by Samuel Orona
A man from 5150 and two young adults from our era are shrunk and travel through time!
Chapter Four: 1920's Chicago
The time cruiser materialized in an ice cream shop somewhere in Chicago in the 1920's. The cloaking device was on, so the patrons couldn't see the time cruiser. Inside, Professor Cannoli instructed Tad and Tiffany.
"Our instructions this time are to convince a trio of girls to evacuate before a bomb goes off that will be set by a gangster. You must allow the gangster to plant the bomb without interfering with him, then convince the girls to evacuate."
"Who are the girls?" Tad asked.
"Alma Ashman, and her cousins Alice, and Beatrice." the professor replied. "There is a timer on the main control console telling us how long we have until the bomb goes off, and Tiffany can keep us updated on the time while you and I exit the time cruiser and make contact with Alma and her cousins."
The professor keyed in a combination of buttons on the control panel, and three images popped up on the main monitor. It was three girls, one blonde, and two brunettes.
"Here are photos of the girls we must make contact with, Tad." said the professor.
"They're cute," said Tad, then he looked at Tiffany and said, "in an objective way, I'm in no way interested in them."
"Professor, maybe you'd better sit this one out," said Tiffany. "I need to keep an eye on Tad."
"If that's the way you want it," said the professor. "It's time you went on a mission, too. I wouldn't want to keep you away from all the fun." Professor Cannoli took off his necklace and handed it to Tiffany. "This is my neural stimulator, use it on one of the girls if they swallow Tad again." The professor keyed the buttons that opened the door and lowered the gangplank. "There they are sitting at that table over there, both of you must hurry, we have just under twenty minutes before the bomb goes off."
Tad and Tiffany exited the time cruiser, and walked down the gangplank. Once they stepped off the gangplank, the time cruiser was no longer visible.
"They're over there," said Tad, indicating a wooden table where three girls in their early teens sat. The proprietor brought them their order, so Tad and Tiffany hid behind a table. One girl got a root beer float, another got a milkshake, and the third girl got a banana split. When the proprietor returned behind the counter, Tad ran up to the girl the professor had identified as Alma, the blonde, and got her attention. Tiffany caught up just as Alma looked down and saw Tad.
"What on Earth?" said Alma. The girl leaned down and held her hand out to Tad and Tiffany. "Go ahead, I won't hurt you!" said Alma.
"I'm Tad Polaris, and this is my girlfriend Tiffany Tisdale."
"I'm Alma Ashman, and these are my cousins Alice and Beatrice. How did you get so small?" Alma asked, as she placed them on the table. Her two cousins crowded around to look at the shrunken specimens.
"We were kidnapped by a terrorist group from the year 5150," Tad explained, "and they shrunk us and forced us to travel to different eras, so they can make bets on whether we survive or not."
"This is the fourth time we've traveled to," said Tiffany. "We're originally from the early 21st century, but we can never return there."
"Why not?" Alma asked.
"History documented us as missing," Tiffany replied, "we can never see our families again. But on the bright side, after we complete our thirteenth mission, we get to retire in the future."
"That is, if we survive all thirteen missions," Tad corrected.
"You're like Lilliputians, only small enough to swallow!" said Alma, and her two cousins giggled. "Can I keep you?"
"I don't think that's possible," said Tad. "We're on a mission!"
"What's your mission?" Alma asked.
Tad replied: "We're here to warn you about something that is about to occur, but we can't tell you yet."
"Why can't you tell us?" Alma asked.
"Those were our instructions," said Tad.
Alma was sitting with her forearms on the wooden table. Tad and Tiffany were in her open palm.
"You can sit on my forearm," said Alma. "It's like a cushion, you two might be more comfortable."
Tad and Tiffany walked up Alma's wrist to the center of her forearm, and sat down.
"It smells good," said Tad. "Alma, are you wearing perfume?"
"No," said Alma. "That's just my natural scent."
"Tad, don't get flirty with these girls!" said Tiffany. "We're here on a mission."
Alma took a drink from her root beer float and said, "Tad, I'm going to swallow you. You're just the right size for it!"
"Let's not be extreme," Tad replied.
"You can't talk me out of it," said Alma. "I've always wanted to be big enough to swallow a Lilliputian, ever since I read Gulliver's Travels. Sometimes I imagine myself as a Brobdingnagian, where a Lilliputian would be half an inch tall according to my scale."
"Alma might not ever get another chance like this," said Beatrice. "It's not every day we encounter shrunken people."
Alma used her long spoon to collect Tad, and lifted him up to the same elevation as her face. Alma licked her lips, then opened her mouth and dropped Tad in. She used her tongue to force him to the back of her mouth, then swallowed him. Tad plummeted down Alma's esophagus, landing within the ample space of her belly.
"People in my time write stories about stuff like this happening," said Tiffany. "You don't want Tad to die, do you?"
"I just wanted to know what it felt like to swallow a tiny person," said Alma. "I don't want Tad to get digested!"
"With this device," Tiffany held up the neural stimulator,"I can force you to vomit, and that will save Tad."
"We'd better go the the girl's restroom, so I can vomit in the sink," said Alma. She collected Tiffany, and walked to the restroom. While she was inside the restroom, a man entered the ice cream parlor. He was dressed in a business suit, and carrying a briefcase.
"Who do you pay protection money to?" the gangster asked the proprietor.
"The Capone-Torio gang," said the proprietor.
"We want you to pay us from now on," said the gangster. "My gang is moving into this neighborhood, and we're taking over."
Meanwhile, in the girl's restroom, Alma had just finished vomiting Tad into the sink, so she fished him out of the vomit and rinsed him off. Professor Cannoli came over Tiffany's communicator ring and said, "Tiffany, you only have a few minutes! It's okay to warn Alma now, and don't forget to have her collect the time cruiser, we need to evacuate when they do, or we'll be killed!"
"Who is that?" Alma asked.
"That was Professor Cannoli," Tiffany replied. "He lets us know what we need to accomplish on our missions, he was kidnapped by the Death Matrix just like we were. This ice cream shop is about to get blown up by a bomb set by a gangster! You and your cousins need to evacuate!"
Meanwhile, the professor turned off the cloaking device.
Alma held Tiffany and Tad in one hand, and opened the bathroom door with the other. She walked over to the table where her cousins were sitting, but didn't sit down. "We need to get out of here!" said Alma. "According to Tiffany, this ice cream shop is about to get blown up!"
"Don't forget our time cruiser," said Tiffany. "It's over there, against that wall. Professor Cannoli is inside."
Alma walked over and picked up the time cruiser, and the three girls evacuated the ice cream shop. After they were down the block a good distance, the ice cream shop blew up.
"It's too bad we couldn't save the owner of the ice cream shop," said Alma.
"Don't feel bad," said Beatrice, "we're just lucky to be alive ourselves!"
"It's time for us to leave now," said Tiffany. "But we appreciate your help, Alma!"
Alma set the time cruiser on the sidewalk, and both Tad and Tiffany stepped onto the gangplank.
"If you ever want to retire from time traveling," said Alma, "and you want to remain tiny, you can stay with me, I'll keep you safe!"
"We'll keep you in mind!" said Tad. "I wouldn't mind being your shrunken pet!"
Tad and Tiffany waved good bye, and entered the time cruiser.
"Because we've succeeded on our mission," said the professor, "the lock has been lifted by the Death Matrix, and we are free to go on our next mission."
"Where to this time?" Tad asked.
"The year 2112, the early 22nd century!" said the professor. "We're on our way there now!"
After Professor Cannoli keyed in the controls, Alma and her two cousins watched the time cruiser fade out of existence as it entered temporal space."
To Be Continued!