on the stairs heralded yet another interruption by Mrs. Babik. “Mr. Rodenberg,
the meatloaf is getting cold,” called the elderly housekeeper.
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.
audible grumbles, the woman pulled her aging, portly frame up the remainder of
the stairs and entered the study.
down Mrs. Babik. I want you to be an eyewitness.”
down. This will not take long.”
frowned, but lowered herself into a padded, black, leather armchair in front of
a bookcase by the door.
you may have wondered what I have been doing in my study all these many years.”
particularly,” she replied.
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...”
Babik began to rise from the chair.
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.
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.
Rodenberg, the meatloaf has been out of the oven for twenty minutes already, in
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.”
don’t have ten minutes to waste on...” She began to rise again.
I will make it five minutes.”
okay, I’ll make it five seconds. Five seconds is all I need to prove that it
works. Just sit there and watch.”
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.
Mrs. Babik,” Carl’s voice was muffled by the glass enclosure, “I shall travel
five seconds forward in time. Watch closely.”
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.
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.
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.