NOTE: This short story is based on ANOTHER short story I wrote back in my senior year of high school (in creative writing class). This is a short story about me and about one of my fantasies that comes true. LOL. Plus, I don't really have a friend named Dave. I just threw him into the story because I don't have any super-nerdy friends. Oh, and no offense to history majors or Star Trek fans due to some references about geeks and nerds being Star Trek freaks (I'm not a Star Trek fan but I am a history major).
I was sitting at my computer one day, writing an essay for an English class when I got interrupted by my mother.
"Your friend Dave is here!" she called to me.
"Okay!" I called back. I put the finishing touches on my essay, printed it, stapled it, and tucked it neatly in my notebook. Dave walked upstairs to our computer room.
"Whatcha doin'?" he asked.
"I was writing an essay," I replied. "It's for my English class."
"Cool. I was working on this for the past week and I wanted to show this to you but it needs to be a secret between you and me."
We both walked into my bedroom and closed the door and the window. Dave and I sat on my bed as he pulled out something from a paper bag. It looked like a remote control for a television set.
"That's nice, Dave, but what is it?" I asked.
"It's a time machine!"
"A time machine?"
"Yeah. And I made another one to go with it so it's also a walkie-talkie as well. Pretty neat, huh? I made them out of two remote controls I got for cheap at Circuit City."
I don't know what's nerdier, Dave, or the guy at the collectibles store who has almost every Star Trek collectible known to man, but this time, I found one of Dave's inventions quite fascinating.
"I sent my roommate, Lloyd to the year 1981! It was awesome! He spoke with me on the walkie-talkie and talked about all the stuff that was in style back then."
"What's so special about 1981, Lloyd?"
"We were born in that year, Shannon. HELLO!"
"Oh, okay, Dave." We both laughed.
Lloyd was Dave's best friend since they became roommates at San Diego State University. They were both history majors, they both liked Star Trek, and they both enjoyed computers.
"This invention will revolutionize technology as we know it!" continued Dave. "Although it still has a few bugs in it, would you like to try it?"
"I don't know Dave," I said. "If it has a few bugs in it.."
"Don't worry, they probably won't matter. I can fix them anyway."
We stood out in my front yard. Dave handed me one of the time controls along with a paper stating the instructions.
"If you need me, give me a dial on the walkie-talkie feature," said Dave. "If you want out, then press the red button on the top of the control. If that doesn't work, then dial me up and let me know."
"Okay," I said. "This does sound kinda complicated."
"Oh, you'll get the hang of it. Just read the directions and you'll be fine. Where do you want to go?"
"I want to go to 1914, to the time of the last Romanovs."
"Are you sure? It's kinda cold out there in Russia."
"I'll be fine. I have my college sweatshirt on."
"Ooookay...but if you want out, call me or press the red button."
Dave set the controls and in the blink of an eye, I was transported to where I wanted to go. I was (and I am) a huge fan of the Romanovs and I wanted to know what their life was like and how they lived it and I figured that by getting to early 20th century Russia via Dave's time machine, I'd find out for myself.
I landed butt first in a pile of snow. It was FREEZING and I do mean FREEZING! I was in front of the main entrance of the Winter Palace. Clutching my college sweatshirt and my purse strap to my arm, I knocked at the door as the cold air continued to pierce me like needles. When someone answered the door, I was lying on the ground, shivering. The person who answered the door picked me up and carried me to a room. I opened my eyes about halfway and noticed that there were two servants, a male servant, the guy who carried me in, and a maid. And they were talking really weird, and it definitely wasn't in "redneck dialect," either. In fact, it wasn't English. The two of them left the room, still talking funny. I had a hunch that it was Russian that they were speaking. I managed to sit up and check on the time machine thingy in my pocket. Yep, it was still there and still intact.
I decided to give Dave a call, making sure that I was safe and sound.
"Hey Shannon!" called Dave. "What's up?"
"I made it," I said quietly. "I'm actually in the Winter Palace."
"How did you get in there?"
"I was stuck in the freezing cold for about a good hour or so and then I knocked on the door of the palace and as soon as someone answered it, I just fell on the ground. My legs were too weak from the cold. Anyway, someone took me in and now I'm a room."
Suddenly, I heard the sound of footsteps. "Dave, I gotta go. Talk to you later, okay? I hear someone coming!"
"Over and out," replied Dave. I put the time control thingy back in my pocket and I lay back down in bed, closing my eyes. I guess I felt kind of drowsy because I didn't wake up until two hours later. When I did wake up, there was a bunch of people looking at me and still speaking in Russian.
"Um, excuse me," I said. "I'm sorry I collasped on your doorstep. I really am."
Then everyone looked at each other. One girl said in plain English, "She speaks English."
"Oh, so you guys do speak English," I replied.
"Well, yes, we do," said an older girl. "It is part of our schooling."
"Wow," I said wide-eyed. "Multilingual, huh?"
Everyone stared at me. "Um, multilingual means that you can speak more than one language. And bilingual means that you can speak two languages."
"Ooohhhhhhhh," one girl replied.
"Well, at least I won't have to worry about the language barrier," I said. "Just to be sure, may I ask a question?"
"Of course you may," said a rather middle-aged woman.
"Where am I?"
Everyone laughed. "You should know that by now!" said one of the four girls in the room. You are in Russia!"
"That figures," I said. "When I heard you guys speaking in something totally different from my comprehension."
"Well, as all people do," said a middle-aged man standing nearby. "What is your name?"
"My name is Shannon," I replied. I extended my hand out for a handshake. To my surprise, the man took my hand and kissed it.
"Oh, um, I thought you were going to shake my hand," I said.
The man laughed. "In Russia, that is not how you greet a lady," he said.
"Well, where I come from, everyone shakes hands when they meet people."
"Where did you come from?" asked the oldest of the four girls standing near the bed.
"Another time," I replied. "With this little device." I showed them the time machine control and they were amazed by it.
"What country are you from" asked the middle-aged woman.
"The United States."
Everyone looked at me wide-eyed. I knew the names of the people standing around the bed I was lying on from what I previously read about the Romanovs. Tsar Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, and his daughters Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia. But just to be sure, I asked their names.
"I am Tsar Nicholas Romanov," said Nicholas. "This is my wife Alexandra and our daughters Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia."
"Well, I was right," I thought to myself.
"Our son is out playing right now," said Nicholas. "You will get to meet him soon."
Then they went on to tell me about how their servants found me outside in the cold and asked me why I was out there in the clothes I was wearing. I explained to them that this is what I wore back in my time. My college sweatshirt, my jeans, my Old Navy shirt, my Hanes Her Way brand socks, and my sneakers were foreign to them. Even due to the fact that I wore a Timex INDIGLO wristwatch seemed strange to them.
"People wear these things in YOUR time?" asked Alexandra. I nodded. Alexandra looked even more appalled, but then she saw the cross necklace I was wearing.
"I like that necklace," she said.
"Yeah, me too. It represents my faith in Christ."
Then, Alexandra warmed up a little now that she found out that I am a Christian.
My clothes were promptly cleaned and I was given an entire wardrobe of dresses to choose from. I went ahead and chose a dress that looked like the Romanov girls were wearing (all the other dresses looked awful). But first, I was cleaned up and my hair was done the way according to the style back then, and then I showed up for dinner.
That was when I met Alexei, the only son of Nicholas and Alexandra. I saw the bruises on his arms and I couldn't imagine the pain he went through, being a hemophiliac and all.
"Hello," he said quietly. "My name is Alexei and you must be Shannon."
"Hi Alexei. How are you?"
"I am fine. I am a little sore but I am feeling fine."
Nicholas then stood up. "Well, Shannon, may I ask about the cuisine during your time?"
"Well, is it different?"
"Yes it is. But there are certain kinds of restaurants that serve fancy gourmet and stuff."
"Tonight, can you show our chefs how to cook your kind of cuisine? I'd like to try some of it tonight for dinner."
"Better yet, I'll cook it!" I exclaimed.
Everyone gasped. "I didn't know women could cook," said Alexei.
"Anyone can cook," I replied. "I'll be back in a minute with your food."
Working side by side with the royal chefs, I concoted a dinner that would be fit for a king (well, in my opinion). I came back out with a plate full of food that was covered up. I placed it in the center of the table and lifted the cover.
"Voila!" I said. Their were eight plates and each plate had a cheeseburger and a side of fries. The chef carried out eight sodas (yes, they had soda back then) with straws in them.
Everyone stared in awe as I passed out the cuisine. Nicholas took the first bite and found his cheeseburger absolutely delicious. Then, I got up from the table and brought ketchup and mustard for their fries along with some salt and pepper.
Needless to say, dinner was a hit. Everyone congratulated me on a job well done and said I was a great cook. Dessert was an even bigger hit. I had made hot fudge sundaes for everyone (and yes, there was ice cream back then too).
That night, when everyone went to bed, Nicholas and Alexandra pulled me aside to have a chat in one of their many living rooms. I sat on a sofa across from them, in a weird pair of pajamas. Alexandra was clad in another pair of pajamas identical to mine. Nicholas was wearing a striped pajama blouse and matching pajama bottoms along with a robe with his initials stitched on them.
"So tell us more about your time and culture," Nicholas said. "I'm curious to know."
"Well, it's hard to explain. You'd have to be there in order to really experience it but I'll try my best to describe it."
I first talked about television, something they had NEVER heard of.
"It's basically a box with a screen in it along with some electronical stuff. You turn it on and pictures come up. You can watch films or things called television shows. They also have a new thing out called 'Reality Television'..."
Then I went on about movies, something they were a little familiar with (but they had silent films back then).
"So, in my time, the motion pictures are a lot better! They're in color and there's sound too! A few films are shot in black and white but most are in color. And they're rated by content...G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17..."
Then, I explained about the books in my time.
"Well, there are a few book series out now," I said. "One of them is a fantasy series called 'Harry Potter.'" I reached in my purse and pulled out a copy of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."
"And next, we have the 'Left Behind' series." I pulled out my copies of "Left Behind" and "Tribulation Force."
Both Nicholas and Alexandra were intrigued by my culture. But then Nicholas asked, "What about music? Is there music in your time period?"
"Oh, I'm glad you asked," I said as I pulled out a Backstreet Boys CD and proceeded to lecture them on pop music, rap, R&B, etc. etc. I even showed them one of my Gospel CDs.
"I listen to these when I need to be uplifted by God," I said. "This kind of music talks about God and helps to uplift you when you're feeling down."
I continued to talk about music and the "transition from records to 8-tracks to cassette tapes to CDs." I even showed them my portable CD player and how it played CDs.
The discussion went up to midnight as I finished my lecture on sports, video games, and the computer. I yawned and Nicholas suggested that I get to bed. When I got to bed, I browsed through my purse and found the time machine control and I went to call Dave, since it's still the same time where he's at (i.e. afternoon...since it's still the same time I left Dave when I traveled back in time).
"Hey Dave," I whispered.
"What's up?" he asked. I proceded to tell him everything about my experiences.
"Awesome," he replied. "Let me know when you wanna come back, okay?"
"Okay, over and out." I turned off the time control and tucked it safely in my purse.
The next morning, my regular clothes were clean and ready and Alexandra allowed me to wear them since I was going to be leaving that day. I volunteered to make breakfast and we all had sausage, bacon, fruit, eggs (well, I didn't...I hate eggs), and biscuits n' gravy. I received a sea of compliments on the food.
After breakfast, I asked everyone to bring their Bibles to the table. "I do this with at my church sometimes," I said. "Breakfast and a Bible study."
"Bible study?" asked Alexei.
"Yep. We study the Bible for about an hour or so."
"What kind of church do yo go to?" inquired Nicholas.
"Protestant. Well, actually, it's a Baptist church."
Everyone looked at me weird but decided to go with me on it anyway. "Turn to Psalm 23," I said. "We'll start from there..."
After Bible Study, everyone looked at me with smiles. Never in their lives had they actually studied the Bible.
"We attend an Orthodox church," said Nicholas. "And they never do this kind of thing. But it sounds good. I think we will continue to do this in the future."
"Awesome," I said.
After a small tour of the Winter Palace and a little tour of St. Petersburg (and a little tea and bread), I was on my way. I said goodbye to my new friends and then I gave them each a cross pin (I got em' at church) to pin to their clothes.
"God bless and I'll remember you," I said. As soon as I was about to press that red button, Alexei butted in.
"Before you go, we're giving you this." He handed me a photograph of the whole family...complete with signatures.
"Oh and another thing," said Olga. She handed me the dress set I wore yesterday. "It doesn't fit us so we thought you might like it as a memento." She handed me a box full of the things I wore.
"Gee, thanks Olga."
"Come back anytime you want," said Nicholas.
We exchanged hugs and goodbyes and soon, I was on my way home.
Dave sat on my lawn as I came back to my time. For Dave, it had been just minutes since I went back in time.
"So, how was it?" Dave asked.
"It's a great place, but I wouldn't want to live there," I said.
We went back in my house and went upstairs to my room. My mother spotted me carrying a package and a photograph in one hand and my purse in the other.
"What do you have there, Shannon?" she asked.
"Oh, a few friends gave me these," I said with a smile.
"Well, that's nice. You have to show them to me sometime." She walked down the stairs to get a load of laundry out of the dryer.
"No one will believe us, Dave," I said.
"Well, with you holding that stuff, I think people will," Dave replied.