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The Worst of Times

by Edd Vick

Herr Professor Gesunkenspiegel gestured grandly at his device. "Ladies! Und
Gentlemen! I present to you the Timeviewerscope! Mit this machine I will peel
back the veils of time to dot we may look upon the ancients! View the caveboys
and der cavegirls! See der fishies swimming out of the sea and growing with the
legs! Watch Elvis!"

The professor's audience consisted of three reporters with nowhere better to be,
the janitor's son, and a busload of Dutch tourists who thought they were
attending a minimalist opera.

Reporter Darrel Kaufman waved a lazy finger. "Is this going to work any better
than your telematterporter? Or that perpetual emotion engine you showed off last

"Those? Those were mere tinkertoys next to my Timeviewerscope! Watch as I switch
it on! Marvel as I tune it to view-- to view--"

"Dinosaurs," yelled the janitor's kid.

"Der dinosaurs? Very well, dinosaurs it shall be!" He turned to an instrument
panel and flipped a trio of switches, adjusted a dial, and then pulled down an
enormous knife switch. Sparks began climbing a jacob's ladder that didn't appear
to be connected to anything. The odor of ozone grew.

One of the other reporters leaned over to Darrel. "Isn't that the same equipment
from his Antigravitypullerupper dingus?"

"You'd think he'd just use a computer," said Darrel.

An oval area above the equipment grew hazy. Darrel looked around the hall for a
fire extinguisher.

"Behold!" shouted the professor. "Der dinosaurians!"

When the first carnivore burst through the haze and landed in a welter of folding
chairs, the Dutch tourists applauded politely.

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