“Will you quit being so damn mysterious about this?” Steven demanded.
“Well I can’t risk her catching us. I could get fired for this,” Nick responded.
Nick unlocked the door and turned on the light, as it was a windowless room and there was no chance of Dr. Brown seeing the light from her mansion.
“What is that, a Tardis?” Steven asked. He was looking at a blue box. “Wait. Where did she get this 80’s style phone booth?”
“Probably from the 80’s. I’m still trying to figure out what a wilmdela is,” Nick said. The booth that Nick had discovered in this dusty, forlorn closet was slightly rusty, and said “First State Phone Service, Wilm., Dela.” on the side.
“Wilmington, Delaware?” Steven conjectured.
“What’s a Delaware?” Nick asked.
“Maryland’s conjoined fetus twin,” Steven answered. “The northern part is basically a suburb of Philly with lower taxes, and the middle and southern parts are just trailer parks, farms, and drunken idiots catapulting pumpkins across a desolate plain, but with low taxes. There’s not much in Delaware except massive corporations. In fact, I think there’s more corporations than people.”
“Oh that’s right! I heard of a sex move called ‘The Delaware!’ Insist that size doesn’t matter, then come first. I saw that on Cheezburger or somewhere like that,” Nick said. “Anyway, I didn’t bring you up here to look at an ordinary phone booth. Steven, this is a teleportation device.”
“Yeah. Earlier today, I needed a 4 liter bottle of hexane as a solvent for a reaction I was doing. I asked Dr. Brown and she was all like, ‘It’s probably somewhere. You can calculate the probability of it existing in any given location by integrating the square of the absolute value of the wavefunction.’ So I scribbled out a few pages of calculus and determined that the hexane would be in this room. Sure enough, I found it, but I also found this phone booth.”
“So how do you know it’s a teleporter?”
“I went inside and saw the instrument panel. I pressed a few buttons and there was a tremendous flash of light, and some shaking. All of the sudden, I was in some desert, and the only thing I saw was a beat-up old RV with yellow smoke coming out of it. Then I found a button that said ‘Return’ and pressed it, and I was instantly back in this closet.”
“You realize the fun we could have with this?” Steven asked excitedly.
“Yeah, let’s make a game out of it. I’ll take us some place, and not tell you where, and you have to guess where we went. Then we’ll switch places, and I have to guess,” Nick suggested.
“Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit!” Kayla yelled. She had just ruined Nick’s favorite organic chemistry book, signed by renowned synthetic organic chemist E.J. Corey. She was telling Amanda and Christian a story, and, as Kayla had a propensity towards talking with her hands, knocked a cup of coffee off the end table and right into the shelf in Nick’s bookcase in the living room where the textbook sat. A couple other books were splashed with coffee, too, but Kayla knew Nick would only be mad about the chemistry book. Ironically, she was telling Amanda and Christian about a time when she was telling another story, knocked a giant box off a table, and scared the shit out of her sister’s cat.
“Nick will be home later tonight and will see this book ruined! He loves it! He reads from it for an hour every morning!” Kayla continued. “He likes to say he climbed to the top of Mount Baldy one day, and this book descended from Heaven into his hands. Then he says, ‘No, just kidding, I bought it on Amazon. Can you imagine such a ludicrous tale, though?’”
“Can you just buy him a new one?” Christian asked. “If it’s on Amazon?”
“I can buy him a new book, but it’s signed by some famous chemist. He’s at Harvard or somewhere, it’d be impossible to get him to sign it by tonight!”
“It’s too dangerous to leave the teleporter, so just guess from inside,” Nick warned. The first place Nick and Steven went was a barren, ugly desert. The sun beat down on them, and it quickly got hot inside. Layers of dust covered everything. A rattlesnake sunning itself on a rock sounded its eponymous alarm, portending the tension that hung in the air. Just then, a group of men driving ATV’s raced by not too far in the distance, waving assault rifles in the air. They stopped and began chanting.
“What are they saying?” Steven asked.
“Sounds like something about keeping the invaders out, keeping true to the one righteous way of life and our beliefs pure, all inferior nations will bow before our military might, et cetera,” Nick replied.
“Bunch of whackos, riding through the desert, threatening violence…are we in Syria!? Is that ISIS!?” Steven asked, alarmed.
“No, we’re in Texas.”
“Okay, my turn!” Steven declared. Nick briefly showed him how to teleport to another location.
Soon, they were in a cold, dimly lit, run-down, industrial city. Everything looked depressing, everyone depressed. The tallest buildings cast long shadows in the setting sun, hiding the city from outsiders, hiding the city from itself. They stepped out of the teleporter, crunch went a crack pipe under Nick’s foot. A homeless man wadded up in old jackets and newspapers laid asleep next to a radio, which crackled, “Tonight’s forecast: Cloudy with a chance of gunshots, low of 20 degrees.”
“The fuck is this place? Ukraine? North Korea?” Nick demanded.
“Nope. Baltimore. We came here for a reason.”
From next to the homeless man, Steven picked up an empty 40. They walked down an empty street and soon a large stadium loomed. Steven hurled the bottle at the gate to the stadium’s entrance. It shattered, and Steven yelled, “Hah! You didn’t win this year, Joe Flaccid!”
By this time, Kayla was in tears. “Nick’s gonna come back, see his book is ruined, and leave me!” she exclaimed. Amanda and Christian tried to tell her everything was going to be all right.
“You don’t understand. Nick was interested in chemistry even before he and I started dating. And you know we’ve been dating since Pilgrim times!”
“If that guy signed his book, maybe he’ll have another book signing,” Christian suggested.
“Yeah, you could buy him another book and get that professor to sign it at another one,” Amanda said. “Let’s look it up online when his next book signing is.” Amanda checked some things on her phone real quick. “Oh. A tweet from that guy: ‘I will do no more book signings, except in the Boston area, as travel is becoming difficult in my old age. But hey, can you believe it, this guy I met the other day didn’t know why asymmetrical allylic cations are pains in the ass. What a clod head!’”
“So we’d have to go to Boston,” Christian said.
“Well usually when Nick needs to go somewhere at the drop of hat, he steals Dr. Brown’s Learjet. But we obviously can’t have him fly us there, or he’ll wanna know why,” Kayla said, dismayed.
“Yeah, and Boston is under 83 feet of snow right now,” Amanda added.
“Oh, God, this is gonna be like the time I dropped and broke Nick’s prized bottle of Opus One, and he sat on the floor propped up against his wine cabinet and pouted for three days and nights, and didn’t speak to me until I drove up to Napa and bought him another bottle!” Kayla fretted.
Steven and Nick walked back to the teleporter. Nick worked the controls. He pressed a few buttons, but then stopped, and said, “What the hell?” The next place they went appeared very strange. It was a boundless expanse of wilderness, devoid of all but the most primitive structures, inhabited by people living very simple lives. An odd, unpleasant sound with some ethereal twang emanated from seemingly nowhere.
“Man, this place is spooky! I have no clue where you took us,” said Steven.
“Apparently, neither do I. I thought I took us to In-n-Out Burger,” Nick said. “The one by the Torrance Airport, not the one on Hawthorne, it’s way better.” He checked the control panel. “But somehow the settings got screwed up, and it was put on Random Mode.”
“Do you know how to get us back?”
“I should be able to. But don’t you wanna figure out where we are, first?”
“Okay, I guess.”
They exited the teleporter and walked around. They saw human-like figures in their unassuming dwellings, but not knowing the nature of these creatures, they figured it best to not attract their attention. They observed a strange object next to the house, which seemed to be a sort of transportation device. There were two seats roughly in the middle, housed in a shell. Behind the shell was a large basin. The whole device seemed to be propelled by large bricks somehow.
It was a strange land, unknown to either of them. It was quickly evident that they would not guess where they had landed. “My phone has a bar. I’ll call Kayla. She might know where the hell we are,” Nick suggested.
“Hello,” Kayla answered.
“So Steven and I stole Dr. Brown’s teleporter, and it took us someplace bizarre, and we need help figuring out where it took us. We’re in a primitive backwoods somewhere, and there are prehistoric hobbit people living in this hut,” Nick said.
“Backwoods, you say? Does it appear that the people in these backwoods work hard for a dollar?”
“I guess, if their society has evolved to the point where they have some form of currency, sure.”
“Tell me about the people you see inside that structure.”
“Well, it’s a male, a female, and two offspring. They’re sitting at a table that has some food on it. The male has a bottle with some strange script on it, and there appears to be a depiction of some mountains. The people appear to be praying to the food. Okay, now they’re eating it. They’re wearing simple clothes, the male is distinguished by having a white shirt with a massive stain on it, and it’s tucked into some pants, which are caked in dirt.”
“The male. Does he appear to be a God-fearin’ hard workin’ combine driver?”
“What!? I said we’re in the fricken woods! Where would he drive a combine around?”
“The female. Is she the prettiest thing you ever seen? Actually, don’t answer that. Ask Steven.”
“Yeah, Steven says she appears fairly attractive, in an untamed, coarse fashion. Like when your mind says, ‘Oh God, she’s total white trash,’ but your boner don’t care.”
“Well it sounds like she ain’t no high priced doll, and in her neck of the woods, she’s just the girl next door. Would you say that the male is a small town guy living a small town life?”
“I mean, I guess so, it’s pretty sparse out here. We’re in the sticks, I’ve yet to see a town, but perhaps they use their transportation device to get there.” Nick then described the primitive vehicle to her.
“I believe that vehicle is called a pickup truck. Now at the very back end of that basin, which is called the bed, there should be a door, called the tailgate. Is the tailgate down?”
“I believe you’re in a country song.”
“How the hell did we end up in it?” Nick asked her.
“Well, a lot of country songs start off looking for Jesus.”
That statement annoyed Nick. “No, I was looking for In-n-Out Burger!”
“Which is akin to a religious quest for you, Nick. And after a long day, you just wanted to get home to your baby girl, right?” “Ah-hem, right?”
“And that’s also part of a lot of country songs. So it’s easy to see how you ended up there. And since you’re not the girl in a country song, it shouldn’t be hard for you. And wait! You have a teleporter!? So instead of me sitting here flipping out over how I’m gonna replace your chemistry book I ruined, I could just use the teleporter to go to Massachusetts and get that Corey guy to sign another copy!?”
“Wait wait wait! You ruined the book Dr. Corey signed!?”
“Yeah, I spilled a little coffee over it, but if I knew you were up to stealing Dr. Brown’s teleporter, I could easily resolve the situation!”
“Or, you could have, I don’t know, not spilled coffee all over my favorite chemistry book.”
“Nick, just accept the fact that, since I’m the girl, I’m right here.”
“Fine. I’ll teleport back to our apartment, pick you up, teleport to Boston, and you can buy me a new book and get Dr. Corey to sign it. God, this’ll be even more of a pain in the ass than asymmetrical allylic cations!”
By the time all this was done and they teleported back to Redondo, the sun was beginning to peak over the San Gabriel Mountains. Nick decided that the teleporter caused more trouble than good, and teleported to the railroad track near Eastwood Ravine, to the bewilderment of every driver stopped for a coming train. Nick bailed out at the last second before a freight train locomotive bound for Stockton tore through the phone booth. He went back to work that day, and upon Dr. Brown’s inquiry, told her that a train quantum tunneled into the storage room and destroyed the teleporter.
Valuable lessons were learned that night. Nick learned to keep Kayla better informed of his shenanigans, in the off chance that one day, something he illegally obtains may come in handy to someone else. Kayla learned that if she is to spill coffee all over one of Nick’s books, it better not be a chemistry book. Steven learned to stay away from country music entirely. Amanda learned that she wasn’t alone in the world when she accidentally sold Steven’s Pikachu pillow at a garage sale and Steven burned down an entire block of Salisbury, Maryland. (Not that a pile of charred ruins would look much different than the current appearance of most blocks of Salisbury, Maryland). And Christian learned that he had some explaining to do, after Iggy Azalea texted him a picture that morning of a small plastic blue stick with two purple lines in a little window in the middle.