Michael was singing “The Wheels on the Bus” along with his son while waiting for the traffic light to turn green. Sarah was protesting, the boys had been singing the same song since they left the house half an hour ago. Her protest didn’t last long though, her son was an expert of “trembling lower lip”. It was impossible to resist that adorable little face.
All three were singing and clapping the song loudly when the lights turned green, so they didn’t hear the newcomer of their chorus until they started moving: The loud horn of the truck. Their song cut abruptly by the loud crash, leaving silence the stage to sing its own song.
Loud banging caused Michael to wake up with a start. His heart thumping on his ears, joined the loud banging coming from distance. Covered with sweat, he realised he was in his workshop. His whole body ached to tell him that he slept on his chair having nightmares again. He took a deep breath, blinked a few times and realised it was the door being thumped. He went to the door. It was Boo.
“About time Mike! Were you dead or something?”
“Yeah, just revived myself.” Michael shut the door after Boo stepped in, noticing it’s already morning.
“Up all night again? You know, even the vampires need sleep.”
“Well, I forgot my coffin at home so I had to sleep on the chair. Don’t tell me you forgot to bring me my blood?”
“Of course not. You are not the only addict around here to this muddy liquid.”
Michael sipped from his cup, bitter taste of black Colombian coffee made him shudder. His sudden waking already cleared his head, but caffein put the last nail in sleep’s coffin.
Boo was walking around the machine but keeping his distance. He learned the hard way that it’s best not to touch it unless Mike said it’s safe.
“So, it’s finished?” asked Boo curiously.
“Yeah, it is. Nine years of work and it’s finally done.”
“I appreciate your hard work to build a giant washing machine, but I think you could have made it look like something else.”
Even though Boo was right, Michael felt a rush of anger. A large cube that can hold two people in it, with a round glass door on one side, the machine looked definitely like a washing machine. Well, aesthetics wasn’t the priority right now.
“What did you expect, a blue police box?”
“No, but I don’t feel like separating my whites from colours right now. Will it work?”
“I don’t know, that’s what we are going to test today.”
“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s wash out some of the history.” It was hard to tell if Boo was anxious or excited.
For the next hour they worked through everything step by step. Boo read the items from the checklist while Mike ensured every item is in order. After three hours, everything was ready. Boo was already in the machine, making whooshing sounds. Apparently he expected the sound, even though it wasn’t a police box.
Mike took a deep breath and stepped in his creation. The math was solid, the mechanics were all checked. They were ready to do the impossible.
“Are you alright Mike? You look like you might throw up.”
“I’m fine.” Mike lied. “I didn’t put a trash can in here, so both of us need to keep contents of our stomachs inside.”
“Well, you could at least add a ventilation.” Boo remarked. Then looked deep into Mike’s eyes. “We are about to go back in time and prevent the accident that killed your family. It’s no small thing. Are you sure you want to do this?”
Mike took another deep breath. “I am. I have been dreaming of this for the last 9 years. We will go back to that morning and prevent my family to leave the house. I have everything planned out.”
“If you say so. Then let’s not waste time.”
Mike smiled amusingly. “You know this is a time machine right?”
Boo cracked a smile while fastening his belt. “Well, I hope you brought your fabric softener, because I forgot mine.”
Mike shook his head and fastened his belt too. He double tapped the control console embedded into the wall near the glass door, then entered the date. The exact date his family stopped singing for good. Well, not anymore. He tapped the red button on the screen, which went blank for a second, then showed a countdown.
The computer started counting down with a mechanical voice while Mike and Boo shared a look. It was a look full of gratefulness and understanding of each other. Theirs wasn’t a kind of friendship that included talking about their feelings. It was one that they were simply there for each other. For the last three years Boo was there when he needed him and he was there when Boo needed him. It wouldn’t be possible for Mike to finish this machine without Boo, he would’ve give up on life long ago.
Slowly closing his eyelids, Mike’s thought how the whooshing sound would make his son laugh. The hope of hearing his son laugh wrapped him with its comfortable arms, while he fell into unconsciousness.
This was something I’ve written in 2017, when I was taking a creative writing course from City Lit. Our assignment was to write a short story with less than 800 words, if I recall correctly. I’m planning to add other stuff that I’ve written over the years to this blog, but this was somewhat special for me.
The dialogue that I’ve put into this piece is something I quite enjoy, quite similar to my own sense of humour. Keep in mind that this was one of the first pieces that I’ve ever written (the other was The Lion Cub, a small poem for children). This was the first time I tried writing dialogue, and even though it was difficult, I quite enjoyed it.