David A. Kilman writes humorous science fiction, and authors the “Scide Splitters” column for Amazing Stories. This is his first appearance in Galaxy’s Edge.

David A. Kilman

Creaking on the stairs heralded yet another interruption by Mrs. Babik. “Mr. Rodenberg, the meatloaf is getting cold,” called the elderly housekeeper.

Once his invention makes him rich, Carl will replace the old woman with someone younger, someone who will not interrupt him incessantly. “Mrs. Babik, how many times have I told you... No, wait, come here. I want you to see something.” He might as well have a witness to corroborate the data from his timepieces.

With audible grumbles, the woman pulled her aging, portly frame up the remainder of the stairs and entered the study.

“Sit down Mrs. Babik. I want you to be an eyewitness.”

“But the meatloaf...”

“Sit down. This will not take long.”

She frowned, but lowered herself into a padded, black, leather armchair in front of a bookcase by the door.

“Now, you may have wondered what I have been doing in my study all these many years.”

“Not particularly,” she replied.

He will definitely get a new housekeeper, one that understands the genius of her employer and the magnitude of his achievements. He attempted to explain, “In quantum mechanics, virtual particles manifest themselves...”

Mrs. Babik began to rise from the chair.

“Sit down, Mrs. Babik. I will forgo the scientific explanation and put it to you in simple terms that even you can understand. This,” he said, gesturing to a contraption in the center of the room, “is a time machine.” The device consisted of an armchair identical to the one the housekeeper occupied resting on a circular, steel plate five feet in diameter. In front of the chair, a keyboard was affixed to a suitcase-sized, black, metal box. All of this sat under a glass dome held aloft by a telescoping pole extending out of the center of the steel plate.

“I will seat myself in the time machine and move forward in time exactly ten minutes. You will see me disappear, then reappear ten minutes later.” He looked at his watch.

“Mr. Rodenberg, the meatloaf has been out of the oven for twenty minutes already, in another ten...”

“Mrs. Babik, you don’t seem to grasp the significance of what you are witnessing. It is of such importance that you, in being the first witness, will be as famous as Alexander Graham Bell’s assistant..., um, whose name escapes me at the moment. But rest assured, you will be famous.”

“I don’t have ten minutes to waste on...” She began to rise again.

“Fine, I will make it five minutes.”

“The meatloaf, Mr...”

“Okay, okay, I’ll make it five seconds. Five seconds is all I need to prove that it works. Just sit there and watch.”

She frowned, but remained seated. Agitated, Carl ducked his balding pate under the dome and attempted to get into the chair. The pole being tightly situated against the chair, he was forced to climb in to straddle the pole. Fortunately he was a slender man, not prone to eating too much of Mrs. Babik’s meatloaf. He will make a more convenient design later after he has more money, and a new housekeeper. Once settled, he lowered the telescoping pole so that the glass dome came to rest in a groove circling the edge of the steel plate.

“Now, Mrs. Babik,” Carl’s voice was muffled by the glass enclosure, “I shall travel five seconds forward in time. Watch closely.”

Using the keyboard, Carl set the device to five seconds and hit the activation key. Mrs. Babik watched as the entire contraption, including Mr. Rodenberg, vanished.


Five seconds later, the time machine rematerialized in exactly the same location. Unfortunately, the earth had moved nearly two thousand kilometers in the meantime, leaving Carl deep in the Earth’s mantle somewhere under Saskatchewan where he was almost instantly crushed and incinerated.


One minute later, Mrs. Babik rose from the chair. “And don’t expect me to rewarm the meatloaf when you get back,” she said as she slowly made her way down the stairs.

Copyright © 2016 David A. Kilman


by L. Neil Smith

A classic closed-room mystery with a murder most foul....and most alien....



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Copyright © Arc Manor LLC 2016. All Rights Reserved. Galaxy's Edge is an online magazine published every two months (January, March, May, July, September, November) by Phoenix Pick, the Science Fiction and Fantasy imprint of Arc Manor Publishers.