Tuesday, August 5, 2008

LITERARY ADVENTURE: The Time Machine VIII

SO FAR IN THIS LITERARY ADVENTURE: Doogie built a time machine with the intention of traveling back to 1894 London and watching H.G. Wells write the first page of his science fiction classic, The Time Machine. Instead he ended up in colonial Philadelphia, where he lost a fight with a pygmy farmer and his battle ogre. Doogie woke to find himself a captive in the farmer’s basement, where the farmer raised hobos like cattle and fed them to a race of furry Molemen™, who traded him gold for human flesh.

The Princess of the Molemen™ was being held ransom in the cage next to Doogie. She revealed a secret passage beneath his cell and gave him instructions to find her father, King Ralph. Doogie tunneled underground, found the King, and told him that his daughter, the Princess, was still alive.

The Molemen mounted a massive offensive against the farmer, who was armed with a death ray from the future which he used to kill King Ralph.

The farmer and Doogie fought in the basement, where the farmer shot Princess Amidala with the death ray. The Basement People freed themselves from their cages and ate the farmer alive. Doogie rushed to the Princess’s side and discovered that the death ray hadn’t killed her, it had simply burned all the fur off her body, revealing a beautiful woman underneath. Her father dead, shunned by the Molemen, Amidala traveled to the year 3000 with Doogie to honeymoon on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

After a month of bliss together, Amidala’s fur began to grow back, and Doogie realized it was time to complete the final leg of their journey.

And now, the final installment of Doogie's "The Time Machine" series. Catch up with past chapters: I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII.
– – –

Amidala and I caught a rocket back to the Earth the next morning. Now that her fur was growing back, she felt more confident, more attractive, and was openly amorous. She looked like a sheepdog who I had trained to walk on two legs, and french kiss me at embarrassing moments. Her public displays of affection were frequent, and I could feel the eyes of the other rocket passengers on us as she snuggled with me.

Stars streaked past our window. Amidala’s shaggy head rested on my shoulder. I thought she was asleep, so I was surprised when she spoke. “I’m so glad you’re finally finishing your quest, honey.” She squeezed my hand with her albino wolf paw, and planted a furry kiss on my earlobe.

An old lady directly across from us stared at me with disgust, and mouthed the words “alien lover.”

– – –

I knew Wells had begun the Time Machine the night of September 25th, 1894 while at his country home in Sandgate. Transporting the Time Machine to England was much easier in the year 3000 than it had been in colonial Philadelphia. Once we returned to earth, all we had to do was drag the machine to the nearest transporter station and then plug in the coordinates of Wells’s country estate. Within seconds we were transported to the exact spot which, 1106 years in the past, would be Wells’s back yard. At the moment it was simply miles of charred rubble, since Great Britain had been decimated by soccer androids after the 2588 World Cup.

The Time Machine sat in the middle of a grey wasteland. A listless wind kicked up clouds of ash. I felt a sense of loss now that the end was so close at hand. I had gone through so much to make it to this point. Would the prize be worth the price I had paid?

I put the brass key into its slot and grabbed the crystal topped lever.
I looked over at Amidala, who was braiding her stomach hair into a French twist. “Hold on,” I told her. She put her arms around my waist and I threw the lever back. The machine spun faster and faster, until everything became a blur.

– – –

We stopped with a lurch. Amidala and I stumbled out of the machine and promptly threw up. As soon as I finished saying goodbye to my Venusian flapjacks, I looked up and saw the night sky. Clouds covered the moon. We were on a manicured lawn. I could barely see the outline of a house, and landscaped shrubbery.

Then someone knocked me off my feet.

We hit the ground and wrestled for a moment, but I karate chopped him in the neck and threw him to the side.

I heard Amidala scream, “What are you doing?”

“Amidala!” I yelled, and then someone punched me in the stomach. I lashed out but missed. I was knocked to the ground from behind, and landed on an unconscious body. I realized there were people all around me, fighting with each other, and attacking me as well, brawling blindly in the dark.

I heard a gunshot from within the house. Then another. Then two more.

Amidala screamed again.

I fought my way towards her voice. I could see her white fur glowing in the night. She was surrounded by black figures who had pinned her to the ground. I beat them off her, picked her up, and ran towards the house. “It’s you! It’s you!” she said breathlessly.

“Yes, it’s me,” I dragged her behind me. “Run for the house!”

Just then another figure leapt into our path. “Stop!” he yelled. I bowled into him, but he held me fast. Amidala broke free. We were almost at the door. “Keep running!” I yelled to her.

Amidala made it to the house, but a second before her hand was on the knob, the door flew open and a shaft of bright light flooded the lawn. A man in a smoking jacket stood in the doorway, a rifle held ready at his waist. His face was contorted with fear, a frayed rope about to snap. He screamed in horror when he saw Amidala who, blinded by the bright light, flailed her arms wildly. The man in the smoking jacket pulled the trigger. The rifle went off, and Amidala fell to the ground.

I turned around to struggle out of my attacker’s grip, and found myself looking into my own face. It looked resigned, and mildly annoyed. “Aw shit,” it said. “Well, that didn’t work.”

– – –

Ten minutes later I sat in H.G. Wells’s parlor. I sat on the couch, the divan, the chairs, the floor. I lounged against the mantle, stood in the door jamb, and rummaged through the icebox. Two of me lay dead in the dining room, and one in the bedroom hallway. A hundred different versions of me from alternate timelines crowded his house.

Wells was badly shaken. His smoking jacket was covered in blood, and he had a broken nose, because I had punched him in the face. He tried not to look me in the eyes, but it was difficult, since there was scarcely an inch of the house I didn’t occupy. A hundred different Doogie’s filled the room.

One of me brought him a snifter of brandy and a bag of ice to hold against his nose.

Wells cleared his throat. “Uh, which one of you punched me?” Everyone pointed to me, except the two Doogies who were arm wrestling.

“I’m terribly sorry I shot your girlfriend,” Wells said. “I thought she was a polar bear.”

“A polar bear? In England?” I said.

“Well I don’t know!” He waved his arms around the room. “All these chaps were running around here, attacking me, and then I ran outside and saw this big hairy beast!”

I lunged at him when he said “beast,” but luckily for him I held myself back. One of me said “We’ve been trying to stop Wells, but no matter how many times we go back in time and replay this night, Amidala always gets shot.”

I had traveled back in time to this moment a hundred times, each time running into more and more timeline versions of myself, all trying to stop Amidala from getting shot. But every time something had gone wrong, and the outcome ended up the same. It appeared the past was immovable.

I looked around the room at all the other Doogies: so fat. I addressed them as one. “Do you know what happens next?”

They nodded wearily.

I turned to Wells. “Okay, I’m here to watch you write your new book. So get crackin’.”

He looked at me, honestly puzzled. “Which one?”

“You know, the one about a machine that travels through time!”

“A machine that travels through . . . time?” He lowered the bag of ice. “That’s a bloody good idea!”

I grabbed the snifter of brandy out of Wells’s hand and tossed it back. It burned going down and my eyes welled with tears. I choked out a bitter laugh. I looked at a Doogie who was fingering an astrolabe on Wells’s mantle. “I know what you’re thinking,” he said.

“It’s so ironic,” I said. “Amidala would have loved it.”

The next installment of Doogie's live comedy show, THE MINISTRY OF SECRET JOKES is on Wednesday, August 27th at Fergie's Pub (1214 Sansom St.)

1 comment:

Not Doogie said...

Incredible. Just . . . wow. Seriously. Good. REALLY good. So good. Bravo. Kudos! Big kudos. Big kudos for you, kid. You go girl! Go to writing school. And don't come back. Genius! Go win some awards. Seriously. Wow.