Through the magic of the internet, I connected with a long-lost dear friend of mine. We married in college and separated shortly afterwords. She is a technical editor and volunteered to edit my story of the Model T time machine. Turns out she is really good at editing technical and non technical documents. If anyone needs an editor, send me a PM.
So here is the edited version.
You have probably heard about the time machine made from a Delorean. Not many people know about it, but the first time machine was actually a modified Model T Ford. I’ll tell you what happened.
The Model T time machine was built by William “Speed” Melville during his senior high school auto shop class in 1956. Speed discovered that by adding a Hyperbolic Integrated Space-Time Ornametric Retrograde Continuum manipulator to his 1923 Model T coupe, and making certain modifications to the engine, he could travel forward or backward in time. The HISTORC manipulator was powered by the magneto and controlled by setting the date dial. All Speed needed to do was set the dial and reach a speed of 43.7 mph.
The citizens of Riverview were used to seeing Speed chug around in his Model T. Little did they know it was a doctored coupe. Speed was popular with the girls and got good grades in science class and auto shop, although his grades in English and social studies were not so hot. Rusty Ferrous, who ran the junk yard that sprawled over a 10-acre site a couple of miles outside the city limits, knew Speed well. Speed was always combing through the old junkers, looking for parts for his Model T. Rusty sold him two front fenders, in pristine shape, for $15. Seeing Speed’s Model T always brought smiles to peoples faces, even to Sheriff Catchum’s.
It was not long after Speed got his HISTORC manipulator working that his great adventure began. Speed set the date dial for 2156 and started accelerating down the highway. Faster and faster the car went. After 10 miles, the little coupe was shaking and rattling and had reached 43.5 mph. A few minutes later it had reached the magic 43.7 mph and disappeared from 1956 only to appear on a 10 lane freeway in 2156. Speed quickly realized that he was about to get run over by a 26 wheel truck doing 120 mph. He spotted an off ramp and barely managed to pull off the highway in time to make the exit. Speed slammed on the brakes and two miles later was able to slow down enough to pull into a vacant field. Fortunately, Speed had brought a change of underwear along.
Speed decided to investigate his new surroundings. He knew Riverview was back down the road, but that he didn’t dare get back on the freeway. Speed drove down the frontage road and then onto back roads until he found a neglected and mostly empty byway that seemed to lead toward Riverview. He finally saw a sign: It was Dusty Way. From the strange looks he was getting from the few people he’d seen so far, Speed realized he had better stash his coupe. A few miles down Dusty Way, Speed found an abandoned gas station with an attached warehouse. He pried open the lock with Ford tool number T-2340, and drove the little coupe inside. He covered the car with some strange old blue tarps that were laying in the corner. The station had been closed for many years. The price on the sign read $4,872.99 9/10 per gallon for regular.
Speed walked the few miles into town. He passed a huge shopping mall with the sign “Rusty Ferrous Center.” As he got into town, he saw it had not changed much. The freeway bypass had made time stand still for Riverview. The high school was still there but there was a 12-foot high fence around it with razor wire at the top. Armed guards stood at the gate. Speed walked towards where the local drive-in hangout had been.
Instead of the drive-in, Speed found a shiny, sterile hamburger joint with a golden M over the door. The sign read “Mickey Dee’s.” Speed walked in and looked at the menu. He had brought plenty of money along, $21.56, but the menu read $749.99 for the #3 meal. Speed sat down in an empty booth to think what he should do. He was wearing his white tee shirt, black leather jacket, and blue blue-jeans. His black hair was combed back on the sides (fenders) and forward on top, ending in a little curl on his forehead (over-the-falls). Everyone around him seemed to be talking to themselves and not paying any attention to anyone else in the place.
As speed was thinking what to do, in walked Misty Wittingham. Misty was wearing a pink ribbon in her curly blond hair, a fuzzy tight pink sweeter, a white skirt that clung to her legs, red shoes, and white socks that were rolled down. Misty liked to wear retro clothes, especially from her favorite era, the middle of the 20th century. She was something of a loner, but got good grades in Riverview High School. The other senior girls at the school left her pretty much alone.
As Speed turned to look at Misty, Cupid’s arrow struck its mark. Misty was somehow drawn to sit down across from Speed in the booth. “Are you new here? I haven’t seen you around before. I love your outfit, where did you get it? Can I get you soda or something?”
Speed was not used to having girls offer to buy him something to eat, but this was 2156 and things had changed. He dug out his $21.56 and put it on the table. “Yea, I am new here, sort of.” he said. “I thought I brought plenty of money, but the prices are a real surprise.”
Misty looked at the antique money. “I haven’t seen real money like that except in the museum. Let me get you something. How about a #3?”
“Sure.” was the reply.
A blank stare came over Misty’s face and when her attention returned she said, “Done. They will bring it out in a few minutes.”
“But you didn’t order!” exclaimed Speed.
“Silly. Sure I did. I just used my ID to connect to the Mickey Dee computer. The funds were deducted from my bank account.”
“What’s an ID?”
“Implanted Device. Everyone gets a computer implanted at birth. Don’t you have one?”
“No. I have to tell you that I am not from here. In fact, I came from 200 years ago. See, I made this time machine to travel into the future. So what does the ID do?”
Misty sat back in surprise. Something about Speed made her believe him. “Well, the ID connects to the internet. You can send and receive text messages, make phone calls, store data, network with other computers, and lots of other things. See, most of the people here are talking to friends using their ID’s. Tell me about your time machine.”
“I built it into my 1923 Model T Ford coupe. I have it stashed outside of town. I just have to set the date on the date dial on the HISTORC manipulator and accelerate to 43.7 mph.”
Misty googled 1923 Model T Ford coupe using her ID while Speed finished talking.
The #3 meal came, complete with double layer cheeseburger, fries, and a large drink. Misty and Speed split the meal.
After there was nothing left but piles of wrapping and napkins, Misty asked, “So, where are you staying?”
“You can stay at my place. There is a couch in the living room. By the way, my name is Misty, what’s yours?”
Misty was a liberated teenager. Long story, but it involves an abusive father and missing mother. Misty lived in her own apartment down by the river.
Over the next few weeks, Misty and Speed grew close, real close. They were seen every day after school at Mickey Dee’s. One day, while sitting across from each other in “their” booth, Misty said to Speed, “I just read on the internet that they found an old car in an abandoned service station on Dusty Way. It is being called the barn find of the century. They haven’t figured out how to make it go. It doesn’t seem to respond to a computer link from an ID.”
Speed’s eyes grew wide. “Hey, that’s my car! Where is it now?”
“It is down at Honest John’s used car lot. He wants $10,000,000,000 for it.”
Speed grabbed Misty’s hand. “Let’s go.”
Honest John owned a medium-sized used car lot on the south side of town. In the back was a shed with lots of cans of spray paint, degreaser, cans of stuff guaranteed to quiet noisy electric motors, some illegal devices for turning the odometer back, and cans of various kinds of polishes and waxes. There was a large battery charger in the corner and a number of tired looking batteries on the bench next to it.
Misty and Speed approached the coupe sitting in the front of the lot. It was Speed’s car all right. Misty ran her hands over the hood, opened the door and felt the upholstery. Honest John descended at the sight of potential customers. Speed asked, “Can it take it for a test drive?”
Honest John responded, “We haven’t figured out how to make it go. It doesn’t seem to respond to an ID link even though it seems to have a computer.” Honest John pointed to the HISTORIC manipulator. “If you can make it go, you can take it for a test drive,” Honest John said with a laugh.
Speed jumped in. Misty jumped in besides him. “You ain’t leavin’ without me.”
Speed took the key out of his pocket. He turned the ignition switch on, set the spark lever two notches down, set the throttle about a third down, twisted the mixture control 1/4 turn counterclockwise, pulled out the choke, and mashed down on the starter switch. The engine sprang to life. Honest John stepped back, startled. “What’s that noise?” No one had heard an internal combustion engine in quite a while.
Speed didn’t respond but in what seemed like a single motion, pulled the spark lever and throttle levers down, released the parking brake, and mashed down on the clutch pedal. The car took off with a jerk and jumped over the curb. Speed headed out Dusty Way with everything the little coupe could muster. He had set the date dial to 1956.
Honest John yelled after them, “Hey, come back here!”
43.1 mph, 43.3 mph. Speed looked in the rear view mirror to see a flashing light display coming up fast. Speed was doing everything he could to keep the little coupe on the pot holed road. 43.5 mph. The flashing light display was almost on top of them. In the next instant the little coupe disappeared from 2156 and re-appeared on Dusty Way in 1956. Speed stomped on the brake to slow the car down, just as he passed Sherriff Catchum sitting on the side of the road in his 1954 Ford squad car.
Speed rolled down his window as the sheriff approached the stopped coupe. “Good afternoon sheriff.” Speed said.
“You know, I really should give you a ticket for going 45 in a 35 mph zone -- but I am only going to give you a warning this time.”
“Thank you, sheriff. It won’t happen again,” Speed answered. And he meant it. The very next day he took the HISTORC manipulator out and traded it to Rusty Ferrous for some new-in-the-box transmission bands.
Well, it wasn’t long before Speed and Misty were married and had a bunch of kids. They both worked hard and saved their money. Speed built a gas station on Dusty Way, just past Rusty Ferrous’ junk yard. They bought options on the land where they knew the future freeway was going to go. When Speed retired, he sold the rights to the Department of Transportation and made lots of money. Speed built a warehouse next to his gas station to keep his collection of 3 dozen Model T’s.
What, no comments?
Great story. So talented. Like.
George n L.A.
Thursdays are always a bad day for traffic hear on the left coast. Some are still stuck on the 405. lol