Entry for Writers’ Forum Flash Fiction Competition no. 24. Story to start and finish with ‘when he looked it wasn’t there’. (300 words)
When he looked it wasn’t there. Thomas Edison Jr., proprietor of Inventions Я Us, shifted a pile of complex schematics, exasperated. Where on Earth was his cigar cutter?
A young Chinese woman entered. Edison adjusted a red bow tie. “Blossom Chan I presume?”
“Yes sir.” She smoothed her silky black hair. Hearing a high-pitched bark, she jumped. A small white dog rubbed against her legs.
“Don’t worry, that’s only Maxi.”
“What dog is it?”
“It’s a Shih Tzu.”
He led her to a lift and all three descended several stories before entering a laboratory. Huge transformers hummed, switchboards blinked, relays clacked… A door slid back revealing a small chamber. ”What year did you require?”
“2031.” Blossom passed Edison a slip with details. He typed on a keyboard.
“Take this fob. When you’re ready to come back just press this button. It’ll send a signal to the future me. We’ll meet and I’ll send you back.” In theory...
“I ready.” She smiled nervously.
Edison pressed a button, the chamber door closed, the room shook momentarily and Blossom Chan disappeared into the future. The dog barked and Edison patted it, smiling. Another satisfied customer!
On opening the chamber door his face fell. ‘Oh dear, oh deary me.’ On the floor lay a fob… ‘Oh well, better send it on’… He returned to the control panel and adjusted some knobs, just as the telephone rang. “Hello, Thomas Edison Jr. Who’s this?” Then, “no I’m sorry, there’s no truth in the rumour at all… no, a time machine indeed! … Good Day!” ‘Damned time-wasting reporters!’ He stabbed the button to close the chamber door and send the fob into the future. ‘Better get back to the office.’ He stood up. “Maxi… Maxi! “ When he looked it wasn’t there…