The Post Time-Travel Challenge: No Time like the Omnipresent

1 Conversation

smiley - tardis

When Do You Want to Be?

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.

Why I'm getting into the act, I'm not sure – probably a death wish. But all that Bible tourism was pretty inspiring. I think it messed up some of the circuitry on the machine, though.

Come to think of it, though, I have a few questions I'd like to ask somebody...

No Time Like the (Omni)Present

It all started with a time machine.

It didn't end there – I'm sitting on a rock in the hot sun to prove that – but it started there. Some wiseacre said, "Okay, we have this time machine. You can go anywhere you want, just not in your own lifetime. And you can't change history." Hmpf. That sounded like a good offer to me, as long as I could make sure I had some pocket money – somebody said something about ice cream. I'm a savvy traveller, and even though I've ventured into places where the unwary fear to go – such as Dracula's birthplace – I usually do it in the daylight. I figured this might be fun. Besides, I wanted a change of scenery.

What I had in mind was to attend the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. I knew to avoid the likes of HH Holmes. I wanted to spend about a week wandering along the lakeshore, viewing the fantastic buildings erected for the occasion. I wanted to sample the first Cracker Jack, ride the first Ferris Wheel – complete with John Philip Sousa's band on board, playing the famous Liberty Bell March. I also hoped to sneak over to the Streets of Cairo exhibit, with the naughty intention of enjoying Farida Spyropoulos, aka "Little Egypt:", dancing to showman Sol Bloom's immortal song. This was going to be fun.

In my best suit with waistcoat, pocket watch, and derby hat, I entered the time-travel device, and set it to drop me off for a week at my destination, which I set – I thought – for Chicago, Illinois, 1893.

But I had forgotten my fellow-users.

Due to Prof Animal Chaos' penchant for ignoring instructions, and his equally stubborn penchant for fiddling with dials that did not concern him, coupled with his inability to understand the temporal calculations of Dennis the Short, I found myself exiting the, er, tardis in Victorian costume, while looking around at...

..a bleak Mediterranean desert. "No!" I shouted, but before I could re-enter the tardis, it had vanished. "Oh, heck," I muttered. "I'm stuck here for a week, and I left the Universal Translator(TM) inside." Wishing I'd paid more attention in Hebrew class, I set off up the bluff ahead, because I could see a (to me) familiar figure there. Brooding, hirsute, wearing a camel's-hair coat with leather belt. "Well," I thought. "At least he can provide dinner. But I refuse to eat insects."

I'm sad about missing the Cracker Jack, Farida, and the Ferris Wheel. But we've had a good time talking about the ontological nature of the universe, and how to circumvent it, and just how mad kings get when you contradict them. Elijah's a great conversationalist, even if he doesn't speak Yiddish, and he always knows where to get dinner, whether he's illegally reproducing pita or getting ravens to bring pastrami sandwiches from Izzy Cohen's deli. (I think the ravens have their own time machine, as Izzy's isn't built yet. Heck, Pittsburgh isn't even built yet.) The only thing that's annoying me right now is that there are 51 armed men down on the plain, and the leader is shouting at us.

"Oh man of God, come down here! King's orders!" Elijah is chuckling.

I know this story. It will not end well for the 51 men. Nor for the 51 after them. It's going to take that 103rd soldier to wise up. This is a schlamazzel of Biblical proportions.

"If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and devour you and your fifty..." Oh, brother. Switch to decaf, Elijahu.

Oh, well. I wanted a change of scenery, and I got one.


Time-Travel Challenge Archive

Dmitri Gheorgheni

08.11.10 Front Page

Back Issue Page

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Conversations About This Entry



Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry


h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more