No. 426

Martin emerged from the back room of his thrift shop with arms full of “new” merchandise for the shelves.

Kyle, a regular customer, saw the fresh stock and immediately began to paw through it. “You always have the best stuff in here,” he told Martin. “And it’s always in such good condition. You must have some good connections.”

Martin shrugged. “I pick it up here and there.”

“Like, look at this one,” Kyle exclaimed. “I haven’t seen one of these since I was a kid! You can’t find them anywhere these days! And it’s mint! How much do you want for it?”

Martin thought for a moment. “Four hundred dollars,” he suggested, significantly undercutting the current market price of the artefact.

“I’ll take it!” said Kyle, without hesitating. “Is there any way you could get another one in here? Or the green version? I’d love to have a set.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” said Martin. “No promises, though.”

“Oh, I understand,” said Kyle. “For sure.”

They completed their transaction, and Kyle went on his way.

Martin looked to make sure there was nobody else in the store, then slipped through a door marked “Employees Only”.

The room was mostly empty, containing just eight metal poles, arranged in a circular pattern, and a large switch mounted on the wall with a dial beside it.

Martin fiddled with the dial and then flipped the switch. Slowly, tiny lightning bolts began to flash between the poles. They gradually increased in intensity until they were whipping around the circle in a continuous band of energy. Martin checked his watch, murmured to himself his memorized shopping list, and then stepped into the storm.

In a flash, he was sent back to 1993.