Opine the Improbable By Charles Fassel

You’d never believe me if I told you that I traveled through time, but it’s true, and I can prove it!

I wish I could say that I found a ring of magical standing stones that transported me to sometime in the distant past, but I must blame it on my friend Dexter. Dexter is a mad scientist, you see. I’ve known him since high school, and he was working on becoming a mad scientist even then, getting impossible grades of 100% in both Physics and Math.

      Well, Dexter called me and woke me up at some ungodly hour of the morning, like 10 a.m. or something, and excitedly demanded that I come over immediately if not sooner. “You’ve GOT to see this!” he said.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah…” I thought. He drags me over every week or so to show me his latest invention, and I opined that this would be no different. I had to admit—some of them were pretty impressive!

So, I stumbled out to my car and headed over to the dingy side of town, on the wrong side of the railroad tracks, where the grass is always browner. I had always figured that mad scientists didn’t get paid very well, which is why his digs were less than impressive.

I stopped at a Timmies to pick up a couple of Xtra Lg Grandez Dark Roast Hyper-Caffeine specials, Dexter’s favorite poison. I swear the man has pure caffeine running through his veins. I parked right in front of his ramshackle (of course) old house, even though I never knew if I might come out to find the wheels, radio, and battery stolen from my car.

Dexter was so excited today that he was jumping up and down with impatience at his door. I’d never seen him this agitated before, and believe me, I’ve see him pretty agitated in the past. Grabbing his coffee from my hand with nary a word of thanks (mad scientists, like geeks and nerds everywhere, are not the best at social niceties), Dexter hustled me inside to his ‘workshop’ in the basement.

“There she is!” he proudly exclaimed, gesturing at an insane contraption hovering about three feet off the floor in the middle of the room.

Wires and circuit boards, LED’s and gauges, video game controllers (!), and … Lego pieces?? sprouted willy-nilly from a framework that looked like it started life as a NASCAR roll cage. Three video monitors hung by wires in front of a …OMGs… a rocking horse. A pinkish glow came from somewhere beneath the contraption. I couldn’t see anything that would explain how it stayed off the floor. And the craziest thing about it was that as I stared at it, parts seemed to shimmer in and out of existence as I watched!

“It’s … amazing! Wonderful!” I opined. Opined cautiously, I might add, not having a clue what the device was or what it could do. I didn’t want to hurt Dexter’s feelings (again) by not being as enthusiastic as he was.

“Aren’t you going to ask me what it DOES?” he asked with a smile only a mad scientist could wear.

I agreed that it was time for me to be properly enlightened as to Dexter’s true genius. “It’s a time machine,” he whispered, “a working time machine! Or, at least as far as I can tell it works, since I haven’t traveled anywhere, uh, anywhen in it yet.”

I immediately looked for an escape route! I knew what was going on in his brain the size of a planet; he needed ME to test-drive his invention! I knew that this was something to be avoided; it would be all fun and games until the screaming began. My screaming.

Dexter, being a clever mad scientist, had thought ahead and locked the door to the stairs

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