In a hangar-idk what else to call it is Hoggins’ Time ship. It’s nothing like what I expected. It looks like a go kart with a big metal hot dog over it, and a tiny, cramped seat inside with confusing controls.
That’s it? I say in disgust.
What did you expect? A tank?
Woulda been nice, I say. I don’t believe it even works.
Let me show you, he says. He pulls something the size of a remote from his pocket. Watch, he says.
A pale luminous blue glow starts mid ship and spreads fore and aft until the ship is covered.
This can stand the force of a tactical nuke from ten feet away, he says proudly.
Force field? I say.
Watch this, he says. He pushes a button and the entire ship disappears. I go to touch it but it isn’t even there.
Now i’m impressed. A Romulan cloaking device.
A what? He says.
You just made it go away. What if I need it quick?
I designed it so that it slips into sidestream to protect it.
But what if I need it fast?
Give me your hand, he says with annoyance, he says, and sticks a needle into my thumb.
What was that for?
You cant lose the ship. It’ll come back when you’re ten yards away.
He presses another button and I feel a slight breeze as if something passed by.
It came back to me?
Yes, he says. I wanted to make it so that you could make it materialize instantly if you got in trouble far away and you needed it somewhere else but there wasn’t time. If you put a finger into the ship’s orifice there you’ll deactivate the cloaking device.
And where on an invisible ship can I find an orifice?
It’ll find you, he says. Put your finger anywhere.
I jam my forefinger in the direction of where the ship should be and the cloaking device peels away leaving the blue glow. Instinctively I put my finger where it was and the blue glow disappears.
That’s some impressive technology, Hoggins, I say. But why not have one finger thrust deactivate both?
I thought…never mind.
You mean you didn’t think until I just now made you?
Yes, Chones. The controls are easy enough. If there’s any doubt the default settings will just bring it back here where and when it just left from our standpoint.
Controls? I say, sticking my head under where a steering wheel should be.
You can set them for a different time and place but you shouldn’t have to. Defaults all go back here. There’s a joy stick you push forward and press a button on top of it and you’re in Green Bay Wisconsin in 1965.
Your retina will be scanned automatically as soon as you get in. And you have to sing.
Sing? Sing what?
Sealed with a kiss.
You son of a bitch.
Relax, Colonel. Only the first verse. If anybody else tries it, it will explode and flatten a city block. You don’t have to sing the whole song and you don’t have to be on key. But it has to be your voice and it has to be the right words.
I never realized before that he is a sadist and a sociopath.
Dillon insisted, Hoggins says.
I don’t believe you. Only a silly bastard like you would do something like this. Did you ever have a history of errors or human factors course, Hoggins?
Only a degree in Physics from Tennessee. He says. Where did you…
Georgia Tech, I say.
And to hell with the University of Georgia. Where did you get the power for this…
There’s a small fission reactor in an old brick building at the edge of the swamp. If you try to get in without the right key you’ll be electrocuted. There’s enough power for the whole city for two hundred years but Dillon’s such a pussy he wont use it. At least this way it can do something besides destroy.
You mean there’s fissionable Plutonium in that thing? I say.
Don’t worry. It’s more than adequately shielded.
IDC. If this is life who needs it? How about a quick trip Green Bay in the summer of ’65 and back. I’ll walk around a little bit and see how the target area looks ? There and back in ten.
Hoggins twists his mouth and says, sure. Your documents are in a sheath under the dash.
Do i need documents? 65 Style documents?
If you do anything more than kill him.
Absolutely not. I know if you have one you’ll just kill him now.
You’re right. I probably would. You know, Hoggins, you always look so much like Isaac Asimov I cant get over it.
The greatest scyfy writer of all time.
Hoggins smirks and says, I guess if he were here he’d know how to clean up the radiation.
No, Hoggins. He wouldn’t have to. If he’d been at the switch the day it happened it never would have happened.
Hoggins laughs condescendingly and says, You admire this Asimov. There’s a side of you I’ve never seen. You have heroes. I thought your only hero was yourself.
That’s you you’re describing Hoggins. Not me.
I get in the thing and it automatically powers up. Hoggins grins an evil grin and says, Let’s hear it!
I don’t want to say goodbye for the summer
But darling I promise you this
I’ll send all my love every day in a letter
And seal it with a kiss
A canopy appears and when I push the stick forward I feel every particle in me disintegrate.