On that dark and cold night, in the middle of winter, I accomplished my destiny. It was the achievement of 35 years of hard work. I had been waiting for this moment for so long! I took my umbrella, my bowler hat and ran outside my house. I needed to share my triumph with Charlie, although he was a real moron. But he was my closest friend, so I didn’t have much choice, because I didn’t want to go alone. I took the blue Mini Morris and drove as fast as the old car could go; but it was too fast indeed, because with one broken car light I didn’t see the street light that was just in front of Charlie’s house. The sharp noise of the car bumping into it surely woke up the whole neighborhood. At least I didn’t have to ring the bell. Charlie appeared on the porch in his pajamas.
“What the hell was that?” He said, only half-awake.
I opened the car window and waved at him.
“It’s Doctor Ernest, son!”
“What are you doing here in the middle of night?” He asked.
“No time for explanations, come with me! Hurry up kid!” I shouted.
“My god, you’re completely senile. The police shut down my birthday party because it went a little bit out of control, remember? Anyway, I need a rest.”
He had almost shut the door but I used the magic words:
“I’ve finished the TARDIS.”
He slammed the door behind him and ran to the car.
“I’m in, Grandpa!”
I knew he couldn’t say no to such an announcement.
Once we arrived to my house, Charlie rushed into the basement, the place where I do all of my secret experiments, which means everything that I’m not allowed to do at work. It is said that I’m a failed scientist, but my latest achievement, which we’re about to try, is something that has never been invented before, at least not outside science-fiction stories. But nevertheless I’m only a physics teacher in college so the lab we have there is not really sufficient to me. But anyway, I got to Charlie in the basement. He was looking everywhere and enquired:
“Where is it?”
I pointed at a classic red phone booth, hidden in the obscurity at the back of the room.
“You must be joking” he said, and I could hear a slight disappointment in his voice.
“What did you expect, bonehead? It must be unnoticed whenever we travel!” I explained.
“It’ll be noticed if we go before the invention of the telephone, and even more if we go outside London.”
This birdbrain thought about something I didn’t figure out on my own… What an embarrassment.
“Then we’ll park it somewhere hidden” I answered, quite irritated. “Case closed!”
“I still can’t believe it actually works…” he whispered. “The Time and Relative Dimension in Space, as known as the TARDIS, the first time machine of History, is highly functional and I’m looking at it right now.”
“That’s the thing. I haven’t tried it yet. I was hoping that if it instantaneously bursts in flames I wouldn’t die alone”
“So you’re telling me it can literally explode. How nice of you to warn me before we turn into ashes” Charlie said.
“Oh please stop complaining, you’re only twenty-two, you’re single and unemployed, you have nothing to lose. Don’t you want to recreate History? All I thought about while building this implausible time machine was how we could change humanity by warning people about all the wars and disasters that ever happened. And we will achieve this mission together”
“But why me, what have I done?”
“I need a companion. That’s much cooler” I explained simply.
“Works for me, doc. When are we going?”
“Back to 1900! I shall find my younger self and tell him about the next fifty years he’s about to live in…”
We both stepped in the phone booth, and inside I pointed at a watch and explained to Charlie:
“You can notice there are three dates and hours on this watch. The first one indicates when you’re going, the second one, when you are, and the third, when you left. Understood?”
Charlie nodded in agreement.
“Well, I guess we’re ready to go now. 1900, here we come!”
I put the date on the monitor, and looked at Charlie who was very pale.
“Are you sure you want to go with me?” I asked him.
“You didn’t give me much choice, did you?”
I shrugged and pushed the big red “launch” button.
The landing was pretty violent and when the phone booth hit the ground it caused a huge shock. Charlie was highly overexcited.
“Oh my god we’re still alive! It’s wonderful, for once in your life you achieved something, your stupid time machine thing works! Unicorns and rainbows everywhere!”
“Are you on drugs? We got lucky, we had a 90% chance to die in the process…”
Charlie opened the door. London was covered in snow. Of course, like a dumb child, he made a snowball and threw it at my face.
“There really is no hope left for you…” I said as I facepalmed.
“I’m hungry, are there any good French restaurant around here?”
“I haven’t brought enough money. However, I have a gun” I offered.
“Forget it Doc, I don’t think it’ll be necessary.”
I looked around me and, surprisingly, I recognized the neighbourhood. In fact we were not far from my old house. So we walked until we arrived in front of the doorbell.
“Wait before you ring, Charlie, I have something to tell you, I said. The real reason I needed you with me is that the young me cannot see me.”
“There is a 99% chance that our encounter creates a temporal paradox which may cause the destruction of the universe, but the phenomenon can be less serious and only concerns our galaxy.”
“But, I do want to see the world explode!” Charlie said.
“Well, then I guess we’ll have to risk the annihilation of the universe.”
And I rang the bell. A few seconds later, the door opened and I was face to face with myself.