I should be getting back to writing new short stories in a few weeks, but until then, I’ll share this re-run with you.  It originally ran on January 1, 2010.

 

Jay Maxwell grabbed a cloth and polished the exterior of the machine. It wasn’t really necessary for the machine to shine, but Jay took great pride in his invention. Indeed, why shouldn’t he take great pride in it? He had devoted three decades of his life to his work.

Over the years, Jay had spent a fortune on his invention. He had inherited enough money from his grandmother’s estate to live a life of quiet comfort. However, Jay was not content to simply sit on the sidelines sipping margaritas while life merely passes. He plowed the money into his academic endeavors. Over the years, he had been forced to move from his grandmother’s stately mansion to a townhouse, and then finally to a one bedroom apartment in a run down part of town.

Never for a moment did Jay regret his decision. He had poured his money and his life’s work into one thing – finding a way to travel through time. After battling endless technical obstacles, he believed that he had finally developed a machine capable of slinging him to the far reaches of the space-time continuum.

It was the moment of truth. The JayMax model 16A was ready for its first passenger. Jay looked around his lab, stopping to remember the found memories of his work. He bid a fond farewell and jumped into the JayMax. Jay decided to let fate be his guide. He turned the dial to “random” and hit the “Go” button.

Jay felt a mild cause of nausea as he felt his essence be transported to a different time and place. Eight months ago, Jay had determined that while it may not be feasible to transport an entire physical being, it was definitely possible to transport someone’s essence – what some might call the spirit – and embed it into a person from another time.

Jay felt a sudden jolt as his spirit stopped moving and was thrown rather roughly into his new host. His entire body tingled with the excitement of the moment. Jay took a moment to take in his surroundings. He could not believe his luck. He was in the Roman Coliseum. Jay felt great sympathy for those who had only been able to view the ruins. The structure was astonishing in the light of the mid-day sun.

There was a great crowd on hand, and they were standing and roaring their approval. An instant later, Jay realized that he was in the middle of the Coliseum. This wonderful crowd was roaring for him! It seemed that he was a contestant in a gladiator contest. What wonderful luck for him.

Then Jay heard a roar what was unlike the roar emanating from the crowd. This was a roar that was the roar of a great beast. It dawned on Jay that this was also the place where the Christians were fed to the lions. Jay realized that his decades of work spent in search of a solution for time travel would be for naught, as he would soon be in the belly of a lion.

Then, out of the corner of his eye, Jay caught sight of another man. Were two of them being fed to the lions at once? Then he suddenly felt a strange sensation coming from the area near his buttocks. It almost felt as if he had a tail.

In that instant, everything came into focus. It was then that Jay realized that he hadn’t had a decent meal in several days.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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