Monday, September 2, 2013

Time Travelnaut Number One



MR. JOHNSON, a thirty-something year-old scientist, sits on a stool at a lab bench, multiple monitors and a computer before him while above and around him the large room is filled with molecular models and blueprints of equipment.

MRS. JOHNSON, his thirty-something year-old wife, sits on a stool next to him, peering at some calculations and graphic models on the displays as he punches away at his keyboard.

So you see, there’s no good reason based on these peer-reviewed calculations why women can’t time travel. It’s just gender-biased nonsense in science fiction that prevents us from seeing both women and men attempt to leap ahead to the future.

Well, I’m game if you’re game. We don’t have kids, the house is paid off, my will is made out. I’ll give it a shot and be the first female human guinea pig, so to speak. Send me to the future!

I’m concerned, of course. There’s no absolute guarantee this is safe. But I’m okay with this if you’re okay. Let’s give it a whirl. The equipment is ready whenever you are, dear.

The pair jump off their stools and cross the lab, approaching a large, stainless steel box about the same size as a commercial freezer, fitted with many electronic displays, buttons, lights, wires, tubes, and switches.

MRS. JOHNSON slips on a nondescript jacket with a small flower-like brooch on the lapel. MR. JOHNSON adjusts the lapel and then turns on a small video display next to the box. The brooch appears to be a spy camera, currently showing MR. JOHNSON as he continues to fuss with the brooch before closing the top button of his wife’s jacket.

MR. JOHNSON turns on video cameras inside and outside the box. More displays outside the box show both the empty interior of the box and the couple outside the box.

MRS. JOHNSON waves to the small exterior camera pointed in her direction, before reaching out for her husband to give him a hug and a brief kiss.

I love you, dear, thanks for this opportunity. Be good while I’m away and keep the house tidy.

It will only look like you’ve stepped into the teleporter and then stepped out a minute later, dear. I won’t fully comprehend you’ve gone, even though to you it will seem like you’ve been gone for an hour in the future, twenty-five years from now.

You’ve explained that before, but it just seems so unreal. Whatever the case, I hope everything will be the same when I come back. I’ll try not to disturb anybody or anything. I’ve got my small notebook and a pencil in my jacket pocket and the spy camera. I’m ready and excited to go.

She smiles at her husband. The spy camera and the exterior camera pick up his shy, concerned smile in response.

MR. JOHNSON opens the box and gestures for his wife to enter.

MRS. JOHNSON enters and extracts a facial tissue from her pocket, then dusts the seat of a low stool with her hand before perching on it. She adjusts herself, then notes the small interior camera in the upper corner of the box and waves to it.

See you soon, dear! I love you!

Um, I love you, too, dear. (coughs) Ahem, well. This is Time Travel Lab Experiment zero-nine-zero-two, at 1500 hours Eastern Daylight Savings Time. Mrs. Julia Johnson is the inaugural travelnaut for this device.

MR. JOHNSON punches in a few numbers on a keypad next to the door of the box.

The device is now set to convey Time Travelnaut Number One twenty-five years into the future, at coordinates within this same house. (beat) Are you ready, dear?

Yes, dear, fire when ready. I mean, all systems go!

On the count of three I will press the initialization button. One. (beat) Two. (beat) Three. (presses big red button)

Lights flash rapidly as the interior display and the spy camera display blackout. MR. JOHNSON looks nervous, his jaw clenches as he fingers a clock display and then checks the second hand on his wrist watch.

The clock display counts upward and then flashes “1:00” just as MR. JOHNSON’s wrist watch second hand arrives at the top of the dial. A loud click and then a bump follow immediately, causing MR. JOHNSON to startle and jump slightly.

The box door unlocks just as MR. JOHNSON begins tapping on the still-black interior and spy camera displays. He looks a bit more worried as the door slowly swings open.

MRS. JOHNSON steps out, looking disheveled. MR. JOHNSON rushes to grab her as she sags a bit, her face looks careworn.

Are you okay, Julia? What’s wrong? Do I need to call for an ambulance? Tell me!

No. Don’t call an ambulance. I’m fine, just a bit tired.

Are you sure? Is there anything I can do for you?

No, really, dear. I’m fine. There’s not much you can do for me except help me upstairs and into bed for a nice nap.

Oh my goodness, what happened in the future that wore you out? Is it apocalyptically bad twenty-five years from now?

MRS. JOHNSON stands bolt upright, grabs her husband by the upper arms and looks him square in the eye intensely.

No, everything looks very much as it does right now, today.

But why are you so tired? Is it the radiation?

You know why women don’t travel to the future? I figured it out. They don’t need to travel to the future. They’ve probably already been there and just haven’t told anybody about it.

What? But why? What do you mean, women don’t need to travel to the future?

Because toilet seats still get left up, wet towels still get thrown on the floor, socks still go missing, and somebody still pees on the seat.
(beat) Yes, men are still pigs who don’t clean up after themselves, and I’m tired from cleaning up after our piggish adult son.

But...but that means...

Yes, I’m pregnant, it’s a boy, and I’m seriously wondering if I’m not crazy for keeping it. (sighs) My daughter-in-law is going to hate me. (shakes her head in despair)

MRS. JOHNSON steps around her husband and walks toward the basement door.

Zoom in on exterior camera display showing only MR. JOHNSON’s face, his mouth sagging with incomprehension and shock.


© Copyright 2013—All rights reserved.
By Femme Malheureuse

No comments:

Post a Comment