Just for the Health of It

The Time Machine and the Vintage Comic Book Dealer

My name is Jim Pulp and I sell vintage comic books. I’m no ordinary comic book dealer. My office is located in an old drug store that shut down in the 1920’s and has not undergone much restoration since. So, there is nothing flashy about my office; it certainly doesn’t look like a “normal” comic book store with lots of posters and superhero statues. I have a wooden counter where I greet my clients, and in the back, I have a time machine… Yes! A real time machine that I have never mentioned to anybody. It’s my secret!

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My customers are special; they want extremely rare vintage comic books. They know that I have a reputation for selling the best ones at huge bargain prices. The name of my business is “Time Travel Comic Books.” My office hours are by appointment only.

You may wonder why I have a time machine and how I acquired it. My father began building it forty years ago when I had graduated from college. Dad had several doctorates in Mathematics, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, and a Master’s degree in Architecture to boot. He kept the machine a secret from the family for over ten years. I remember the day he finished it; he brought me and my mom down and opened the door to his secret office and showed it to us.

At first, it looked like a giant plastic bubble, like a miniature canopy of a helicopter. It had two doors which easily swung open. Inside there was a seat and in front of it were a few digital displays.

“Wanna go for a ride?” Dad asked me. I was scared. “It’s OK,” he said, “I tried it myself. Went back in time.”

“Where did you go, or… when?” I asked.

“I set these digital dials to August 11, 1910. 9:30 A.M. But I didn’t go anywhere. I just appeared on this same spot at that exact time I told you. This machine never moves to a different location, such as another city, or country; it always stays where it sits except at a different point in time.”

“What happened when you arrived?” I asked.

“I scared some builders who were working on this house,” he said. “You see the house was built in 1910, and I popped in on those workers. I don’t know who was more surprised, me or them.”

Mom and I laughed nervously. My eyes were bulging. We couldn’t still quite believe him.

“Come on, Jim. Let’s take a ride!” Dad said enthusiastically. I looked at Mom; her eyes were bulging like mine.

The machine could seat two people, so I got in with my dad. He set the controls to March 5, 1935, 1:15 P.M.

“Jim, I want to show you something important,” he said as he pushed a few buttons. Within seconds, we literally “popped” in to the same place, same house, which hadn’t changed much in the last fifty years.

“Here we are!” Dad exclaimed as he opened the machine door. “I think we can leave it here for a while.” As I was getting out, he said, “We’re going to take a stroll… sort of… down memory lane.”

We left the house and walked several miles into New York City. People stared at us because of the modern clothes were wearing. Dad said, “Don’t pay attention to them. Let them stare.”

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