The Time Machine

One thing I bet you didn’t know about me was that I have a time machine in my basement. I know what your thinking, but it doesn’t work; if it ever even did. Come along, i’ll show you.

There it is. See how it looks like some kind of jack-in-the-box decorated in electronics. I think thats because of the crank. Dad said that that was what he used to raise enough electro-static energy to create a mobile field. Whatever that means. That? Oh, I don’t know what that does. I betcha i’ve pushed every button on it a thousand times in millions of combinations, and never even caused anything to so much as light up. If there are even lights on it. I mean, i’m not really sure.

My dad didn’t exactly design this thing, but he did build it. He told me that one night he was visited from a stranger. He said that it was obvious, even before the stranger mentioned it, that she was from another time. Far ahead of ours, he told me. Something like five hundred years, but I can’t remember exactly anymore. Anyhow, she told him to build this time machine and when he finished it she would know and provide further instructions to him. Something about saving the world in the future, but I don’t think that even Dad was to sure what he would have to do after he built this contraption.

Nonetheless, he took this project very seriously. He mustve gotten started when I was seven or eight years old. Back then he would just work on it during his free time on the weekends, or when he was annoyed by my mother or us children. For the longest time it was only a bunch of very small electronic componets scattered about. I don’t guess Dad knew the first thing about building a toaster, let alone a time machine. Most of his time he spent pouring through instructional manuals, honing his knowledge and applying it to the plans the strange woman had given him.

About the time that all of us children moved out of the house, Dad had his midlife crisis. Beofre then he never believed he was building a time machine to save the world, he was just building a very complex toy that only he understood, or so he thought. Well, after that he got pretty hung up on what he called his ‘mission’. The hobby became an obsession. He spent all of his free time, even week nights, working on this damned thing. The more time went on the more passionate he became. Soon he was investing all of his money in it as well, and thats when Mom left him. Oh, that mightve broken most men up, but it only steeled his resolve.

Not long after he retired and began working on this damn time machine almost all waking hours. When he slept, he constantly dreamed of the strange woman. She was begging him to finish, begging! This caused a frenzy of activity, and insanity. He was no longer taking care of himself or his home or anything. Just pouring every ounce of his body and soul into that damn machine. When you could get a word in with him, its all he would talk about.

One day we got a call from Dad. he invited all of his children and their families out to dinner to make a ‘big announcement’. He told us that work on the time machine was complete. Furthermore, he planned to ‘take a journey’ in it the next day. A test run. We begged him not to do it. Nobody including himself knew what he was going to turn on, when he flicked that switch. In desperation I asked him about the woman, what about the woman? Has she come back? No, he said, no. Well then, how do you know it works, didnt she say shed come when it was ready and let you know what to do? You damn fool, how will she know it works if I dont turn it on, he asked condescendingly. There was a certain impeccability about the logic, but none of us wanted him to do it. But you cant stop the old man when he makes up his mind, as im sure you can tell by this tale already.

So anyhow, we don’t hear from him by the next night so I start to get pretty worried. he wouldn’t answer a phone so me and my brother Ed drove over to his house. When we got there there was no sign of him, until we opened this damn thing up. There he was just sitting and smiling, smiling and staring. Completely fixated on nothing. When we tried speaking to him, yelling at, shaking and dancing around in front of him, there was no response. He just sat there happy as a retard at a birthday cake eating contest.Well, I took him home and when nothing had changed the next day we took him to a doctor. The doctor said that there was absolutely nothing wrong with him. Several more doctors said the same. After a few months we decided to put him into professional care. Its not like he was benefitting from our presence. Hell, he just sat there smiling all damn live long day. And he still is, just sitting there in his room looking wherever the nurses point him, smiling.

So yup, this is it. This is my old mans time machine. Aint much to look at, but its the lifes work of a man. I gotta give him credit, through a dozen or so jobs and three marriages I aint stuck by nothing. Not a thing to show for all of these hard lived years. But my old man, he had this stupid box; and if nothing else, he’ll die smiling.

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