“You’re going back to the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.” Harry pushed a few buttons on the control panel before turning to Jim and Ann. “Remember, you’ll have thirty minutes before your cloaking device wears off. Be at the vehicle before then, so you can return to good old 2074.”
“Yes, sir,” Jim said.
“I know this is your first trip, but we take our travels very seriously here at The Wrinkle In Time Agency.” Harry stepped back. “Enjoy your flight!” He closed the door of the time machine and gave two pats.
Jim swallowed as lights blinked and engines whirred. This was one heck of a honeymoon trip!
“Relax, Jim. We’ll be fine,” Ann said. She squeezed his hand. “Besides, how could nobodies like us mess things up?”
In seconds the machine quieted, then halted. The couple unbuckled and stepped into bright sunlight. Sure enough, they were smack dab in the middle of the largest fair Jim had ever seen. Of course, no one around them could see them or their ship, but he didn’t care. Excitement pulsed in his veins as Ann grabbed his arm and yanked him away. Acrobats, clowns and animals performed around them, long lines led to game booths.
“What’s a frank?” Jim said, pointing to a food stand.
“I think those were hot dogs,” Ann said. “Ten cents. Wow. That won’t buy a piece of gum, now!”
They passed a display with a time capsule. “‘To be opened in five thousand years?’” Ann said. “Who’s idea was that?”
Jim shrugged. “Dunno. But I don’t recognize a single thing on display. What’s a slide rule?”
Ann’s timer beeped and she jumped. “Jim, we’ve got to get back! Our thirty minutes are up.”
They ran toward their ship.
“It’s not here!” Jim said, voice strained.
“We’re in the wrong aisle,” Ann groaned. “Come on!”
Again they ran. Down two more rows, up a third. Jim’s heart pounded like wildfire.
“There!” Ann said.
“Ahhh!” A teenaged girl screamed and pointed at them.
“Oh no. Our cloaking devices are wearing off,” Jim said.
More people gathered around, jaws open, eyes wide.
“Let’s go!” Ann said.
The two hopped in the vehicle and took off. A minute later they stepped off the time machine. Jim blinked against a dizzy spell.
Harry met them with a frown. “Well, your trip was memorable.”
He held up a yellowed newspaper, an object Jim had never laid eyes on. They’d been obsolete for decades. Across the top was the date 1939 and a picture of him and Ann, running hand-in-hand. Their bodies were just barely visible against the background. “Ghosts Spotted at World’s Fair.”
“Oh jeez.” Jim’s shoulders slumped.
“Ghosts?” Ann said.
Harry nodded. “Yep. For years people’ve believed in ghosts, but they’re really just time travelers with a fading cloaking device.”
Ann patted his hand. “Cheer up, Jim. We’re officially ghosts! How cool?”
Harry smirked. “Looks like you found your fame, after all.”
©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017
Photo credit Unsplash by Sebastian Davenport-Handley