15 Rules to Follow While You Are Inside My Time Machine, by Michael A. Ferro

1. Never ever roll down the window and stick your head out like a dog. There will be thousands of antique clocks spinning around within the space-time wormhole and any one of them is liable to take your head off.

2. Whatever you do, don’t just start randomly pushing buttons, no matter how tempting the buttons look. Don’t even use the soda machine that I installed, which I now regret doing. Just wait until we arrive.

3. Wear your seat belt and don’t speed in construction zones.

4. Don’t eat anything while traveling through time. You will get indigestion.

5. Don’t bring photos of your family just to watch them fade from the pictures as you travel back in time. It will just make you sad and inattentive. If you must, bring a photo of someone you don’t care for, like your neighbor who keeps asking to borrow your lawn mower.

6. There is a strict “No Dancing” policy in the time machine. This is for safety and not just because I don’t want to watch you dance.

7. There is also a strict “No Singing” policy. Again, safety.

8. Never try to use your cell phone to call anyone while traveling through time. You will disrupt the space-time wormhole and we’ll get flung into the Crab Nebula and everyone there is an asshole.

9. Do not panic when the lights go out within the time machine and you hear the cries of ten thousand screaming souls and see the fiery face of Satan before you. This is normal.

10. You must never take your phone out and pose for a selfie when traveling through time. It won’t cause the time machine to malfunction, but you’ll look really stupid.

11. We will never play “20 Questions” to try to pass the time when in the time machine. I’m sick of you cheating.

12. We will also never play Scrabble for the same reason as above. (By the way, I looked up “thromble” and it is definitely not a word.)

13. If we get stopped by the Galactic Time Police, just try to bribe them. They’re incredibly corrupt. I usually slip them about 4,000 blorps.

14. We can listen to “Back in Time” by Huey Lewis and the News ONCE. That’s it.

15. To piggyback on that last rule, don’t just recite a bunch of Back to the Future quotes. It gets annoying. You get two or three, max.* Any more than that and you’re finding your own ride back.

*An exception to this rule is that you can call me “Doc” (as in “Whoa, Doc, this is heavy!”) as often as you like. I have no problem with that.

Born and Bred in Metro Detroit, Michael A. Ferro’s work has been featured in various online and print publications. His debut novel, TITLE 13, is forthcoming from Harvard Square Editions in 2018. Additional writing and information can be found at www.michaelaferro.com and @MichaelFerro.

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15 Rules to Follow While You Are Inside My Time […]