Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
God give me patience, she thought, as Peter ran into the living room with another ‘great invention’.
Peter was wearing a flanged-open broccoli steamer on his head with a crude system of wires sticking out of it like dead flowers in a vase. He was wearing what looked like most of the entertainment system strapped in pieces around his left arm and joined together with more wires.
The iPhone duct-taped to his right wrist was glowing in a series of rapid colour flashes. A bucket was on one of his feet and it sloshed water on the hardwood.
I’m going to have to call the police again, she thought. He’s going to have to go back to the mental hospital. I barely made it through the last stretch. This was supposed to be Peter’s last chance.
“What is it this time?” she sighed.
“It’s a time machine!” he shouted gleefully. His eyes were wide and it looked like he’d chewed most of his nails down to the bloody edges. His lips were raw. He’d shaved part of his head. “It was the capacitor. If I reverse the polarity on it, this should work. I’ve got a line running up to the satellite dish turning the data into energy. That was the power problem I was talking about, remember?”
“No.” she replied. She was actually a little worried. He might electrocute himself this time.
Peter chuckled at his own brilliance and actually danced a little jig of anticipation, splashing more water around.
“Peter, let’s just calm down a little.” She said, starting to stand up and walk towards him.
“Wait! No. I have the prep field humming. Don’t come any closer. This is going to work! Now, I’ve set the reception point to be right here in the apartment in one minute. It’s going to take a lot of power so be prepared for a brownout. It takes a lot to send but it shouldn’t take any to receive. I’ll be okay on the back end. Oh MAN, this is the GREATEST! Honey, we’ll be so rich!” he shouted.
She looked at him warily, really worried now. More worried than she’d ever been, even more than the time with the knife-juggling. But it didn’t make sense. There’s no way this could actually be anything other than a danger of electrocution.
“I’m going to start singing a song and hit the button. I’ll disappear and then in one minute, I’ll appear right here. For you, there will be a one-minute pause but for ME, it’ll be as if nothing happened! Are you ready? On the count of three.” He said.
“Peter, I’m not sure-“
“-this is such a good idea.”
“let’s talk about this.”
“THREE! JINGLE BELLS! JINGLE BELLS! JINGLE ALL THE-“
And there was pop, a shower or sparks from the light socket in the kitchen, the lights went out, and the bucket that Peter’s foot had been in clattered onto its side. Peter was no longer standing in it.
She stood there with wide eyes staring at the spot where Peter had been. She dropped her coffee.
Thirty seconds passed.
She picked up the phone to call the police and actually forgot what number to call. When she remembered, she stopped after the first number when it occurred to her that she had no idea what to tell the police. She waited.
Twenty more seconds passed.
Five. Four. Three. Two. One.
One minute. Nothing happened. Two minutes. Nothing happened.
She waited for an hour. She waited for a week.
She’s still waiting.