Friday, February 11, 2011


By James McShane

Okay, Boney’s lady is smokin’ hot and you know that in your finest hour you’d give her the loving of the century. But this is not your finest hour; it’s not even your century. And no matter how your heart says otherwise, discretion is the better part of valour – especially in your situation. You kiss her lightly on the cheek and say in your best historical French, “Not tonight, Josephine.”

She spits in your eye. “Never mention that woman in my presence again, you scum bucket. He loves me more than he loves his wife.”

“Lady,” you whisper, “some dudes will say anything to a woman, if it gets them a free pass through your corset.” It is at this point you want to say vive la revolution, but you think something will be lost in the non-translation. “Thomas,” you say to the air, “I’m making like Moses and getting the flock out of here.”

"Now is not the time for bad jokes!" Nubleman screams. "Don’t forget my machine. Get your ass back there, as quick as you can."

“On my way, TN.” You bid the mademoiselle au revoir. (This comes out as “until the next time” due to the inbuilt translator.) To which Marie replies, “There will be no next time.” Ever the pessimist, this Marie is. C’est la vie!

Using your memory, you manage to reach the outside once more. You look around, but you see no one in pursuit. You breathe a sigh of relief. To the time machine, you think. Tout de suite! Now where the hell did you leave it? Oh yes, further up the hill, you remember. Your stomach lurches at the memory. You pick up your pace, hoping that you’re one step closer to the machine, and one year closer to your own time. Then something out of the ordinary happens.

In front of you, about thirty paces from where you are, the air shimmers. You stop in your tracks as you feel a wave of energy surround you like a tornado. But this, as you know, is not Kansas anymore. You’re quite sure, from what little you learned from history books, that 18th century France never experienced tornados. Whatever is happening in front of you is caused by science, not Mother Nature.

Merde! you think desperately. Sacre-fucking-bleu! Nothing like a little Franglais to get the blood boiling nicely. The shimmering air and energy wave intensify but seem centred on one spot. Out of nothing something altogether different materialises. You half expect a blue telephone box, with some bloke in a bow-tie coming out of it, waving madly at you. But it’s not a box of any sort; it’s a 16 foot replica of the Washington Monument. At its base, there is a hatch, and you shiver as it begins to open.

“Thomas,” you say through the confusion, “did you by any chance send out for reinforcements?”

"Why do you ask?" Nubleman says.

“I think I’ve found another time machine. And someone is coming out.”

"Fucking NASA," your host spits. "I have a spy in my company. Someone has sold my secrets to the bloody government."

“Welcome to the big bad world of business,” you retort. “So what do I do now?”

"Go with whoever it is and see what they know. Then steal their secrets. I’ll pay handsomely."

You shrug. As long as it gets you back to your own time, and away from the smelly French, you’d go with Doubya if that’s who it was in the monument. But it’s not the former U.S. president; it’s someone more famous, more deadly and better dressed.

The new arrival is leather-bound, wearing sunglasses, built like a brick shithouse, and sporting a crew-cut that is instantly recognisable. He walks over to you, and then holds out his hand.

“Come with me if you want to live,” he says. You take his hand and immediately feel your bones crushed by his incredible strength.

“Oy, be careful, will you?” you shout. “I use that hand for nocturnal entertainment.”

“Where is Bonaparte?” the Governator says gutturally. You point behind you with your good hand. He nods and looks down at you. “Your presence here has disrupted FoxNet’s plans. You must be terminated.”

You freeze. “I thought you were here to save me.”

“I lied,” he monotones. “I am to wipe the French from history, and it is unfortunate that you have allied yourself with cheese-eating surrender monkeys. For that you must pay.” He grabs your head and squeezes until your brain mass seeps from all your facial orifices.

You know you should call for your mother, but all you can think as you die, as the last of your grey cells exits through your nose, is Fucking Republicans!


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