SOMETHING EXACTLY LIKE THIS…
Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” My name is Jack Dean Maddoxx, and this is the journal of my life I’ve kept for the private Maddoxx family records. I was born in Seattle, Washington with a sizable silver spoon in my mouth. Unlike many brothers, Dad and my Uncle Ron have been inseparable since birth a year apart, preferring each other’s company than the friends they met early in life due to their higher intelligence. Growing up, for fun they would take all the appliances around the house apart, they could get their mitts on just to see how they worked. Their parents were ecstatic when they finally learned how to put them back together when they finished playing with them. One of the most challenging things to do is find your niche in life.
For them, they knew exactly what they wanted to do early on, and that was learning how things worked, then improvements them. With one year apart in age and sharing 210+ IQ, they were still grounded with caring hearts. Along with their three childhood buddies whom they met in junior high and who were packing almost as many marbles in their buckets. Dr. Eugene Golden, Dr. Sid Kibler, and Dr. Kelly Bain, who I have grown up knowing them as my loving Uncles. At the ages of sixteen together they started their first company called INLAB, named after where they spend most their time. Together they repaired and upgraded medical diagnostic imaging equipment like X-Ray, CT, MRI, and Fluoroscope machines eventually making enough to start their own line of diagnostic equipment.
Their new line of equipment was more advanced, faster, and less expensive than the competition, which leads them to an early fortune. With most the money they made from their new line of diagnostic equipment it was an easy decision to invest in their fellow Seattle nerd’s project two blocks down the street. A group of friends who called their company in their garage Microsoft. With this investment, the five made their real money. When I say, I was born into an exceedingly bright family with the three Uncles included. With an IQ of one hundred and twenty-seven and an (Eidetic) photographic memory, I am the dummy of the family with my cousin Jesse having an IQ slightly higher than all the others, making him the top dog on the Brainiac totem pole leaving me on the bottom holding it up.
I’ve never kept a journal so writing in this format should be interesting. One can be sure at least with my memory, the events, and conversations will be right on the money. The only writing I’ve done is for songs or poems so this will be something new and we will have to see where this goes. Everyone one in the family speaks with heavy Western accents, including my three brilliant knuckleheads for Uncles. Growing up among the minds of their caliber was no mental walk in the park for me with most dinner conversations flying over my head more often than not. I was usually left to my daydreams of playing Bass guitar and becoming a rock star someday. After jumping two grades in High School and graduating at fifteen, I joined a friend’s band who was getting ready to go out on tour when tragedy hit and their Bass player, my friend, was disabled in a motorcycle accident.
I was a shoo-in since I had jammed with them for years and knew all their tunes. With the blessing of my disabled friend, I got my break and joined the band. My family backed my Rock-and-roll fantasy in every way they could. With a fake ID saying I was eighteen, we were off to take on the world, one stage at a time. I felt on top of the world traveling around the world in a private jet my Dad provided, playing in every venue that would book us in different countries. As good things sometimes do, my world crashed and burned around me when I developed a nasty heroin addiction.
After the junk had leached my body of my health and nearly my soul, I sat in the corner of a hotel room with my Dad’s Colt 45 resting on my temple. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t muster the strength to squeeze its hair-trigger. I couldn’t get the image of my cousin Jesse’s face out of my mind, nor the thoughts of what my action would put him through. It was too much for me to deal with so I laid the revolver on the floor and started praying as I had never prayed before for help in finding my way out of this noose I had so willingly placed around my neck. With the support of my family, I checked into rehab and found my miracle for the most part.
After detoxing off the drug, we found I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. I hadn’t felt the pain from it due to the high doses of painkilling opium in my system at all times. Even though I had no wish to go back doing the amounts of the drug I use to do, I still had to kill the pain now and then with Vicodin when an RA attack became too much to handle. Leaving me not wholly free from it, always having to keep aware of what, and how much I did so as not to get back in the mess I was trying so hard to get out of. In the year two thousand, the entire group of us decided to move to California for the warm weather and access to facilities and illegal materials only found in the old deep dark industrial areas of downtown LA. They found the perfect spot of land to build our new home to plant our roots. Located between the Hurst Castle and Santa Barbara off the Ventura 101 freeway, we bought five hundred acres of paradise on top of the steep slopes overlooking the sea.
When the group got together to design the house, of course, it wasn’t going to be just any run of the mill mansion, that just wouldn’t be their style. With the Hearst Castle up the street sparking inspiration and money not being a problem, they decided to build a Castle of their own design along the ridge with a spectacular view of the coast. Upon completion in 2007, the family moved in and named it Castle Venus, after the Greek Goddess of Love. Not quite the size of our neighbors the Hurst’s, none the less it was a Castle we called home. Whenever we went on family outings, we prefer to watch or take part in some type of a motor or sailing race.
Not caring the size of motors or type of boats in the competitions, all that mattered to us was there was a race to watch, or participate in. Our other fascination in life was feeding our passions for the museums and the old Castles of Europe. For our nerdy family, this was the equivalent of going to Disneyland. Jesse and I relished the times we spend together venturing through the never-ending numbers of Castles, Estates museums, and cultural centers exploring and listening to the famous stories and folklore told about each. The stories we liked best were the spooky ones that always inspire and vitalized our imagination, giving me more in my toolbox for writing. As I pulled into the auto court, standing in the driveway in his grease and grime covered bib overalls was Uncle Ron.
Rolling down the window, I yelled, “Hey you old bastard, get your rotting sea carcass the hell out of my way so I can park.”
With a big grin, he showed me the back of his middle finger. The family’s sport of choice is racing, racing of any kind, especially when there are motors evolved. The boys have collected, and restoring autos way before I was a gleam in my Dad’s eye. Not having much time to get their hands dirty with their rides due to their latest project they have been diligently working on, they have certain shops restore their new toys, and keep the old ones in working condition always adding to the collection. They share the collection of rides with a policy of if there’s not a note on it with someone’s plans for the vehicle, it’s up for grabs. Walking to the back entrance of the Castle, we pulled out a couple of Segway’s from their compartments
Uncle Ron said, “I’ll change, and meet you in the living room.
I asked, “Where’s Jesse?”
“In the pool with some friends. Everyone has taken off for the weekend and won’t be back until Monday, we have the Castle all to ourselves, how’s that grab you?”
“Cool, can we have a slumber party, cook popcorn, and tell ghost stories in front of the fireplace?”
“Only if you put on your pink tutu, and promise to behave yourself.”
“The pink tutu for sure, but can’t promise how I’ll act.”
As usual, I went down the corridors of the Castle pushing the Segway like a skateboard so as not dare knock over any of the valuable pieces along the way, but with Burgers in hand, it does try my patients not to speed down the corridors to the Living-room. Pictures, paintings, and priceless artifacts of our Welsh ancestors line the walls who are traceable as far back to the early Seventeen-Hundreds. When it comes to the architecture of the old Castles the family has a particular taste for the style of the old Sixteenth - Century. You know, the ones you see in the scary films where monsters, and vampires dwell.
I walked over to the sofa with the aid of my dragon’s head cane Jesse had brought me when I was in rehab. After the junk wore off, and I was able to feel my body without the mask of the poppy, I went into my first real arthritic attack that curled my legs up into the fetal position in raging pain. What scared me the most was not knowing what the cause was, as did the Doctors at first. With my body now in touch with its self, a Rheumatologist diagnosed me with RH, and Gout, and started me on the proper medication to get me out of the wheelchair, and back on the right road. Planting my butt on the couch, I placed the burgers and fries on a silver platter Uncle Ron had set on the Chippendale coffee table in preparation for the burger feast. The living room is oval-shaped, and could easily fit a semi-tractor within its walls.
Half the oval room is facing the ocean, and encased in the twenty-foot high glass windows, giving an unobstructed view of the sea and beach below, with elevators on both sides of the room providing access to the swimming pool below. The pool designers started with a massive metal and wire mesh structure covered with tons of cement and huge rocks. Then built a cool water slide that wound around the volcano-shaped structure until it dropped you into the pool.
As I started on my burger, I walked onto the balcony to have a look-see who Jesse’s friends were since he didn’t have any friends his age. They were the Kringen twins that stopped by to work on their full body tan’s. Dawn and Deborah Kringen, a couple of identical blond sisters who father time consistently overlooks. Brilliant minds who the elders, trust to outsource their most technical parts of their projects. Two of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Even before I was born the family has been nudists, therefore the only life Jesse and I have ever known, a subject we found early on best not discussed in mixed company.
I said, Hey to the girls, and told Jesse, “Your burgers on the table, and if you don’t get to it before I finish mine, yours is next on my menu.”
It bust me up watching my coming of age twelve-year-old cousin tore between the beautiful women, and his cheeseburger. Not knowing for sure if I was bluffing, he found it not worth the risk, and bid farewell to the women. Out of the elevator, Jesse came running, sniffing the air like a bloodhound for his dinner. When he saw the plentiful pile of burgers on the platter with loads of fries,
he said: “You bastard.”
Uncle Ron found his way to the living room then inhaling his dinner. Then asked between mouthfuls of burgers and fries if I wanted to take the twenty-five-cent tour of the lab. I’d been away so long, things have changed?”
I said, “That’s what I hear, but we better get moving before the burgers settle in and tether us to the couch.”
I asking Jesse if he was coming?
He said: “I’ve seen the tour, still waiting for my refund, you guys go ahead.”
During my absence, they’ve kept adding on to the Castle like it was the Winchester Mystery House with the complex a third larger. We jumped on the Segway’s and skateboarded down the hallways slowly until out in the auto court, then the race was on. We battled each other down the path, trying to knock each other off the Segway’s to take the checker with both arriving at the same time but both boasted each had won.
Uncle Ron said, “With some of the elements we have been working with, we needed a place to be shielded from any, and all outside interference. To carry out this, we had to build the laboratory, seventy feet underground. We figured fifty feet would do, but since we were at it, we thought there might be advantages in going a little deeper.
“Why do I feel my chain is being yanked.”
Not in the least, you will see for yourself young tadpole.”
Walking over to the back of the old lab there were three lifts. One was massive enough for moving the size of a tank up and down. The second was a regular elevator, and the third was of special design. Built, and installed by some of the guys who design and make amusement rides for the larger parks around LA. To take this elevator we needed to strap into a full harness, and brace ourselves for the seventy-foot-long drop down into the earth at speeds exceeding free fall if we wanted.
I asked, “How fast have you dropped down the hole so far?”
“Only as far as free fall.”
“You know what we have to do then?”
Looking at me with his race face, Uncle Ron said, “Set a record, I suppose, is what you’re getting at?”
“What do you think about 10 miles an hour over free fall and see what happens.”
“I would say you’re nuts as usual, how about seven over free fall first and see what happens.”
Resetting the machine to the new speed, Uncle Ron then reached over and smacked the big yellow button sending us rocketing down into the abyss with our lights almost flickering out before coming to a smooth stop in the lab. Once at the bottom we felt like dispensing our meals in all directions with what felt like part of our lungs as well. We managed out of the harnesses and I thanked my lucky stars he had the sense not to push things any further. Taking a step forward, then we both sat on the cold cement floor, hoping not to blow chunks and to gain some composure.
Once we could get up, my fellow adrenaline Junkie, and I headed for the break room for our mutually favorite drink, an ice-cold orange soda to try and settle the stomachs. Once we wrangle up a few scruples to put them into some kind of order, the laughter started in as we joked about the experience, then earnestly vowed never ever to do that again. Even deciding to taking some gears out to prevent anyone else from getting stupid as we. Despite the growing headaches, we started the twenty-five-cent tour by walking into the basketball-sized court of the lab.
It looked at first that someone went shopping at Dr. Frankenstein’s garage sale and bought the entire stock.
I said, “All you need now is a few Tesla coils firing off for ambiance and you’ll have the whole mad scientist thing down packed.”
In the middle of the court was their pride and joy. A twelve-foot in diameter metallic sphere resting on four crosswise rollers cover entirely with sensors looking like a giant metallic dimpled golf ball resting on its tee. In the back of the Ball was the metal cage that protected the five control stations in case the Ball ever got loose I assumed.
I said, “My you Geritol Jockeys have been busy.”
“You have no idea, yet.”
We walked around to the Ball where there was a hatch in which Uncle Ron opened and pulled out a stainless-steel metal box placing it on the table behind us. Opening the box there was a small freshly cut chunk of wood inside.
Uncle Ron asked, “Take your keys off your leather stripped key chain, and place it in the box if you would be so kind.”
Reluctantly, I did so and put it long side the chunk of wood in the box. Setting it back into the Ball, he secured the hatch. Once within the control station, Uncle Ron started flipping switches like he was conducting a symphony on the console.
In the back of the lab was the power plant for their work that turned on with a heart dropping ominous hum that ticked parts of me I didn’t know what to think about.
Reaching over to the fridge Uncle Ron pulled a couple more sodas, saying “The old man has to warm up.”
“Hey, that’s right, I never heard what you guys finally named the project.”
“Well my boy after what I’m about to show you, you’ll see why we named him Merlin. One major factor in the project was when our friend, Geologist Dr. David Silison discovered crystals in an Amazon cavern a quarter a mile below the surface. What’s unique about these shiny jewels is that they have zero visible impurities under a microscope, making them the most transparent matter found on earth so far. We made our focusing lenses for the machine out of these crystals significantly reducing scatter, producing the most detailed studies ever done before.”
After flipping a couple more switches and checking a gauge or two, he went on saying, “The machine not only works with the usual line up of radiation wavelengths, but we experimented with a few of the nastier frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum. As we experimented with the many combinations of the machine, we had results surpassing everyone’s expectations. While farting around with it, we ran across a combination that could seriously change the world as we know it.”
Uncle Ron turned towards the control panel before I could reply turning off every light in the lab, saying, “We use Maglev technology like the super trains use to lift the ball off its rollers six inches, then spin it.”
“How fast does it rotate?”
Looking at me with a big grin, he said, “You know, we have no idea.”
“I’m not kidding, we’ve tried everything we could think of but couldn’t get a number on it, spins too damn fast. If you come up with any ideas, we would love to hear it.”
In a few seconds, Uncle Ron hit the yellow smiley face button setting everything in motion. Turning in our seats, we watched as the hydraulic rollers lifted the Ball into the air, then using Maglev, it then raised the Ball six inches off the rollers with the Ball floating in the air with no visible means of support as it started rotating. In less than ten seconds it changed from a single tone of gray into a glowing globe. The sphere picked up momentum with an ear-splitting noise started emanating from it. I look at Uncle Ron wide-eyed as he grinned giving me the thumbs up indicating things were cool. As the speed of the Ball increased, so did the brightness. In a split-second all the noise was sucked out of the lab, seemingly into the ball leaving not only the room silent, not able to hear the sound of each other’s voices.
Uncle Ron sat in his chair laughing his butt off at me saying something, but I wasn’t able to hear a single word he uttered. The goggles he handed me seemed useless when the Ball shimmered, then melted into what looked like a molten ball of metal floating in the air but reflecting more like Molten Chrome. Within five minutes the machine was finished and began shutting itself down, bringing the Ball back to its resting place on the rollers.
Uncle Ron said, “Hold your questions until after the demonstration pleases.”
We walk back over to the Ball, and retrieved a stainless-steel box from within it and placed it on the table with now major patina covering it.
I asked, “Is this is the same box?”
He nodded; then opened the cover to reveal the once fresh-cut chunk of wood had crumbled with my leather stripped key chain looking more like a petrified piece of beef jerky. At this time my mind started twisting, and turning like a sack of snakes trying to make sense of what I was witnessing, and what Uncle Ron was trying to show and tell me.
Uncle Ron asked, “What do you know about carbon dating?”
“Only that it’s a way of finding out the age of a once living plant or creature.”
“True, it’s a measurement of the radioactive emissions from once-living matter by comparing its activity to the equilibrium with the atmosphere.”
I had to stop him to gain some perspective of what he was leading to, “Hold your ponies, are you trying to tell me you guys invented an actual working time machine?”
Uncle Ron smiled, and said, “Well, it would be more accurate to say we stumbled across it by accident.”
“Well, does it travel to different periods of time?”
“We kept trying, but so far it’s only a one-way ticket to the year 1721, where ever the machine is stationed during its operation.”
Finally, sinking in that my dear Uncle hadn’t gone completely over the deep end, I was filled with a plethora of questions.
“Have you sent any guinea pigs through it?”
“Yes, with different animals all concluding they arrived safe and lived full lives. What you say we take the regular elevator to find a place on the couch to continue our conversation?”
It was a tad much info to digest. On the ride back to the auto court the air was crisp, with chilled winds reviving me a little, allowing my head to fill with even more questions while on our way to the oval room,
Uncle Ron said, “Go have a seat, and I’ll bring us some ice cream. One scoop or two?”
“How I’m feeling, better make it a double Sam.”
In the family room, I flopped on the couch to find Jesse asleep on the floor tranquilized by his full stomach of burgers and fries with the TV watching him.
When Uncle Ron returned, I asked, “How long have you guys experimented with this new function of the machine?”
“About a year and a half.”
“Is the government in on it?”
“Not a chance, could you imagine?”
“Have you guys been devising a mission of any kind for someone to take a trip in the Ball?”
He said, “We’ve been tossing around a few ideas, but am finding the person with all the right attributes is proving more challenging than expected.”
With my eyes popping out of my head, I asked, “You’re not here to talk me into becoming your time traveling guinea pig, are you?”
Laughing, Uncle Ron, said, “No you goof, the family just thought it best only one of us feel you in on our Shenanigans then let it sink in over the weekend.”
“Gee, only the weekend?”
“We don’t know what your plans are, whether or not you’re planning on going back on the road.”
“No, I’m afraid that part of my life is over. I’ve lived out my rock and roll fantasy, now I’m looking forward to a career change with less self-harm involved.”
“That’s music to my ears. Just throwing it out there, we sure could use you, and your talents in working on the project. With your natural mechanical mind along with your Eidetic memory, you can hold everything together in your head, visualizing entire projects with such detail. Your ability to work out most the bugs in your head before ever putting a pen to paper is amazing. We’re not just throwing the Junkie a bone, we really could use your help”
“Tell you what old-timing-man; I’ll join your band of neurologically impaired merry misfits on one condition. That you throw in the bone also.”
With a Welsh accent, the forty-five-year-old fart said: “Now that’s me boy.”
I asked another one on my long list of questions, “What do you think about the butterfly theory, that if you do anything to disturb the past, it will send the world to hell in a handbag?”
With a smile, Uncle Ron said: “We don’t subscribe to that line of thought, we believe that with the right moves, and not too many of them, the world could benefit immensely.”
“I see you guys haven’t given it any real thought, it’s OK, feebleness is part of life in people your ages.”
Uncle Ron could see he had fed my head to the brim, and it was time to let me simmer.
I said, “I’m going to my room now to get to work redesigning the RV for the new project. I hope you’re happy with yourself for starting my creative juices flowing once again, you Bastard Man.”
“Hey, don’t get any of those creative juices of yours on the carpet, your Mom will tan my hide.”
Knowing sleep was not an option that night with all the excitement, I also could feel a nasty arthritic attack coming on slow, but steadily invading my knees this time. Knowing it might be a harsh one, I prepared myself for the worse with all the over the counter pain relievers, then brought out the big guns to have them ready, just-in-case.