Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer

Well… here goes nothing. You’d think that when inventing a time machine I’d try it out on a few test subjects first. But just because I’m one of the smartest people I’ve ever met doesn’t mean I’m the wisest. Besides… I’ve been drinking pinot noir… lots of it.

I check the parameters one last time. Yup, the beam is zeroed in on me. No turning back now. Here we go. Engage accelerator… big sip of wine… there’s the hum of the reactor.

Ah, what’s to worry about? I’m only jumping a measly minute. No chance of paradox there… no one here but us chickens. Heh heh. “Make it so Number One!” My inebriated state almost causes me to miss the button, but I manage to hit it with my thumb.

I am surprised by a green flash. The clock had just clicked to 12:36… and there it remains. “What the…?” I wiggle the wires on the back of the beam dispenser. I shake the monitor array. Another sip of wine, this one smaller. Hmmm, doesn’t seem to be anything amiss here. Finally in frustration I pound the keyboard with my fist, causing the phrase, $%^&tybhuijnoo9876 to appear… followed by the machine’s response of, “Invalid Command”.

Then the clock clicks to 12:37, and there is another green flash. And I’m suddenly beside myself… literally.

“Oh what the mother hell?” I ask the exact copy of myself.

My other self answers, “Ha, I didn’t think it worked at first… but this, this is an entirely unexpected result!” Then he raises an identical wine glass and takes a swig.

Right away both of us eye each other, knowing exactly what the other is thinking. Then in unison we say, “Great way to make wine!” We clink our identical glasses, followed by large simultaneous guzzles.

Then the clock clicks to 12:38 and another one of us appears. “Oh shit,” exclaim the first two of us. I fill our glasses from the nearby bottle but the third me doesn’t require it yet as his glass is still nearly full.

He takes a long swallow and then looks at the two of me. “Anyone have any idea of how we got stuck in this perpetual loop?” The other two of us look at each other confused and then shake our heads.

12:39, another green flash. The fourth me appears confused. At least his glass is full. My bottle is getting low. Remembering my store in the other room I excuse myself, but by the time I return with a couple new bottles there are six of us. The others are mumbling drunkenly… but making no progress that I can discern.

We might have eventually solved our plight but then the crazy one, number fifteen or sixteen I think, suddenly does something highly unexpected. He picks up the beam dispenser and hurls it across the lab, smashing our life’s work to bits on the floor. “What are you doing?!?” the other twenty-five of us scream in unison.

“Just wait,” he says, holding out his hands. “Just wait a minute!”

The clock clicks to 1:02, another green flash, and another stumbling, mumbling wino, too smart for his own good, appears in the lab. “Damn,” says the destroyer of our machine. “I thought that would work.”

Everyone else groans. “Wait!” says the radical. “I have another idea.” We all look at him hopeful yet doubtful. “If we kill the original it has to stop repeating!”

I swallow hard amongst the unsure mumbles of my other selves and exclaim, “Yeah but how are we going to find him now?”

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