The Time Machine
Adriana Wilson stood in the parking lot of Quick Cars, staring at the sleek black van before her. Sure, it wasn't the silver, 2000, convertible Camero of her dreams, but it would have to work.
"It's fully loaded, complete with a television, CD player, and video game. It's got great mileage, definitely the car for you," said the car dealer, Stan.
"It was pre-owned though, right," Adriana asked.
"Yes," Stan said quickly, "by an older gentleman. Never drove it very much. He passed on and his grandson brought it by to trade in for one of those sportier cars. He requested specifically that we put such a low price on it. Said his grandfather would have wanted it that way."
Adriana had wondered to herself why the van had been so reasonably priced. Five thousand dollars was not a lot of money to spend on a vehicle. It wasn't really what she wanted, but she needed it since her little white Buick broke down a month earlier. She smoothed her shoulder length layered blond hair behind her ears, as she often did when she was deep in thought.
"Well, I guess I'll take it then," she said at last, pushing her glasses up, her green/gray eyes shining with determination.
"Great," Stan said enthusiastically. "Come with me and I'll get the paperwork ready."
Inside the building, after a few minutes of searching for the proper forms and printing out the payment agreement, Stan set them in front of Adriana and placed a pen in front of her.
"Just sign, here, here, and everywhere else there's an 'x' and she's all yours," he said.
Taking one last glance over her shoulder at the black van, Adriana sighed, feeling a bit of apprehension as she took up the pen and placed her name on the papers. Little did she know that that one simple movement was going to change her life forever.
Honking the horn, Adriana pulled the van into the driveway of one of her very best friends, Ursula Ment's home. It was summer time, a year after graduation, and Adriana was happy to take advantage of some of the paid vacation she was allowed at the bank.. Ursula was off on summer vacation from Western University where she was studying to become a teacher, and two of their other friends, Jessie Dinos and her boyfriend, Link McBaker were on vacation from a local college as well. The four had planned to take a road trip to a water park resort a few hours away. There they would spend a week catching up with each other and enjoying the time away.
"Adrian," Ursula shouted as she bounded out of the door and up to the van as Adriana stepped out.
"Hey," Adriana said, happily greeting her friend. Ursula was one of the most genuinely nice people she knew, but was the type who would let you know if she was annoyed. Ursula was much shorter than Adriana, about 5'3, with long brown hair and green eyes.
" How was school," Adriana asked. "Where's Jessie and Link?"
"School was school," Ursula said, looking down the street. "Hey, here they come. And they're actually on time!"
A sporty green Escort pulled into the Ment's driveway. Out stepped Jessie from the passenger side.
"Hey," was her excited greeting to her friends. She was about 5'6, with green eyes and very long, dark blond hair, which she rarely cut above her waist. Next Link, who was tall, with dark hair and eyes stepped out and waved to Adriana and Ursula.
"Hi," Adriana answered. "Are you guys ready to go?"
"Sure we are. Link, grab the bags out of the trunk," Jessie mock-ordered.
"Yes, ma'am," Link saluted as he went to retrieve their luggage.
A half hour later, with much situating and discussion, they never could do anything without getting stuck on a topic that would leave them distracted from the task at hand, Adriana started the engine and pulled out of the driveway. Soon they were tooling down the interstate towards their destination.
Ursula sat in the front passenger seat, turning the map in all directions, trying to figure out exactly what exit they needed to take.
"I'm not sure where we are," Ursula said quietly.
"Great," Adriana answered. "Well, I guess we'd better pull over so we can figure this out. There's a rest stop up ahead."
"Just give the map to Link," Jessie suggested. "He'll figure it out."
Adriana pulled the van into a parking stall at the rest stop and shut off the engine. Ursula handed the map to Link, who gratefully took it and began to plan the route. Adriana, obviously tired, leaned back in her seat. Running her hand under the seat, she felt a piece of paper.
"What's this," she wondered out loud.
"Let me see," said Jessie.
Adriana pulled out a crumpled piece of white paper, unfolded it, and read the writing out loud.
"To the owner of this vehicle:
Due to the lack of time I have left on this earth, I know that I will never be able to fully test my project. I am getting on in the years and my grandson is sending me to a home. Unfortunately, I will not be able to work on the project any longer. But, I have finished to the best of my ability. I now leave this for the next owner of the vehicle. Here is how you should begin:
First, look under the cup holder next to the first seat. There you will find a lit up electronic devise that looks a bit like a calculator. Second, punch in the day, month, year, and place you would like to visit. Third, behind the rearview mirror is a red button. Push it. It will take you to where you want to go.
My years of research, sacrifice, and study has all come down to this. The only question is, will you make it all worth while?
"Mmmmhmm," Adriana said sarcastically, "Yea, this guy has some serious issues."
"Tell me about it," Ursula agreed.
"No wonder this guy was sent to a home, he was definitely a loony," Jessie said, laughing.
"Yea, sure," Adriana giggled as she executed the actions as she said them, "Like if I put in...Let's see...June 20th, 1967, Beachwood, Laurel Canyon, California..."
"What's that," Jessie asked.
"Oh," Adriana smiled, "just an address I heard on TV. It's fictional anyway."
"Are you sure you want to do this," Ursula warned. "Maybe the whole thing's gonna blow up or something."
"Nah," Adriana said, dismissing her, "this guy was nuts, I wanna know what the big deal is. Now what?"
"I think you're supposed to push that red button behind the rearview mirror," offered Link.
"Okay," Adriana said sarcastically as she pushed the red button. "Wow here we go, back in time!!"
Suddenly everything went black.
"What's going on," Jessie asked.
"I don't know," Ursula said, her voice shaking. "Link?"
"Well," he said, "either we're having a total eclipse, or this thing is actually working."
All around them lights were streaming by, but they felt no sensation of movement. The beams of color are blinding and the group had to cover their eyes as time flew by them.
Then, just as quickly as it started, everything stopped. Uncovering their eyes, they adjusted to the daylight that came in through the van's windows.
"Wow," Link whispered quietly, "that was like Star Wars!"
"Where's Yogi," Adriana said on cue.
They all turned and give Adriana "the look".
"Sorry. Yoda," she answered.
"Where are we," Ursula asked, looking out the window.
"Seems to be a beach," Link said, staring out of the large window on the side of the van.
"Should we get out," Ursula asked.
"You must be joking," Adriana said, her voice filled with excitement. "Don't you know where we are? But it doesn't make any sense. It's a fictional place."
"Why don't we let Link check it out first," Jessie suggested.
But it was too late. Adriana had already opened her door and stepped gingerly into the sand.
"I guess we'd better go to," Ursula sighed.
"This is really weird," Link said.
Ursula, Jessie, and Link got out of the van and walked over to where Adriana was standing, staring at something in the distance.
"Wow," Jessie said, "this beach is really beautiful!"
Ursula looked at Adriana, trying to figure out what has got her so entranced. "Umm, Adrian," Ursula began, "what exactly are you looking at?"
"I can't believe it," Adriana said as she lifted a hand and pointed down the sandy beach, "I just can't believe it."
"Believe what," Jessie asked as she looked in the direction that Adriana was pointing.
"It's them," Adriana said, tucking her hair behind her ears. "It must be 1967. But, they're only a TV show, what are they doing here? It wasn't real. But it is."
"Maybe you should go in the van and lay down for awhile," Link said, concerned.
"No," she said quickly, "they're coming towards us. How do I look?"
"Like you've seen a ghost," Jessie answered. "Maybe we should all go inside and figure this out."
"Yea," Ursula said, "you don't look too good at all."
"I'll be fine," Adriana said as she smoothed her hair behind her ears again and straightened her five-foot-nine figure to her fullest, trying to muster up some confidence, "I'm fine, just a little nervous, that's all."
From across the beach, four young men, all in their very early twenties, were making their way to where Adriana, Ursula, Jessie, and Link stood.
"Oh," Jessie said suddenly, "now I know I've seen those guys somewhere before."
The four young men came closer.
"Yea, me too," Ursula said, thoughtfully.
"Hmm," Link said, "bringing back frightful childhood memories. They're kinda spooky."
The color finally returned to Adriana's face as she began to laugh. "You bet they are," she whispered just loud enough for her friends to hear, since they were almost right in front of them. "You guys, it's the Monkees!"
The four guys finally stopped in front of the shocked time travelers. Micky Dolenz was standing in front of the group, wearing a pair of light blue shorts, and a white T-shirt. Standing next to him was Michael Nesmith. Mike wore a blue windbreaker outfit, with a white stripe on the side, and perched on top of his head was his characteristic green wool hat. Next to Mike was the terminally short Davy Jones. In his little red shorts and sky blue jacket, Davy began to size up the group in front of him. Lastly, there was Peter Tork. He had on an outfit similar to Mike's, but in red. His longish, light brown hair blew in the wind as his dark brown eyes curiously surveyed his surroundings.
"We were out playing volleyball and we saw your weird looking van park itself on the side of the dune," Micky said as he tossed the ball in his hands. "Do you guys need some help?"
Seeing that Adriana was a loss for words, Jessie bumped Adriana with her elbow to wake her up.
"Umm.." Adriana began, "No, that's alright. We just got lost a bit, and our van...our van is...our van is.."
"Our van is stalled," Link lied for her. "We think it might be the uh...transmission."
"Oh," Mike answered, "transmission? Micky can fix that for you. He's good with his hands."
"Yep," Micky agreed, "Monkee car mechanics at your service!"
Adriana couldn't help but laugh out loud.
"Speak for yourself," Davy said as he looked in Ursula's direction. His eyes suddenly became glassy and the sunlight reflected in them, causing a starry eyed effect as he starred at Ursula. She, in the meantime was obliviously watching Micky run around the van, "examining" it.
"Oh, great," Mike groaned when he noticed Davy's state, "Man, Peter, he's gone and done it again. Didn't I tell you to keep an eye on him?"
"He's gonna be the death of us yet," Micky said from underneath the van.
Mike's demanding voice startled Peter, he had been shyly looking at Adriana. "Hey, man," Peter answered, "I'm not the father figure around here, you are."
"Besides," Peter said as he waved a hand in front of Davy's face, "I think we've lost him."
Davy walked over to Ursula and took her hand. "Darling," he began, "you are a vision of beauty. The day we fall in love, there will be birds singing in the air..."
"CAW," Micky cackled as he stuck his head out from under the van.
"Ignore him, my dear, what is your name," Davy asked.
Ursula snatched her hand away from Davy and gave him a weird look. "My name is Ursula," she said. "And this is Adriana, Jessie, and Link," continued Ursula as she pointed out each of her friends, hoping to stop this strange boy from staring at her that way. He efforts were wasted, Davy hardly paid attention to the others.
Mike, however, with his gentlemanly Texas charm, greeted the group with kindness. "Nice to meet ya," he said, as he shook hands with them each. He then introduced Peter, Micky, Davy, and himself as members of a group called The Monkees.
"So," Peter asked boldly, looking pointedly at Adriana, "do you have any plans for tonight."
"Well...," Adriana began, "actually we were..."
"NO," Jessie inserted, "She...I mean, we have no plans."
Adriana then threw "the look" at Jessie. Adriana liked things to move slow, and although she felt like she already knew the Monkees, she didn't like the idea of making herself seem so, well, available. Jessie knew what she was doing, though. She knew how cautious Adriana was, and she also knew what a little fun could do to help her overcome the loneliness she knew her friend sometimes felt. Jessie smiled at her friend, assuring her that everything would be just fine.
"Well, we sure can't leave y'all out here like this. Why don't you come to our place and stay? It's kinda small but," said Mike as he smiled and put his arms around Peter and Davy's shoulders, "we like it."
Peter nodded in approval; Davy still starred at Ursula.
"Hey Mick," Mike called.
"Hey Mick," Mike called louder.
Still no answer.
"Miiiccckkkyyy," Mike yelled.
Micky had been standing behind Mike for the last few minutes. "WHAT," he yelled.
Mike jumped from surprise, "Don't do that. I thought you were still over there."
"Nope," Micky said, "I'm right here."
"I was just going to tell you that we're gonna take these fine folks up to our place," said Mike
"I know," Micky answered back.
"Well," Mike said, annoyed, "fine. Let's go. It's just up here a ways."
"My darling," Davy said as he bowed before Ursula, "after you."
Ursula rolled her eyes and crossed to the other side of Link, trying to get away from the short nuisance as they began the short walk up to the Pad. She did think Davy was cute, but in a little boy kind of way. Ursula liked guys who were more sincere, not the "new girl every week" type that she could tell Davy was.
"That's it over there," Peter said, pointing to a ramshackle beach house as he walked next to Adriana.
"I know," Adriana said, as she looked into Peter's dark eyes. "I mean...that must be it then," she stammered. Peter looked at her curiously.
When they arrived at the house, Mike opened the door and invited them all inside. Adriana was speechless. Everything was as she thought it would be. The huge picture windows, the long table with Schnider the Dummy sitting at the end, the winding staircase, the sign "In Case Of Fire---Run" posted next to the door, and of course the makeshift stage with all of the Monkees' instruments, were all in their places.
"Wow," she sighed, taking in the scenery.
"Hmm," Micky joked, "nobody's ever said that walking into this house before."
"Well," Mike said, clapping his hands together, "make yourselves at home. We've got a gig at the tonight, but it's not until 6:00, so we've got a few hours to kill."
Jessie and Link had already made their way over to where the Monkees kept their collection of books and began to sort through the titles. Ursula sat in a wooden chair at the table, looking oddly at Schnider, hoping to stay as far away from Davy as possible. Adriana just stood there in awe, half-listening to Mike.
"So," he said, "if you'll excuse us for a moment."
Mike pulled the guys into the kitchen and began to conduct a conversation in low whispers.
"Man," Micky started, "these people seem kinda strange."
"You should talk," Davy retorted.
"All accept Adriana," Peter said wistfully.
"And Ursula," Davy said as his eyes began to glaze over, "there's something about that name. Makes me wanna sing..."
"Hold it right there shotgun," Mike warned, placing a hand over Davy's mouth. "Look, I don't mind extending some hospitality, but we gotta find out exactly who these people are."
"Well," Davy said, "they're definitely not from this area. England? Maybe. Here? No."
"Should we take them to the gig tonight," Micky asked.
"Yea," Peter said excitedly.
"I don't know man," Mike answered apprehensively. "They're gonna look kinda out of place. I guess Link could borrow some of my clothes, but what about the rest of them?"
"Hmm," Micky thought, "Adriana is dressed normal, she's got bellbottoms on, but we don't have any girls' clothes."
"What are we going to do then," Peter asked.
"I know exactly what we need," Micky said. "We need a bright idea!"
"Where are we going to get that," asked Peter.
"Don't worry, man," Micky waved him away, "I'll just go talk to the writers."
"Wait a minute," Mike said as he grabbed Micky's collar before he walked off, "Why do you always say that? We don't have any writers."
"Oh," said Micky matter-of-factly, "it was worth a try."
"I guess the girls could wear some of our old stuff. You can't really tell what's girls' clothes and boys' clothes these days anyway."
Later that same night the eight made their way to the Vincent Van Go Go where the Monkees were scheduled to play. Adriana was again in awe of the place. People were dancing everywhere. Circular tables and chairs outlined the dance floor and many colored pillows were tossed abstractly around the room.
Her friends were, in fact, were not as in awe as she was. Ursula was dressed in a pair of dark blue bellbottoms and a paisley print, button down shirt. The guys had Link throw on a pair of brown, straight-legged corduroys with a yellow vest shirt, while Jessie wore a pair of white bell-bottoms and a red dress shirt. Adriana, in the meantime, wore what she had from the beginning, her light blue pheasant shirt that tied in the front and her favorite pair of worn bell-bottoms. Everything was the same, except the string of love beads Peter gave to her to wear before they left the Pad.
"What's the matter," Adriana asked her friends. "You guys look great."
They all, in turn, gave Adriana "the look".
"Besides", said Adriana a bit sad, "Micky is going to finish the van tomorrow and we'll be out of here."
"How can he finish the car tomorrow," asked Link, "there really isn't anything wrong with it."
"I know," said Adriana, "but it was the only reason you could think of to explain why we're here. Besides, Micky doesn't know a transmission from a tire. We'll be out of here tomorrow, I promise."
Adriana looked up at the stage as the Monkees began to play the first chords to "You Don't Know Me". Peter looked up from his bass guitar long enough to smile that characteristic dimpled smile that Adriana had always admired. She didn't just like that smile because it made more appealing in the looks department; she loved his smile because it made her forget about her own worries and problems. It was the kind of smile that lit up a room. But, this time, it wasn't at the camera; directed to some nameless soul, this time the smile was starring right at her.
"Or maybe I'll stay," Adriana mused out loud.
"Adrian, you can't stay," protested Jessie. "This isn't real."
"I know," she sighed as she came back to reality, breaking herself away from that smile. "But isn't it me?"
"Yes," Jessie said softly, "but it's not real, Adrian, and it's not us."
"Alright," said Adriana, regretfully, "I won't stay. But, let's enjoy ourselves while we're here."
"You Don't Know Me" ended and "Pleasant Valley Sunday" began. Jessie and Link danced around, reminding Adriana of Homecoming '98. She chuckled to herself as she saw other couples beginning to imitate her friends. Ursula struck up a conversation with a group of people at a nearby table, and Adriana sat near the stage, drinking in every sight and sound. More than once that night did that dimpled smile find her again. And more than once she found herself feeling more alone, know that it would soon be over.
"Hey, thanks everybody," answered Mike to a roaring applause when their set was over. "We're gonna play a new song we've been working on for a bit now. It's called "Early Morning Blues and Greens", and we'd like to dedicate it to some new friends we've made today."
The opening bass chords to one of Adriana's favorite songs began. She sat back and enjoyed the song that often spoke of her own life.
All in all the night was wonderful. The Monkees finished their set and the eight new friends went out to eat. Afterwards, they all went back to the Pad and talked late into the night.
Early the next morning, Adriana was wakened by the sounds of Mike and Peter rustling about in the kitchen. She then looked over on the other side of the living room floor and had to stop herself from bursting out laughing. Ursula was about to be awakened by Davy who was next to her on the floor, glassy eyed, starring at her. Ursula stretched her arms above her head and yawned, she opened her eyes and discovered that the face that was over her was Davy. She screamed.
"Darling," said Davy, "I trust you slept well. The day we fall in love, the wind will be blowing through your hair.."
"Get away from me you brat," yelled Ursula, unhappy to be woken by the girl crazy David Jones.
Davy sadly got up and sauntered into the kitchen.
"Oh, ho," Mike chuckled, "she sure told you Davy, baby."
"Don't worry Davy," Peter said, patting him on the head, "it will be another girl next week."
"HE'S GONNA BE THE DEATH OF US YET," resounded from Micky in the garage where he is "working" on the van.
"Come on guys," pleaded Davy. "This time was different. She made me a believer."
"Sounds like a good song," said Peter.
"Whatever," Davy said sadly.
"Come on and get your breakfast," Mike announced to the others.
Adriana walked into the kitchen to see plates of pancakes and fruit salad.
"I had no idea you could cook, Mike," Adriana said.
"Neither did he," Peter answered.
After a humorous breakfast, Micky came back inside and announced, "Well, ladies and germs, I've done it again. Your van is served." He handed the keys to Adriana and bowed.
"Um, thanks for the corduroys," Link said to Mike as the eight stood outside in front of the van, saying their good-byes.
"No problem, friend," said Mike, shaking Link's hand. "You need them more than I do."
"Thanks," Link said, "I think."
"My dearest Ursula," Davy began, "I regret that it did not work out between us, but, my darling, I will never forget you." Davy took Ursula's hand and tired to kiss it.
"Don't even think about it shorty," Ursula warned.
"Oh, Mike" said Davy, grabbing his side, "she hurt me." Davy puts a hand on his heart. "She got me in the kidney."
"Oh, Davy," Mike said with mock-sadness.
"Micky, thanks so much for the painting," said Jessie. "It's really, ummm, interesting."
"Well," Micky started, "you said you were into art, and so am I."
"So, what exactly do you call it," she asked as she examined the picture, which was a swirling mass of colors.
Jessie, Link, and Ursula had all boarded the van as Adriana stood outside, looking at the waves lapping the shore, prolonging the good-byes that she did not want to say. Inside the van, Link began to set the date for home, while Ursula and Jessie made themselves comfortable for the journey.
Adriana finally turned to see the Monkees standing in a line before her.
"Well, Davy," Adriana began, "it's been really...great." She had to slightly bend over to shake his hand. Davy didn't pay much attention to Adriana's goodbye, he just starred at the van.
"My only love has gone away," Davy said dramatically, "my sorrow is never-ending. My oh, my how sad am I..."
Adriana left Davy to ramble on to himself and moved on to Mike.
"Mike," she started, "you've been so kind to us."
"No problem," Mike said. "Be careful out there."
Adriana laughed. "You always act so wise. Any advice for us in the future," she asked smiling up at him.
"Let's see," Mike pondered. "Work hard, play hard, get plenty of roughage in your diet. It is better to have a brave life than a cowardly death..."
"Over here kid," Micky said, nudging Adriana with his elbow.
Adriana left Mike pondering and stepped over to Micky.
"You have been such a big help, Micky," said Adriana.
"Hey, don't mention it," Micky said, shrugging.
"Ok, well...," Adriana said.
"Oh, go ahead," Micky prompted, "tell me how great I was."
Adriana laughed at Micky's false arrogance. "You are great, Micky. You always made me laugh." She then impulsively hugged Micky. It puzzled him, but he accepted it gratefully.
Finally Adriana stepped in front of Peter.
"Oh, Scarecrow! I think I'll miss you most of all," Micky joked beside them, causing Peter and Adriana to laugh despite the regretful goodbye they knew they would have to endure.
"You have an interesting van," Peter remarked, breaking the silence that had occurred since Micky's comment.
"You think so," asked Adriana.
"I've never been in one like that before," Peter said.
"Why don't you just ask her if you can sit in it," suggested Mike, impatiently.
"I was just going to, Michael," said Peter, throwing Mike "the look".
Adriana turned to look at her friends in the van. Link seemed to be done with the date setting, Ursula had moved to the large seat in the very back of the van to stretch out and rest, everything seemed okay.
"I guess it's alright," she said, turning back to Peter.
"Can we leave soon," asked Ursula from inside the van. "Davy keeps coming to my window and trying to sing to me." Davy had been crooning "Girl, Look What You've Done To Me" to a very annoyed Ursula.
After waving to Micky and Mike, Adriana and Peter both got into the van.
"Wow," said Peter from the passenger seat, "this is really nice. All these features." He then casually moved to adjust the rearview mirror.
"What does this button do," he asked.
"PETER," they group in the van yelled "NO!"
But, it was too late, the button had been pushed.