Reminder: I went walking with Norman and I introduced you to a few neighbours, The Medic, Sid the tree and scared a teenager, then The Blank-Faced Man appeared out of the gloom and said something was my fault. The Blank-Faced Man started following me. I met my old PE Teacher and gave him a knuckle head, which wasn’t nice, and Graeme told me how to train Norman. Then I felt hungry and fancied a coffee and sausage roll…
Norman’s Walk – Chapter 5
Wazzokyernumpty held onto a tree to stop himself swaying.
‘Oh my god, you turned up,’ I say.
‘Yesh.’ He’s not Sean Connery, he’s just disorientated, he was like this last time, in fact a lot worse last time.
‘And did those umbrella hats finally become cool?’
He quickly handed me the coffee and sausage roll, held his hand up to pause whatever it was he thought I was going to say and vomited violently behind a tree trunk.
‘You…’ he points vaguely in my direction. ‘You… told me to be here with coffee and … ‘ his hand went up again followed by more aggressive retching. ‘And you said…’ bubbling burpy noises, ‘… it was URGENT.’
He was right I did do that, this very morning.
‘I have the note right here.’ I reach into my pocket and bring it out.
‘I still can’t believe you actually get this note,’ I say to him.
You’ll notice I left the time blank because I didn’t know exactly what time we were going to meet when I set off. I check my watch and it’s 8.37 so I fill in the blanks with a biro I’d grabbed on the way out.
Wazzokyernumpy looked angry. ‘So (retch) this was for coffee (heave) and sausage (convulse) and you risked (spit) the Great Temporal Dislocation…’
That’s what Diane said when I told her what happened later on.
‘What are you going on about?’ Diane said. ‘The readers already think you had too much Calpol as a child, and now this?’ Who the ‘eck is Wazzok-whatever-he’s-called and what the ‘ell are you talking about?‘
Okay my sweet, I was talking to my wife there, but if you enjoyed it we can pretend I was talking to you. I’ll tell you about the first time I met Wazzokyernumpty.
He turned up after our daughter wanted to put together one of those Time Capsules. You know the thing, store some photos in a container, a tiny doll that she obviously didn’t like that much, a poem and a few other personal things. I invested £14.49 for a proper capsule with NASA insulation technology and Peter Rabbit on the front. Just before we sealed it up I secretly added a little note just to try a little science experiment. Here’s my note:
I folded this up and stuffed it in while looking over my shoulder several times because I’m no good at being secretive. I think I got away with it. I thought I’d put in the freebee, as an extra incentive to travel back in time, might just tip the balance.
Then we had a discussion on where to hide it. It had to be somewhere substantial. Our house is one of those new builds, so I knew it wouldn’t last long, so I suggested the Old Library. I had a good reason for this. Down by the physics section, there’s a hole high up on the wall, we could jam it in there, next to ‘Schrödinger’s Equation is Tonnes of Fun.’ It’s a listed building and no one goes in there anymore.
So I knew it would be safe until a clever person found it a 1000 years hence.
The next morning, May 25, 2021, on the way to school, we stop off at the library and hid the capsule and then I made an excuse and headed off to Carlisle and stood on the bridge leading up to the castle at 9.25 am.
This was before we got Norman, so I didn’t have him whining because we were standing still for more than a minute.
I was excited, in fact, I was a bit nervous, but I had my free wormhole t-shirt to give away.
So I knew whoever turned up would be happy and I was really looking forward to the Nobel Prize ceremony later in the year.
The experiment was simple, because that’s the only experiments I know how to do. Only I knew about the note, so whoever turned up would be from the future and had traveled back through time.
Time travel proven.
Before you start to…
… pour scorn on my experiment, remember all great scientists are ridiculed at the beginning, so I urge you to keep the faith. Science fiction will soon be science fact.
I didn’t know what to expect but I hoped it wouldn’t be Captain Kirk, especially after Star Trek 4.
‘Spock… sling…shot….us around the….. sun, one second… while… I snog… an alien.’
Wipes his mouth.
‘We… need to find a whale…. from 198…6… to stop…. the probe that’s… destroying the ….earth. Just one … mo…ment’
How is Spock supposed to concentrate on his dilithium crystal calculation with all that racket going on? Stay focussed for god’s sake, my mind drifted there, sorry. Back to the real science.
9.27 am I couldn’t see a wormhole forming just yet, so I checked the skies for a spaceship. Nothing.
9.33 am: Still nothing. I felt a bit of an idiot but this had always been worth a try.
9.39 am: I started walking off, but then I saw someone, just across the road, walking towards me. They were walking slowly and a little bit unsteadily.
Time travel is disorientating, and by the look of this person’s clothes they’d come from the far future where fashion and cleanliness didn’t matter anymore.
I walked towards him. I think it was a man but maybe it didn’t matter where they came from.
He spoke first: ‘Are you…’ he seemed a bit confused, but that makes total sense.
‘Yes, I’m Ian.’
‘Is this… errr….’ Look Bruce Willis in 12 Monkeys didn’t know where he was when he first dematerialized.
See what I mean.
‘Is this…’, he repeated, still confused.
‘Yes, it’s 2021, which year are you from?’
‘Where have you come from?’ I asked.
‘Weather? What we’ve polluted the environment and storms have killed humanity?’
‘What? No.’ I dropped to my knees. ‘Plastic spoons have clogged up the ecosystem causing catastrophic temperature fluctuations?’
‘The atmosphere has been burnt away and the oceans are steaming?’
‘… totally wrecked…’
‘The world? Totally wrecked. Oh, my god, when does this happen?’
Then a white van pulled up, the side door slid open and he staggered backwards as if pulled by a tractor beam.
‘Get in Wazzokyernumpty,’ shouted the disheveled-looking scientist from the driver’s seat.
‘Wait Wazzokyernumpty,’ I shouted, ‘I’ve got so many questions…’
‘Get the dog from the farm’ he shouted. ‘Get the dog.’
The door slammed and the van tore off down Castle Way. Undoubtedly, it reached 88 mph before the roundabout and disappeared…
…up the A7.
What do you make of that? If you weren’t there it is hard to believe, but trust me this is undeniable proof of time travel and a sober warning for the future. Whether spoons are involved in the downfall of humanity, you’ll have to make up your own mind, but it seems clear to me.
I managed to get this photo.
But as you can plainly see, due to the time-dilation effects on the gravitational potential of the relativistic velocity, the van had already gone.
Wazzokyernumpty has given us a serious warning, so for the next 6 months I bombarded Brian Cox with emails, but all I got back was this auto-response.
I didn’t really know what to do. And when I did tell anyone, they said I’d gone daft, or the cruel ones, even dafter. To make myself feel better I caved in to the constant nagging and we got a dog. We found a nice one on a local farm. Our daughters walked it once and now Norman is mine, especially in the rain.
This very morning, I thought once again about Wazzokyernumpty and how I’d better take matters into my own hands. I wrote the second note. It sounds pathetic to say, but this note was maybe a bit of a laugh. I knew I always got hungry somewhere near the Old Cursed Stone, so on the way out I scribbled the note and put it in my pocket. If he turned up I’d pop round the library, put it in my daughter’s time capsule and everything’s good.
And here he was, and now the only thing unbelievable is that umbrella hats are cool 1000 years from now.
I heard the distant rumble of a van that sounded a bit like a tractor and Wazzokyernumpy started to shake.
‘Take the note aaaakkkkdkdkkd (how much vomit does this guy have) to the time capsule?’
‘How do I save the world? What about the weather and the spoons and the steaming, totally wrecked oceans?’
‘Take the note to the time capsule? Don’t forget. Or (assume there’s more retching and vomiting) the Great Temporal Dislocation will destroy everyth…’
Wazzokyernumpy suddenly got yanked back through the trees and I saw a white van hit 88 on a small footpath full of trees, which seems impossible.
Norman looked at me and, although he doesn’t really have shoulders when sitting, I’m sure I saw them shrug. He stood up and pulled on the lead so we moved on.
I don’t think I heard the rustle in the leaves behind me, but I might have.
End of chapter
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