So a few months ago I accidentally built a time machine. I don’t know what I was trying to make, but it wasn’t a time machine. A lot of people were very excited, but because I hadn’t set out to build a time machine I considered the experiment a failure. I was in all the papers for a while, and then one day I put the time machine in the garage and forgot about it.
Well, a few days ago, my dad was out cleaning the garage when he came across the Time Machine. He came up to my room to tell me about it. His face was red and he was angry.
“That doo-hickey of yours has got a hornet’s nest in it,” he told me. “I’m not gonna clean it up. You can do that yourself. You’re twenty-seven years old; I shouldn’t have to tell you to clean up after yourself.”
“Fine, I’ll clean it up,” I said.
Then, I said: “Jeez.”
I put on my purple windbreaker and my favorite pair of jeans and headed for the garage. My mother was in the kitchen, juggling bombs. They were round and black and all of the fuses were lit. One of them looked like it could blow up at any minute but she didn’t seem to care. I had to assume she knew what she was doing, but it seemed to me that my dad should have stepped in and done something. A bomb with a lit fuse was a heck of a lot more dangerous than a hornets nest in my crappy Time Machine.
I went out into the garage and looked at the Time Machine. It didn’t look like much, just a chair and some tinfoil, really. There was a little platform built around it, but it only went out about six or so feet. Looking at it, I still couldn’t figure out what it was I had been trying to make.
The hornets nest was under the seat, so I grabbed a can of spray paint and started spraying them. I had no idea how to kill hornets but I found out that spray paint doesn’t do anything to them. Soon they were buzzing all around me, and I had no choice but to kick the nest from the chair and use the Time Machine.
Everything went dark for a minute, and then I saw a bunch of rainbows. They were tiny, no bigger than my fingernail, and there were thousands of them.
After a few minutes, the rainbows faded, and gradually a sort of desert came into focus. My parents were standing there. Their faces were streaked with black and their hair was standing straight up on their heads. I looked around and realized it wasn’t really a desert, more of an impact crater. I could see bits of my neighbor’s houses, a few tires and other indications of a great explosion. Like, there was a tree up on the top of the crater that had been split in half, and there were body parts scattered all over the place.
My mother reached up and touched her hair. There was a spark, and she quickly pulled her hand away. Smoke trailed out of both of their ears.
“What the heck are you guys doing here?” I asked.
My dad brushed himself off. “Your dumbass mother blew us up.”
“Yeah,” mom said sheepishly. “I was practicing my juggling. My teacher told me that, if I wanted to get really good at it, I had to try juggling something dangerous. That way, I wouldn’t lose my focus.”
I threw up my hands. “Jesus, Mom! He meant to try juggling knives, or chainsaws, not bombs!”
She just shrugged.
“Sorry,” she said. “I just wanted to improve my juggling skills.”
“Well, I hope you’re happy,” dad said, putting his hands on his hips and staring at her. “You and your damn juggling have knocked us all into next week.”
I checked the time-o-meter on the Time Machine. It said we had, in fact, travelled exactly one week into the future. I was momentarily upset, because I had missed a couple of my favorite shows, but luckily I had the Time Machine.
“Luckily,” I said. “I have this Time Machine.”
They both looked at me.
“So,” I explained. “We can use it to go back to last week, before any of this happened.”
They climbed on and we went back to our own time. When we got there, we walked into the kitchen and looked at the bombs mom had left on the table. None of them had blown up yet, so the machine must’ve worked.
My father sat down and put his elbows up on the table.
“Well, Marie,” he said. “Was it worth it? Do you feel your juggling has improved as a result of this accident?”
“Oh yeah,” she said. “Here, let me show you!”
She picked up the bombs, lit the fuses, and started juggling them. She really was quite good.
Copyright: © 2011 Dustin Reade
Dustin Reade likes old surrealist movies, Sangria Senorial Soda, writing stories and using his body for shock value. His work can be found in numerous magazines and anthologies. All of his stories are weird.