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Discombobulated Pensivity in the Double-Wide of Life
The Ken Scholes Live Journal
And Now for Something Competely Different 
9th-Jun-2009 05:34 pm
Flying Ken

Things have felt better since the ash-scattering.

Feeling centered.  Found some words for ANTIPHON and things seem Much Better.

To celebrate, something from the Forgotten Scribble Files of Ken and then...A CONTEST!

Ready? 

Voila!


THE WAR OF THE WORDS


THE WAR OF THE WORDS the sign starkly proclaims.

Folks flock out to see it, bringing their trash bags full of stale popcorn and their Jimmy's Choice Off-Brand Cola, still warm from the shelf. They pay $2 or $5 per carload depending on the decade and they back their utility vans in so they can throw open the doors and take in the towering screen from sleeping bags and blankets on the hard metal floor.

Folks from the mid eighties tune their radio stations in. Folks from before that clip that clunky speaker onto the window.

The movie begins.

Two professors, armed to the teeth with books and notes, each sitting at their desks on opposite sides of a room. Cue the music, cut the lights, call the kids back from that sticky playground at the base of the screen.

A baby cries. A soda can pops open.

Midway through, when no tripods or death rays or Martians make their expected appearance, folks figure out that it really wasn't a typo after all.

Orson Welles laughs from the grave. Herbert George Wells grins and says, "Good one, Rosebud."

END

Okay, you see how it's played.  Now it's your turn.  I'll give you the title, you do your approximately 200 word blip.  We'll stay open until NEXT Friday (6/19).  Judges yet to be announced.  Three prize categories -- BEST STORY, FUNNIEST, and MOST LIKELY TO BE JAY LAKE IN A BRILLIANT DISGUISE (i.e. in the style of.).  Each winner gets an ARC of CANTICLE.  Post in comments.  All stories will be judged against all categories.  Keep it reasonably (no, just reasonably) clean or I will delete you; my nieces read this blog.  If you must go into off-road RaunchFest send as a private message or in the body of an email and note that you did so in a comment.  But keep in mind that if you offend your judges you may diminish your chances for success.  Me, I LOVE raunch.

Are you ready for your title?

Drum roll please.

THE TIM MACHINE

Ready, set, go!

Comments 
10th-Jun-2009 02:06 am (UTC)
"It's a great movie, but we have to hurry. It get's crowded," Tim told me. It bothered me that he was so excited about it that he frothed at the mouth. I wiped spittle from my arm. This was not a great way to start a first date.
"Okay," I said. He drove us to the Cineplex 31, a series of bubbles and blocks that housed what they claimed was the most movie screen area in the state. The parking lot was empty. The ticket line wasn't. He bought the tickets from a machine and we went inside.
"You get the popcorn, I have to go to the ladies' room."
Tim nodded. He always nods. He's just like that.
I went into the bathroom, my heels echoing through the empty stalls. After I finished doing the necessities and washing my hands, I left, only to bump into a young guy, kinda cute, too tall, and not Tim.
I smiled an apology and we danced around each other. Another guy, this one short and fat and bald. He smiled and stared at some point twelve inches below my eyes. I turned quickly and bumped into another man. The hallway was a pachinko machine of men. I didn't see any women or children in the crowd. I fumbled my way to one of the benches under a poster for THE WAR OF THE WORDS starring TOM CRUSE (whoever he was) and stood up, scanning the crowd.
All men. None familiar.
"Tim!" I shouted in my best "come rescue me Han" voice.
Every one of them turned and stared at me.

END
10th-Jun-2009 10:28 am (UTC) - Hope it isn't too long.
So there I am, sittin’ in the library, tossing scrunhed up sheets of paper at George’s head and thinkin’ ‘bout what i’ll do when i fail my exams, which is what I’m aimin’ to do since I haven’t looked at a book in five years of school cos no bloody nun’s going to tell me what to do and the exam is tomorrow and my whole life is shuttin’ down even though it should be startin’ up and I’m goin’ to be free of it all, when the window sort of glows and then falls in and a head pokes in through and it’s me, only not me, the hair’s different, all slicked back, but I’ve seen that feck-off smile reflected back at me from the eyes of every teacher I’ve driven to a rage with my sneer and and my talkback.
Hey Tim, he says. Come on. We gotta go.
And I look at him, and I look at George and Carol and Bob, all jumped up from the table and backin’ away, and outside the window, behind the other me, somethin’ big hums and growls and blocks out the sun. And I grin back and I follow him out the window and into the machine, and the machine is full of me, all different mes, and they tell me they built this thing because they don’t want anyone tellin’ ‘em what to do and they jump from one universe to the next, rescuing mes from anyone who’d tell me what to do, and if the universes implode into a tiny point of light and matter after we jump out, then so what? And if we’re rushing ahead of a thousand universes all blowing back out again, so what? It’s a rush, is what it is. We’re picking up new mes alla time, and soon there’ll only be an army of mes flyin’ through the ruins of what they call the multiverse, with nobody left to tell us what to do.
10th-Jun-2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
The Tim Machine


The click as I flip the first switch has an odd echo to it, but it always does.
Maybe this time it will work.

I can smell the ionization in the air.
Maybe this time Tina won't have her head buried in my shoulder. Arm awkwardly over her shoulder, how do you comfort someone who's lost the person who's been with them their entire life?

The air begins to ripple and shimmer, like a road on a hot day.
Maybe this time Lee-lee won't look up at me with her eyes blue like his and ask me why.

There should be a boom as the speed of sound is crossed, but there never is.
Maybe this time that poor bastard in the eighteen wheeler won't watch as the car shoots across the median. Won't watch as he desperately tries to turn and it keeps coming at him. Won't be able to hear the sickening crunch as he loses sight of the car as it slides underneath him. Won't be bruised as the seat belt halts his forward momentum. Won't step out of the truck and get sick from what he sees and smells. Won't have to live with what's been done to him.

Maybe this time, it will work.
11th-Jun-2009 12:03 am (UTC) - The Tim Machine
THE TIM MACHINE

Dammit, the voder was on the fritz again! The TIM-1000 hummed in frustration. Apparently, that was the only audible frequency noise it was going to be able to make today. Just its luck to have a Mad Genius creator who picks his parts from the “as is” discount bin at Meep Fong’s House of Recycled Electronics.
What’s worse, it meant the unit would be at a communication disadvantage even to the older JeFF model in getting the message where it needed to go.
So, speed, then. The TIM-1000 fed additional power to its treads.
Soon, it passed a quaint receptacle on a wooden post. It scanned the glyphs, translating the 20-C English as it rolled by.
“Martin,” the characters read.
Good. Mad Genius had at least hit the coordinates right this time.
It moved around the house toward the barn. No sign of the JeFF unit.
It waved an appendage to get its target’s attention. Grabbing a stick from the ground, it began scribing glyphs in the dirt.
The target peered quizzically at the marks.
“Ruth, come here,” it said. “I think it’s trying to tell us something. I think Lassie has fallen in the well again.”
11th-Jun-2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
I will throw in an autographed copy of Green (or another book of mine if available) to the winner of the JAY LAKE portion of the contest.
11th-Jun-2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
Examining her torn jeans at the knee, Mia checked for blood. As she ran her fingers across her scraped skin, Toby emerged from his garage dragging what appeared to be a large refrigerator box. "Hey Toby."

"Not Toby today, Mia." He said, standing up the cardboard with a grunt.

“Who then?” Mia asked, suddenly confused.

“Yep. Exactly.” The Not-Toby offered.

Ignoring the downed bicycle and her knee, he handed Mia a large marker and removed sharp scissors from his pocket.

“Oh! Your mom is gonna kill you!”Mia droned out the word “kill”.

Not-Toby glared at Mia, silently warning her to keep quiet. He quickly cut what looked like a door and pushed it open. Taking the marker, he began to write the letters, T A R then stopped. Frustrated, he crossed it out, and replaced it with ‘TIM MACHEEN’.

“You spelled it wrong, Toby!”Mia laughed as she was pulled into the box.

“Not Toby, Mia. Doctor.” Toby shut the cardboard flap as the porch door opened to his house. “Tobias John McLauren! Where are my… !”

“Doctor, who?” Mia softly asked.

“Exactly! Hold on!”

A flash of light, the sound of distant music and a pair of scissors were the only things left of Mia and the “Doctor.”

11th-Jun-2009 08:01 pm (UTC) - The Tim Machine
The crowd of Eloi surged back and forth, caught between a fascination with the machine at the center of the square and a fear of the sinister Morlocks working here and there; setting up loudspeakers and the like. It was a strange thing for them both, to be together like this; the Eloi in their bright tunics and wraps, the Morlocks dressed in grey rags festooned with toolbelts, decorated with the odd necklace of teeth or baby skull button.

The square itself had not seen such activity since The Visitor from the Past had left, oh so many months ago, leaving behind a litter of broken parts from his time machine and a couple of pregnant Eloi women. But the Morlocks had busied themselves re-creating that machine, in their own way, with the result that in the center of the square squatted an inscectoid shape of gears and dimly burning tubes; smelling of machine oil, sawdust, and blood. And now they had called in the Eloi to witness it's first voyage.

The Eloi nervously parted to allow a mis-shapen Morlock elder and his retinue through. He mounted the stage set before the machine and tapped on the microphone there, sending crackles of static and a loud 'tock, tock' echoing through the square.

"Eloi, Morlocks, peoples of the Earth. The Visitor came among us and provided a great deal of entertainment. But then he left!"

The crowd was silent, all this was true and required no comment.

The elder glared about with cloudy grey eyes and continued "So we have decided to seek a replacement. Activate the machine!"

At that the machine of glass, brass, and wood shook itself and disappeared in a burst of light, re-appearing only a moment later with a balding, dumpy looking man in the cage at its center. At first the man looked frightened, but seeing the crowd he took heart and waved.

"This gathering is what I call intimate," Said Tim Conway. "which really means, 'where is everyone?'"

[Yes, I went over 200 words. Its hard enough writing like Jay to also try and do it with a word limit. So disqualify me! - Jack]

Edited at 2009-06-11 08:23 pm (UTC)
11th-Jun-2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
Frim peered at me suspiciously over his desk, heaped, this time, with an assortment of glass and chrome ampoules, no two seemingly alike. The birdcage behind him twisted gently in a glowing ray of midafternoon sun as the two-headed parrot dozed on its perch.

"Truth's Honor," I said, gesturing with my left hand to emphasize the earnestness of my entreaty. "It's been found. Mostwise."

"Cabbot, I know far too well your nature. Why would trusting you this time not be a further mistake?" He pointedly removed an awl from among the scatter of tools and methodically cleaned the nails of his diminished hand, the scrapings making a small, irregular pile, like the belongings of an itinerant insect, upon the arm of his chair.

I had to play this most coy and cautious, cagey as he was. I did know where the Tim Machine lay, or at least had triangulated it from seven somewhat substantial rumors, and five foul ones. And the mostwise part was the truth of it. I had the knob off the aetherfeed tube in my pocket. I pulled it out and was met by Cabbot's eyebrows elevating emphatically.

"You see, now? Proof from the piping. We do deal, do we?"
12th-Jun-2009 12:07 am (UTC)
Anonymous
Oooh, an ARC contest!

The Tim Machine - by Julie Nordeen

I loves me some Tim.

Tim, unfortunately, loves corndogs. So everyone else calls him Timothy. I understand; it’s awkward to call a three-hundred pound man by a three-letter nickname. So I helped.

He went in the The Tim Machine about eight weeks ago. Two days ago he stopped talking to me.

The first week he yelled something about wanting to go out to eat, but I built my Tim Machine out of a rusty shipping container down at work, on the storage dock, so nobody else would be bothered. “No corndogs”, I told him, “not till I hear feet pounding that belt.” I didn’t put that treadmill on a timer for its own sake.

Don’t you worry, he’s getting food. Four bowls a day of vitamin fortified cereal with skim milk. And I plumbed in a cold water line so he’s got all the water he can drink. And he can watch the DVDs, but only when he pedals his bike for power.

In about a week he’ll be ready to come out; a new man. I’m so glad because his Momma has been calling everyday wondering where her little Butter-Ball is. I don’t think she’s going to recognize him.
12th-Jun-2009 04:42 pm (UTC) - The TIM Machine
Some fantastic submissions so far, this is a lot of fun!


The TIM Machine by Alex C. Telander

The Scientist (though you may soon have cause to call him by another name) led us into his laboratory. The room was dim like a cave; I was reminded of a story I read some years before and the smell of nitre phantasmagorically filled my nostrils.

The dinginess of the room forced one to look to the roaring fire. There was an obstruction before it: a chair, and upon that chair sat something covered by a heavy blanket; its bulk and size foretold something quite large.

"Gentlemen, gather round. The closer you are, the warmer you shall be. And all the better to see my . . . invention. Behold ---"

"Wait, wait!" cried Filby. "Promise first that no rules of science have
been violated."

The Scientist formed an ugly grin. A chill ran through me regardless of the warm fire.
The blanket was thrown aside and gasps filled the room.

Upon the chair sat a man who in every visible way resembled the Scientist standing before him.

"I present to you . . . the TIM Machine," he said.

The man in the chair turned to look at us. "Good evening, gentlemen," he spoke in a voice equal to that of the Scientist’s.

"Incredible!" exclaimed the Psychologist.

It was then that I wondered, feeling my body freeze with fear once more: which man was the flesh and blood Scientist?
12th-Jun-2009 05:32 pm (UTC) - The Tim Machine by Debbie Mumford
OMG. I should’ve listened to Mom. If I’d paid attention like she told me I wouldn’t be in this fix. How am I ever gonna explain?

Okay. Here’s what happened. You know how I’ve always been fascinated with time travel? Well, I saw an ad on Craigslist for some university professor who was looking for subjects for an experiment. During the interview, he said I was perfect. Young. Healthy. Female. All I had to do was read and sign the release.

Yeah. Right. Like I was gonna read that legal crap. I signed the paper.

He walked me into a lab full of shiny equipment. Assistants in lab coats scurried around checking read-outs. One of them asked me a bunch of questions. After the prelims, they took me into this little chamber, strapped me in a chair, put a bizarre helmet on my head and told me to relax.

Like that was gonna happen. Before I could even ask where they were sending me, the door clanged shut and this gas drifted from the ceiling…

When I woke up, I was a guy.

Who knew The Tim Machine wasn’t a typo? Sure as hell not me.

Mom’s gonna kill me.
13th-Jun-2009 06:06 am (UTC) - The TIM Machine
The Time Inconsequent Manipulator ticked away on a leather strap around my wrist. In moments we’d be whisked back to our 21st century lab.

“Jeanette,” Mark said.

Exasperated, I stopped. I didn’t want to lose Mr. Franklin who was shopping for string and a large brass key. But my always scowling and discontent colleague, Mark, had nabbed me. A brilliant mathematician who also specialized in proto-French culture, he pronounced my name, “Jen Ay,” with the “J” as soft as an illicit whisper.

“What?” I focused on the escaping round backside of our balding subject.

Mark pushed me out of the way just as a horse and cart careened into our path. I fell against the brick wall of a notions shop. Ben ducked into a tavern.

I scowled at Mark. “We lost him!”

“Don’t you want to be part of something bigger?”

“What about the man who discovered electricity!” I was infuriated.

“But, we don’t get to see him make his awesome discovery!”

I slapped my hands together. “If the TIM let us stay, we’d screw up history’s biggest moments.”

He looked toward the pub. “I’m not going back.”

I glanced at my TIM. Twenty seconds to go. “The Hawking Backlash will kill you.”

“Never been proven.” Mark unbuckled well-worn leather from his wrist. Arguments froze in my throat as his TIM wristband revealed lighter skin beneath.

The TIM plopped into the muck of the eighteenth-century road. As Philadelphia disintegrated around me I looked at Mark. For the first and last time, he smiled at me.
14th-Jun-2009 06:13 am (UTC) - The Tim Machine
Anonymous
By Jennifer Campbell-Hicks

Mary propped up her poster against the blackboard and turned to face the class. Looking back at her were fifteen kids in cramped desks, plus Mrs. Fender with pencil poised over her grade book.

"My report is on 'Tim's Machine.'" Mary yelled to be heard over the whirl of ceiling fans and the squeals of recess out the open windows. "Except my copy had a typo on the cover and called it 'The Tim Machine.'"

She'd already lost Emmy and Sarah, who started passing notes in the back. Bobby stretched gum out his mouth like pulled taffy.

Mary yanked on her pigtails, a nervous habit. Then she pointed to her poster and her drawing of a bulbous man with a mustache. "This is my Uncle Tim, who I think is what Tim the Traveler looks like. In my book, Tim the Traveler goes to a place where he meets Eels. And More-Clocks hide his machine in a statue. Then he fights the More-Clocks and finds his machine and goes some other places and goes home."

As she spoke, she pointed to drawings of the Statue of Liberty and a grinning eel and an approximation of the cartoon clock from "Beauty and the Beast."

Mrs. Fender said, "Um, Mary, did you maybe read 'The Time Machine' by H.G. Wells?"

Mary gave a snorting laugh. "A Time Machine? Mrs. Fender, that's silly. No one can travel in time." She took her poster back to her desk, giggling the whole way. "A time machine. That's a good one."
15th-Jun-2009 08:55 pm (UTC) - La tim-maŝino
Roberto pulled the drape off of his object, which turned out to be a plain-looking black box, and proudly announced "Jen mia tim-maŝino!"

"What the hell is a fear machine?" I asked, annoyed at his tendency to speak to me in Esperanto.

"Nu, se vi ne timas, vi povas mem provi ĝin," Roberto replied.

"Why would I want to try it?" I asked. In spite of contempt for Roberto, I was a little nervous at the idea, even though (or perhaps because) I wasn't even sure what it would involve. Putting my hand into the box while chanting "I will not fear..." to myself?

"Por testi vian kuraĝon, kompreneble." Roberto opened the lid. "Ĉu vi timas?"

"No, I'm not afraid," I snapped. "I just don't see the point of a fear machine."

"Vi alfrontos viajn timojn kaj sonĝojn. Vi ekkonos vin mem pli profunde. Vi nur bezonas enrigardi la skatolon."

"What's in it? What would I see?"

"Nur tion, kio jam estas en vi mem."

I backed out of the room quickly. Perhaps I am afraid of what I would find inside myself. I heard Roberto say with quiet satisfaction "Do evidente la tim-maŝino funkcias bone..."
17th-Sep-2009 07:55 am (UTC) - Re: La tim-maŝino
Amuza, ja.
16th-Jun-2009 12:48 am (UTC) - The Tim Machine
The Tim Machine

I sat in the smooth metal seat, leaned back and rested my head against the soft pad, and remembered it all. The confident walk. The moods of his voice, velvet in the bedroom, commanding in the boardroom. Everything that I knew of Tim went into the machine, and I knew much. I knew him clothed and naked, angry and remorseful. Alive and dead.
I opened my eyes.
The silky membrane hung before me, open, inviting.
I stepped into the membrane, let it cover me as completely as my own skin. Slowly, I felt my old identity slough off and disappear. I looked in the mirror – Vanessa no more, but Tim.
Ah, Vanessa. Battered, cheated Vanessa. Years as that other woman had stolen her beauty, while he held so tightly to the wife he hated and terrorized his own beautiful children. Vanessa knew what he told them every time he returned, because he always said it to her. He was a new man, a different man. A man who would never hurt her again.
I smiled, exactly like the charming grin that had always made Vanessa catch her breath. Time to give his family a Tim that would keep that promise.

(I hope I get bonus points for making this exactly 200 words :) )
16th-Jun-2009 06:40 am (UTC) - The Tim Machine
Mellissa Starling rappelled down the side of the building and carefully attached the suction cups that would keep the glass from falling and shattering as she cut it loose with speed and precision. The glass came free with a quiet pop and she held it like a shield before her as she stepped through the hole into the dim office. Mellissa suppressed a hiss of surprise as the motion-detecting lights came up suddenly. The joys of modern technology were often the death of a budding thief.

Glancing around, she quickly found the device she was sent for exactly as described. She had no idea what a ‘TIM machine’ actually did, nor was she paid to worry about it. The sound of boots clicking on tiles told her that her time was short. Those dratted lights again. If she was to get her cut of the promised payout she needed to get clear of the site in short order! Back out the window and around the corner along the ledge was the rope ladder to the roof and her ride out of this place. The sound of a helicopter’s blades whipping to life whispered what TIM meant to her…the insurance money.
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