Thursday, March 21, 2013

Time Traveler

            “So thing really works Dr. Ray,” asked Gary.

            Dr. Ray didn’t look up from the large metal and glass box that he was tinkering at. A large Jacobs Ladder sparked with blue electrical bursts and snapped. The air was scented with ozone and a static charge hummed overhead.

            “It certainly works my dear boy. This device can transport you into the future,” answered Dr. Ray.
            “Has anyone tried it out yet,” asked Gary.
            “My pet gerbil, Roscoe, has been the first and only time traveler,” said Dr. Ray.

            He motioned over toward a large and cluttered work bench. In a clear plastic cage sat the overweight gerbil, Roscoe. Roscoe, the first and only time traveler sat motionless except for the heavy breathing it was doing. It looked like Roscoe was not only the first time traveler, but also the first gerbil with diabetes. Gary moved closer to the work bench to get a better look but Dr. Ray flung a long arm out at him and blocked his path.

            “Roscoe doesn’t like to be bothered while meditating,” said Dr. Ray.
            “Oh. I’m sorry Doc,” said Gary.
            Dr. Ray’s face hovered close to Gary’s face and Gary could smell the onion sandwich Dr. Ray had for breakfast. Dr. Ray smiled and turned back toward the buzzing and whirring machine.

            “No bother Gary. How were you to know about Roscoe’s meditation rituals?”

            Gary continued to look around Dr. Ray’s laboratory. It certainly resembled all the mad scientist dungeons he’d seen in the old B-Movies and television shows. It was dank and messy; cobwebs covered certain unused machines that didn’t appear to have any particular purpose. There were blinking lights and buzzing dials, a computer was probably the only near modern contraption in the whole lab.

            “So Dr. Ray, I appreciate the invite to your lab but I have to ask why I’m here,” said Gary.

            Dr. Ray turned around from the machine with a flourish. His dingy white lab coat swirled around him like a dancer’s skirt. He smiled at Gary.

            “You Gary are going into the history books as the first human time traveler,” exclaimed Dr. Ray.

            Gary could have sworn he heard a thunderclap and saw lightening flash from somewhere inside the lab.

            “You’re kidding right,” asked Gary.

            Dr. Ray stepped forward and grabbed Gary by the shoulders and shook him ever so slightly.

            “I am not kidding my boy. You have the endurance, the strength, the intelligence, the charisma, the chutzpah, and the fact that you’re the only one to answer my ad from the paper,” said Dr. Ray.
            “Well, if you think I’m good enough Dr. Ray. I guess, I’m your man,” shrugged Gary.

            Gary had seen an ad in the neighborhood news paper for a lab assistant position. He’d given a lot of blood at the donation office and had seen how the nurses work so he figured he could easily be a lab assistant. It didn’t seem too hard, just a lot of tubes and needles and things. He never expected he’d be the first human time traveler.

            “Now Gary, this is what I’d like for you to do. I’d like for you to step into this machine to my left. Once inside the time chamber I’d like for you to put on the special goggles. There will be a lot of bright lights and I’d hate to damage those precious blue eyes of yours. Secondly there will be two levers at hand level on both sides of your body. I just want you to hold those two levers and not to let go, no matter what happens, don’t let go,” explained Dr. Ray.
            “What happens if I let go Dr. Ray?”
            “Don’t interrupt. But, if you do let go you’ll be lost in the time stream and I might not be able to retrieve you,” said Dr. Ray.
            “Oh,” said Gary.
            “Now, there might be some turbulence and the Time Chamber might start shaking about, don’t be worried. This prototype time chamber doesn’t have the right shock absorbers but once we send you through time and back, I’ll get the grant money I need to make Time Chamber 2.0, or as I’ll call it, Alice,” said Dr. Ray.

            Dr. Ray was looking off into the distance with a dreamy glare in his eyes. Gary stood by his side, imagining the future. He felt like this Dr. Ray was a good enough guy and if he was successful Gary wouldn’t have to worry about sharing that dirty apartment with Moonbeam and her hippie friends anymore.

            “Let’s do it Doc. I’m ready,” said Gary.
            “Excellent,” said Dr. Ray.

            Gary stepped up toward the time chamber and opened the chamber door and stepped inside. The goggles were hanging from a small metal hook and Gary put them on over his head. He gave a ‘thumbs up’ to Dr. Ray as he closed the door after him. Gary looked to his sides and the levers where there so he took hold of them. He looked through the window of the time chamber and saw Dr. Ray fiddling with some dials and tapping at the computer keyboard. A loud clanging noise started, as if giant steel pistons were coming to life somewhere in the bowels of Dr. Ray’s lab. Gary felt a little nervous as the noise intensified. He looked again through the window and Dr. Ray was flipping large switches on the lab wall and sparks flew out from them. A low whine started somewhere and Gary felt the hair on his arms and head stand up. He felt a tingle through his body.

            Dr. Ray went up to the glass window of the time chamber and asked if Gary was ready. Gary nodded back to say that he was. Dr. Ray began a countdown.

            “10…9…8…7…6…5…thrusters at full…4…3…2 power at maximum…1!”

            Dr. Ray pulled a giant switch on the time chamber machine and the lights in lab flickered. Electrical arcs surged across the room and cast a giant shadow of Dr. Ray on the far wall. Unseen valves hissed and the whole basement laboratory started to shake and pitch. The ground seemed to rumble and resist Dr. Ray’s creation.

            Gary felt the time chamber shaking and he started to get scared. He looked through the window and saw all the sparks and flashes of light. He heard the rumbling and the tornado sound the time chamber was making. He looked out through the window at Dr. Ray who seemed to be dancing in the flickering strobe of time travel. It was getting to be too much and Gary started to feel like an astronaut in one of those old NASA tests where they get spun around in a centrifuge till they pass out. But he continued to hold on to the levers as tight as he could.

            Everything went black. The machine stopped rumbling. The lights stopped flickering. There was silence. Gary realized he had his eyes closed. He opened them and saw he was still in the time chamber. He looked out the window and saw Dr. Ray jumping up and down with excitement. Gary let go of the levers in his hands and took the goggles off. He opened the Time chamber door and stepped out.

            “Success my boy! Success!” shouted Dr. Ray.
            Gary Looked about the lab and everything seemed exactly the same. Roscoe the gerbil was the same fat thing in its cage. The room was still dank, but filled with a little more smoke.

            “It worked Dr. Ray?”
            “It absolutely worked my boy. Welcome to the future! You have traveled exactly 35 seconds into the future!”
            “Um…,” said Gary.
            “You’re famous! The world’s first human Time traveler!” shouted Dr. Ray.

            Gary started to doubt Dr. Ray’s credentials about being a doctor.

            “Doc, I was actually in the time chamber for about 35 seconds. I didn’t go anywhere. I just, you know, went in and then came out, just 35 seconds after I went in,” said Gary.
            “Correct! You’re in the future!”

            Gary looked at the ‘Doctor’ dancing about his laboratory. Dr. Ray stopped at Roscoe’s cage and gave it a playful tap.
            “I told you Roscoe, but you kept saying it was impossible to send a human into the future. So it’s not only you anymore. Jealous much? I love you too,” said Dr. Ray

            Gary looked at the door that led to the upstairs and started toward it.

            “Well, Dr. Ray, this was great but I’m going to go, um… explore this future world, um… can I get the twenty you promised?”

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