It was a quiet day in the little house
on McVine Street. Aidan and his brother Reed were bored.
“Let’s watch a movie!” McVine Mommy
said, and called the boys over to their vast collection to look it
over. One by one they went through the movies…but the boys shook
their heads. Nothing interested them.
“Let’s play a game!” McVine Mommy
said, but once again after going through a long list of games. Aidan
and Reed just shook their heads and looked bored.
“I know! Let’s go play in the fort!
We could bring our lasers and protect it from the doppelgangers and
dragons!” Aidan said.
McVine Mommy looked hopefully from
Aidan to Reed, and saw a glimmer of a smile form on Reed’s face.
While they went to search for their lasers, and a cool costume to
wear….she went to the kitchen to prepare a snack for them to take
out to the fort. Little boys always need a good snack to be able to
have the strength to carry their laser properly when preparing to go
out and slay doppelgangers and dragons!
McVine Mommy took two brown paper
lunch bags and filled them with a pbj sandwich, sliced carrots, and
an oatmeal and raisin cookie. She took a marker and put happy faces
on the outside of each bag, and wrote R E E D on one and A I D A N
on the other. She folded the top of the bag down three times to make
a little handle and by the time she was done…there stood Aidan and
Reed, each with a cape, rubber boots, a helmet, and a laser belt
with the laser tucked in it. They each had big smiles on their faces
like the happy faces that were on their lunch bags.
Reed grabbed the bag that had the
letters R E E D on it and Aidan grabbed the one that said A I D A N
on it. They went towards the door to the backyard. Reed put his hand
on the door knob and started to twist it to open the door, and just
as he did a big flash of light lit up the window in the door. Ten
seconds later the rumble followed, and the little house on McVine
Street rattled with the noise. Huge drops of water began following
from the sky, slowly at first, then another flash of light and
another rumble and the large drops of water started falling from the
sky so fast and hard it was as if someone was throwing a bucket over
the house. Then suddenly it started raining what looked like frozen
white peas. For five minutes it rained those little white peas then
it went back to large continuous drops of water and more flashes of
light followed by rumbles that shook the house.
“Uh oh!” Mc Vine Mommy said.
“Uh oh!” Aidan said.
“Uh oh!” Reed said.
The smiles on Aidan’s and Reeds faces
turned to frowns.
“Come on, this is a good time for a
picnic!” McVine Mommy smiled.
“A picnic?” said Reed with a big
“In the rain?” said Aidan, his nose
crumpling into a funny face.
“Sure,” McVine Mommy continued to
smile, as she went to a drawer in one of the kitchen cupboards and
pulled out a green and white checked table cloth. She took the
table cloth and put over the big round coffee table in front of the
living room sofa. She put two big pillows at the table pointed for
each boy to sit there. She grabbed a potted plant from a window and
put in the middle of the table…”See, we’ve even got a little tree to
Aidan jumped up and ran to his room.
He was gone a few minutes, leaving McVine Mommy and Reed with
puzzled looks on their faces. When he came back, he was carrying a
quartz rock. He sat it beside the potted plant, and grinned.
“Why, Aidan! How clever of you! It’s
beginning to look more and more like we’re outside isn’t it! Before
we start eating…what else could we decorate our table with that
would make it look like outside?”
The boys sat there with the chins
rested on their fists, deep in thought. Reed got up quietly with a
serious look on his face. He went to a basket where there were
games and toys. He searched through it, until he came up with a
plastic red ant, three inches in size. He grabbed it and
appropriately sat it on the round table next to the rock and the
“Very good Reed!” McVine Mommy clapped
her hands in delight!
“Now we have an ant for a picnic!”
Aidan had already opened his lunch bag
and was unwrapping the pbj that McVine Mommy had made for him. He
had just started to take a huge bite out of it when Reed brought in
the ant. Now, he was tearing off a corner of the bread and making
crumbs rolling it in between his fingers, getting crumbs all over
“Aidan, you’re responsible for any
messes you make, you know,” McVine Mommy warned.
He brushed the crumbs into a pile
closer to the big red ant, and said, “Look! The ant has stolen
crumbs for his lunch!”
“Hahaha! Lunch for the ant! We have
one big hungry ant with a lot of little crumbs! What do you think of
that Reed?” asked McVine Mommy.
Reed nodded his head up and down real
big. He grabbed his own sandwich, and made a few crumbs out of it
for the plastic red ant, then he said, “Hurry up, let’s start eating
before the ants take over our pbj’s!”
The boys devoured their pbj’s, and
laughed about their funny outdoor/indoor picnic. McVine Mommy found
a couple of ceramic birds on a book shelf and put on top of the
rock. Then she pulled up a pillow and watched the boys eat. Outside
the lightening and thunderstorm had passed and a gentle rain was
watering the lawn and garden of their little house on McVine
Street. The stereo had been turned on and nature noises were coming
out of the speakers birds crickets waterfall sounds filled the
inside, drowning the pitter patter of the rain outside.
“Mom, the picnic was fun! But we’re
still bored!” the boys cried out almost at that same time.
“Well, I don’t know what to say. You
couldn’t find a game. You couldn’t find a video and the rain washed
away the dragons and the doppelgangers outside by your fort. What
else could there be to do?
Maybe we should take a little nap and
then when we wake up you might change your mind about a video?”
Suddenly the room was jolted with
lightening and thunder again. The lights flickered on and off and
the sounds of the nature from the stereo stopped completely with the
“We’re too scared to take a nap, now!”
McVine Mommy thought real hard for a
few minutes…then went to the bookcase and started looking through
“What about a story? This one looks
interesting, it’s about a Time Machine.”
The boys quickly cleaned up their
lunch, leaving the rest of their picnic in place on the big round
coffee table. When they were done, they curled up on the sofa, one
on each side of McVine Mommy. “Once upon a time there was a
professor,” she began like most stories do, but before she could get
the rest of the sentence out the most humongous rumble of thunder
yet, shook the house like an earthquake.
The lights flickered back and forth
again until they went out and the living room was completely dark.
Another quick and short rumble shook the house and suddenly the flat
screen tv came on all by itself.
McVine Mommy, Aidan and Reed just
stared in shock at the tv. McVine Mommy found the remote and tried
to turn it off. The satellite wasn’t working and it was just a blue
fuzzy screen with no tv show and no sound. But the big tv had a mind
of it’s own and refused to turn off. Fog started coming out of the
tv screen and filling the room around them. A faint image of a man
beckoned to them. Reed put his face to the screen and stared into it
for a long time. Then suddenly, he was pulled into the tv screen
Aidan and McVine Mommy didn’t know
what to do. They called and called Reed’s name., but the screen was
just blue and fuzzy and smoking out more fog. The man’s face and his
whispery voice had disappeared.
“Mom! Mom!” cried Aidan,”We’ve got to
get Reed! We’ve got to step into the tv screen and go after him!”
“But how?” McVine Mommy asked.
“Here, take my hand!” Aidan yelled,
and pulled her as close to the screen as possible and in a flash
Aidan and McVine Mommy were sucked into the blue fuzzy screen just
like Reed had been.
“Mom! Mom! Look it’s a time
machine!” cried Aidan. And sure enough just like the picture there
was a time machine and a professor and “Oh My Gosh! Ittttttsssss a
DddddddInosaur!” McVine Mommy cried out.
“Don’t worry, Mom! The dinosaur is
friendly!” Reed said, as he patted the giant lizard shaped dino.
“Oh my!” McVine Mommy exclaimed as she
watched Aidan join his brother patting the dinosaur. The professor
beside the dinosaur smiled beneath his moustache, and offered her
his hand. “Professor Higgedybottom here, “
“Mr. Higg, uh Professor,
Higgedybottom. How nice to meet you! Are we really way back in
dinosaur time?” McVine Mommy asked as her hand grabbed his in a
“Oh yes we are!” He knocked on the
metal of the igloo shaped time machine. “Step inside if you please.
There’s room for all of us, minus Mr. Saur.” He laughed a big belly
“Oh can we Mom?” the boys asked in
“Well….” She paused for a moment
weighing the options, “We’re already further back in time than I had
ever imagined, so why not!”
Inside the time machine they all went.
Professor Higgedybottom pointed to a digital screen with numbers.
“What time are you interested in? Just pick a date! And one pull
of this lever we’re there!”
The boys took turns punching in random
numbers without any thought. The time machine rumbled and shook
like the thunderstorm had that started their day, then everything
blacked out and it was quiet. Red emergency lights blinked on and
the door to the time machine magically opened. Professor
Higgedybottom cautiously looked before his first step outside and
then motioned for the McVine family to follow him.
The great mountains that towered above
their little valley were still there, but the tight rows of suburban
houses were gone. There were patches of thorny shrubs here and
there, lots of sandy dirt with rocks scattered here and there where
the McVine house had stood. Oak trees were seen in the distance, and
patchwork quilt squares of citrus trees and various crops could be
seen all up and down the valley. A few ranch houses and cabins
dotted the land.
A great gush of water could be heard
running down the nearby canyon. Cows were heard mooing in nearby
pastures, and the howl of coyotes bounced off of Camelback Mountain
in the distance. The year was 1903.
“Clip clop, clip clop, clipppity
clippity clip clip clop, jingle jangle jingle jangle jingle jangle”
and a cloud of dust interrupted the peaceful scene, as an unusual
looking wagon came down a dirt trail out of one of the northeastern
canyons. Strains of an old hymn could be heard in a robust male and
female voice. Aidan, Reed and McVine Mommy joined in the singing as
the sounds got closer.
wandered far away from God,
Now I’m coming home;
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod,
Lord, I’m coming home.
Coming home, coming home,
Nevermore to roam,
Open wide Thine arms of love,
Lord, I’m coming home.”
to the vale of Monte Vista!” the man at the reins of the wagon
hollered out as he spotted the little group and their igloo shaped
contraption. He didn’t question anything, but raised his hands to
the sky and shouted “It’s a glorious day! Come celebrate with us in
the oak grove tomorrow morning at sunrise! The missus and I will be
there to greet you and guide you in the ways of the Lord! It’s our
first Sunday service in the oak grove tomorrow at sunrise. You will
see our tent.”
“Pastor Wornom, perhaps?” McVine
“Why yes, and this is Jenny,” he
pointed to his wife.
‘We’d love to come” said Professor
Higgedybottom, “but we’ve got a lot of ground to cover before the
sun sets on this day.”
“Why don’t you settle down with us
until after the service?” the Pastor asked.
McVine Mommy looked hopefully at the
Professor, as the boys giggled at the funny house shaped wagon, and
petted the horses.
Higgedybottom grumbled, “No, .no.
Would like to, but we can’t linger more than an hour or two and
there’s so much more we need to see.”
“We’ll be sorry to miss you!” the
Pastor said, as he tipped his hat, and directed the horses on.
Aidan, and Reed, and McVine Mommy
waved Parson and Jenny on, then turned back to the professor to see
he was already back in the time machine. Afraid of being left
behind, she hurried to join him.
“Well that was interesting, but a bit
dull. Pick another time, boys, and maybe we’ll have a bit more of an
adventure next time.”
Again, Aidan and Reed punched in
random numbers. McVine Mommy pulled the lever, and everyone braced
themselves for the rumbling and shaking until the blackout came and
the red lights started blinking and they were in another time again.
Reed grabbed the door to the time machine and opened it this time.
He could barely see, for the buckets of water coming down from the
“Rain! More rain!” Aidan cried. “Why
is there always rain?”
“No need to let a little rain stop
us.” said Professor Higgedybottom as he grabbed a huge umbrella and
said, “Let’s go!” Fortunately, the umbrella was large enough to
cover all of their heads if they closely huddled together.
There was still nothing on the
property the little family lived on, except now everything was muddy
from the rain and the roar of water from the canyon was louder than
ever. Lightening and thunder occasionally rumbled the ground and lit
up the sky.
McVine Mommy looked a little
frightened. “Professor Higgedybottom - it doesn’t look really safe
out here. Shouldn’t we go back?”
“Oh, I think we’ll be fine!” he
replied, “The boys seem to be enjoying it, too!”
“But we can’t even see!” she said.
“Yes, Mommy! We can! Look there’s
blue sky over there!” said Reed.
“And a rainbow!” said Aidan.
“Anyone want to go look for the pot of
gold at the end of the rainbow?” asked the Professor.
“We do! We do!” the boys shouted in
“Well, ” said McVine Mommy, ”I don’t
The storm suddenly stopped, and more
blue sky appeared overhead. Everyone gave pleading looks at her.
“All right, let’s look for the pot of gold at the end of the
rainbow!” she smiled.
Aidan and Reed started romping through
the mud, laughing as they went. Higgedybottom and McVine Mommy
trailed behind at a slower pace, more careful of the mud and puddles
everywhere. They followed the sounds of the rushing water to the
mouth of the canyon.
“Why look! It’s a river! A real
river!” McVine Mommy said. “Not all tamed like it is in 2010.”
Before anyone could say another word,
the wind came up along with more dark clouds. The rainbow
disappeared. The river appeared to be widening fast and furious and
the little foursome could barely scramble to higher ground in time.
They watched in amazement at the rocks
and debris and the mudflow rapidly coming down the canyon. The
clouds lifted once again and the sun was bright and warm and the sky
“A really gully washer! That’s for
sure!” said Aidan.
“Wish we had a boat!” said Reed.
“Oh, no, I don’t think that a boat is
a safe idea, ” said McVine Mommy.
“Now, where’s your sense of
adventure?” asked Professor Higgedybottom with a twinkle in his eye.
He motioned for them to follow him to a smaller branch of the
river. “This could be fun!” He reached inside his lab coat, and
his rather large stomach disappeared as he pulled out a huge
He opened it up, pulled a ripcord, and
a rubber raft appeared before their very eyes. Aidan and Reed
jumped on first, then the Professor, and after some convincing,
“Whooopeeee!” the boys shouted, as a
wind caught their raft and started pulling them along the gentler
stream. Light waves turned to rapid as they found themselves a part
of the main river once again. Reed looked back to see where they had
been, and his eyes grew larger and larger in amazement. Try as he
might, his voice wouldn’t come out, but he tapped on his Aidan’s
shoulder and pointed. “Proooofffffesssor!!!!!” Aidan shouted, ”What
After one quick look, Higgedybottom
practically tipped the boat in his excitement.
“Proof at last!” he shouted. “It’s Nessie! Let’s see if we can get
this raft ashore somehow and take a look!”
It took some doing without paddles,
but the rapids had leveled out and they managed to dock the little
raft and get out. Everyone was muddy and dripping wet, but in good
spirits. Except for McVine Mommy, who was now pointing up the river
again where Higgedybottom's “Nessie” was fast approaching.
Aidan saw his chance, and just as the
legendary water monster passed, he reached his arms out and tried to
latch on to her giant scaly tail. Higgedybottom outguessed the boy
and grabbed on to Aidan before he could touch Nessie. The boy
wiggled and screamed in disappointment, while McVine Mommy and Reed
watched in amazement. Nessie suddenly stopped floating down with
the rapids, and found her way to the shore. She beached herself
there, bellowing in lonely disappointment.
“Come on,” Reed said, as he began to
go down and see Nessie for himself.
“Now just wait, Reed!” The professor
cried out! “I’ve dealt with Nessie before, and she can be as tame
as can be, but you never know what her mood might be!”
Reed stopped in his tracks, and McVine
Mommy let out a scream. Badwater Nessie was up on her feet and
coming towards them as fast as her weight would let her. And she
didn’t look like she was in a good mood. The massive roar she made
Professor Higgedybottom gathered the
McVine family towards him and told them huddle around him tightly.
He opened up his massive umbrella just as a wind came through,
yelled “Hang on tight!” and off they flew just as Nessie was ready
to charge them.
Away with the wind, Higgedybottom,
McVine Mommy, Aidan and Reed flew, holding on tightly to each other
and the umbrella. The beautiful little valley below, dotted with
ranches, groves, and crops, and little houses here and there got
smaller and smaller as they flew.
There were new rivers and streams and
mud debris flows changing much of the landscape. But there was also
sunshine and another beautiful rainbow. They followed the rainbow,
still in flight holding to each other and the umbrella. When they
got to the end of the rainbow, the umbrella began descending and
finally landed. They were back at the professor's igloo shaped time
“Whew! That was close!” said
Professor Higgedybottom. “You don’t want to mess with Nessie when
she’s like that! We’re also running out of time. We need to go back
into the time machine.” He opened the door, and one by one McVine
Mommy, Reed, Aidan, got inside.
“I think it’s time to go back home!”
McVine Mommy said.
But it was too late. The door to the
time machine was shut and Aidan had already punched in another year.
Again the rumbling and shaking and the blackout resumed and the red
lights blinked on and the door automatically opened. As they peeked
carefully outside all they could see were wildflowers and a white
“What year did you punch, Aidan?”
asked McVine Mommy. “Where are we?”
Aidan turned and looked at the
numbers. They read 1897. It was quiet and beautiful. Poppies, blue
dicks, dandelions, and more were blowing in a gentle breeze. There
were no people, no animals, no buildings, no weather. Just flowers
and flowers and flowers and the white picket fence.
“It’s dinner time! We could have a
real picnic here!” McVine Mommy suggested.
Professor Higgedybottom looked at his
watch. "No, not enough time. We need to get back to 2010. I have an
important date in ten minutes!”
He pulled everyone back into the time
machine, closed the door. “I’ll set the date” he announced, and the
shaking and rumbling and darkness started all over again.
Reed opened his eyes and found himself
sitting on a park bench. Leaning against him was his brother Aidan,
sound asleep. On another park bench a few feet away sat McVine Mommy
and her friend Cecile. Cecile was reading the last few words out of
a book, “And on this SITE in 1897, nothing happened, ” she said,
as she closed the book.
A rusty sign with big letters hung on
an old weathered fence next to the benches. In big letters it said
“ON THIS SITE IN 1897 NOTHING HAPPENED”. Behind the sign was a field
of wildflowers. Reed elbowed his brother to wake him, just as
Professor Higgedybottom came up the walkway.
“Oh look,” said Cecile. “There’s
Roger. I’ll bet the bbq is on and it’s almost time to eat! Let’s
join him and your dad in the backyard!”
“Bbbbuttt, that’s not Roger! That’s
Professor Higgedybottom!” both boys cried out at exactly the same
“Now boys, ” McVine Mommy shook her
Roger and Cecile just laughed.