Just as a stifled snore escaped from Katie’s nose, the obnoxious chime of the telephone began to sound. Dragging the receiver to her ear, she yawned and grunted, “Hello?”
“Katie! Long time no talk!”
“Claire?” Katie repositioned, shifting the phone to her right hand.
“Of course it’s me! And I have a secret, a secret so valuable that you can’t tell a soul.”
“What are you talking about?” Katie scratched her head.
“Please, just promise you won’t tell.”
“Alright, I promise, Claire.”
“Great. So I messed up at work and my boss sent me home. I walked outside and found a time travel machine! Katie; I think I can finally control my luck for a change! I am going to go back in time and get hired as a fashion designer!”
Once again, Katie was puzzled. She needed a cup of coffee to get her juices flowing. “It sounds like your imagination is going wild. Why don’t you take a nap and rethink this later, Claire. I think your taking this a little too seriously. It may be a fake invention. Take my advice. Don’t get your hopes up, alright? Listen, I have to go. Talk to you later!”
“It’s not like that, Katie! This is for real and---”
It was too late. The bothersome monotone buzzing echoed in Claire’s ear. She sighed dramatically, though there was no one present to question her troubles. She stumbled down the public stairs to the parking garage, searching for her classic silver Chevy. With several peeks left and right, she uncovered her secret from beneath the cover. Arranging a rolling crate in the correct location, Claire jumped into the bed of her vehicle and used every force in her body to push the device into the crate. A loud thump signified completion of these efforts. Locking the car, Claire wheeled the cart up the ramp and into her loft. Success!
Moments later, Claire had the gadget standing tall on her purple shag carpet. “Okay, how do you work this thing?” She mumbled through her teeth, sorting through results on Google. Slapping her hand to her forehead, she moaned and cleared the search bar to try a different demand. While brainstorming ideas, Claire paced back and forth, passing the system every time. During one lap, a new component of the machine caught her gaze. A coin slot was placed below the glass window on the Time Traveler.
“That’s it!” She shouted, running to her handbag and selecting her leather wallet. Claire rummaged through the crumpled bills and picked up a rusty quarter that smelled of grotesque iron. Impatiently, she dashed back and inserted the money into the slit. The sound of gears turning filled the awkward silence. The click of a door unlocking was music to Claire’s ears. Complete with an eager expression, she darted to the opposite surface of the appliance and opened the entrance with caution, lifting the red handle ever so slightly until it unbolted from its position. She stepped inside and her bottom jaw plunged downward. Surrounding her were hundreds of buttons, knobs, and levers. You could go to the future, to the past, to any location in the universe.
“How am I supposed to choose from all these options?” questioned Claire, squinting and glaring at the choices. Ranging from B.C. to year 5000, the possibilities were endless. Claire knocked on her noggin, trying her hardest to remember the date she was hired at the Newark Inn. Her memory was typically on target, and today it was foggy, distracted with thoughts about her discovery.
“Springtime….. March…no. Was it April? Oh! Yes, April. April…. 16. April 16, 2004. That was it!” Claire pulled her fist away from her face. She punched in the date with the buttons, and pulled the big, green lever down.
“Pre-pare For Take-off.” A robotic voice startled Claire, and the goose bumps encompassing her arms began to rise. The machine trembled beneath her narrow feet, and white lights streamed through the window. They were off.