Challenger Logo by Alan White   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Spring/Summer 2003


From the editor of Erg. When you finish it, blame him, not me.

Terry Jeeves

       Although he`d never heard of the term, six-year-old Timmy was an ardent lover of Science Fiction. His hang-up was the square-eyed monster glowing gently in the corner of the living room as it brought him Star Trek, old and new, live or animated. He gazed in wonder at episodes of Babylon 5, re-runs of episodes of Buck Rogers , Dr. Who, or indeed anything involving robots, space travel, alien monsters, Flying Saucers or anything involving travel into the dim past or a strange future.

All this was well-known to Timmy`s parents, Beryl and Tom Brewell; what they didn`t know was that their box-watching offspring was also a budding genius.

This latter fact hadn’t loomed on the horizon when, one sunny morning, Beryl decided to try and widen her son`s interests to include horticulture. Taking him by the hand, she led the would-be spaceman around their tiny back garden and began pointing out the various plants. "This is a potato, I use them to make French Fries, you like those don`t you? "

Her pride and joy gave the struggling plant a look of total disinterest, "I`d rather have cake". Beryl tried again,

"This is a rose, Timmy. Just smell its scent." Timmy duly sniffed, sneezed, then drew an imaginary raygun and dispatched the wilted flower.

"I want some chocolate cake."

Beryl remembered the rule book, `Never speak angrily to your child, it may give him a complex`. Complexes were the last thing Beryl wanted for her son, so she bit back a hasty response and contented herself with "No chocola1te cake until I bake tomorrow. "

Regaining her patience, Beryl led him hopefully to her pride and joy, her own little herb garden "Look Timmy, these are all called herbs. This is sage, this is parsley, this is rosemary, this is ...", she carefully pointed out and gave the names of all the different herbs` .

For a brief moment, Timmy seemed to show an interest in one of the straggling green things before stating with even greater emphasis, "I want some chocolate cake, cake now, not tomorrow!"

Beryl`s patience was at an end. Dropping Timmy`s hand, she waved an admonitory finger under his nose. "No chocolate cake today! I am not going to bake until tomorrow. You will not get any chocolate cake until then, so you`ll just have to wait."

She turned on her heel and stalked back into the house. Timmy gazed thoughtfully at her retreating back, then turned and gave the herb garden a long, pensive look. His decision made, Timmy set to work.

An hour later, Tom Brewell came home, gave Beryl a husbandly peck on the cheek, looked and around and asked, "Where`s Timmy?"

"He`s out playing in the garden getting over being told he`ll not get any chocolate cake until tomorrow. Let`s go and get him." Tom followed her out into the garden and down the path. Beryl gave a shriek. There sat Timmy amidst the wreckage which had once been a herb garden, his face smeared with chocolate and a large chunk of cake clutched in his fist. Around him stood a weird construction of plant stems. They twisted around each other and over their creator in an eye-wrenching way which seemed to vanish into nothing.

Beryl blinked her eyes and gasped. "What`s he done, and where did he get that cake?"

Timmy gave a satisfied grin, swallowed a lump of chocolate cake and mumbled, "You said no cake until tomorrow, so I went and got some then."

Tom took a painful glance at the eye-straining assembly of plant stems woven around his son. He gave a surprised gasp, "Good heavens, he`s made a thyme machine!"


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