“Well I’ve learned to stop time traveling today.” Said the time traveler.
“Oh? What happened?” Asked his friend.
“Well it all started when I went back to 1208…”
“I went there to take in the beauty of it all- the quiet pastures, the glistening night skies; you’d be amazed at how many stars there used to be. Makes one wonder why we gave it up. And for what? Bright lights? Posh, the night is for sleeping not prancing around. Either way it was all so relaxing a very good trip.” The time traveler sighed a nostalgic sigh, full of longing and regret.
“Sounds like a nice getaway. I would like to have seen that myself.”
“Oh you should,” said the time traveler, “Though it’s rough and lonely that far back, wouldn’t suggest talking to anyone either- languages have come a long way you know. And well, no one can ever get the clothes exactly right; you end up looking like a monster to the ancients.”
“Oh is that what happened to you then?”
“Oh? Oh no I’ve learned that lesson a long time ago, never talk to anyone from the past, for one thing you never know who your grandmother was back then, and for another these trips ought to be meditative you know? It’s about returning to your roots.”
“Ahh,” said the time traveler’s friend, “It’s just that, you mentioned that it all started when you went back to 1208, I had figured it carried some significance.”
“Oh yeah that was when it started, at least that’s what the doctors said today, but today was when I learned my lesson, that trip was months ago.”
“So, then, what happened today?”
“Oh apparently I have terminal cancer.”
“Oh..” the time traveler’s friend sat back a bit, looking down at his cup of coffee. He made a few gestures as if to speak, but stopped each time before the words came out.
“I guess it makes sense, takes a lot of uranium to go back to 1208 you know. Plutonium and radium too.”
“I thought you had a machine do that for you.”
“Oh I do, but I hardly ever use it- more of a hands-on guy, ya know. Probably shouldn’t have done it with the trowel I use to make buttered toast I wonder.”
“That, that would be precisely the thing I would advise you not to do. Not to mention that trowels are for gardening.”
“Oh are they? I was wondering why it always ended up in the greenhouse, I had thought Mrs. Berkshire had gone mad.”
“That explains why your tulips aren’t taking this season.”
“Oh yes, it does, doesn’t it?”
They each took a sip of coffee.
“Well, how long do you have?” Asked the time traveler’s friend.
“About three weeks.”
“Oh, is there something I can do?”
“Not really, I’m as good as gone. But if you like, we can visit the disco clubs of the 1970’s. I know you love dancing, and everyone was everyone’s grandma back then, I’m sure it wouldn’t make a difference.”
“Will it kill me?”
“Not unless you touch the uranium, or kill your grandmother, just don’t kill people or eat rocks. Most likely that alone will keep you safe.”
“Ahh,” said the time traveler’s friend, and he took a sip of coffee, “Well let’s be off then.”
I had pretty bad writer’s block before I wrote this and decided to look up a silly writing prompt online. The first line of this story was that prompt, more or less, and it gave me a little laugh. What I like about these short stories is they give you a chance to tell a whole story with only a little space. It’s a fun test of skill. What do you think? I have several more stories coming up, including The Call part 2 and a long short story set in a world where humans commit mosquito genocide. Keep your eyes open!