This is a series story, Professor Jack Jenkins Part One. The story is based on time-travel in the realm of metaphysics. Mike is told by Joycelyn that she is pregnant. As he is still studying for his mechanical engineering degree at university, he is lost as to how he can support a wife and Child. Mike’s grandmother is a psychic. She refers Mike to her spiritual guide, Professor Jack Jenkins, who offers Mike a solution to his predicament. The follow up of this story will be published in three weeks time, I have decided to publish a series of stories for those who visit my site. Why don’t you join us? Below this page, you will find a button, ‘Subscribe’ Click on the button, and you will be notified of the next release. At any time, if you no longer wish to be notified, you may unsubscribe. Enjoy.
Professor Jack Jenkins
Circa 1964 -2012
“Are we meeting for lunch today?” Joycelyn called as Mike was leaving for varsity. “Yes. Are you OK with that; ‘The Willows’ at one ‘o clock? Love you, bye.” Mike was in a hurry.
Joycelyn selected a window table overlooking the fountain Square. They searched the simple menu, knowing what they would order – ‘the usual.’ Joycelyn lifted her eyes from the menu. “You’ve got tears in your eyes; something wrong?” Mike asked, surprised. “Mike, I’m pregnant!” “What! Are you sure?” “That’s what my doctor said.” Mike handed her a handkerchief to staunch the tears that were now flowing. He moved over to her side of the table and put his arm around her. “We’ll be OK; I know it’s easy to say don’t worry, but I’ve said it anyway. Let’s chat to Father Jacobs and see what advice he can offer.” “No, Mike, I’m not bringing the church into this. I know he will say, ‘No abortion, give our baby out for adoption.’” “I know, I know, you’re right.” Mike was compassionate but shocked at the same time.
Mike lowered his voice to a near whisper, “When discussing our child Joycelyn let us talk in quiet, soothing tones; I’m sure our baby hears everything we are saying.” With this, Mike bent down, his lips close to Joycelyn’s tummy. She looked around the restaurant, face reddened with embarrassment. “Mike, what are you doing?” “Hello, baby, this is your Daddy, and I want to tell you how happy mummy and I are to have you come into our lives.” “Oh, Mike, that is so beautiful!” A smiling Mike stood up and faced those in the restaurant staring at them. “Just a little chat with our baby.” He announced proudly. A chorus of congratulations followed, and then the whole restaurant clapped.
The two agreed to both tell their parents. Joycelyn’s mother responded, “Well, that was bloody stupid. Anyway, girl, you’ve made your bed – lie on it!” Mike’s parents were shocked and suggested they adopt the baby, so the pair would not be pressured into marrying. Joycelyn and Mike agreed they would like to marry and enjoy their baby. Mike’s parents asked how they proposed to support themselves as Mike was in his fourth year of mechanical engineering at varsity. The group decided to leave matters as they were and give the whole issue some thought, agreeing to keep all under wraps until the family could finalize suitable arrangements.
It was midnight when Mike sat up sweating from a nightmare. He had dreamed Joycelyn had given birth to a baby gorilla that started growing by the minute, and nobody wanted the three of them.
Over a cup of hot chocolate, Mike sat at his desk and tried to make sense of his situation. He penciled a ‘for and against list’ because, while he liked Joycelyn, he didn’t love her yet. Yes, he wanted children, but not now. I must finish my degree and internship first – but that’s two years earliest; until then –how do I keep a wife and child?
How was he to tell Joycelyn about his feelings, and what about his child? he asked himself. He could not sleep with these thoughts.
At daylight, there was a knock on his door. “Hello, Nanna.” He hugged his grandmother. “May I come in?” He made coffee, and they sat at his desk. “You’re up early, Nanna?” “Yes, I was up all night speaking to Jack, a discussion about you and Joycelyn.” Nanna was a psychic, and Jack was her spirit guide. “Jack – your guide?” Mike asked. “Yes, he wants to meet with you.” “Jack is a spirit, Nanna; how do I meet with him?” “At his laboratory” Mike nearly caught himself asking if she was serious, but he knew better – she was serious. Partly to humor her, he asked, “Where is his laboratory?” “Don’t jackass with me, Mikey; just get dressed, go out the front door, and let your feet do the walking.” They parted, and Mike followed her instructions.
Mike began walking, but he felt it was more like he was following his feet. He eventually arrived at a deserted brewery site. Can’t be here, surely? Mike scratched his head. “Over her here, Mike,” a voice piped up through a broken windowpane above him. He pushed open the door and walked into the building. The smell hit him first: a foul mixture of mold, dust, and rotting hops. He coughed, covered his nose with his handkerchief, and looked around him, trying to understand his surroundings and where the voice had emerged.
He was in a large hall that used to be the reception area. Some old posters on the walls advertising different beer brands, desks, and chairs scattered around, all covered with dust and cobwebs. There were papers and files all over the floor.
He walked further into the hall, looking for signs of anything that resembled a laboratory. He heard a faint squeaking sound coming from somewhere above him. Looking up he saw dozens of rats running along pipes and beams crisscrossing the ceiling.
A rickety old door squeaked open, and an older, bald, bespectacled man faced him. “You must be Jack? Nanna sent me.” “Professor Jack Jenkins at your service, sir; I’ve been expecting you; just call me Prof. and mind the mess as you walk.”
They reached a more secure looking black door that opened automatically for Prof. Mike could not believe his eyes; they stepped into a brightly lit room filled with large machines that looked complex and impressive.
Mike walked around the room, admiring the equipment and wondering what experiments Prof was conducting on these. It was like he was in a sci-fi movie or a futuristic novel. Prof pulled up a seat, “Sit down, Mikey; we have much to talk about.” They spoke at length, and eventually, Prof opened up on the solution to Mike’s dilemma. “Follow me, Mikey.
What you see here is a time machine.” “Wow, looks like a lunar module – does it work?” Prof smiled a knowing smile.
“Let me explain; this machine works by manipulating the flow of time around it. It can alter the speed of time, making it faster or slower. It can reverse the direction of time, making it go backward or forward. “More than anything, this machine is going to solve your problem. Yours and Joycelyn’s, to be precise.” “What problem, Prof?” “You surprise me, Mikey. Nanna and I know everything there is to know about you, have always done, and always will do. But enough, we need to get into action.
You could get into this time traveler module, travel back a few months, and ensure you don’t have sex with Joycelyn. Then you come back – problem solved; she’s not pregnant by you, except for one crucial thing. If you travel backward in time, you must not change anything in and around you because it can activate a butterfly effect. Ever heard of the butterfly effect?” Mike nodded, “The butterfly effect refers to the compounding impact of small changes. You change just one small thing, like an incident, and it can have irreversible effects in times ahead.” “What then is your solution, Prof?” “I will offer you one without telling you what it is.” “Oh, that’s interesting.”
“You will board this time traveler. No timepieces, no cards of any sort, especially your ID, and travel to a city where you will arrive on July 29, 2012.” “But that’s crazy. It’s 1964 now, making the journey 48 years ahead of this moment. Are you serious?” “Mikey, you are a maths boff,” Prof said, beaming from ear to ear.
When you arrive, you will be 70 years of age and celebrating the occasion with all your family members. In the nanosecond the journey takes, the machine transforms you into that age, body, mind, and clothing. On arrival, you will be unaware of your journey or existence here and, therefore, not unwittingly make any changes in your hour stay. You will be your person at that age and in your home at that time.
You remain at the party for just one hour, after which you must visit the bathroom. You will journey back from the bathroom at the top of the hour. Purely for interest sake, if you were one minute late, you would miss the retrieval system and lose 48 years of your life; this won’t happen because you will have a solid need to pee, which is your safety mechanism.
On your return, you will climb out of this module at the same time and date as you left. In addition, you will only remember what took place with your family for 12 hours, after which the module will erase all memory of your experience with them.
Now in you get.” Prof opened the module door.
His beautiful home was in an upmarket suburb. The family topped tables on the pool patio with food, champagne, and a cake with seventy candles. Mike sat in the boma around a big fire, Estelle, his wife, their daughter, and two sons beside him. Estelle remarked, “Aren’t we blessed; three children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandson?” Mike smiled, “We are, my love.”
The guests were called to the patio, and Mike succeeded in blowing out all seventy candles in one puff. His eldest proposed a toast, and Mike gave a short speech. Everyone hugged and kissed Mike. It was a thrilling experience for him. Feeling a strong need, he excused himself and went to the bathroom. Five minutes later, the seventy-year-old Mike re-joined the party. The younger Mike was back in Prof’s laboratory.
Prof opened the hatch on the module, and Mike stepped out. They stared at each other. “That was a most delightful and magnificent experience, Prof; I will remember it as long as I live.” “No, you won’t. You will remember it for only twelve hours, and in that time, you will decide about your marriage to Joycelyn, which will be your solution.” Mike’s jaw dropped in astonishment. “Oh, by the way, Prof, two issues while I still have the memory. Who took my place after I left my family?” “No one; you never left – Mr. bright Engineer!” “Of course, of course.” Reality hit Mike like a bolt of lightning. “Who is Estelle? If I am to marry Joycelyn?” Prof smiled, “you will have the answer when you arrive at that time zone, Mikey – be patient; one solution at a time.”
© 2023 Peter-James Pienaar. All rights reserved.
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