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THE TIME IDIOT
(2011) - a novel by A.R.Yngve - Sample Chapters

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CHAPTER 1

In the early 21st century, Prescott Julius Walker, President of the United States of America, was - or so it was being said at the time - the most powerful man on the planet.

He was also - or so he said - a recovering alcoholic and born-again Evangelical Christian. He was, the saying went at the time, the leader of the free world.

And on this January day, Prescott Walker would become the most powerful recovering alcoholic in the universe...

***

Washington, D.C.:

Prescott was starting to wake up, and he hated it.

Christ, he thought, lying in his bed in the White House, I used to enjoy getting up in the morning. I used to feel like a winner! I'm the frickin' President - the most powerful man in the world! But now, every morning it's just bad news, people complaining, the party flacks getting on my case, the Senate giving me grief for the War on Terror, and more bad news...

As he lay there, pretending to be asleep, trying to postpone the moment when he had to wake up as "Pres" Walker, responsible for the ongoing war in the Middle East, the failed environmental policy and the Mexican immigration crisis, he did the only thing that could comfort him: he prayed.

In his mind, he said: Dear God, give me a break. Please, God. I don't want to end my second term as a failure. All I ask for is one chance to fix things, so I'll go out a winner.

He took a deep breath, and added: Oh, and God... thanks for helping me quit drinking.

And his eyes opened. The room was darkened and the sun had not risen yet, but this pleased Prescott; in the summers, morning sunlight usually flooded the room and overwhelmed his brain.

As he moved into an upright position, his cell phone played "Hail to the Chief." He picked it up without thinking.

"Pres speaking."

"It's me. Today's password is 'Halibut.' Confirm."

Prescott groaned; the Vice President's behavior was getting more and more weird.

"I know it's you, Zack. Quit this password nonsense already. What's up, my man?"

"Can't explain over the phone. Come to my secure office A.S.A.P. I've got breakfast ready."

"Will this wait until after my morning workout?"

"The fate of the American people and Western Civilization are at stake, Mr. President."

Prescott frowned. Was he still asleep and dreaming this? Sometimes, when he felt confused, he felt as if he were in a waking dream, like he used to during the bad old days when he got drunk every week. The feeling frightened him.

"So it won't wait?"

"Affirmative."

"I'll be right over. Hold your horses."

***

A ceiling filled with light-strips illuminated the windowless office of Vice President Zack Cutter. He had walled up the windows three months ago.

"Nice carpet, Zack," said Prescott when he walked in. "I don't hear myself walk."

"Are you alert, Mr. President?" asked Cutter. He sounded more serious than ever. Prescott gave him a confused stare. "Wide awake?"

"Sure, Zack. Now what did you want to talk about?"

"Have you been briefed about the military's top-top secret Project Yesterday?"

"What? No, the military didn't brief me yesterday. What project are you talking about?"

"Project Yesterday. Research into the possibility of time travel."

Prescott blinked, did a double take, and laughed.

"You're kidding!" He did another double take. "You're not kidding."

"I've been keeping an eye on the military's 'black ops' and classified activities, as you told me to do. And this morning I received news from my source in the Pentagon. Project Yesterday has tested and completed the first working time-pod. A device which can transport a man backward and forward in time."

"Really?"

"Positive. We have no time to waste - pardon the pun. This is too important a breakthrough to leave to the scientists and the Pentagon. We - you - must assume the initiative now, before they get any ideas about taking advantage of this revolutionary invention."

Prescott's head felt light.

"Say what?"

Cutter sighed. "We've got to claim this time machine before the eggheads and generals start messing with it. If it works, we can use it to win the War on Terror! We could alter the past so that 9-11 never happened! With a time machine, we can't lose! As long as no one else gets to use it!"

Prescott recalled a movie he'd seen, about a teenager who drove back in time in a sports car and helped his own parents get married. That was a fun movie. Imagine, he thought, going back in time and kicking Osama's ass before he even thought of 9-11...

"Hot damn!" He felt peppy. "Well, let's get to it then. Where's this thingamajig, uh, situated?"

"I've arranged for Air Force One to bring us to the classified desert facility. The chopper's waiting outside."

Prescott chuckled. "Oh, you mean Area 51, where the Air Force builds our secret prototypes..."

The Vice President blinked. "No, in fact Project Yesterday falls under the U.S. Army Department of Health and Sanitation. The facility is called Test Site F and has its own airfield."

Prescott had not completely absorbed the idea of an actual time machine. He decided to just play along until Cutter would shout "Fooled you!" or Prescott woke up from this vivid dream.

"Wifey comes back from her vacation tomorrow," he told Cutter. "This gonna be a long trip?"

Cutter grinned. "Don't worry about having enough time, Mr. President. With a time machine, that's the least of your problems."

Prescott chuckled, even though he didn't understand what Cutter meant. Yet.


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