Category: Writer


So, here’s the thing; Getting hit on the head can often cause a time-traveler to make poor decisions.

I was in the lab, pack of frozen pea pressed against my aching skull, listening to Darwin gobble up his bowl of Pete’s Better-Good-Stuff Dog Food when Molly slid down the banister into the basement.

“Hey, Uncle Buster,” she said and then noticed the bag of peas. “Woah…what happened to you?”

“Museum… Nazi’s… bombs… large animal display… boom, crash… my head.”

“In a nut shell?”

“In a nut shell.”

“Who this?” she said pointing to the woman sleeping in the lounge chair parked in the corner of the lab.

“Her name is Julia,” I said.

“Interesting clothes,” said Molly.

“That’s how they dressed back then.”

“Uncle Buster, you brought someone back with you?”

I waved my hands dismissively. “I wasn’t thinking straight. She was helping me get to safety as the bombs were falling all over London. A section of the building fell separating us from the others who had gone deeper into the shelter and…”

“And he saved my life,” said Julia from the lounge chair.

“Oh, hi,” said Molly.

“Hi there,” said Julia. “I’m Julia. You must be Molly. Your uncle has told me all about you.”

“Lies,” said Molly.

Molly leaned over and whispered into my ear. “Does she know she is not in her time?”

“Yep,” I said.

“But Uncle Buster…”

“Like I was saying,” I said lifting the bag of peas up to reveal the lump on the side of my head, “I wasn’t thinking straight.”

“I understand your concern, Molly,” said Julia. “If your uncle didn’t pull me through that magical door of his, I would probably be dead right now.”

“You don’t seem shocked about any of this,” said Molly.

“I spend my day in a museum, surrounded by the past,” said Julia. “Surrounding myself with the future seems like a natural progression to me. That’s the only way I can explain it.”

“Are you staying here?” asked Molly.

“I’m not sure what we’re going to do,” I said. “Maybe we’ll have to bring her back… just to a safer point in time.”

“What were you doing there to begin with?” asked Molly.

“I meant to visit a safer point in time,” I said, “but I ended up in London just as the Nazi’s were attacking from the air…”

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My intention was to build a bridge between the present and a favorite library that burned down to the ground long ago. Nowhere else could I find certain, near-ancient, physics books when I needed them.

When I stepped through my door and reached the other side, I fell to the ground.My glasses fell from my nose and skittered across the floor, the sound reverberating throughout the enormous room. I crawled a couple of feet to where they had, fortunately, not shattered and hooked them around my ears. As I stood up, I examined my new surroundings. This was not my old library. It was most certainly a museum.

It appeared that, beside the massive displays of dinosaur bones and models of extinct creatures, I was the only one in the great hall.

Rather than return home, I strolled the first of many exhibit area and played a game, in my mind, trying to add up the clues in order to determine where and when I had arrived. The area was dimly lit.

As I passed each window display it became clear to me that I was in the Natural History Museum located in London. I had been to this museum in my youth and recognized one of the displays. Now… what year was it?

Sirens screamed in the distance, outside the building. What little light was available was snuffed as a loud snap reverberated through the building.

I heard footsteps approaching. I turned and saw several people running my way. As they reached my position one of the men, wearing a hard protective helmet, urged me to follow. “This way, man. Hurry. There is little time. The planes are approaching.”

“Planes?” I asked while jogging alongside he and the others.

“The Nazi’s. Good gosh, man. The Nazi’s! They are headed this way. can’t you hear them?”

I listened and heard the hum of a squadron of planes. Maybe I should have returned home when I had the chance?

“Are you one of the men working on the neanderthal exhibit?” asked the only woman in the group. She was several years younger than me, wore a smart looking blue dress with a matching jacket. She reached out and pushed a door in the hall that opened to a staircase leading down into a darkened area.

I wasn’t sure what would the best answer but I was certain that the truth would not be acceptable. “I’m working on a special physics display,” I said trying to be as vague as possible.

The woman paused as the others ran down the stairs. She lifted an eyebrow and stared at me. I could tell she did not believe my lie.

“Julia, hurry,” said the fellow who greeted me first in the hall. “Everyone, downstairs.” He turned a flashlight on and aimed it down the stairs in order for people to see though the darkness.

As my feet hit the steps, there was a tremendous explosion somewhere nearby. The building shook and dust fell from the ceiling. Julia stumbled and I caught her in my arms. The door behind me slammed shut and the fellow with the flashlight fell several feet ahead into the others. He dropped his flashlight. As it rolled away, I saw more shadows in the room then there were people.

“The Nazi’s are bombing London,” I said aloud.

“Watch out,” Julia yelled.

I model of a bear-like creature fell from it’s stand and crashed on top of me. I felt something crack as my head slammed against the hard floor and then I felt my legs turn numb and then I felt nothing at all.

Somewhere in the distance I could hear a woman’s voice. She was yelling “Mister… Mister…”

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My dear little Molly asked me if I was “Tweeting.”

“Ahhh, no. Not really,” I told her. “I’m still trying to get the hang if this Blogging thing…”

“You HAVE to Tweet, Uncle Buster,” she said.

“Why?” I grumbled.

I was busy working on a super-transmutation-space-warping cable when she was arguing her points, so I was not really paying attention to her. At the end of her rang I did catch that she had gone through the trouble to set up an account for me @Brightbuckle and that I should use it.

“Keep connecting with the world, Uncle Buster! It’ll be good for you!”

She reached the top of the stairs and yelled back down. “And… take a shower for gosh sake!”

Sniff

Really?

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Molly asked me an odd question this afternoon.

“Uncle Buster, has anyone ever drawn your picture before?”

She stood in front of my work bench wearing her usual pink over-alls but the multi-colored cap was missing. In place of the cap she was wearing a hair-band that had decorative button fastened all around.

“No more cap?” I asked.

“I’m experimenting with a new style,” she said, “and you’re changing the subject.”

“I really don’t think I have a face someone would want to draw…”

“Sure you do, Uncle!” She put her thumbs up and then mimed placing my face in a frame.

Something was up…

“Okay… What’s going on?”

“The first week of school is always great,” she said. “The homework assignments are always easy and fun.”

“What’s the assignment?”

“I have to paint or draw a picture of a family member and then write a few paragraphs summarizing that persons life or explain why that person is important to me.”

“Talk to your father,” I said. “He’s a ham. He’ll pose.”

“Nope. I want to draw a picture of you.” She stared at me waiting for an answer. “You’re pulling on the hairs of your beard,” she said.

“Yes… I am.”

“That tells me that you’re thinking about it,” she said. “You always yank on your beard when you’re considering something.”

“Yes, I am.”

After a long minute she shrugged. “Well? Can I draw a picture of you or not?”

“Okay, but with one condition,” I said.

“What’s the condition?”

“I get to draw you too.”

“You can draw?” Molly tilted her head and squinted.

“Have you ever seen one of my inventions?” I waved my hands around the lab. “I have to draw up blueprints before I start building anything. I am a bit of an artist, if I you don’t mind me saying so.”

“I did not know that,” she said.

“Yep. You learn something new about your old Uncle Buster every day, don’t you?”

“Okay… Who draws who first?” Molly asked genuinely happy.

I reached into my desk draw and pulled out a box of pencils and a small pad. “Stay right where you are,” I told her.

“But… But…” She stammered.

“Stay still!” I demanded. “I’m an artist at work!”

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Reliable tubes are difficult to find these days. I’m running out of good stock.

Okay… Where was I?

The kid…

There was no proof that my going back in time and fixing a bathroom leak had caused the tragic accident, but my gut told me it was so. I’ve learned over the years to trust my gut. So… What to do?

Go back and make it right, my gut said to me. Right meant Nik having a flood… Nik having to close down the diner. Me never having a perfect burger again…

I didn’t want to run into myself… that’s never good… So, I timed my arrival several minutes beyond my last exit.

The little boy and his father were just getting out of the bathroom. The boy was wiping his wet hands on his fathers pants. I passed them on the way back to the bathroom. The father glanced at me. I rubbed my gut. “Something is not agreeing with me, I imagine.”

He looked away. He didn’t want to know me or my problems. I was the guy that kept him waiting.

The pipe that I had repaired looked good. Too good. So, I gave it a kick. Then another. It started leaking.

I went back to my table.

“Mister Buster,” Nik yelled from the counter. “I thought you left. What are you doing back here?”

“I just checked the pressure again, Nik. ‘Looks fine. No need to call anyone.”

“If you say so, Mister Buster.” Nik smiled. “I always trust you.”

I felt awful. Knowing what was about to happen and actually causing it are two different things. I held the image of little Antoinette in my mind.

I stuck around. I went back to the lab and found that nobody was home. I didn’t run into the family or myself.

The next morning, I stood on the corner and watched the diner from a safe distance. The CLOSED sign was lit up and I could see Nik through the side window moving furniture around the restaurant in an attempt to salvage what he could. Customers were leaving the diner for their cars in the parking lot. A few looked disgusted. A little girl waved her hand in front of her nose. Something smelled very bad to her. I imagined that these were the customers that were present when the bathroom water rushed into the dining area. The ones who kick-started the bad reviews.

After the last customer left, I saw Antoinette’s family pull into the diner lot. Nik leaned out of the front door and waved them away and pointed, sadly, to the CLOSED sign. Antonette’s father nodded to Nik, waved and drove off.

I heard a loud pop and then a screech. With it’s tire ripped and speed too fast for the driver to get it under control, the truck skipped the curb and slammed into the corner wall of Joe’s Burgers. The driver jumped out of the truck and cursed. Nik ran out of the diner to make sure the driver was okay. The driver shook his head and felt his arms and sides to make sure everything was still there. Nik looked at the damaged wall. “If it’s not one thing, it’s the other thing,” he moaned.

Before returning to the present, I decided to do one more… thing.

Years ago, despite my lack of interest in the internet, I created a fancy gadget for my clients (read; darkest agency of the government) that allowed them to shut down any web site for a limited amount of time. I called it a Web-Spike. They found it handy then and, probably, still do.

Maybe I could shut down the site, just long enough to discourage those first few reviewers from having any impact on Nik’s business.

As far as the damage was concerned, the Insurance companies would take care of Nik.

Back at the lab, I dusted off the Web-Spike and plugged it into the computer. Within minutes, I was able to locate the web site and shut it down.

What I didn’t expect was how well it would work.

When I returned home, to the present, I found that the site no longer existed. I asked Molly if she knew anything about it. She was eating pretzels and watching TV with my brother, Skip.

“Uncle Buster, even kids my age heard about the Yelpy mess,” she said. “What were you doing? Hiding under a rock?”

“Maybe I was just too busy,” I said. “What happens?”

“Their servers went down for months,” my brother said. “Previous reviews were erased, traffic to the site dropped to nothing and their stock plummeted.”

“‘Took a dive,” said Molly.

“You’re too young to know about stocks,” I said.

“No I’m not,” said Molly shaking her head.

“Anyway, stocks took a dive and the company folded,” said Skip. “Another dot com disaster.

So, I saved Nik’s diner… rescued little Antoinette… but, probably, caused hundreds of people to lose their jobs.

Hmph…. Oh, well. ‘Never said I was perfect. If I was perfect, I wouldn’t be living in my brother’s basement tinkering with toasters and time machines.

“Anyone want to go to Joe’s Burgers for dinner?” I asked. “My treat.”

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I returned to the diner a few hours before the pipe burst.

I ordered my burger, cola and an extra side of slaw. Nik was wiping down the counter and Wendy, one of the waitresses, was busy serving a family of six.

I took a sip from my cup and walked to the men’s room. I kneeled before the sink and toilet and saw the thin stream of water spraying from a tiny crack on the side of a pipe.

I locked the bathroom door and took a torch and a pack of my special weld-a-patch metal clay out of my coat pocket. Within moments I had the pipe wrapped in the gooey stuff. I fired up the torch and cooked the goo until it glowed like hot gold.

Someone knocked at the door. “Occupied,” I yelled at the door.

I waited for the pipe and torch to cool down. The pipe was no longer dripping and the torch had cooled down enough that I could stuff it back into my big coat pocket. I washed my hand, unlocked the door and passed a fellow standing there waiting impatiently with his four year old who was bobbing back and forth with one hand clutching his belt.

“Gott’a go, Daddy… Gott’a go,” he said.

“Okay, get inside,” said the father after glancing at me.

I returned to my seat. Finished my burger and left the cola.

Nik walked by and I mentioned to him that I thought the water pressure was a little bit high in the bathroom and he should have someone check it out.

“You’re always looking out for me Mister Buster.”

“Hey… This is my favorite place.”

“I’ll call the water department this afternoon,” he said. “Thank you, Mister Buster.”

Back through the door I came in, a quick ride on a cloud of light and I returned home.

After a few hours in the lab I decided to go to Nik’s diner and see if changing the past had repaired the problems of the present. If the pipe didn’t burst, he would not have gotten a bad review. He would have not lost any business and he wouldn’t be considering selling the diner. Best of all, I would still have my favorite diner to visit.

I walked through the front door of Joe’s Burgers and saw that the place was packed with customers.

“Mister Buster,” Nik said greeting me at counter. “No tables at the moment. Can you wait ten minutes? That couple in the corner is just getting ready to leave.”

“Sure, Nik. Business good?”

“Isn’t it always, My friend?” He waved his hand around the room. “I’m a lucky man… Very lucky.”

We smiled at each other and then Nik glanced at a table in the back. He frowned.

“What is it, Nik?”

“That family… So sad. They come in here every once in a while… They order a plate for little Antoinette… Poor kid.”

“Antoinette?”

“You remember?” Nik shrugged. “They’re in here all of the time. You know I have a great memory, Mister Buster. You… Not so much. That day you told me to call the water department? I called like you said…”

“I remember, Nik. I thought the water pressure was too high.”

“Right… Well, I called like you said. The guy who shows up is that man over there. He’s a regular. He fix it all up for me. Would have had a really bad flood.”

“Well… So far so good…”

“Good for me… Not so good for others.” He paused and wiped his neck with a handkerchief. “He comes in here all of the time with his family… Every weekend. Well… The next day he comes in and a truck jumps the curb just as little Antoinette is getting out of the car. Hits the car and… Poor Antoinette… Such a beautiful, sweet kid.”

“That’s awful…”

“Mister Buster… If only I could go back in time and close up for the day… They would have never have been in my parking lot… They would have gone someplace else to eat that day. Antoinette would still be here. If only I could go back in time… I would change things.”

I looked at the family in the back… the empty seat with the full bowl of Cheerios on the place Matt… the sad faces.

“If only you could,” I said.

“You’re table is free, Mister Buster.”

“I’m not hungry, Nik.”

I rushed back to the lab.

Bft-voice command interruption—–779-ph/555001 alert alert—–659— Alert—– Tube 68—- Tube 68—– Bft-voice command interruption—–779-ph/555002

There’s more to this. I’ll finish later. Another tube just popped.

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Molly is constantly reminding me to exercise.

“You’re not a young man,” she says. “You need to stretch and give that heart of yours a workout.”

So wise for a pre-teen.

Anyway… every week, I plan one afternoon of walking to the diner for one of Joe’s Hamburgers.

Joe’s Burgers has been owned and operated by my friend Nik Dracodopolus for decades. Why not call it “Nik’s Burgers? I have asked him several times and he has responded, “Mister Buster, it’s a family secret. Just like the recipe to my hamburgers.”

His hamburgers are seriously unique. I’ve never tasted anything like them in any other place or time. (You know I’ve traveled quite a bit…) He mixes each patty with a secret blend of spices and cooks them on the grill in such a way that they are the tastiest, most juicy burgers in the world.

Recently I noticed that business was slow in the diner. I was sitting at my usual table and Nik sat down for a chat.

“Things are not looking good around here lately, Mister Buster. I’m thinking about closing the place,” he said.

“That’s crazy, Nik,” I said. “What happened?”

“It’s all of this… internet stuff. I don’t even use it myself… but it’s making a huge impact on my business.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Well… there’s this thing called an App… goes on phones. This App thing is called Yelper or Yelpy… something like that….”

“My sister-in-law uses it. i know what you are talking about.”

“Anyway… Remember when I had that flood last fall?” He waved his hands toward the bathrooms.

“Oh, yeah,” I said remembering the water damage. “You had to close down for a couple of weeks.”

“Right,” He said snapping his finger. “Well, there were people here when that happened. They got on that Yelpy App thing and posted some terrible reviews about my diner. They wrote about the smell and how someone slipped…. they gave my diner a one star out of five rating… or so I’ve been told.”

“And these reviews really hurt your business?”

“Yes. All of the vacationers that visit our local beach, that would normally stop by for a bite to eat, now go somewhere else because of the horrible reviews on that Yelpy App thing. It’s awful!” He paused and rubbed his neck. His face reddened. “If I could only go back in time and stop that toilet from overflowing. Things would be so different right now.”

I took a bite of my burger and considered the possibilities. “If only you could,” I said.

Bft-voice command interruption—–778-ph/555001 alert alert—–657— Alert—– Tube 58—- Tube 58—– Bft-voice command interruption—–778-ph/555001

Oh, nuts. Tube 58 just blew. Will have to finish this tomorrow.

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Molly,

Have a look at the video via the link below.
That “P.E.” fellow has been at it again.
I told him to put the camera away when he visited the lab but it appears he didn’t listen.
I know your good at all of this internet stuff. Can you see if there is any way for us to get this video to vanish before too many people see what my lab looks like? I really don’t need the attention right now.

Thanks,
Uncle B
Here’s the link;

I was stuck in an elevator this morning.

Well… not actually this morning… It was about forty-years ago, but this morning just the same.

I planned on arriving at the Chrysler Building in NYC to meet a fellow traveler regarding an transmitter being installed at that location. Instead of arriving at the base in the janitor’s closet, I ended up, somehow, in the elevator. I fell right through the ceiling panel onto a rather large looking older fellow. If it wasn’t for him, I may have broken something. His plump frame padded my fall. The event didn’t seem to rattle him too much. He rolled me away from him and I quickly stood up.

“Sorry about that, Sir,” I said.

“It’s not a problem,” he said but his facial expression told a different story.

“My name is Buster Brightbuckle,” I said offering my hand to help him up.

“I’m Jonathan Lender,” he said groaning a bit as he stood up. “Of Lender Advertising.”

“Nice to meet you,” I said and pushed the button labeled “L” for lobby.

“When are you guys going to fix this blasted elevator?” He grumbled. “You’ve been working up there for weeks!”

He assumed I was an elevator repairman. The lab coat I was wearing and the shoulder belt of tools had obviously given him that impression.
“Sometime today, I imagine,” I replied.

He pulled a large cigar from the breast pocket of his jacket, snipped off the end and stuck it between his pursed lips. I watched as he pulled a fancy lighter from his side pocket and flicked it a few times before a bright flame popped from the point.

“Nothing like a Cuban…” He muttered referring to the origin of the pungent object protruding from his jowls.

Pale smoke filled the small enclosure as I held my breath waiting for the door to open.

The elevator jerked to an abrupt stop causing both of us to stumble into each other.

The fat man looked at me for an answer. “We’re stuck,” he said frantically pressing the buttons on the control panel. “Stuck again!”

“It appears so,” I said and coughed.

“Well, don’t just stand there! Do something!”

Oh… that’s right. I am the elevator repairman…

The smoke was getting thicker as he puffed and puffed on his dark cigar.
I wasn’t feeling so well… I coughed again.

“Oh,” said the big guy, “I hope you don’t mind if I smoke?”

I put my hand up. “No… Not at all.” I leaned forward. “I hope you don’t mind if I get sick…”

And then I puked on his shoes…

It was not one of my finer moments.

This reminded me of the day comic books may have saved my life.

Long ago, in a reality far, far away, I was actually a kid.

Sure, I was interested in all things science and tech back then, but I also loved a good comic book.

Each week, I had an allowance. One whole dollar! Oh, I had big plans for that dollar each week. With that dollar I could buy five comic books, a candy bar and a cream soda and still have a little change to save for another day. Yes, a dollar went far when I was a kid.

On this one particular afternoon, I was sitting under the cool pipes on the aqueduct with two friends; Tony and Denny. Normally we would swap comics and read them on sunny, summer afternoons and then chase each other around town on our three speed bikes. This day was different.

Denny pulled out a pack of cigarettes smacked in his palm. Few times before gently pulling one from the pack. I watched in horror as he stuck one between his lips and then revealed a pack of matches. With one hand, he was able to fold out a match and flick it with his thumb. The small fire burned the tip of the cigarette and smoke filled the air. After a few puffs, he offered the pack to Tony who mimicked Denny’s entire routine.

I returned to reading my comic. Batman was on the case!

“Here,” mumbled Denny. “Have one.”

“Nah huh, not me,” I said.

“Why not? They’re cool.”

“Nothing is going to make me cool…”

“Sure they will…” Denny balanced the lack in his hand. “Old man Patterson sells these to the kids at the ship for only ninety cents a pack.”

I considered the price. I got a buck a week and these were less than a buck and Denny said it would make me cool if I smoked them….

Then I looked at the comic book in my hand. Smoking would take away my ability to afford my pile of comics every week. No way…

My decision was made.

“Nope. Thanks anyway,” I said. “Comic books are much cooler.”

He puffed on his cigarette. “Can I have that one?” He pointed to an old Captain Marvel comic in the pile.

“Got anything to trade for it?” I asked.

“Nope,” he said with a shrug. “‘Can’t afford comics anymore.” He waved the cigarette in the air and then blew a a ring of smoke through his lips.

And that’s my comic book story.

So, back to the man with the soiled shoes; Mister Jonathan Lender.

I convinced the big guy to let me climb up on his shoulders so I could get through the ceiling panel… Little did he know, the door back home was waiting for me up there.

I wondered how long poor Mister Lender was stuck in that elevator. Even though it was this morning, it was actually so long ago… Could he still be among the living? I checked on line and found an obit from two decades ago. He was, indeed, no longer alive.

Then again, come to think of it, neither was Denny.

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—- Unlock —–
—- VR Molly Brightbuckle —-
—– kisum*26-EP —–
—- Begin Transmission —-

Uncle Buster!!!

Only you could come up with an idea like that;
Change the future by sending your niece to the grocery store!

Really?!

You go flying off into the future on the same day I’m performing in my school concert? Come on! Yes… I am stomping my feet…

Stomp, stomp, stomp!!

Arrrrrrrg!

Mom and Dad are away on business… You were supposed to stay here and “watch me.” You left me all alone, Uncle Buster! Again!

I know you’re going to read this transmission sooner or later. When you do; You get back here right now! You were supposed to drive me to the hall for the school concert tonight. Now, not only isn’t there anyone here to see me… (and I practiced for weeks..I can’t even get to the hall.

Are you saving the world again? Is that what you’re doing?

Well, can it wait?!

Get back here now! Please!

I’m not going to be a kid forever, y’know?

I’m sending you the location key with this transmission. Punch it in and get back here!!

Jeeeeesh!

—-54bb789-12-2;-66-999 —–
—- Encrypt ——
—- end transmission —-

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