Review of “The Rest Stop” by Mike Sharlow

Image by marcelkessler from Pixabay


Mick can travel in time, but he doesn’t tell anyone. It’s the sort of thing that suggests mental illness. He doesn’t want to be studied, nor does he want to be locked up while others decide how his ability should be used. He keeps his secret and uses it when he decides to put it to good use.

Mick works at a rest stop along the Mississippi River on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. One day, George from tourism, who’s a little hard of hearing, comes in to ask him to speak to a woman who has lost her wallet in the parking lot.

In the lobby, Mick finds two women and a boy of about eight. The woman who is missing her wallet is visibly upset. She had about three hundred dollars in it. They were on their way to Wisconsin Dells, the indoor water park. He asks her how long ago she lost her wallet, then goes back to the office and check the security footage. There it is.


The time-traveling Mick has already indicated that he uses his ability the way he wants to. This seems to be the perfect chance to step back in time and retrieve a lost wallet. He knows where it fell. Thanks to the time stamp on the security cameras, he knows when it fell. He also knows who helped themselves to it. This seems to be a preventable mishap.

It’s only ten minutes or so in the past. Not much could have changed in that time.

Of course, if it were that simple, there would be no story.

And Mick is a person with a conscience. Without it, the story would be much simpler. Having a conscience complicates the world. How far is Mick willing to go?

No reference is made to other times Mick has used time travel options, but presumably, those have worked out for him, perhaps without as many complications as the one the reader knows about.

There is nothing too deep here, but it is an entertaining little tale.


According to his blurb, Mike Sharlow lives in La Crosse, Wisconsin, a small city on the banks of the Mississippi River. He works in Special Education, and is an Employment Trainer for adults with disabilities, although he’s done everything from structural design to working in a cemetery.

The story can be read here.

Title: “The Rest Stop”
Author: Mike Sharlow
First published: Theme of Absence June 12, 2020

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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