Kyle remembered as soon as he left the shop that he should have been more specific about the precise variation of the green version that he wanted. He’d prefer the “Lights and Sounds Action!” to the “Kung-Fu Grip”. He turned around to re-enter to store to let Martin know.
Martin wasn’t at the front desk, and the room was empty. Kyle walked to the back to knock on the door to what he assumed was the office.
“Martin?” he called quietly.
There was no reply.
Kyle pushed the door a little, to see if there was any sign of his dealer. “Martin, are you there?” he called again, tentatively.
He was met with silence a second time.
Just before the door closed, though, he saw something strange.
There, in a neat pile, was a knee-high stack of the rare item that he’d just purchased.
Curiosity got the better of him, and he went through the door.
There was a loud sort of humming noise that filled the back room. Kyle didn’t know what it was, and was shocked to discover a strange, flashing circle, and not the shelves full of backstock that he imagined.
Almost straight away, Martin emerged from the circle with an armful of boxed toys.
Kyle and Martin’s eyes locked.
Kyle was surprised.
Martin was sheepish.
“Um. Is that a time machine?” asked Kyle, speaking first after piecing the evidence together.
“Yes,” Martin replied, caught in the act.
“Are you using a time machine to collect exclusive toys from the past to re-sell to collectors?” Kyle probed.
“Yes,” Martin confirmed.
There was an awkward silence.
“Did you realize that’s probably the worst use of a time machine, ever?” Kyle observed.