It started the way these things always start, or would start if there was more of these things. A water line had broken at the mall and was spewing a huge geyser of water all over the lawnmower department at Sears. The building manager called in a repair crew that determined the shut off valve was somewhere under the Tvs. It turned out it was actually in the wall of the novelty store three shops down, but before they figured that out, they found The Hole.
All the science fiction movies made you believe that something like this should have some kind of glowing energy around it or that it should be just this black hole that you could only find out where it went if you went through it, but this was just.... there. It was like looking down into a lower story, only there was no lower story.
You simply looked down into Sandersen's clothing store. 1977.
Sandersen's closed in 1982 and was one of many small businesses, like the hardware store, the butcher shop, and Joe's tavern that were bulldozed to make room for the mall. In fact, those who were old enough to remember, said that Sandersen's stood where the Sears was now. And now, here it was, in it's prime, under the floor tiles.
Now at this point you might be thinking "oh, store survived and it was just covered up", but you'd be wrong. This was the real store, really operating in 1977. Looking down on it from above, you could see out the front windows to what was formerly known as Main Street. Mr. Sandersen's 1976 Red White and Blue Cadillac convertible proudly parallel parked by the front door. The workers in the store looking up just as confounded as those of us looking down.
Here's how it worked. Someone from our time could go down the hole and interact with the people in Sandersen's store. They could buy things and bring them back up the hole with them. However, even though they could see out the front windows, they couldn't go out the front door into the rest of the world in 1977. That is to say, they could try, but as they went through the door, they re-entered "now" and found themselves standing just to the left of the main mall entrance to Sears. People from 1977 couldn't go up the hole, though. Much to everyone's frustration, they found themselves stuck in the ceiling of Sandersen's in 1977 and a new hole had to made in the ceiling to let these poor folks out. Things could be brought from "now" into Sandersen's, but if someone tried to take them out the front door, they just vanished. Many people lost a lot of money trying to take large piles of iPods into 1977.
Of course the whole world was abuzz. For a little while, anyway. Many scientists and others made a lot of money on talk shows and lecture circuits and books and so on, but there's only so much you can say about a time portal to a clothing store in 1977. People quickly lost interest and life in our little town settled into a new pattern of normal.
70's clothing were the fashion rage for a very long time. Mostly due to the fact that they were extremely inexpensive compared to "now". Almost immediately, Mr. Sandersen figured out that modern currency would vanish when he tried to take it to the bank, so Sears happily set up a currency exchange in place of its television department, to make sure only 70's era cash was taken "down". They also happily charged a "service fee" to let you go through the hole, which made everyone angry since they didn't even bother to put in stairs or anything, just a rickety old ladder, but we all learned to live with it eventually and life went on.
But now we're worried. No one seems to remember when the Sandersens built that huge house just outside of town. No one remembers when Mr Sandersen, Jr. bought the mall, the used car lot, the movie theater, and the bowling alley. No one remembers electing a Sandersen to city council, the school board, and the Library committee. We hear that a Sandersen may be running for governor.
Maybe I should return these plaid pants.