I’m always late everywhere

I have a problem: my time machine is always late.

I have wasted hours trying to make it work properly (it’s not convenient to force the mechanism, as the tragic Chichilo Sartori incident showed), but nothing seems to work.

I tried to find some equation that allowed me to compensate the loose mechanism (my hypotheses was that the further you go in time, either forward or backwards, you get a higher delay as a result), but that was not the case. I have taken it to Laucha Micheli’s repair shop —no better clockmaker than him—. I’ve consulted Manteca Acevedo, who knows a lot about quantic engines. I’ve corrected the tempions flow with an electromagnetic, long range bar, confined the electrostatic repulsion forces to limit the thermal velocity, inferred over the an/cat reaction in order to increase the passing energy; but it was useless.

And the problem isn’t minor.

I became a traveler because it was the best way to join my two passions: on one side, I’m kind of a homemade scientist fascinated with building weird artifacts; on the other, I love history’s anecdotic episodes; so, when I found the instructions, I didn’t hesitate; I built the Machine and threw myself into space-time, but it was pointless.

Three or four times, I wanted to see how María Antonia Josepha Johanna von Habsburg-Lothringen lost her head, on Vendémiaire the twenty-fifth of the second year of the French Revolution, at eleven a.m., on Paris’ Revolution Square; but I always got there when the last curious peasants were leaving away and Sanson, the executioner, cleaned his guillotine. Once, I even arrived the night from the twenty-fifth to the twenty-sixth, and only found a drunken pissing one of the gallows legs.

I wanted to see Martin Luther King and his I have a dream on August twenty-eight, nineteen sixty-three, in front of Lincoln’s monument, in Washington; but only found the stairs strewn with dirty papers because of the thousands of people that had stepped on them; and a left-behind group talking, as they walked away, about how shocking the speech had been.

By the time I stepped the Curia of Pompeyo’s Theatre, in Rome, on the idus of March, in seven hundred and nine at urbe condita; Bruto and the conspirators had already killed Julius Caesar.

I didn’t get to see Perón on the Rosada’s balcony, October seventeenth, nineteen forty-five. The Fat Man bomb had already exploded in Nagasaki. There were no Americans in Saigón. The military  wouldn’t allow me to enter Roswell’s Ground Zero. The Beatles crew were clearing away the rooftop at the Apple building. Mary Jane Kelly was already dead on her bed, and I couldn’t find traces of Jack the Ripper. The corpses of Benito Mussolini and his lover, Clara Petacci, were already hung upside down at the service station on Piazza di Loreto. Lady Di’s car was wrecked to pieces in the tunnel, near the Sena, and surrounded by ambulances and police cars. There was nothing but chips from the bridge over the Kwai River. I could only find Joan of Arch’s ashes, and two or three embers aroused by a weak, north wind. Dempsey was going into the ring, after Firpo’s terrible right uppercut. Tunguska’s trees were already in flames and fallen. And, of course, the police had already circled Dalla’s Dealey Square, and taken JFK, deadly wounded, to Parkland’s Hospital.

There’s nothing to do. I’m always late everywhere, because of this jalopy that cost me over ten years of work, a monstrous amount of money, my marriage, my children’s hate, and my friends and family’s condemnations.

Of course, I’ve tried to go back to nineteen ninety-eight a number of times, and prevent myself from this inconvenience, with the hope that, on those first steps, I’d find a proper solution, maybe obvious on the draft taken from Popular Mechanics Magazine, March edition; but, no matter what I do, I’m always there after I’ve closed my workshop while I am, certainly, taking a nap on the bus, on the long trip back to my home on that last hour of evening. I couldn’t even force myself to hold tighter to the handrail, that time the one-ninety-eight bus hit the brakes at the Brandsen and Quirno Costa corner, because of a taxi driver that crossed a red light; making me fall and end up with an ache on my back  that lasted for three weeks.


By Daniel Frini.

Translated, from the English, by Maximiliano Frini.

Daniel Frini was born in Berrotarán, Argentina on 1963. He is a Mechanical Engineer, and writes in several newspapers, magazines and blogs in Argentina. His fiction has won several awards and has been translated into several languages. He founded the literary group “Heliconia” and leads the virtual workshop “Máquinas y Monos” for legendary Argentinian sf-magazine Axxón.

Maximiliano Frini (San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1989) is currently studying Industrial Engineering and completed the translation of several of his father Daniel Frini’s short stories in order to get a translator’s CPE degree.