“Good afternoon, Nick. It looks like you are working on one of your inventions.”

“Good afternoon, Sam, and call me Nikolai, as I am not an American yet,” the man said to his guest as he disembarked from the inside of a metallic sphere.

“Okay, Nikolai,” his guest replied. “Is this thing related to the problem of keeping the current going for long distances?”

“Oh, yes, and to my friends from other places. It’s been quite a little adventure I have having. Come, let us go have lunch, for I have a favor to ask of you,” the man called Nikolai said.

“You know, sometimes I wonder sometimes which one of us is the writer who puts his dreamworlds to pen and paper and which one of us is the down-to-earth inventor and scientist, but I am always glad to do a favor. So let’s eat and talk about it.”

As they finished dining, Nikolai told Sam his story and he finished with, “I hope you find a trusted friend who doesn’t know me to give the envelope to Herr Drumpf, as I don’t want any personal connection to the affair at this juncture. If you deliver it, people still know we are friends.”

“Well, I can’t say I believe your story,” Sam replied.

“It’s better if you don’t,” Nikolai said.

“I’ll tell you what, though, I know this other writer who could certainly use your tales to generate some inspiration. I will give it to him to give to the barber,” Sam said.

“Thank you,” Nikolai replied.


“Good afternoon, sir. How can I be of service?” the young barber said to the bearded man who entered his shop.

“And good afternoon to you, good fellow. I am Ingersoll Lockwood, Esq. I would like to have my beard trimmed today. It is making me feel like Bearskin.”

“Well, right this way, my good man,” the barber said as he winced a bit. There seemed something eerie in the customer’s mention of a story from his homeland that he only wanted to forget and his glib assumption he would know the tale. He led the lawyer to the barber chair, put an apron on him, and began to ply his trade.

“I apologize for my slow pace, Mr. Lockwood,” the barber said. “This light is dim as we are a distance of more than five miles from Pearl Street. The running current gets tired as if it’s a horse galloping that far, but don’t worry, just be patient, for my skills are just as proficient under the light of the sun, but I often need to take a second look.”

“I have the utmost confidence in you, Mr. Drumpf,” said the customer.

The barber’s heart quickened. He did not give the customer his name and certainly not that name. “Sir, my name is Trump; Frederick Trump,” he said as he continued to shave.

“I know what you call yourself,” the customer replied. “And I know from whence you came and whom you once were.” The barber continued to shave. “I know you won’t cut my throat. You’re a better man than that. Even though I am a lawyer, I assure you this has nothing to do with your, shall we say, irregularities in your naturalization, Herr Drumpf.”

With nerves of steel, the barber continued to shave as he said, “Well, it appears you have an advantage over me, as you know much about my past which I want to escape and I know nothing about yours. To what end are you going to press it?”

“Like most people, you think all lawyers are out for blood and I suppose that prejudice is justified, but I only want to give you something to give to your son, not your firstborn,” he said.

“I have neither sons nor daughters and I am not even married,” replied the barber, who began to surmise his customer was mad.

“You will,” the lawyer replied as the barber finished shaving.

The barber than held a mirror up to his customer and said, “How do you like it?”

“Excellent work,” he replied. “Here is the document you must give to your son,” he said as he handed him an envelope.

With a quizzical look on his face, he put the envelope in his pocket and asked this strange man, “How did you come to know this, if I may ask?”

“You would not believe me if I told you,” he replied. “In addition to being a lawyer, I am also a writer. What I have discovered could scarcely be believed in fiction, much less in fact, but it did give me enough ideas to write plenty of stories. I will give you one hint: it has something to do with your lighting problem.”

The enigmatic gentleman then left.

Frederick Trump looked at the strange envelope. He identified the color as yellow, but that was the closest thing he knew that corresponded to this hue such as he had never seen. The paper was not like the wood pulp paper of modern times, nor was it quite like the vellum of old, but something that seemed to have elements of both at once in a manner he could not articulate. He looked at the seal which seemed as quicksilver but motionless. It had a design in the shape of the old Indian symbol for good luck.

He broke it. In the envelope was a drawing made with the same sort of paper. There was a drawing of something he did not recognize but thought it might have resembled a horseless carriage without wheels, but he knew that didn’t make sense. At any rate, just like everything else about this situation, it was a mystery. Written under it were what looked like mathematical equations of which he had never studied and could not begin to understand. Even the printing was mysterious. Nothing was like it in a way he could not describe. He returned the paper to the envelope and resealed it. The seal adhered perfectly as if it had never been opened. Marveling at that, he put it in his drawer.


“Where is it?” a female voice screamed that seemed vaguely Eastern European.

FBI Agent Paul Stanton found himself faced down and completely restrained. There was no light, save a red glow in front of his face. His arms were attached to what felt like a metal rod by what he surmised were the plastic ties sometimes used in his profession to restrain suspects. His head was fixed looking forward at the glowing red light; he could not move it. He was in a device that reminded him of a cervical restraint which he had seen back in his days as a medic in Afghanistan about 20 years ago, but it was something else. He could feel the screws in his cheeks and forehead. This made it painful to even try to turn around. He felt a little cold in the lower half of his body; he realized he was naked from the waist down. He had no idea how he got there and knew it would not behoove him to ask.

He could only say, “What?”

“You know what!” she replied.

“No I don’t!” he pleaded.

“You were at the raid on Mar-a-Lago. You were in charge of cataloging what was seized. One of those ‘miscellaneous documents’ was different. Where is it?”

At this point, a surge of fear came through Agent Stanton. Not only was this information was top secret, the fact that he was charged with that particular task is not something anyone would even think to investigate. Whoever had imprisoned him most likely works in the FBI office and is most likely an agent as well. Filled with fear and confusion, he could only say, “I don’t know.”

“Bruno, spread his cheeks and shove it in,” she said.

He felt something grabbing his bum and “AHHHHHH…” as something hot and sharp was shoved inside.

“He gonna feel really good next time he takes a shit, especially if it’s on my dick,” said a man whose name he presumed to be Bruno.

“You might get your chance, Bruno,” the woman said. “NOW, WHERE IS IT?”

In more pain that he could bear, Agent Stanton could only scream.

“Okay, Bruno, have your way with him tonight. We’ll continue this tomorrow.”

“Swollen hole feel so good” were the last words Agent Stanton heard when he passed out.

The next day, or perhaps a longer time, or even a shorter one, he once again awoke. He was in the same contraption in the same position and his backside was still sore, but the pain was bearable.

Somebody turned on the lights. It was a ceiling full of fluorescent lights. He remembered from his army days to keep one eye closed so he was able to survey the room to a limited extent. The floor, wall, and ceiling were all painted white. It looked like a caricature of an old-fashioned psych ward. The red glow that was just there had vanished without a trace.

“Hello, Agent Stanton,” a seemingly middle-aged woman said as she walked in front of him. He knew the voice.

“You handle your pain well,” she said. “How old do you think I am?”

He remembered how saying “I don’t know” led to some bad consequences last time, so he said, “About 40?”

“No, I am afraid you’re a bit off,” she replied. “I was there when Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play, and I am not talking about the Beatles album. For as the song goes, that was 20 years later. I guess I was just under that age back then.” After a brief pause, she said, “Now you don’t believe me, do you? Well, I have a secret. It is the blood of little children. It renews me. They become weak, sickly, and sometimes die. I become strong and thrive. Bring me my chair and bring the subject.”

Two men brought a chair and placed it for the woman to sit. Another brought out a wheelchair from somewhere. He pulled up next to the woman and turned it around so he could see it. Tied to the chair was a little boy who looked very scared.

“STEVEN,” he screamed.

“Daddy,” the boy replied.

“Don’t worry, Steve; Daddy is going to take care of everything.” Now glancing toward the woman, he screamed, “YOU FUCKING BITCH!”

“I’m sure you feel your face being pierced now. I can even see you bleeding. Like I said, you handle your pain well; now let’s see how well you handle the suffering of others. Reynaldo, please set up the apparatus,” she said.

A man in a white lab coat emerged pushing a tray that had some pump-like device on it. He placed it between the woman and the boy. He put an IV in the boy’s arm and he began to cry.

“FUCK YOU!” Agent Stanton screamed.

“Oh dear,” the woman replied. “Reynaldo, turn it on the lowest setting.”

The man placed another IV into the woman’s arm and turned on the device. A fan began to whirl and stream of blood went from the boy into the woman.

“I am AB negative. I can receive any Rh negative blood like all your family has. In a few minutes, your son will start to have problems breathing. He will turn pale and perhaps start to sweat. Then he will pass out and will finally die,” she said. “At three years old and 32 pounds, the whole process will take about ten minutes and you will have the pleasure of watching it all.”

Glancing at his son, he said, “Don’t worry, buddy, it’s going to be all right.”

“Oh dear me,” she replied. “But you might have told him the truth. You can stop this any time just by answering the question: WHERE IS IT?”

“I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!” he screamed as he began to sob.

In what seemed like an eternity, he saw his son began to wheeze and sweat and tried to think as hard as he could about anything taken from that place that she might want. Was there anything not merely suspicious, but truly unusual? Then he thought about this strange envelope with a swastika seal. With nothing to lose, he said, “It’s in box A8.”

“Reynaldo, stop,” she said. The man turned off the IV. Stanton breathed a sigh of relief.

“What is in box A8?” she asked him.

“It is an envelope with a seal that has a swastika,” he replied.

“Excellent,” she said as she smiled. The boy passed out.

She took out her cell phone and made a call, “Hello, Garland, have your boys been through box A8 from the raid? There was an envelope with a swastika seal. Send it to me.”

After a couple of minutes, she said, “I don’t care if you leaked it to the press so you could show Trump is a Nazi. I want it. Send it to me. Take whatever lumps Fox News dishes out when you can’t produce it.”

What country am I living in? he thought. Did A.G. Garland really answer to this demonic woman? He remembered that fateful day in September when the towers fell. He remembered how that inspired him to join the army. He had been serving in some capacity ever since. What have I been serving? he thought to himself, almost muttering the words.

“You have been useful,” she said. “Now, however, you have outlived your usefulness and so has this most likely brain-damaged lump you call a son. Reynaldo, continue the process.”

The man in the white coat once again turned on the apparatus moving blood from the boy to the woman. He watched his son become paler and his breath get slower until it stopped. He began to cry. She laughed and said, “Reynaldo, take him to the back and let the boys have their way with him. Just make sure he’s dead at the end.”

The man in the white coat wheeled the gurney away.


Professor Trump was sitting at his desk thinking. His boss Dr. Compton at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had been commissioned by the Office of the Alien Property Custodian to examine the artifacts of one recently deceased Nikolai Tesla for any sensitive information. According to his letters, he was in possession of a death ray that could knock out any planes and ships from a great distance. The targets would never know what had hit them. Like most administrators, he delegated the job to others. John Trump jumped at the chance.

Tesla was the man most responsible for the modern world. He was a truly rare breed: a theoretician who could also put theories into practice. As the inventor of the polyphase system, he found a way to use Maxwell’s equations to build a system that transfers electricity by raising voltage and lowering current, thus lowering energy dissipation by heat making it possible to bring electricity anywhere no matter how far from a plant. He shook his head at how brilliant that was.

He had written letters from everyone from the King of England to the Tsar of Russia—back when that was a thing—that he had this all-powerful “death ray.” If anybody else had made such claims, he would have been dismissed as a raving lunatic scarcely taken seriously in Barnumesque newspapers and certainly not inspired government action, but because it was Tesla, it did. However, it seems to have turned out he was bullshitting all along. There were no plans for any death ray, just the things you would expect: plans for induction motors and the equations for the laws that would be governing them as well as his disrespects for Albert Einstein that involved attacking him for proposing time dilation and then rejecting action-at-distance, despite the fact those two ideas of his were about completely different contexts. There were some adventures, though. He was taken on a cloak and dagger mission by agents from the Office of the Alien Property Custodian to a hotel where he left something as a security deposit but never retrieved it. It turned out to be a rather ordinary resistance box that now sat in front of him.

He said to himself, “As Shakespeare put it, it’s ‘All sound and fury, signifying nothing.’” as he gave the box a shove.

The bottom fell out of the box. “Damn it,” he said, thinking he had just damaged a valuable artifact. He examined it and it turned out there was a false bottom on the box. He had not damaged it all and breathed a sigh of relief, but saw a piece of paper fall out. He looked at it and it was in the same handwriting as many of the papers he had read as part of this investigation. This was a note by Tesla and it appeared to be addressed to him.

It said:

Dear Mr. Drumpf:

If you are reading this now, you can assume I am dead. Take the envelope your father gave you and with the notes I left you as well as the knowledge you have accrued in the progress of science, figure the rest out. When you have done so, place your conclusions as well as the original paper in the same envelope and give it to Donald. It is very important for all of our sakes that you do this.

Nikolai Tesla

Is this some kind of joke? he thought to himself. But who’s the prankster? Who the hell had access to this box, can forge Tesla’s handwriting, knows about my father’s strange letter and his name back in the Old World? Nobody! Absolutely nobody! And who the Hell is ‘Donald?!’”

He went back home, got a bottle of gin, and went to find that old letter with the swastika seal. Back in the day, it was just a sign for good luck, but now poisoned forever by its association with the Nazis. He opened it and looked at the same schematics and writing his father had seen so many years ago. He took a swig and began to read and think.



John Trump picked up the receiver on his home telephone. “Hey John, it’s Fred! Mary Anne just delivered our son. Both mother and baby are doing great! We are naming your new nephew Donald!”

“Oh, congratulations, Fred. That’s wonderful. I wish I could be there, but I am very busy at work,” John said as he put down the receiver knowing he had solved yet another mystery.


Between running his company and teaching his classes at MIT, he managed to put it all together. Current—Voltage—Power, the concepts behind electricity were like Time—Entropy—Information. You could minimize entropy by lowering heat by increasing voltage, but energy was always conserved. If time is a frequency, like current, then it can go in either direction if we keep the information constant and the entropy low enough. We can send things back into the past because if the frequency of time gets high enough, time will go backwards quickly before going forwards again. It would be like a swing we would need to jump off at its highest point, but was there a catch. Yes, there was. Something was conserved. Something like information but not information—something else—what?

He thought about Tesla and how he knew to write to him. He concluded, “He already knew. He traveled through time, so he already knew. No, not just that; he had always known. That’s why he could do it.”

It was an interesting speculation, but he still had nothing solid enough for an article in a peer-reviewed journal, much less getting funding to build the device described in his father’s envelope. Besides, he doubted that gigabytes would be enough storage for a machine like that. He just decided to do what Tesla instructed of him: put his conclusions in the envelope and give it to Donald and tell him it’s a family heirloom.


“Dr. Chang, how are doing on the device? I got you the plans three weeks ago.”

“We are doing well Ms. Abramovic, better than we expected,” he replied. “Let me show you.”

Dr. Chang led his superior into another room, where a shiny metallic sphere with an opening was on display. Nobody else was there except a janitor.

“Excellent!” she said. “When can I become the goddess of time and rule the universe?”

“Well, I don’t know; there seems to be a problem,” Chang replied.

“What problem?” the woman demanded.

“There seems to be a strange property in all of our preliminary tests. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t, like there is some strange conservation property that needs to be met. We can send back most inanimate objects, but not always. If our calculations are correct, we can only do so if they are sent to very remote places. Living things can hardly be sent back at all,” he said.

“Have you tried a person?” she said.

“No, of course not, that would be way too dangerous,” he replied.

“Well, let me try,” she said as she pushed him away. “Turn it on,” she commanded as she closed the door. The machine fired up and nothing happened.

“Are you okay, Ms. Abramovic?” he said.

“I would be better if this thing worked. I am ready to be a goddess, and are you sure we should have him in here?” she replied, pointing to the janitor.

“I don’t even think he speaks English. He just cleans up. I think he’s a Ukrainian refugee,” he replied.


A bullet pierced the Chinese man’s skull and he fell dead.

The woman reached for her cell phone and…


Another bullet shot it out of her hand.

“AHHHHHH!” she screamed at the sight of her bleeding hand. She turned around and the janitor had a pistol drawn on her. She looked at the man. She saw his dark, wavy hair, his eyes, his moustache, and she knew who it was as her mouth flew open wide.

“Yes, it’s me. You know who I am. I was the one, not that idiot Chinaman, who built that machine. I wish I could kill him twice for calling me a Ukrainian, though. I have to hand it to him; he at least figured out it was a conservation property. You see, meta-information is always conserved. You can’t go into the past if anything is to be learned or forgotten by doing so.”


He shot the woman in the head and she fell over dead. He got into the sphere, pushed the appropriate keystrokes, and vanished.