The Time Traveller's Annual Holiday Party

By Andrew Looney

I remember the day I arrived at the Glenndale Sanitarium for the Criminally Insane. I was taken to the warden's office.

He said: "Now that you're with us, you will have to obey the rules."

He told me the rules. There was one that bothered me.

He said: "You will not be allowed to read magazines or newspapers. The news is what we tell you it is. All you will know about the outside world is what we tell you."

I said: "But I am the President of the United States. I must know what is happening to my country."

The warden did not reply. I was taken to my cell.

* * *

The warden was in his office, reading over some of his files.

"George Barnson: Found guilty of the murder of seventeen persons in a suburban laundromat on July 18, 1978. Pleaded insanity. Committed to the Glenndale Sanitarium for the Criminally Insane. Recent psychiatric reports indicate that he believes he is the President of our country."

"Actually," thought the warden, "he does look quite a bit like the President."

* * *

I am the President of the United States of America. Awhile ago, I'm not sure just how long, I was kidnapped and placed in an insane asylum. An imposter was substituted for me in the White House, and now no one will believe that I'm the real President.

The food here is very bad.

I must escape.

* * *

The President was at a secret meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was expressing his concerns about the possibility of attack by Extraterrestrial forces.

"We have thousands of nuclear missiles pointed at Russia," he said, "But we don't have anything pointed at Outer Space. Suppose a fleet of ten thousand alien space ships came flying down from behind the Moon? We'd have no way of defending ourselves."

The President unveiled his plan for the ExtraTerrestrial Ballistic Missile (ETBM). He wanted to build one hundred such missiles, to protect The American Citizen from Galactic Invasion.

* * *

"Napoleon," I said, "Do you really think this plan will work?"

"I don't know," said Napoleon.

Napoleon was my roommate. Our plan was to disguise ourselves as dirty laundry, and then ride to freedom in the laundry truck. I had very little faith in the plan, since it wasn't my idea, and I was quite surprised when it actually worked.

At the laundromat, we climbed out of the truck, and successfully sneaked away. Then we parted company. I was going to Washington D.C. and he was going to a place called Waterloo, though we had to save up bus fare first.

* * *

The warden was quite upset about the escape of George Barnson and Richard Stallman. "Henceforth," he told his guards, "Prisoners' clothing will not be washed." Then he turned his attention back to the board, and pointed an accusing finger at one of his guards. "Furthermore," he said, "I think Professor Plum perpetrated this dastardly deed, in the Billiard Room, with the Lead Pipe."

* * *

The President only got seventeen of his proposed one hundred ETBM's. A special launching pad was built, and six Titan missiles were lined up next to eleven Minuteman missiles. Extra fuel tanks were strapped onto the sides of these missiles, so that they could travel as far as the Moon.

The President was satisfied with this, and began working on his new plan to equip the Space Shuttle with cruise missiles.

* * *

Ten thousand alien spacecraft were on their way to the Earth. They were bent on conquest, and planned to turn the human race into slaves.

The Commander of the Space Fleet did not know about the ETBM's that composed Earth's new planetary defenses. If he had known, it wouldn't have concerned him, because their space ships were invisible.

"As soon as we finish this job," said the Commander to his First Officer, "I'll have to leave. Otherwise I'll be late for the Time Traveller's Annual Holiday Party."

* * *

The Crystal Palace was the usual location for the Time Traveller's Annual Holiday Party. It was located at a grotto in the Space/Time Continuum, a place where the sky was green and the plants were blue.

This year's party was progressing well. The cowboys and the gangsters were playing poker, the Greek philosophers were having a religious debate with the Benedictine monks, the Roman centurions and the Vikings were playing shuffleboard, and the Hippies were dancing with the 16th century noblemen to the music of Randall Ricoco and his Big Band Orchestra.

* * *

When the ten thousand alien space ships arrived, they dumped vast amounts of magic dust into the Earth's atmosphere. The magic dust infected the brain, and made everyone think that they wanted to go inside the space ships that were landing at centers of population all over the world.

After about forty-five minutes, the ten thousand alien space ships all flew back into space.

Only eighty-six people stayed behind.

* * *

The magic dust had no effect on the warden's brain. His prisoners did feel the effects of the magic dust, but since they were locked in their cells, they could not go to the space ships. They wanted to very much, but the warden refused to let them out.

After awhile, the dust wore off, and they all forgot about it.

* * *

I was rather distressed to find that all of my citizens had gone away. At least I was back in the White House, where I belonged, but I felt very lonely. It's no fun being a leader when you have no one to lead.

I later found out that eighty-five people were still living at the prison I had escaped from, but I never found anyone else. They must all be hiding somewhere.

There is a secret message written on the back of a candy wrapper that I found in the Oval Office. I'm sure that when I decode it, I will learn the answer to this puzzle. I've been working on it for some time now, but as yet I've made no progress.

* * *

Events at the Time Traveller's Annual Holiday Party had taken a turn for the worst.

1.] A fight had broken out during the poker game. (The gangsters accused the cowboys of cheating.)

2.] One of the cavemen had raped an Aztec princess.

3.] The Apaches were scalping the Spanish Conquistadors.

4.] The punch had been spiked.

5.] Officers of the Confederate Cavalry had beaten up Randall Ricoco and his Big Band Orchestra, and stolen their instruments.

6.] A Samurai warrior had gotten drunk and smashed one of the walls of the Crystal Palace.

The guests began to leave, in disgust.

* * *

The warden soon realized that all of his guards were gone. He was irritated by this, but consoled himself with the fact that none of his prisoners had escaped.

He was forced to take over all of the menial jobs that his staff used to do. These tasks included cooking food for the inmates and doing the attendance checks.

After awhile he learned that everyone in the world had mysteriously vanished, but since he controlled the prisoner's news of the outside, he was able to keep this fact a secret from them for many years.

* * *

I have decoded the secret message. This is the translation:

"You are cordially invited to attend the Time Traveller's Annual Holiday Party."

This story appears in My Secret World. Copyright © 1985 by Andrew Looney.

News Search Gift Shop Games About Us | contact us