Archive for July, 2015


There has been much debate regarding the true expiration date of a Twinkle-ee Cake.

Will the spongy cake and sugary frosting center maintain it’s edible and spongy qualities well beyond the expiration stamped on the cellophane package?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked but, when someone finds out I’m a time traveler, the question of Twinkle-ee Cakes pops up. Why? I have no idea. With all of the questions one could ask a time traveler, why would anyone in their right mind care about Twinkle-ee Cakes?

I rarely socialize, but sometimes I have to in order to keep my brother happy. Inevitably, the topic of my past pops up and then someone will bring up the question and another will jump into the conversation and ramble off a bunch of scientific reasons that supposedly debunks the Twinkle-ee Cake myth.

“I’ve heard that Twinkle-ee Cakes can survive the atom bomb.”

“I heard somewhere that someone found a Twinkle-ee Cake pinned to a blackboard in an abandoned classroom. It was 30 years old, they ate it and it was still good!”

Hog wash. Who would eat a thirty year old sponge cake?

I was bored. Fidgety, actually. The house was empty. I decided that an experiment was required.

The grocery store had one box of Twinkle-ee Cakes left on the shelf. They are still selling like mad. I don’t get it. They are just a sugary mess, if you ask me. Even at it’s freshest it’s probably the most unhealthy food on the planet.

I took the box of cakes through one of the three doors in my lab into the past. Thirty years to be exact. The door appeared in the same wall shimmering and set on hold. I can usually keep it open for about five minutes before I run into problems.

The Brightbuckle home coordinates never change. Programming the time was the only tricky bit. Sometimes the calculations are off and I’m tripping over cave men. Fortunately, the programming was right on target.

The light from the door cast crazy shadows throughout the basement revealing boxes, trunks and a couple of shabby looking bicycles.

I opened the basement window and let some sunshine and oxygen into the room. I don’t know what it is, but the air has a different scent back then. I peered out of the window. The hedges were smaller, the trees were shorter and the house was a different color. Otherwise, it was the same house. It’s been in the family for generations.

I placed one securely wrapped Twinkle-ee Cake in a small sterile metal box and snapped the lid closed.

It would be many years before I would relocate my lab to this house, so none of my equipment was present, but I knew one spot that would remain untouched for thirty years. It was a loose foundation block in the far corner of the dark basement. I wrestled it free from the wall and placed the small metal box with the Twinkle-ee Cake inside. I pushed the hollow block back into place and stretched my aching back.

I still had a few minutes to kill so I walked around the basement looking at the artifacts of my past. My first bike, my first tool box, my scout cap hanging on a hook.

Dad’s old boots. 

I felt a bit emotional. I hate when that happens. I took a deep breath, turned and faced the wall and returned to the present via the door.

My lab was there waiting.

I found the loose foundation block in the far corner. I pulled it free and peered inside. There was no box inside but there was a piece of paper. I picked it up carefully, holding it between my thumb and forefinger. It had a musty smell and a tea-stain color. I unfolded it.

Someone printed, in black ink, across the top of the paper;

You built a powerful time machine and this is how you use it?

You really should feel embarrassed. Shame, shame, same.

Scrawled at the bottom was a large “S”

Then the following;

BTW. In case you are wondering; Tasted fine to me.

Just as I suspected; The cake would not be where I left it.

I turned and faced the massive pile of boxes and abandoned experiments that I had in the basement lab. I calmly pushed as much aside as I could and dug into the mess until I found what I was looking for; my first toolbox. 

It was a standard box painted red, chipped, dented with rust spots here and there. There were a few stickers, across the top and side that had peeled and were curled. Colorful logo’s for super heroes and products like STP oil treatment, Superman and Jack’s Garage. I popped the chrome latches and opened the lid.

If anyone were with me they would have seen something rare; me grinning from ear to ear. I rarely smile and there’s not much that can evoke one. 

I lifted the Twinkle-ee cakes from the toolbox, the ones that remained from what I had purchased. I pulled open one of the cellophane packages and sniffed the cake inside. As fresh as if I had had bought it today. (Yes, yes; I know. I did buy it today, but thirty years have gone by. Since then just deal with it.)

I took a bite.

Disgustingly good. Just as disgustingly good as if I had bought it today.

Now… what to do about S?

 

  

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People will say “I was fighting with myself” or “I’m my own worst enemy” when struggling with a decision.

This is something I have also said, frequently, but the fighting does not often take place in my mind;

I actually fight with myself.

I am a Time Traveler and often cross paths with myself. Usually this self is my future self come to change a mistake or fiddle with equipment HE no longer has access to.

I talk about HIM like he is an annoyance but, you might ask, how can that be because he is you?

Well… Whoever I am in the future, he is full of regrets and do-over intentions.

I don’t think that way now and wonder how it is I end up getting to that point.

Just this morning HE showed up. I was in the kitchen and I heard myself whistling for Darwin from the basement. Darwin ran from his comfortable spot, under the living room lamp table, down the steps to the basement lab.

“Good boy, Darwin. How have you been, boy?” I heard Him speaking to my dog and my dog was panting and sounding very excited to see Him.

I walked down the steps to meet Myself. He was much older than I am today. ‘Same coat though. That’s a comfort. I appreciate durability.

“Good to see you haven’t lost as much hair as I feared,” I said.

“Nobody loses much hair in the future,” he said. “Fancy shampoos with added ingredients. ‘Amazing stuff.”

He continued to play with Darwin. 

“I take it Darwin is not with you in the future?”

“He shows up every now and then… Although I have no idea how. He appears as a different age each time I see him… I can tell by his gate and the grey around his snout if he’s a young Darwin or and old Darwin. But, yes, he show’s up frequently.”

“That would explain why he vanishes so often,” I said.

“Yep… I remember that,” he said.

More playing.

“So,” I said with a sigh in my voice, “what do you need?”

He stood up and walked to a new gadget I was working on in the corner. He punched the screen of the device with his gloved fist and the device sparked and smoke curled in the air. 

“What the heck are you doing?” I asked.

“You don’t need that thing. ‘Waste of time.”

He continued to walk around the lab. He picked up a wrench and smashed a few other devices I was working on.

“Really?” I asked. I stuffed my hands into my pockets holding back my temper. “You came back in time to smash a bunch of my new inventions?”

“Just a few.”

He walked to the far corner of the lab where some boxes and crates were hidden in the darkness. “Where is it? Where is it?” He mumbled as he tossed one box after the other to the side.

“If I knew what you were looking for, I could help,” I offered.

“Nope, nope, nope…” He grunted as he pried open a wood crate with a large screwdriver that he pulled from my work bench. After it creaked for a moment, the seal popped and the lid flipped over to the ground. He peered inside. “I see you haven’t even gotten to this yet,” he said.

I strolled over to the crate. It was a generator I had designed and packed away before the government agents shut down my city office. The crate smelled of must and wood shavings. “I forgot it was here. I meant to get around to opening it.”

“You would have gotten around to it next week, I believe,” he said. 

“And that would have been a bad thing?” I asked.

“Very bad,” he said. “‘Blew out half the windows around the block. ‘Took me weeks to hide this thing and make excuses about my whereabouts.”

“Oh… Well. No sense tinkering with that then,” I said as he raised a sledge hammer. “Wait… There is no need to smash it. I’m not going to bother with it after you leave. You are just making a mess.”

He laughed. “Right… I remember telling me that.” He brought the hammer down on the center of the device smashing the hatch. Then again on the fly wheel. Again and again until the unit was riddled with craters and ripped metal. He wiped his brow. “Well… That’s that’s that.”

“Going back to where you came from now?” I asked.

He walked around the lab looking for something. “In a moment,” he said rubbing his white beard. “I was supposed to take a thing back with me.” His eyes looked up at some invisible point in the ceiling as he tried to access some bit of memory that was stuck in the shadows of his mind. He snapped a finger. “I remember,” he said with a smile then went upstairs to the kitchen. I followed him. 

When I entered the kitchen I found him on his knees with half his body hidden inside the kitchen pantry. “What are you looking for?” I asked. I heard him tossing boxes of cereal, cans and pasta to the side as he mumbled to himself. Do I do that? I wondered. 

“Got it,” he said leaning back and displaying his find; a 32 oz. tub of Peanut Butter. 

“You’re taking a tub of Peanut Butter back with you?” I asked.

He rushed past me with the tub under his arm and hopped down the stairs. I followed and watched as he pulled a small device from his pocket. It looked familiar only because it was something I planned on building, but had not done so yet. I knew it was a remote control for the doors in the basement.

Stock up, Buddy Boy,” He said to me.

“On Peanut Butter?”

“Yep… buy as much as you can. Stock up,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “”It’s worth a lot where you’re going. I might pay off the mortgage with this baby.” He grinned and patted the tub of Peanut Butter with one hand.

“Where is it that I’m going?” I asked.

He pointed the remote at the three doors mounted on the far wall of the lab. The lights around the middle door came to life and the door flew open revealing a black void. Mist drifted from the door frame and crawled across the floor towards us. He was walking to the door and hadn’t yet answered me. 

“Where is it that I’m going?” I asked again.

He turned around and smiled at me. “The future, Buddy Boy. The future.”

Darwin was near his right leg and his tail was wagging. Traitor, I thought.

“Come on, boy,” He said.

“Leave the dog,” I growled impatiently. 

He grinned and shook his head. “Yes, yes. ‘Sorry about that. Old habits die hard.” He leaned over and gave Darwin a pat on the head and then straightened up. “Don’t forget… Peanut Butter.” He chuckled and then stepped into the void vanishing with the mist quickly following. The door slammed shut leaving me alone in the lab.

After several minutes had passed, I heard Molly’s footsteps behind me. “Uncle Buster? Are you okay?”

I turned to find her leaning on the railing. She was gazing at the opened boxes and broken machines. 

“I’m fine, Kiddo,” I said. 

She stared at me waiting for something more. There is always something more.

“Feel like going to the grocery store with me?” I asked.  

“Stock up”