Oh so carefully, Tommy connected the wire leading from the capacitor array to the copper cap topping the quartz crystal. His mouth stood slightly agape when, with his utmost focus, he soldered the lead that would enable piezo modulated resonance. He knew he should start on his homework; it was three pages of handwriting practice and some of the times tables. The nines, he thought. He wanted to do the work and make his parents proud. But third grade was so boring!

Tommy stepped back and gauged the apparatus. Now this meant something. Maybe not today...maybe not even this week...but someday he could travel through time. See the dinosaurs. Spend more time with his brother before he died of cancer. If only mom and dad knew what he was doing in the garage with all of those college physics books. But he was afraid to tell them.

The air seemed to warp and ripple in the garage and a hole opened up of piercing magenta light with a deep blue aura. A tingling wave passed through Tommy's shivering body. The light faded and where it was now stood a pod of white metal, smaller than a car but taller.

The pod opened, a hiss marking the pressure differential seeking to balance itself out. From an apeture stepped three people, two men and a girl. They looked young, barely adults, with strange eyes and faces matching no race, with a lanky build. Their clothes looked silver at first, but a closer look revealed they were a prismatic blending of the spectrum of colors.

"Thomas Bills?" asked the man in the center. Tommy was so taken aback that he could only manage a nod.

The man continued, "It is recorded on this day -"

"- oh great day!" the woman interjected as the man continued to speak.

"- that you activated the first time machine, as so you wrought with hand and mind," the man said, "Ushering humanity into a new age of light. We have come from your distant future to see the unfolding of the thing. Thomas Bills?"

Tommy was too shocked to speak. Even nodding his head in response took every wit of his concentration.

"I beseech you," said the man in the middle, bowing before kneeling and taking Tommy's hand. With deadly clarity he spoke, "Will you activate your machine for us and for all humankind?"

Tommy went the control panel he built, a tangle of wires streaming from a Fischer-Price toy. He took a deep breath, closing his eyes. Tommy shook with nervousness as he turned the dial which, by his calculations, should trigger a jump sideways in time.

A spuuttering sound was heard, strangely mechanical, followed by a hum, steady for a moment, then dropping frequency and fading out to nothing.

For a few seconds, all was still. Then, as if against great impediment, the time travelers bent double with laughter. Loud howling laughter burst forth from the three like lunatics. Tommy stood amazed.

After several rounds of the joke fading out only to lead to greater chuckles in recollection, the interlopers could again speak without bursting out laughing.

"Did you really think putting a bunch of quartz and metallic waveguides together would magically result in time travel?" sneered the middle guy.

"He's so cute!" laughed the girl, "Its too bad I can't keep it for my virtual habitat."

As the other guy rolled on the ground, the man in the middle whispered something in the girl's ear. She shook her head in evident disgust.

The three reentered the pod, their dialect falling out of English into something unintelligible. As the last man, who had yet to speak, entered the pod, he uttered the last words Tommy would understand from them, "Yeah, like a human had invented the time machine."

The door closed and the pod vanished as suddenly as it had came. Dumfounded, Tommy stood and stared as the mess of wires, toys, and junk that had become his life. He stood there awhile. Then he went inside to write his times tables.