by Jamey Sharp
"Looks like he's coming around."
"Good. Keep an eye on him. I'll go get some more water."
I opened my eyes. Standing above me was the person who this journey had started with.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. My name is Jose Corronaddo. I'm 12 years old.
One day, not too long ago as I reckon time, a friend of mine called me. "What's up, Jim?" I asked.
Jim Smithson said, "Could you come over to my house right away?"
Jim sounded so excited I said "Sure!" and rushed over there.
When I got there, I found Jacob Meadows, another friend of mine, already there. Jacob Meadows loved the medical profession. He wanted to be a doctor when he grew up. He had so many books in his room it was hard to tell where he'd sleep!
Jim Smithson was more of a scientist and theorist. One of his favorite subjects to think about was time.
And me? Well, I guess you could say I'm Jack of all trades and master of none. I had just moved to Alberta, Canada from southern California. My favorite occupation is playing computer games. Not much, obviously, compared to my friends, but oh well.
Anyway, once all three of us were gathered together, Jim took us down to the basement. About the only thing down there was a large object covered with a white sheet. In one quick motion, Jim pulled the sheet off. And there was - what?
"Is... is that... what I think it is?" Jacob asked, rather stunned.
"I don't know," said Jim happily. "What do you think it is?"
I went up to it and looked inside. There was a knob that said "Date", one that said "Time", one that said "Time to Stay", and one that said "Place". When I pulled my head out of the machine, I asked: "Is it something related to, oh, say, ... time?"
"If you mean a time machine, you got it!" Jim replied.
I stood there for a moment, mouth hanging open, until Jacob pushed it shut.
"Anybody for a test drive?" Jim asked.
I said "Sure!" at the same time that Jacob said "No WAY!"
Jim said, "Okay, Jose! Hop in, and we'll leave this scardy-cat here!"
I could tell Jacob couldn't stand being called a scardy-cat. His lower lip started to tremble. Finally, he burst out "All right! I'll come with you!!"
Jim said, "Good."
We all clambered in. Jim asked me, "Where do you want to go?"
"Hmmm..." I said. "That's a tough one. But... Oh! I know! Let's go to North Dakota!"
"Interesting choice," said Jim, "but okay. Jacob, what date would you like to go to?"
Jacob thought for a moment, then said "I think December 17, 1903 at 6:00 a.m. would be a neat choice."
"Why 6:00 a.m.?" I asked.
He said, "We don't really want people seeing us just pop up out of nowhere, do we?"
"Well, I guess not," I replied.
"Okay," said Jim. "I say we stay for 6 hours." So Jim set the controls. He set "Time" to 6:00 a.m. He set "Date" to December 17, 1903. He set "Place" to North Dakota. Finally, he set "Time to Stay" to 6 hours. Then he pulled a lever I hadn't noticed before. "Here we go!" he shouted, before the machine started spinning so fast that I blacked out.
"Looks like he's coming around."
"Good. Keep an eye on him. I'll go get some more water."
I opened my eyes. Standing above me was Jim, who said "Oh good. You survived!"
"No thanks to you!" I responded. Then we both laughed. "So what exactly happened?" I continued.
Jim replied, "The time machine is based on Einstein's general and special theories of relativity. Essentially, if you go faster than the speed of light, you'll go back in time. Because, of course, I couldn't make the time machine go straight up or any other direction, I had to make it rotate. And that rotation was what sent the time machine back in time."
"It's cold out here. I wish I had chosen a warmer place," I mumbled. Then I noticed the fire Jacob had made nearby. I watched as he took a pop can out of the coals and quickly set it down on the snow. I asked, "What is Jacob doing?"
Jim responded, "He's melting snow for you to drink in some pop cans that I left in the time machine from days when I was working on it and drinking pop at the same time."
Jacob brought over the now cooled pop can. "How are you feeling?" he asked.
I said, "Like I just got off a Cyclatron!"
"What's that?" he asked.
"One of those carnival rides where you go around and around and around really fast."
"Can you sit up?" Jacob asked in his most professional voice. I sat up. "I guess that answers my question," he continued in a slightly less professional voice.
From this new vantage point, I looked around. When I looked over to my right I noticed, with a shock, smoke coming from what appeared to be a chimney above the trees! I said, "Um... guys? Is that, perhaps, smoke coming from a chimney over there?"
They both looked. "I think it is!" they both exclaimed at the same time. "Let's head over there!" Jim continued. So I stood up and we headed over toward where the smoke appeared to be coming from.
When we got to the chimney, we found that a cabin was attached to it. So we knocked at the door. While we were waiting for someone to answer, I saw that there was something on the door. When I looked closer at it, I could see that it said "tHE wRONG bROTHEWRS", only upside down!
Finally someone came to the door. I noticed immediately that his style of clothing was rather weird even for 1903. His shirt was inside-out, the hat that he wore nearly covered his eyes and had pictures of purple elephants dancing all over it, and his pants were so big he could have pulled his legs all the way up in them and no one would notice. They would have just thought his legs had shrunk! He said, "Come in! Come in!" So we came in.
Inside, there was something that looked a little bit like an airplane, but its wings were upside down. "You're just in time to see our first flight! My brother, Orville Wrong, and I (my name is Wilbur) will burden ourselves with the task of flying this beautiful little airplane from the tree tops! I have no doubt we will succeed. You three can witness our successful flight. What are your names?"
I introduced us. Then Jim said, "Um, may I speak with my friends for a moment?"
Wilbur Wrong responded, "Certainly!"
Jim took us outside. We huddled together, and Jim said, "This guy is crazy! He wears weird clothes, even for 1903, he wants to launch a plane from the treetops, and he's got the wings upside down on his plane! I say we get out of here as fast as possible."
Jacob quickly agreed, but I hesitated. I don't know why now that I look back on it. I guess it just seemed more fun to watch this than to sit in the cold woods. Jim saw that hesitation and realized my point of view. "Oh, all right!" said Jim. "We have to stay till noon anyway. Might as well watch this guy's neat tricks!"
So we went back into the cabin and said, "Okay. We'll be your witnesses!"
Then Wilbur went outside and called, "Suey!" Orville Wrong came crashing through the woods on all fours. Then he stood up like the semi-decent human being that he was. I figured he was probably more like a Homo Neanderthal. He was wearing exactly the same kinds of clothes Wilbur was wearing, but he seemed to have much longer arms. His hair looked as though it hadn't been cut in years, and same for his fingernails!!
Wilbur turned and asked us for help getting the plane out of the cabin. Jim, Jacob, and I looked at each other, smiled, and said OK. Then we proceeded to drag the plane towards the door. When we got to the doorway, we deliberately made sure the wings fell off, though we made it look like an accident. We got the body of the plane through the door, then picked up the wings and put them back on the right way, using stronger glue and screws. We then made it look like no matter how hard we tried, we couldn't get it up into the air to put it on one of the trees. So Jacob suggested to the Wrongs, "Since we can't get this plane on top of a tree, why don't we take it to that field over there? I'm sure it would work just was well there."
Orville reluctantly grunted. Wilbur didn't respond. He had disappeared somewhere. Maybe Nature called.
As we were taking the plane to the field, we all smiled at each other. Then Jim looked at his watch. "Oh, my gosh!" he said. "It's 11:52! We'd better hurry if we want to see this thing do tricks!" We rushed the plane the last few meters to the field. We waited for the Wrongs, but they didn't come. So we climbed in ourselves. We had just settled ourselves in the plane with Jim grabbing the wheel, Jacob in the co-pilot's seat and me sitting between them when we saw Orville come out of the forest. Wilbur was close behind him. Jim looked at his watch. It was 11:59 and 55 seconds. All three of us thought to ourselves, "5... 4... 3... 2... 1... 0!" The last thing we saw was Orville grunting loudly and Wilbur waving and dancing wildly in excitement as they saw us disappearing.
When we got back to Jim's basement, we saw that Jim was still holding the wheel from the airplane. We looked at each other and laughed!