In Time

Posted on Fri 15 April 2016 in Writing

The problem with time travel is that it takes time.

It takes time to go back and kill Hitler. You have to plan these things, it's not like you can just hop in the machine and go back and kill Hitler. You have to know how you are going to do it. You have to know when and where he is going to be. Those are, of course, a matter of history, but still, it's not like you can just show up at Nuremberg and be like, hey, I'm going to kill Hitler. No. It just not going to happen that way.

That's the problem with time travel. It takes time. Time I don't have.

I bought my time machine a while ago. I couldn't afford the best model, but it's not the worst either. It was on sale at Walmart, and a buddy helped me get it home. I'd had it in the dining room for a few days, since I hadn't gotten around to getting a dining room table. But after a few days of languishing in the space, I decided it would be better to have it stashed in the spare room. God knows why I have a spare room—I'm single and I have few visitors.

People used their time machines for all sorts of things. My neighbor took his kids to the hight of the Roman empire to watch a match between some gladiator and another. I don't remember the details. But his son got lost. By lost, I mean he was taken and killed. His wife was also raped. Not that his son was raped, but that in addition to his son being killed, his wife was rapped. I don't think it was the holiday they expected. But what can you expect from a place like that? It's certainly not Disney Land. Not that Disney Land is Disney Land anymore, it closed after time machines became available, since everyone starting finding their magic elsewhere. Well, not everyone found magic. My neighbor certainly didn't.

So why did I buy a time machine if I didn't take trips like my neighbor? I don't know. Why do we buy anything ridiculous? Maybe to show off to the neighbors. Not that mine would be that impressed anymore. Maybe we do it to fill a void. Maybe we do it to invest back in to our economy. Maybe we just do it because we like cool shit that lets us dream a little. Isn't that why people buy lottery tickets? They can't seriously think they are going to win, can they? What it does do for them is give them the right to imagine what they would do if they won.

Now that I've mentioned lottery tickets, you're probably thinking: well, why couldn't you just go back and buy a winning lottery ticket? Well, you can't. OK, I guess you could go back and get the ticket with the winning numbers, but you can't come back and expect it to win. You could the fist time. And someone did. That's why you can't do it anymore. The lottery people caught on. Not that there was much to catch on to, I mean, it's a bloody time machine, who wouldn't have thought to go back and get the winning ticket, it's an obvious thing to do. But the lottery has changed. There is only ever one winner, aside from the lottery people who rake it in, it's the person who makes the first claim. And trust me, it's never going to be you. People have armies of travelers poised to find the right timing. They go get the ticket and try to arrive back so that they are just in time to claim it. Problem is, is that because there are so many people doing it, they all appear at the same place at the same time. It's not pretty. Not pretty at all. I saw it once when I was a kid, one second there was a man in line, just waiting to claim his winnings, when suddenly, POP!, a woman appeared right in him. There where three more pops in quick succession, and what remained looked like a Medusa figure with multiple heads. It was sick.

No. I don't do any of those things with my time machine. The things I do with mine are far less interesting. I use my time machine to do the laundry. It works like this: I forget to do the laundry, as usual, but rather than staying up all night waiting for the old machines, I just hop in my machine, go back a few hours and put it on. By the time I'm back, it's done. Takes no time at all.