Bruce sat down- hard. He had done it. A TIME machine. Sort of.
He knew he was on the right track. I mean Einstein’s theory predicted that at one time everything was closer together. That the Universe isn’t static- it is either expanding, or contracting, or a little of both. Then, well, they figured out it was expanding.
When that Russian Monk wrote to Einstein and told him that the Equations suggested that Einstein’s Theory predicted a day that had no yesterday- Einstein tried to take it out. Einstein’s “Biggest Blunder” wasn’t fiddling with what came to be known as the Cosmological Constant. No. Not at all.
Einstein’s biggest blunder was missing what his own Theory predicted: The Big Bang. A time before time, a place before place, and a Universe that didn’t exist yet. Where everything that is now far apart, was closer together.
So close together that the good Monk pointed out that there must have been a day with no yesterday.
Bruce took that hint to build his TIME Machine. It worked. Sort of.
Here is the Story in Bruce’s own words.
I didn’t even know the damn thing was working, until I went to eat a banana. I know, I know. What does a TIME machine have to do with a banana. A lot. If your TIME machine works on the Principal that mine did- er…does.
You see I had just bought those bananas. I put them on the kitchen table to go turn on my TIME machine. I know from movies, TV, and Science-Fiction books, that you probably think that TIME machines have to look like some kind of Spaceship, or Chamber, or giant cave filling CERN like Machines. Nope.
Mine was about the size of a large microwave. Because all you have to really do is distort the lines of SPACETIME- just think of it like bumping against someone running next to you in a full sprint. All you have to do is “nudge” him, and he will bounce off like you hit him with a cannon ball. Well, SPACETIME is the same way. Except you use Quantum Rules to “nudge” TIME out of the way.
And that is exactly what I did. Nudge.
I turned it on. I waited a few minutes, ran a check or two, and went to get a banana to eat while the program ran. The Banana was so ripe, it had those brown spots on it. I just shrugged it off and ate the banana. Hardly noticing it consciously…but my brain must have noticed it for some reason.
I went back in my Office. The TIME Machine seemed to be running, but nothing was happening. I fiddled with some equations, inputted just a mite more information to the quantum program I was running. I went back out for another banana. I froze.
The bananas were a soggy goo in the basket. Their skins had turned black and a gooey sweet smelling pus was leaking out of them. Like they had been sitting there for weeks. I still didn’t understand what was going on. My brain noted it, along with the earlier fact of the fast ripening banana I ate earlier. But no real connection in my brain…yet.
I went to check the TIME machine again. I thought I was in there maybe three hours, or so. I came out to make coffee. When I opened my fridge, everything was rotted. The milk I was going to put in my coffee was just a solid clump of something resembling moss. It didn’t even break when I dropped the jug. Just kind of cracked open like an egg. Nothing poured out, just little puffs of moss like stuff.
I was getting an Idea. And scared. Really scared.
I ran to my door and opened it. I stood there blinded by both sunlight, and reality. My front yard had trees in it. Trees. There were rotted newspapers in plastic bags. There were all kinds of notices nailed to my door. My eyes stopped watering enough for me to step off my porch.
There were two guards, or Policemen, or maybe Military guys (I couldn’t tell) dressed in black, standing next to a van drinking coffee. When they saw me step out of the door, they dropped their coffees.
“Who the F*ck are you? How did you get in there?”
Neither drew their guns, but they sure looked like they wanted to.
I raised my hands - trying to be as non threatening as possible.
“My name is Bruce. I…I…I live here.“
They must have been highly trained, whoever they were, because one guy told me to just stand still. The other guy climbed in the Van - I could hear him telling someone over the radio to get over here right away.
The guy who told me to hold still saw I was still holding my cup of coffee.
“You want a refill?”
“Sure. I…don’t…seem…to have…any milk or cream in the house.”
“You take sugar?”
He turned to the Van, turned back around and handed me a fresh cup of coffee with cream and sugar.
“You really the guy that lives in that house? I mean you look like the picture we have. But…that picture is more than thirty five years old.“
For the second time that day, I almost dropped my coffee.
“Thirty…thirty five years?!”
The Guard (or whatever he was) nodded his head.
“Yep. Legend has it that the Paperboy - whatever that is, noticed a pile of papers on your porch. He called the Police. They couldn’t get inside. Then the Scientists came. They couldn’t get in either. Then they made a shrine out of the place almost. We are here to keep people from trying to get in the house. Nobody can. There is some kind of force field or distortion - the only place that isn’t affected on your property- is the driveway.
We are supposed to call if we notice any activity from inside the house, but mostly we have just tried to stop folks from trying to get in. And then…well, you walked out!”
So many Sirens were coming down the street, helicopters were dropping out of the sky like mosquitoes, and reporters were racing past them all to get to me. I fainted.
Okay. Let’s just all agree that the next few weeks were a blur, horrible, and mind bending. I will skip all the wailing and gnashing of teeth. The armed guards, the limited access to my prison cell. They can call it anything they want- it was a prison. It took almost two months before the Scientists of the Day, the Government, and me- finally understood that my TIME Machine worked. Sort of.
I won’t bore you with the technical details. But basically here is what happened. I turned it on…and it froze time. But only inside my house and property line. (and we didn’t know why then- we do now- but I am getting ahead of myself.)
So TIME moved on around me. But not near me. What was six or seven hours of passing time inside my house, was thirty seven years, nine months, and thirteen days, on the “outside TIME". My machine did what I thought it would do…stretching TIME. Just like Einstein predicted. Sort of.
I was trapped in the past, but could step into the future. Nobody but me could go back inside the house. The theory being that I was from that time- and internally, my time was moving at that speed. Almost stopped. It was five years until they let me go back in my house. They had all aged five years. I had aged about an hour.
The deal was, I would go in the house. Wait a half an hour, and come back out. I did. Pandemonium. There must have been a hundred thousand people surrounding my house. It turns out that over a year had gone by. They had torn down all the surrounding structures. I was now in the middle of a TIME park. One of the Guards I met that first day had passed on from a heart attack. Two of the Scientists I had worked with were killed in a car wreck. And coffee now came in a pill. Yech.
I was no fool.
This time, I didn’t leave my porch. I could go back in my house. Nobody else could. So I was safe. I didn’t want to be studied anymore. I wanted to turn my machine off, but I couldn’t. It just kept running. A clock stuck in Time. I went hysterical. I would open the front door once in a while. All kind of items would be on the Porch- and always a throng of people in the driveway.
I couldn’t even talk to them anymore. They spoke something that might have had English roots, but I only caught a word or two. I never saw cars or vehicles of any kind. But they waved and took “pictures” - if that is what their constant blinking meant. I must have been aging even slower than I thought.
One daring kid ran up and threw a cube at me. I caught it out of midair. As soon as my hand touched it- it beamed a hologram up. I was fascinated. That cube brought me up to date. It was (I am not kidding) a documentary about the thousand year old house. There were no countries anymore- and a plague had wiped out nine tenths of the Human Race more than seven hundred years earlier.
I cried. Nobody I ever knew was alive.
I was still a fascinating tourist destination. So much so that Martians braved the five day track into the inner planet- and three times their gravity- just to come see my house. Hoping it would be a day on which I opened the door. Martians are tall. I mean really tall. The kids are seven feet, and gravity wreaks havoc on them. It turns out they are us. Yep.
For five hundred and seventy two years, Earthlings had lived on Mars. And Evolution adapted. Still they came to see me, in spite of the obvious discomforts of gravity, and air that must have seemed as thick as water to them.
I went back inside.
I heard the voice. I was, as usual, in my Office fiddling with my TIME Machine. As usual, it resisted any changes I tried to make. Maybe I was hallucinating. Then I heard the voice again.
It was soft. Gentle. Female. And shy.
If it had been any different sounding I might have tried to shoot first and talk later. I wasn’t sure if I was sane or crazy. The last time I went “outside” as I called it now- six thousand years had gone by. My tiny plot of land was enclosed in a glass bubble of some sort— and I wasn’t sure I was on Earth anymore. I went right back in before any of the creatures in the driveway could say a thing.
And they were creatures.
The Voice spoke again:
I was surprised my voice wasn’t shaking. It was filled with emotion. I hadn’t talked to anyone in ages. Literally.
“May I come in?”
And doggone if she didn’t step through the door. I almost dropped my coffee pill. I had hundreds of them left over from that TIME past. I liked them. Just pop them in your mouth and suck on them. They never got too hot, or too cold. Just right. I love them. So I said to her. My first words to a woman in millennia - and they were banal:
“Would you like a coffee pill?”
“Oh. Sure. I would be delighted.”
I gave it to her. She was beautiful, graceful, and elegant. And I thought she was a figment of my imagination. I had been alone so long, I invented an invisible friend, and what a friend. My dream girl in every aspect. Loving, caring, kind, intelligent, warm, friendly with a wonderful sense of humor. Perfect. If only she was real.
I was thinking all that when she touched me on my arm.
She was real.
I have to go now. I still live in that house, well …we do. I don’t know how to tell you this, but maybe some day, someone else will turn up that can come in my house. Einstein was right.
There was a day without a yesterday. And that day still exists. There is no TIME. Nope. Just that one Day stretched out for a very very very long time. What I had done was just what TIME had been doing forever. Stretching itself out. The Future happened a long time ago. In one day. Yep.
Then it stretched to two days. Then three. Then four. When it got to Seven, folks born on that First Day were Billions of years old. Just like me. Time stretched away from me, leaving me so far in the past, I was in their future.
She explained it all to me. She tracked me down to have someone to talk to. Remember when I told you my days inside my house were stretching into thousands of years, not just days on the “Outside”? She had the same experience…except longer.
You see, She was born on the Second Day.
And finally caught up to Today. My Day.
We know how the Day ends.
Because her Father was born on the First Day.
We are waiting for him to join us.
We go outside often. There is no one there. Only a few stars are left.
It must be damn near the end of the First Day.
He should be here soon.
I have a coffee pill ready.
She holds my hand as we wait for that final sunset. I can taste the coffee when I kiss her. I don’t know how long the kiss lasted, but two more stars blinked out of existence.