Okay, this challenge has definitely set the cat among the pigeons. Writers were invited, incautiously on my part, to get in their tardises and go sightseeing. The only conditions were that you not change anything, and stay out of your own lifetime.
Cactuscafe, that shy blossom of the spaceways, has blessed us with another response to this challenge that once again demonstrates that nobody, but nobody, pays any attention to the criteria. (I'm expecting one on Donald's troosers next.)
We don't care. This excursion into the kingdom of No-Time is far classier than we deserve. We recommend that you read it aloud in your plummiest voice.
I'll Be There in No-Time
I must have first heard these words way back in time - probably during a childhood delirium or fever. Perhaps my beloved Grandmother whispered to me that the doctor would be here in no time1. For whatever reason, these two words stuck in my mind, and No-Time became a secret Kingdom that I one day wanted to visit, as it was a place that was away from all the fears and fevers that seemed to happen in Time. All I had to do was find out how to get there.
Of course, I soon learned that there were a few expressions that included the words "no time", and they all had different meanings. Yet none of these expressions seemed relevant to my Kingdom of No-Time, and I protected my secret fiercely2.
And so the years passed, and I would often talk with friends until night turned to dawn-light, until wine turned to coffee3, and the subject of time-travel would always see us through many an intense and fevered hour.
Of course I revealed the secret of my Kingdom of No-Time, and frenzied debates would ensue about how Time was, of course, just a concept of the human mind4, but how could I time-travel to No-Time? If there was no Time, then what would I travel through? Would I know how to return?
And, anyway, what was I talking about? Was I talking about Death or Eternity or Infinity? Or perhaps I meant the Eternal Now or the state of No-Mind?
I remember the time when we decided that all creation was transient, and therefore existed in Time – although, of course, we realised that other lifeforms were free from concepts and definitions of Time, so therefore they could be in Time and No-Time at the same time.
We decided that I would have to somehow become another lifeform, say, a bird, so that I could freely fly into The Kingdom of No-Time.
Of course I would be a very strange-looking traveller. Someone suggested, though, that I might not even be noticed, at least not by other humans, as there were very few human travellers in the Kingdom of No-Time, and the few that were already there might have lost their minds5.
This was the first time, in fact, that I started to doubt the Kingdom of No-Time. I decided it might not be a very relaxing place to visit after all.
And time moves on, and these crazy hazy days are now just a memory. And yet I still think about my Kingdom of No-Time – especially if I waken in the early hours of morning – those delicate hours – when I hear echoes in the tunnels of my mind6.
What are these strange echoes? Perhaps they are the voice of my Grandmother, reassuring me that the doctor will be here in no time. Perhaps they are a laughter-memory brought on by the thought of my friends practising time-travel. Perhaps they are a concept, or a delirious fever, or the after-effect of wine, or coffee. Possibly they are essence or atmospheric disturbance7. Perhaps they are not of this world at all.
In fact, I could go on like this until the end of time, and I could never find a definition.
And yet these echoes keep travelling on through my mind, and I feel no need to hinder their journey. Sometimes, after a while, a curious feeling of wellbeing comes over me – rather like the feeling one has after a relaxing trip to some sought-after timeless place of peace8.
And is this peace-of-mind in fact the Kingdom of No-Time? I have no idea. No-Time is probably just a concept, like Time itself9.
Of course my friends might find it first - the Kingdom that is. If so, I hope they invite me to join them. If they show me the way, I'll be there in no time10.