They Can't Get Out

Other Worlds Austin’s next Orbiter screening is the North American Premiere of YESTERDAY LAST YEAR on Wednesday, June 21 at Flix Brewhouse. 

In the film, Michael, a driven research scientist working on time travel theory, spends all his time in the garage ‘lab’ trying to perfect a device. Sandra, his wife, is at the bottom of his priority list. Only his friend and associate, James, seems to get Michael’s full attention. But which version of his friend is it, and which version of his wife? A love triangle caught in the circle of time, YESTERDAY LAST YEAR is about the mistakes we make and how far we’re willing to go to fix them.

Buy tickets HERE
More info HERE

In honor of the character Michael’s DIY grit, plus an added dash of inspiration from creepy Tom Waits tune “What’s He Building” (because
obviously), the OWA team is sharing stories of other garage creations…


First up, Screenwriting Director Eric Harrelson has written a fictional short story (at least, we're pretty sure it's fictional.)


I’ve been helping him since I found out.  The wife isn’t happy about it.  

Every evening I walked Norman, our lab mix, by that house.  I heard the sounds of grinding, the rhythmic clang of metal slamming into metal, and the muffled curse of a smashed finger.  A momentary pause, then the garage windows flashed blue and white along with the crackle of an arc welder.  The light would stop, a compressor would kick on, and the grinding or hammering would resume.  It would often continue from early evening long into the night.  We all just assumed he was restoring a car, or working on a motorcycle.  You know, what single men do in their suburban garages.  I imagined a radio softly playing rockabilly music, and a man in a greasy white t shirt, sleeves cuffed, cigarette in one hand, beer in the other, surveying a torn down motorcycle frame, contemplating his next step.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

None of us had ever met the neighbor, and we all just assumed he worked at night, because there was never any activity in the house during the day.  At least none that we could see.  I’m sure we saw him get in his beat-up panel van and head to work, but now I can’t recall having ever laid eyes on the man.  Not properly, anyway.  I’m pretty sure I saw him crack open his door and sign for a load of pipes and sheet metal, but maybe I just assumed I saw it because the delivery guy came and left, and my brain filled in the blanks.

Lately, the noises started earlier and went later, pausing only for a few hours at a time.  Almost daily at least one delivery man would show up, bringing materials, tools, or sometimes food.  The racket was starting to get in the way of my sleep, but he was a few houses down, and the wife’s white noise machine did a pretty swell job of drowning it out.  

Walking Norman one morning by his place, I found his garage windows covered with sheet metal, and the garage door barred by a big “X” of thick metal pipe.   He was running a hose out from the side of his house to hook to a recently purchased concrete wet saw, so I tied Norman to a maple sapling (freshly planted on the tree lawn by the city) and asked him just what the heck was going on?

“Hey friend!” I said, “hey there.  Beefing up the old home security?” He didn’t look away from what he was doing, but answered anyway.
 “They got through last night.  Or they will get through tonight.  I can’t remember.  The first one didn’t hold, and neither did the second.  It’s only a matter of time. But they can’t get out.”

As I got closer, I noticed he looked pretty rough. Greasy hair, dirty sweat-stained shirt, muddy work boots.  His face was gaunt and ashen.  His eyes were sunken but wild, like he hadn’t slept in days.  

“What can’t get out?”

He said nothing, just put down the hose, walked up to his door and held it open.  My curiosity got the better of me, and I followed him into the darkened house.  I’m glad I didn’t bring Norman.

I’ve called in sick the past three days. I have no intention of showing up anytime soon, and honestly I’ll probably get fired.  But they can’t get out.  They don’t seem to rest as often as they used to, so we sleep in shifts.  The wife doesn’t understand. I told her they can’t get out, but she keeps asking “WHAT can’t get out?”  We can’t show her.  I won’t show her, and hopefully neither she nor anyone else will ever have to find out.  Just one more layer should be enough, but we thought that last time.  They can’t get out.  We just have to keep working. Stronger metal, bigger pipes, heavier reinforcement.  I’ve gotten pretty good at welding.