A flash sparked across the sky.
“Fool of a husband,” grunted Rosa, washing dishes at the sink. “Inventin’ God knows what out there.”
In the outhouse Walter rubbed a sooty hand over the remains of his eyebrows. Damn’ thing hadn’t worked… again.
“Maybe I’m losin’ my touch,” he said morosely, pulling a Budweiser from his secret stash. He took a long swig, as he surveyed the remains of the time-travel machine, smouldering on the table. Time for a break.
Outside the workshop he slumped onto one of the chairs and rested his can on the oil drum that served as a table. The sun was setting, and he could hear Rosa muttering away to herself in the kitchen. He’d told her he’d got a surprise for her birthday – a trip of a lifetime. And now he hadn’t.
The chair next to him creaked as if burdened with a great weight, and an icy blast split the night air. He sat upright, the hairs on his arms rising. The dog, who’d been dozing on the porch, even through the destruction of this latest project, lifted its head and sniffed the breeze. There was, Walter decided, a distinct whiff of ozone in the air.
“Hullo?” he said, feeling pretty much a fool talking to thin air.
“Hi yourself,” came a weary response. “Passenger’s name please, and the intended destination.”
“You ordered the de luxe service, and here I am. Destination please.”
Walter frowned. “I ordered the economy conveyancer. The self assembly kit. It was supposed to be a birthday treat for Rosa, my wife. But it didn’t work. Don’t know anything about deluxe service.”
There was silence for a moment, then the rustling of invisible paper.
“Ooops. You’re right – says here ‘one economy conveyancer –slightly used’. Goddamn expeditors, heads in the clouds, noses in the trough. Still, as long as I’m here there’s no point asking you to cough up the premium supplement, especially as the kit didn’t work. Is she ready?”
Walter glanced at Rosa, now drying her hands in the doorway and glaring across the yard at him.
“Ready as she’ll ever be, I guess.”
“And the destination?”
Walter studied Rosa. Her ample bosom drooped over the waistband of her skirt, and her sturdy legs, bulging with varicose veins, were wreathed in wrinkled stockings.
“Fifty years back should do it, I guess.”
“Done,” said the voice crisply, and the dog leapt up in alarm as Rosa vanished off the porch in a puff of smoke. The smell of ozone suffused Walter’s nostrils once more, and the chair creaked in relief as though a weight had been lifted from it.
Walter rummaged through his pockets until he found a crumpled invoice, checked through it and smiled.
One way ticket. He hoped that part of the order had been correctly processed. It was the least he could do for Rosa.
And for himself.
“Come on boy.” He whistled at the dog. “Just time to catch the poker game.”
This week’s opening sentence for the yeah write speakeasy challenge #100 was ‘a flash sparked across the sky’ and some reference had to be included to the photo below.