“A Time Machine!?” the reporter shouted. He grabbed the phone receiver to keep it from falling as he stood up at his desk.
The entire office turned to look at him briefly before going back to their respective duties.
“Really? umm hmm...okay...Ten thirty-seven, Walnut...okay...yes.” the reporter said into the phone as he took notes. He then crisply hung up the phone.
He sat at his desk for a moment with his eyes closed and then let out a long sigh. As he inhaled, a huge grin took over his face.
He packed up his notebook, snatched his travel mug from his desk, and prepared to leave the office.
The reporter had heard of Aramoto, Satori before. In fact, nearly everyone had. Dr. Aramoto was famous in his thirties as one of the brightest minds in physics.
He had graduated from Berkeley at only 18, and achieved his doctorate from Cambridge at 23. He was extremely influential in the field for years, holding many patents and published theories.
However, as he aged into his forties, Satori’s theories became less and less practical.
He began to think more philosophically, and his papers quickly fell out of favor with other physicists.
His new ideas on time and space were unprovable and unscientific,and despite his previous accomplishments, Dr. Aramoto was largely ignored by the scientific community.
Now in his late 50s, the general consensus was that the early pressures of his intellect caused him to go crazy.
The reporter arrived at the address, 1037 Walnut Drive, and pulled into the empty driveway. The house looked alien compared to the others of the neighborhood.
While the other lawns of the block had fresh grass, this house had a rock garden all around the property.
The green paint was faded and chipped and the windows were blocked from the inside by black shades. There was no doorbell, so the reporter waked up to the door and knocked loudly.
In a few moments, the door swung open. In a single motion, Dr. Aramoto had opened the door, spun on his heels and retreated back into the building, beckoning the reporter to follow as he did.
“Come in, Come in. Let me show you my time machine” Dr. Aramoto said, without pausing or looking back to make sure that the reporter was following.
The reporter actually stood in the doorway, dumbstruck, for a moment before collecting himself and following Dr. Aramoto inside.
The interior of the house was in better shape than the reporter thought it would be, given the professor’s reputation and the look of the outside.
Although on closer inspection, everything had a thick layer of dust except for the fridge, as if it was the only part of the house that was actually in use.
“Dr. Aramoto, can you tell me more about this time machine” the reported said, as they made their way through the house and to the workshop where Dr. Aramoto was keeping the invention.
“Please call me Satori,” he said. “I have been racking my brain for years, but i have finally found the secret to time travel!”
As they reached the workshop, Satori rushed up to the door and grabbed the handle. He turned to face the reporter and smirked with anticipation.
“Are you ready?” He asked. The reporter simply nodded and Satori opened the workshop door.
The reporter peered into the room. There were books all over the place and papers strewn about. He entered the workshop and began to look around.
To his right, the reporter could see a desk and chair, with a blanket covering the back. Next to the desk was a trash can filled with beer cans and takeout boxes.
Technical diagrams covered the walls. In the center of the room was a cleared out space with a simple wooden chair placed in the middle.
The reporter turned to Satori and asked him, where was the time machine. Satori, grinning even wider now than before, simply pointed at the wooden chair in the middle of the room.
The reporter walked up to the chair, notebook in hand, and began to examine it. It had four legs, a flat base with a shallow, roughly butt shaped indentation, and a back.
No matter how hard the reporter looked, it seemed to be nothing but a normal wooden chair.
“How does it work” the reporter asked.
“That is much too complicated to answer” said Satori, “I believe a demonstration would be better. Would you like to ride it?”
“Yes, that would be great” said the reporter. Following Satori’s directions, the reporter sat down into the chair. He began to get anxious at the thought of traveling through time.
He closed his eyes and thoughts flashed through his mind. He thought of what the future might bring, and of maybe seeing his friends from his past.
He then realized that Satori had never said which direction the time machine would take him.
“How was it?” Satori asked in an extremely serious voice.
“How was what?” the reporter said, “I didn’t go anywhere”
“Of course you did! My time machine, is supposed to take you to the present, and here you are.”
The reporter stood up from the chair and stormed out of the house. Behind him, he could hear Satori laughing and laughing as he left.
A few days later, the reporter received another phone call at his desk. Once again it was Dr. Aramoto claiming that he had invented a time machine.
“I don’t believe you, Satori” said the reporter into the receiver. After driving all the way to his house, just to be made fun of, the reporter was right to be skeptical.
“No, No, No, last time was just a joke. This time it is real. This time it is a time machine to the future.” the voice on the other end of the phone said.
While the reporter was suspicious of this new claim, curiosity and journalistic duty convinced him to go to check out Satori’s new time machine.
When he arrived at 1037, things proceeded almost exactly as they had the last time.
The chipped paint and rocky lawn, the way Satori opened the door, the walk to the workshop, nothing had changed from a few days ago.
When Satori opened the door, the reporter saw the same room and the same chair.
“This is the same as last time.” the reporter said, and he turned to leave the house.
“Wait, wait” said Satori, “This time it’s different, this time you will go into the future.”
Reluctantly, the reporter sat in the chair again. This time, since he did not think that the chair was really a time machine, he was not anxious at all.
He merely sat in the chair and waited for something to happen.
After exactly two minutes, Satori shouted “I’ve done it again! Time travel”
“You mean you tricked me again?” said the reporter, he sighed as if simultaneously releasing his disappointment and own foolishness.
“No!” said Satoshi, “You first sat in that chair two minutes ago, and now here it is two minutes later and you are in the chair. The chair has transported you 2 minutes into the future.”
With that, the reporter again stood up and left the house.
It was a few weeks before the reporter heard from Satori again. When the calls did start coming in, the reporter ignored them.
He had better things to do than to be a punchline for a crazy old eccentric. But, Satori called the newspaper everyday and send dozens of emails saying that he had perfected his time machine.
It was actually his editor and coworkers that convinced the reporter to go back out to Satori’s house.
The way they saw it, all the calls and emails were more disruptive than just going to Satori’s house to shut him up.
The reporter arrived at the house, same as before; was greeted, same as before and entered the workshop, same as before.
And, the same as before, the plain wooden chair sat in the middle of the floor.
“This is so stupid” yelled the reporter. “Let’s just get this over with.” he stormed over to the chair and dropped down into it.
Satori, smiling, walked over in front of the reporter. He pulled out a polaroid camera and snapped a picture of the angry looking reporter sitting in his time machine.
The reporter snapped, “What’s that for, proof that someone is dumb enough to fall for this time machine joke?”
Satori didn’t answer, but laughed as he watched the photograph develop.
At this final slight, the reporter once again stood up from the chair and prepared to remove himself from Satori’s house, and hopefully his life.
As he moved toward the door, Satori stepped in front of him and blocked his path.
“Look,” Satoir said, as he held up the photograph.
The reporter looked at the picture, of himself sitting angrily in a chair, and got even more heated.
“If you don’t move out the way…” The reporter was on the verge of resorting to violence.
Satori dropped his smile, looked deadpan into the reporters face, and said: “Right now you are not in the time machine, but i have this photograph showing you riding the machine in the past.
See! The time machine works! It transported you in the past!”
The reporter froze as he tried to make sense of what Satori was saying. The more he thought about it, the less angry he became.
Finally, the reported had calmed down enough to ask Satori a question. “So, What is the secret to time travel?”
Satori smiled again wider and brighter than any of the times before. All of a sudden he grabbed the reporter and embraced him, as one might embrace a lover that they had not seen for months.
He then stepped back and said “I’ll tell you over a beer.”