23 August 2010

The day after the day before yesterday

For Emily
(because she asked for a story)

well, it all started last week when Fred invented a time machine. Or at least I think it was last week it got a bit hard to keep track for a while there.

He had invited me over for a drink but he really wanted to show off his newest version. Most of the others had exploded quite spectacularly. You could normally here him mumble something about the unstable flux vortex while your ears are still ringing.

This time I had decided to take a big pair of earplugs along as a bit of a friendly joke. When I arrived he greeted me excitedly at the door as he opened two beers. I almost laughed at his exited grin. He hadn't even noticed the ear muffs around my neck. He wasn't much of a drinker and this was clearly a celebration. But the faint flicker of curiosity didn't last long. I was quite sure he wouldn't have tested it yet.

Fred liked a bit of a show. He walked me through his house to his living room... a detour through the garage was necessary he said because of the large empty area in the kitchen. I guessed he meant he had it sterilized for working on sensitive equipment or something.

Once he got me to the living room, he asked me to wait there, and with a grin, turned back to the front door through the garage. It was just the blink of an eye later and he had swaggered in on the opposite side of the living room with his beer sloshing in his hands.

"Right!" he said "Shall we get started!"

"That was quick! I said letting the surprise show on my face. I thought it was a time machine you invented not a teleporter!"

He laughed "Of course of course! Here it is!"

With a flourish, he whipped a towel from something which had been standing behind the sofa. It looked somewhat like a vacuum cleaner turned inside out collided with gramophone at high speed. It was as if it was bleeding thing coloured wire out of every part of its casing.

"Behold the great time machine!" he proclaimed enthusiastically

"It's way smaller than your older models Fred, this one got a smaller explosive charge in it eh?" I laughed.

Technology always gets smaller as it progresses." he informed me with an imperious tone. "I just need to plug it in, I'll be right back" he said as he disappeared around the corner with the power lead.

A short second later he reappeared abruptly from the doorway to the garage again as if he had run around the outside of the house at full tilt.

"Crikey Fred!" I exclaimed. "Slow down or you will hurt yourself, or even spill your beer"

"What do you mean?" he asked looking puzzled.

"You were just there a second ago... how did you get around there so fast?"

"What are you on about? I just went back to the front door... forgot to pull it closed"

"Oh-Kayy... so are you going to show me how this time machine works then?"

A voice came from the other side of the room. "Yes yes I've just finished plugging it in hold on" and Fred appeared on the other side of the room.

My mouth fell open as I looked from one Fred to the other, both of them now grinning.

Before I could get my mouth working... the Fred who went to plug the machine in flipped a switch on the side.

"Turns out," said Fred "that if you travel in time there are a few... unexpected anomalies. Meet 'me' from 5, 6, 7 and 8 minutes in the past..."

And three more Fred's stepped into the room. All of them with insane smiles on their faces now.

"Holy cow!" I stammered, "You made it work?"

"Haha yes! yes! yes!" they all chanted and the multiple Freds seemed to find this hilarious.

"Right! said the first Fred... lets get him!"

All of the Freds ran towards me and tackled me to the floor. They picked me up and started dragging me out the door.

"Fred! what are you doing! whats going on!"

"Hahaha" laughed one of the Freds! I told you! I told you that I would get this working!" The others chanted after "I told you! I told you!"

Before I could see what was happening-- water! lots of cold water! they had thrown me in the pool. As I surfaced all the Freds stood around laughing.

"Far out!" I spluttered as I spat the pool water out "Oh-Kay... you were right, I was wrong! Haha good one Fred!"

The first Fred, presumably, pulled me out of the pool and as I congratulated him on the the worlds first time travel prank, one at a time the other Fred's went indoors and hit a button on the machine and disappeared.

Fred told me later that he had spent all day planning that one. It had taken all of his duplicates five minutes to throw me in the pool, but it had taken Fred a fun filled 35 minutes of his life to throw me in the pool again and again from each duplicate Freds point of view.

"So," I said... "How about a real demonstration......."

The end..?

16 August 2010

Formaldehyde and Seaweed

Like the stench of a preserved animal in a jar, you can smell not only your death but the morbid fate which awaits thereafter. The sharp rocky walls of the passage glisten pitch black as the rain from above oozes down. The echos of the slow dripping deepen the shadows as the falling drops glisten in the dying torchlight. Some way down the passage the growling of the distant ocean lurks in waiting. The passage behind had not led you anywhere but a dead end. Take your steps with care now, as the gritty sand around your toes gives way to smooth-worn rock beneath them. The water is filled with debris... all the dead things were washed here by the violent ocean to rot in the entrance to this cave. Just as you were.

But you are not dead yet, and far from finished trying.