Today I return from my most harrowing yet invigorating ordeal to date, the crossing of the Delaware with General Washington in order to take the despised Hessians by surprise.
This was an undertaking which drew the ire of many a critic who felt that I was embarking upon a mission of folly. The nay-sayers all said, well, nay, but more specifically, that they felt history, particularly such a pivotal point in history as Washington’s crossing of the Delaware, was a thing best left alone.
“It is too important,” they bemoaned. “It is not a thing that one goes to on holiday.”
“But that is exactly why I must go,” I retorted. “It is so important that I can’t risk it not succeeding. They need me on that boat.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” my critics would demand at this point, often time pulling at their hair with both hands. “They were already successful, it’s a historic fact.”
“Do you believe every historic fact you hear?” I would ask at that point.
My critics would then gape quizzically at one another for a long time before shrugging and saying, “Well, yeah, pretty much.”
In this way my critics and I would dance, debating with one another until my critics, and in every case it would happen, decided that it was silly of them to argue as I had no way of traveling back to the crossing.
I hated to admit it, but they were right, I was completely without a time machine. I had only a great, hollow iron sphere which I had inherited from my uncle. I studied my situation, reading the works of Ray Bradbury, H.G. Wells and Robert Zemeckis for ideas but none of them covered traveling through time in a great hollow iron sphere left to you by your uncle.
Loath though I was to admit it, there was only one person who could help me, Randi Henderson, the Walgreens clerk.
Breaking a personal vow made to myself after waking up one morning in a pile of sub-Hallmark greeting cards with a Russell-Stover sampler in one hand and my other arm still looped through the self check blood pressure cuff, I again set foot in Walgreens.
It didn’t take long to find her, standing there behind the counter in her white smock with her salt and pepper hair tied behind her head in a careless bun. She was waiting on an elderly woman who was busily counting out pennies onto the counter. I got in line behind the woman and waited for my chance to speak.
I’m certain that at some point during the three hours I stood there waiting for that poor old woman to remember that after one hundred she had a dollar, Randi noticed me, but she gave no indication. If anything, she only became more interested in the woman and her spare change.
When at last the woman paid for her Four Loko and moved along I stepped forward to here Randi say, “Yes, sir, how may I help you?”
“Don’t play games with me, Henderson,” I said, a snarl forming on my lips. “You know why I’m here.
“Of course I do,” Randi spat at me. “You want to travel back in time to George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River but you’ve been mocked by your peers and what’s worse, you have nothing to travel in save for a great, hollow iron sphere given to you by your uncle in his will. My God, it’s written all over your face.” She looked about nervously and said, “What I don’t know is what you think I can do to help you. Would you like to purchase a Sham WOW or, perhaps, a Shake Weight?”
I pressed my hands flat on the counter and leaned toward her. “I think you know that what I want has not been seen on TV.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Randi said. “Now, if you don’t wish to make a purchase, could you please…”
“Look, we both know that you have what I need,” I said. I dropped my voice and continued, “We also both know what happened that night with the Haribo Gold Gummy Bears and the ACE bandages…
“You promised never to speak of that,” Randi hissed.
“Yeah, well, that was before I got my sphere,” I said.
Again Randi looked around, though this time it seemed to be for something specific. She turned back to me and said, “All right, I have to get someone to cover for me.” She pointed to the spot where the wall met the counter and said, “Wait for me over there.”
“Don’t try anything funny,” I said. “I still have the scar from that night and it serves as a wonderful visual aid.”
“I’ll be there,” Randi said.
I did not have to wait long before Randi found coverage for her station and made her way over to me, she on her side of the counter and me on my own. “Have you thought about this?” she asked.
“Of course,” I said. “This is something I must do. Now, will you help me?
Randi sighed and removed the small chain she wore around her neck. As she pulled it from her blouse I could she that attached to it was a small, golden key. She reached under the counter and pulled out a case no larger than a child’s lunch box.
“What I am about to tell you, you will never be able to tell anyone…”
“Unless they have really good dirt on me?” I asked.
“Do you ant help or not?” Randi asked.
“It is an awesome responsibility, this knowledge,” Randi said. “So I am giving you one last chance to walk away.”
“Tell me what you know,” I said.
“Very well.” She inserted the key into the case and turned it. The case opened easily and she pulled the lid up so that it obscured my view of the contents. “The secret to time travel is…” she turned the case so that I could peer inside.
“Hey! A full sized Krackle, you never see those,” I blurted.
“Shhhh,” Randi said, slapping the case shut and pulling the it close to her. She smiled at a passing couple and waved innocently. When at last they were gone Randi turned on me and said, “Are you crazy? You can’t broadcast that I have one of these babies.”
“I don’t get it, how will a candy bar help me travel through time?”
“It’s not a candy bar, it’s a full sized Krackle,” Randi said. She relaxed her grip on the case and said, “The amount of Krackle in one full sized bar, if eaten quickly enough, is sufficient to rip asunder the very fabric of space and time.”
Randi nodded. “That’s why you never see them. Hershey thought it would be great for sales that you could time travel with their confections but after Krackle caused the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust and William Hung, they decided that it was best they stick to the fun size ones in those multi packs. It’s madness that they do that much, I say, MADNESS!”
“So, how do I use it?”
“Just get in your little sphere-thing and eat it as quickly as you can, half a bar will be more than enough to travel a couple of centuries and leave you enough to get back.”
“All right, but how do I make sure I go to 1776 and not… I don’t know 1803.”
“Ah, for that, you will need something seen on TV.” Randi raised a portion of the counter and stepped through leading me to a house wares section and handing me a box.
“A George Foreman grill?” I said.
Randi nodded, “We don’t know why but the energy of a George Foreman grill cooking a quarter pound patty, that weight is before cooking…”
“Is perfectly in sync with the energy of the worm hole created by the eating of the Krackle.”
“Mm-hmm, the harder you press on the burger the faster you go. Just make sure you have a good supply of ground beef because, once it’s cooked to medium it no longer works.”
“Have plenty of beef, got it.”
“And make sure it’s lean beef.”
“All right,” I said, “why is that?”
“Well, it’s just better for the heart, don’t you think?”
“Am I supposed to eat the burger?”
“What, are you going to let it go to waste?”
“I hadn’t thought about it. Anyway, isn’t the whole point of the Foreman that the fat drains away?”
“Well, it’s not a miracle machine, sure it’ll drain some of the fat and help you to travel through time but it does have its limitations.”
“All right, I’ll get lean beef. Anything else?”
“Oh, make sure you’re facing East. East makes you go back in time, West is forward.”
“What are North and South?”
“North and South are just North and South, why do they have to be anything? It’s not enough for you that you’re traveling through time with a candy bar and grill, you have to have North and South do something too?”
“No, North and South don’t HAVE to do anything. It just seemed that logically, if East and West… You know, this is why I don’t often come here.”
There was more to that conversation, dear EGG, but it was conducted entirely in the circular manner I have already recorded and so I think that I will spare you the banter and instead write plainly that I also learned that I could monitor the date with nothing more than the calendar on my cellular phone. The space inside the sphere would retain enough of the present that the cell phone would continue to work but the phone it’s self would still register the changing years. That was a convenient and in no way contrived happenstance. Also, though my machine would travel easily through time, it would not travel through space, so it was up to me to get my sphere to that river just across from Trenton, New Jersey.
Once all of the elements of my trip were in place, I stepped inside my sphere, threw a patty on the grill, and unwrapped the candy bar. Ten of my minutes later, I was standing in the midst of General Washington’s men.
I can’t tell you, dear EGG, the rush that came over me standing there just before such an historic event. The sight of the men, war weary and wounded, preparing for their crossing, the smells of the muskets being made ready with powder and the tingling all over that meant all involved knew that they were about to embark on something special.
Then the cry rang out. One of the men had gone missing only to be found moments later, dead, crushed by a suddenly appearing, great, hollow iron sphere.
The company was frantic, everyman needed to be accounted for. It was then that Washington stood and pointed at me. “You there, the person in strange dress, put on a coat, you’ve just been drafted.
Well, EGG, I don’t have to tell you what happened next, the history books have done that for me. Though I will say that the whole thing about Washington throwing the silver dollar across the river was a lie. I was really looking forward to that, you could buy a lot in that day with a dollar. I think I could have gotten a house.
But, despite the minor disappointments, I will never forget my night on the Delaware with the father of our nation.
Now, on to more adventures.
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