Sunday, January 9, 2011


by MJ Heiser

With a blinding flash of insight, you understand how this whole thing can be twisted to your advantage. Maybe you are the kind of moron who mistakes a time machine for a shower, but that happened because any enclosed space found in a tiled room in a 21st century American home is easily assumed by the people of your time to be a shower. Designers are constantly coming up with avant garde new interpretations of ways to make yourself clean; how could anyone anticipate that this thing could be a time machine, after all?

You think about this for just a second longer. Yes, it was an easy mistake to make for people of your time. What would this thing look like to the people of Revolutionary France?

A big, daffy grin overspreads your face. This is a bad omen to the people who know you, but you haven't gotten the memo that your grins are signs of coming disaster. "Nubleman, I have a plan," you say, and to your own ears, your voice carries the excited certainty and rightness of a big-shot A-list celebrity on the silver screen, getting ready to face down zombies or aliens or even the US Congress.

"You have a -- a what?" Nubleman asks. Maybe he's gotten the memo.

"Play along with me," you say, pulling a dirty, roughly-woven shirt over your head. It manages to just barely cover your privates. You don't have time to put on any of the other elaborate clothing of a bygone era. Somebody should have introduced these people to the wonder of sweatpants, you think giddily to yourself.

"What the hell are you talking about? You're in 18th century FRANCE! This is no time for playing along with anything!" Nubleman stammers.

There's no time for discussion. You step out of the strange titanium enclosure, puffing up as much confidence as you can, and fix your gaze on the approaching riders. It's obvious that they'd finally noticed the shiny foreign object while you'd been fussing with this strange shirt you're now wearing -- a shirt that barely protects your delicate 21st century flesh from the unexpectedly brisk breeze. The last thing they expected was to see anyone emerge from this thing, and that anyone includes you.

"Merde!” shouts one of the riders.

"Greetings, Earth people!" you announce.

"What the blazes are you doing, you idiot?!" Nubleman bellows.

If you'd had the presence of mind to emerge from the time machine speaking French, you may have survived the experience. French aristocracy may have spoken English, but most of the peasantry now taking over the country did not. Unfortunately, you started speaking in a strange tongue, and the shock of that combined with your abrupt appearance and Nubleman's disembodied shrieks of outrage are just too much for the imaginations of the three men in front of you. They scream and fire on you in superstitious horror. Despite their fright, their aim is perfect.

All I wanted was chicken, you think to yourself as blood leaks from your perforated body. Fortunately you're dead before those dull bayonet blades can reach you.




  1. Brilliant, MJ. I see the sweatpants motif lives on :-)

  2. I can imagine the whole "live long and prosper" hand gesture... haha.

    Love it!