Thursday, October 27, 2011

10/27/11

INTERESTING TIMES
By Gil C. Schmidt


When Pritchard was about to turn 17, he figured out the secret to anti-gravity. Over a furious four weeks between his first kiss with Melanie and his mom's loony "Sweet 17" party (that included a clown, to the utter humiliation of everyone at the party, including the clown), Pritchard (he hated his given name, Percy, so he fixed it) drew up the design, polished the theoretical underpinnings in a 34-page article (never published) and built the prototype, that he tested on Muggs, his loopy bulldog. The dog's maiden, er, flight, caused the poor mutt to vomit and run away for almost a week. The anti-gravity prototype was now disguised as an 8-track player in Pritchard's home-built display of passé technology.

Between Melanie (who went off to college somewhere in Michigan, while Pritchard stayed near home) and Sally, Pritchard figured out faster-than-light travel, pushed to a superhuman effort in consolidating theoretical physics and what he called "hyperquantic thrust dynamos" for lack of a better name. Sally, a smashing little redhead with birthmarks in the darnest places, was Pritchard's first lover, and the extended post-coital daze dampened Pritchard's other thoughts about FTL travel until Sally joined the Navy and was eventually shipped out to some port in East Asia.

Pritchard tinkered with hyperspace signals based on string theory tunneling until he met Lois, the tall brunette with the perfect dimples on her (most-often) unseen cheeks. Inspired by Lois' fond memories of her childhood in eastern Louisiana, Pritchard made the conceptual leap between his anti-grav concepts (already proven) and FTL travel (which he tested by sending a 54-inch probe to the Moon and back in 6.4 seconds...twice) to discover that time could be unlinked from gravitational space-time and moved anywhere. After a frenetic series of tests, drafts, edits, rebuilds and several cameras destroyed in tests (though one brought back an intriguing half-picture of what could only be a T-Rex in full attack mode), Pritchard finally got his prototype to work after using parts from his last FTL probe (disguised as an over-sized Sith lightsaber) to power his "time capsule." Two trips later (17th century France, smelly, and 15th century Japan, bloody), Pritchard plonked Lois on his lap and took her back 16 years to the tree-lined Alexandria streets of Lois' childhood home.

Only to lose her there when she absolutely freaked out after seeing her mom sneak out of their house, climb into Russell Graham's house through the den window and rock his world in a way that made Lois sick and made Pritchard want to get to know Mrs. Killian a helluva lot more.

With much effort, involving a frantic car chase, a brush with fat, chaw-chewing Southern cops, another couple of looks at the Killian Method for World Rocking and getting Lois blitzed on cheap tequila, Pritchard got them both back to their time/home and took an extra two days to convince Lois her pot dealer was dealing from the bottom, not the top.

Redecorating the time capsule into a home entertainment center with a rad game system and enough speakers to drown out Spinal Tap, Pritchard gathered the fake 8-track player and the über-nerdy fake lightsaber and tucked them into a hidden panel at the base of the new 72-inch plasma screen he bought for himself from the beaucoup royalties he made on his only patented invention: a cell phone accessory that found your wallet, purse, briefcase, keys, car and nearest coffee shop for you.

But every once in a while, Pritchard would carefully dismantle the home entertainment system, and use the time capsule, anti-grav and the now-real lightsaber he invented for fun to hit the Cretaceous creatures like a meteor strike, or leave the anti-grav and Sith weapon home and just drop in on Mrs. Killian...for old times' sake.


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Gil C. Schmidt has been a regular submitter to Yesteryear Fiction since the early days when it was a daily magazine. His story "Interesting Times" is also featured in his book "Thirty More Stories."


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