard Nimoy standing in front of the Harvard Square kiosk. It was one of the most logical presents I’ve ever received.

PPS. – I’m one of the people who know that your nickname is ‘Big Ed’ because of the size of your heart, not your body or any parts thereof.”

Fortunately he took the five dollar bill from my hand before I passed out. And there were no laws against forcing a bank employee to take money …

Ed had given this present to me in my sf bookstore in 1988 after taking it while Nimoy was directing the critically-acclaimed “The Good Mother.”  He knew I had prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize faces, so he let me puzzle at the framed picture for a couple minutes, then gave me the identifying clue: “you’d recognize him if he wasn’t wearing the hat covering his ears.”  Aha!  I beamed and thanked him, but he refused to take any money for the extra expense of the matte frame.  With Vulcan implacabilty, I swore to myself I’d repay this debt of honor  … and I did.

I added a copyright notice and Ed Ligon’s eddress to this picture, in case anyone wants to contact him for permission to reuse or print it. It’s all true.  The time travel? I travelled forward from April 1990 at the rate of one second per seond, same as everyone else. Enjoy!


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One Response to “Mayday 1990 – Leonard Nimoy and the Bank Stickdown”

  1. Paradox Olbers Says:

    I posted this to my Facebook account with the following note: You don’t have to worry about the statute of limitations on an action if a law was never passed forbidding it in the first place. Here’s how I unrobbed a bank in broad daylight once.

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