My Adventures in Time‑Traveling Excerpt

Here is a little excerpt from the story.  Now keep in mind that this is from the first draft, so it might have typos and could undergo some changes.

If I had known that my entire life was going to change that day, I’d have worn a better tie.

Yes, I know that’s an odd way to start a story, but I’m an odd sort of guy, so there you have it.

The day started out like an average workday with nary a clue that it was going to turn out otherwise.  Not counting burnt toast, breakfast was uneventful.  Ditto for the trip to the office.  My plan was to get my morning caffeine fix at the espresso stand in my office building.  I never did get my four-shot double mocha that day, which was a real bummer because it was the flavor of the month.

I had just gotten out of my car and was heading for the office entrance when a green-eyed, auburn-haired beauty suddenly pulled up in a black sports car and said through the open window, “Come with me if you want to live.”  No, I’m not making that up, and, yes, I know it’s straight out of the Terminator movies.  I’m not the one who said it, so don’t complain to me about it not being original material.

“Huh?” I said, displaying my dazzling intellect, not to mention my impressive skill with the English language.  That snappy response was all I had time for, because another car came zooming up, and the guys in it were neither auburn-haired nor the least bit pretty.  Ugly Number One and Ugly Number Two, as I will refer to them for the present time, jumped out of their car and started hurrying toward me, not really looking like they had my continued good health in mind.

So I ask you this.  If you had a choice between going with a lovely young woman who claims to be there to save your life or waiting for two men who have “thug” written all over them, what would you do?  If you’d choose the second option, you are way dumber than I am.  Faster than you could say, “I hope I won’t live to regret this,” I was in the passenger seat of that car.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to open the door, because the aforementioned lovely young woman had already done so, revealing that it didn’t open in the usual manner.  But more about that later.

The second I was in the car, the door started to closed by itself as my new companion raced toward the parking lot exit.  Yep, you guessed it.  Ugly Number One and Number Two got back in their car and came after us.

Now, though I do believe in the existence of a higher power, I have never been a particularly religious man.  However, I think I found religion during the chase that followed.  I certainly prayed hard enough to gain a few points with the Big Guy.  I have to hand it to my companion, though.  Not only was she beautiful, she was also one hell of a driver.  Ugly Number One was pretty good, too, since he managed to stay behind us.

As we skidded around yet another corner, the Pacific Ocean came into view, and we aimed straight for it.  Normally, I like going to the beach or taking a little drive along this beautiful section of the Southern California coastline, but, this time, the ocean was getting awfully close, awfully fast, and we weren’t slowing down.

“What are you doing?!” I yelled.

“Trust me.”

Trust her?  It was obvious that, unless she put on the brakes soon, we were going to get very up close and personal with the water, which I strongly objected to because what lay before us was not a beach, but a cliff with a drop straight down to the sea.

“Roll up your window,” my companion calmly instructed.

‘’What?!‘ screamed my brain, immediately followed by, ‘Oh, shit!’ as I frantically rolled up my window.  Two seconds later, we jumped the curb, crashed through a barricade, sailed out over the edge of the cliff . . . and I screamed.  No, it was not a girlie scream.  I swear.  Really it wasn’t.

Well, okay, so maybe a little.

I found out something interesting during those seconds before we hit the water.  Your life really does flash before your eyes in that instant before you think you’re going to die.  Since my life up until now isn’t anything worth writing about, I’ll skip the synopsis of what I saw.  Hey, I’d forgotten about that time when I was four and my big brother dumped his ant farm down my pants.  Thanks so much, subconscious, for giving that memory back to me.

So where were we?  Ah, yes, sailing through the air and heading straight for the water with me clutching the dashboard and hoping that the Pearly Gates would open for idiots who believed pretty women that quoted lines from Terminator.

And then we hit the water, hard.  I wondered if it would be in bad taste to sue Ms. Amelia Earhart Wannabe sitting in the driver’s seat for the pain and suffering of whiplash.  Oh, wait.  That’s right.  I was going to die.  Never mind.

And then something odd happened.  I didn’t die.  Neither did the woman sitting beside me.  Though I was immensely pleased by that surprising development, I was also quite befuddled, and for good reason.

Like many men, I have at least a mild interest in cars.  I’ve spent time flipping through car magazines while waiting for some appointment.  I’ve drooled over the automobiles I can’t afford.  But I guess I didn’t know enough about what was coming off the assembly lines these days, because I had no idea they were making submersible cars.  I really should have subscribed to a few of those magazines.  If I’d known this beforehand, I would have kept hold of those ten years of my life that got scared right out of me.  Oh, well.  At least that was the only thing that got scared out of me.

My underwear still clean, I sat there and gaped as our sports car turned submarine dove down into the water, made a graceful turn, and headed north.  I decided that this would be an excellent time to have a wee bit of a chat with the driver.

“Who are you and what the hell is going on?”

Green-Eyes turned to me with a smile.  “My name is Ariel.”

“Like in The Little Mermaid?”  I glanced about at our aquatic surroundings.  “How very fitting.”

Ariel frowned in puzzlement.  “The Little Mermaid?”

“The cartoon based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen that didn’t have nearly as nice an ending.”

Her face cleared.  “Ah, yes.  Hans Christian Andersen.”

I stared at her.  “Okay, so I know your first name, and, judging by your accent, I’d guess that you’re British, but that doesn’t tell me much.  Where did you come from, who were the two goons chasing us, why is this car not filling up with water, and, most important of all, how and why am I involved in all this?”

“I am from the future, the men who were chasing us were sent from the future to kill you, there is a force field keeping the water out, and you are involved because we need your help to save the planet.”

Blink, blink.  No, really.  That was my response.  I challenge any of you to come up with a more loquacious reply to a statement like that.  Okay, so there was more to my response.  It just took a while to formulate.

“I think someone’s seen Terminator a few too many times.”

“What is Terminator?” Ariel asked.

“A movie that’s about. . . .  Oh, never mind.  You can’t be serious.”

“I’m deadly serious.”

“You’re from the future.”


“Tweedledee and Tweedledum are from the future.”

The frown was back.  “Tweedledee and. . . .”

“The guys in the other car.”

“Oh.  Yes.”

“And you need my help to save Earth.”

Ariel smiled.  “Yes.”

“Well, forgive me if I find that hard to believe.  Even if I did believe that time travel is possible, I can’t conceive of any way that I, of all people, could possibly save the planet.  Are you sure you don’t have the wrong guy?  Because, if you do, I’m making you tell my boss why I’m late for work this morning.”

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