Author: Brenda Anderson
The Little Time Machine got tired of ferrying passengers back and forth in space-time. He wrote a polite letter of resignation to his employers, Time Taxis, and fled to the 18th century.
Here he discovered a life of culture, refinement and music. Time Taxis eventually caught up with him at the back of a baroque concert. They seized him, brought him home and began a complete overhaul.
“Life isn’t about constant movement,” he protested. “Seriously, guys, I’ve found another way. Music. Enlightenment. I can explain.”
One mechanic rolled his eyes. “Ooh, I can’t wait.”
His mate laughed. “What a wally.”
The third mechanic looked thoughtful. “He’ll contaminate the others. Let’s lock him up.”
That night Wally broke free from the Time Out locker and dragged himself up a nearby hill. Below lay an orchard. The trees looked so peaceful he longed to join them, and started down the slope towards them. Unfortunately, lacking steering skills, he lost control, sped down the slope and crashed into a tree.
A pear fell on his head.
Data flooded through him. Disoriented, Wally tried to assess the level of damage. Who knew that pears packed such a punch? One dot point flashed on and off: 72% of humans who bit into a pear claimed to be transported back to their childhood. It was a light bulb moment: time travel and pears, inextricably woven together.
Still, he had to admit that he couldn’t function properly. “I can beat this,” Wally mused. “I think I can, I know I can. I’ll find something to focus on, something to give me motivation.” Finally, it hit him. “I’ll go to work in the trauma wards of hospitals, and give everyone –especially children—back their happy childhoods.”
His plan worked, for a while. He pretended to be an encore act, straight after the therapy clowns. The staff welcomed him. “Such an original idea: a Time Machine that can spin stories to keep even the sickest children spellbound. He even looks funny. All those dents and scrapes.” But once again Time Taxis caught up with him and this time they sent him to scrap.
“I’m a pear, I am, I am,” murmured Wally. “I can give you back your childhood. Just bite into me.”
A machine with a large circular saw rolled towards him, its metal teeth spinning.
Only then did Wally realise that, even in the world of semi-retired time machines, things often go pear shaped. But he fought back. With a huge effort he time-jumped and crashed into the same pear tree. “I knew I could. I knew I could!”
Pears showered down on him.
The Little Time Machine couldn’t believe it. He was back where he’d started from, in a forest, with not a machine in sight. He buried himself in the soft soil. Maybe I’ll turn into some sort of seed, and spring up in some new, glorious body.
A pear, perhaps?
He activated hibernation mode and went to sleep, utterly confident of a glorious renaissance.