If I Had a Time Machine

time machine

Bizarro comic strip for Sunday, March 28, 2017

I doubt that buying one comic book will change history all that much, except maybe that one kid who would have read it before won’t be able to now.

“That’ll be 13 cents with tax.”

I’d made sure all of the coins in my pocket were minted before 1965, so I casually reached in and pulled out a quarter.

“Here you go, pal.”

“Thanks.” He bags my purchase, puts in the receipt, and hands it over along with my change. It’s been a long time since I saw anyone calculate change in their head, or for that matter, use a mechanical cash register. God it’s good to be back.

I take the bag and walk out of Walgreens into the bright Las Vegas afternoon. I’d better get back before they come. Not sure what time Grandpa and my ten-year-old self will show up, but I probably shouldn’t meet them.

Yeah, it’s stupid. I get my hands on a time machine and all I do is travel back to the mid 1960s to buy comic books. This one is special though. Space Family Robinson issue 14. My Grandpa bought it for me. He died when I was 16 and over the years, my comic book collection was foolishly sold. The missus thought they were a waste of space but now I realize they weren’t.

spf14

The comic book my Grandpa bought me.

I get my hands on a time machine and travel back, not just for the comic books, but for the memories. It’s been decades since I’ve seen my Grandpa. Maybe hanging around for a little peek wouldn’t hurt anything.

Here they come now.

I saw the comic strip at the top of the page and I started wondering. If you weren’t a scientist, a historian, or some power hungry person bent on changing history for your own gain, what would you do with a time machine? I mean, if you had access to this thing as an ordinary person, what would you use it for?

I gave it a little thought and came up with recapturing memories.

My Dad died a little over a month ago and I saw how devastated my children were at the loss of their Grandpa. Being a Grandpa myself, I understand the unique relationship I have with my grandchildren. It makes me think of how special my Grandpa was to me.

If you had a time machine, what would you use it for? If you want, write a little story based on the concept and post your link to it in the comments here.

Through the Debris

debris

© J Hardy Carroll

By some miracle, they survived the fire and the subsequent vandalism. Leah’s adversaries thought she must now be truly lost, but the stained glass works remained, still hanging by the unbroken windows. The second one from the right was what she was looking for.

Stepping lithely through the debris, she made her way to the map. “The people of this world tried to trap me here, but now I know the way home.”

The map showed her the hidden portal to her own dimension. It was only a few blocks away, but she knew she was being followed.

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 98.

To read other stories based on the prompt, to go InLinkz.com.

The Long Dark Winter

freezing

© 2013 loniangraphics

“God it’s cold out there, Simon.”

“You say that every time you go out for supplies. Of course it’s cold. How’d you do?”

“The Rogues’ shipment from down south came in early. Paying those mercenaries cost a lot, but I managed some oranges and strawberries this time. How about you?”

“Got enough fuel from Old Man Mayberry to last us a couple more weeks at least. By then, he says he can get us some more.”

Carrie set her groceries down on the counter. It’s only a one room cabin, originally built as an artist’s retreat several miles outside of town, but now Simon and Carrie Mitchell call it home. Being small, it’s easy to heat, which is important, since the overall global temperature averages 3 to 4 degrees F less than it did before the Indian-Pakistani nuclear war five years ago.

It’s a limited “nuclear winter,” not quite like all of the disaster movies of the previous decade, but it will be fifteen years at least before the climate begins to return to pre-war levels.

I wrote this in response to the FFfAW Challenge-Week of May 16, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 174.

When I saw the photo, after turning over a few possibilities in my mind, I settled on the topic of large scale nuclear winter. I first thought that it would be set off on purpose by a madman to counter the effects of climate change.

Then, doing a bit of research, I decided to lessen the effect and scope to show that even a “small” nuclear conflict could do long lasting damage to the environment.

I imagined that traditional government would break down, at least in certain areas, and that mercenaries would provide necessary services for an inflated price.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Secret Device

cell phone

© A Mixed Bag 2012

Remember, Z’kin. You’re holding one of the most sophisticated computing devices ever conceived. It has multiple scanners to gather data on their entire environment, communications circuits allowing you to contact our ship in orbit, and a voice interactive interface which can instantly answer any question.

“Not, Z’kin, Commander. My code name is Gary Evans.”

“Right. Of course. We’ve landed in a wooded area just outside of one of their communities. It’s just before dawn, so after you leave the shuttle, we should be able to launch undetected.

“Thanks, Commander. I’ll contact you daily during my scouting mission.”

“Good luck Z…uh, Mr. Evans.”

His alien form altered to look human, “Gary Evans” exited the shuttle and walked the five miles to the city. By the time he got downtown, the streets were bustling with people going to and fro.

The alien reached into his pocket secure in the knowledge that his secret device gave him mastery over his mission.

Then he saw them. They all had one. Every person he saw was looking down at their screens, rapidly tapping out messages or talking to “Siri”. His secret device was all too common here.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction writing challenge. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words based on the photo prompt above. My word count is 192.

When I saw the photo prompt, I thought of how the hand-held communicators in the 1960s TV show “Star Trek” seemed so advanced, but now, today’s cell phones are so much more sophisticated. Imagine an alien race who wants to scout Earth thinking some of their technology is so superior only to discover we have the same thing.

To read other stories inspired by the photo prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Anne

grave

© Liz Young

Her grave was one of the few to survive the uprising. Earth defeated the invaders in the Revolution of ’48.

I can barely make out ‘Anne’ on the gravestone. She was thirty when she died, one of the millions killed in the uprising. Only because my project was so secret did she think I died during the first alien attack.

It’s been decades since Earth became free, and the new government eventually found records of my experiment and sent rescuers. The equipment was still working when they woke me from decades of cryogenic sleep.

I wish I’d died with my daughter.

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers photo writing challenge for April 28, 2017. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction based on the photo above that is no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

We’re Either Stopping Genocide Or Starting It

space

Image: JPL NASA

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

Not only am I a moron, I think I’m going out of my mind.

For the record, my name is Camdon Rod and I’m the owner/operator of the jump freighter Ginger’s Regret. Ginger, the woman the freighter is named for, is here too. Well, sort of. Over fifty years ago, a hyperjump accident destroyed her flesh and blood body, but the rest of her stayed here. She’s the ship’s personality. Sometimes, she can become a woman for a while. Convenient since we’re in love with each other.

Sometime ago, I accepted a deal to work for a group of hyperspace beings, illegally hauling cargo for them. I had no choice. They could kill Ginger if I didn’t.

After that, I had to agree to work for the terrorist organization Spire for the same reasons.

I can’t believe I was stupid enough not to see the connection right away. Either Spire is run by these beings, or behind the scenes, they’re manipulating the people who do run Spire.

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Not Gone Forever

tasmanian tiger

Robert Harbison/The Christian Science Monitor

“There they are, a small streak of them.” Clive Ambrose was actually over five kilometers from the subjects of his research, looking at the group on a laptop in a small hut which served as a blind at the edge of the Southwest National Park in Tasmania.

“A group of Indian Tigers is called as streak, Clive. Is that what we’re calling a collection of Tasmanian Tigers?

Ambrose’s scientific colleague and occasional lover Cappi Lawrence was looking over his shoulder.

“Aren’t you amazed, Cappi? Definite proof that Tasmanian Tigers aren’t extinct, and that they are organized into social groups which include breeding pairs.”

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Matzah Pizza and an Island of Peace

pizza

© Dale Rogerson

Esther had some cheese and matzah pizza and another sip of wine. Fortunately the owner of “Stanley’s Pizza” knew how to accommodate her needs during the Passover season.

At work, time was very fluid, which was why she appreciated the dependable rhythms of a Jewish life. Looking at her watch on the counter, she chuckled. She could only wear it off-duty.

Being a Cross-Time Detective was draining. Thank Hashem she’d captured the dimensional jumper before he could illegally copy the plans for, what..oh, “velcro” and bring them back to our reality.

Now she could enjoy her pizza and peace.

Written for the Friday Fictioneers photo challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The idea is to use the photo above to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. Mine is exactly 100 words.

Since this is the week of Unleavened Bread, and since my wife is visiting our daughter in California and I’ve got the place more or less to myself, I thought I’d write this small bit of “Jewish themed” science fiction. Besides, the pizza really does look like it’s made of matzah.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Strange Sight Expanded

strange eyes

Found at freestockphotos.name

Ronald Connor sat on the sandy shore and stared up at the cliff where it all began. It would be the last thing he’d ever see. His peripheral vision was closing in on him. He could see the trees, the buildings, the tower, all through a continually narrowing tunnel.

“I wish I could have seen your face one more time.” He deliberately left her, Shannon, his fiancée, left everyone else who loved him, because his going blind wasn’t something he wanted to share. He didn’t want their pity, their concern, their last second attempts at trying to cure him, or even to understand exactly what was happening to him.

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Time’s Window Expanded

whale

© Alamy

Physicist and Mission Specialist Jamie Benjamin and her team of three arrived at the orbiting Mars Base Camp exhausted after their nearly two-hundred day trip from Earth to the red planet. But they were astronauts and had to fulfill their grand legacy of being stoic pioneers. Jamie could almost feel Neil Armstrong looking over her shoulder as she stepped through the airlock and boarded the station.

“Welcome to Base Camp, Dr. Benjamin.” Commander Donald Sharp, in operational command of Base Camp and coordinator of Mars Manned Missions smiled and extended his hand.

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