Can’t Prove a Negative

I explain the inspiration behind this story.

So, I have this friend. His name is Garrett. Garrett fancies himself a writer, though his only source of income is as a truck driver. Garret writes, mostly science fiction, but I think I am the only one who reads it. Anyway, there are a couple of quandaries with Garrett and his desire to be a full-time science fiction writer.

Garret does not believe in time travel, or the possibility of warping space and time. In other words, faster than light travel.

“You cannot fold that which does not exist.” He would tell you if you challenged him. “Time is something we invented. The clock, the calendar, our need to record the passage of the sun across the sky, and the passing of seasons. We invented it. What we call time is just the movement of planetary bodies about their orbit.”

“Space?” I’d challenge, “Isn’t that what the planetary bodies travel through. Surely, space exists.”

“It’s just space!” Garrett would exclaim, his intelligent gray eyes rolling as he ran his fingers through his shoulder length dark blonde hair. “put it in a box, and you have an empty box. How do you fold something that does not exist?”

Garrett would argue for hours on this subject. Then, one day out of the blue Garret proclaimed, “I am going to build a time machine.”

“You don’t believe in time travel.”

“Exactly!” He exclaimed, stabbing a finger in the air, “I am going to prove it can’t be done by building a time machine. When it doesn’t work, then I have proven my point.”

“First off, that doesn’t even make senses. Second off, you can’t prove a negative.”                                            

Garrett glared at me, his mind working as the muscles along his strong jaw twitched.

“What do you know about building a time machine?”

“I have been doing my research. Most theorists think its an issue of energy, but from all I have read, energy isn’t the biggest obstacle. The containment field is easy to maintain because it doesn’t have to protect you from anything.”

“You could slap together a couple of carboard boxes with duct tape and call it a time machine. Flip your imaginary switch, and say, ‘See, it doesn’t work.’”

“If time travel is possible, it will work. If it isn’t possible, then it won’t work, and I prove my point. If it’s possible, I can make it work.

Being autodidactic, Garrett was one of the most intelligent, and knowledgeable people I’ve known. Yes, he spent long hours sitting in the cab of a truck. But it wasn’t wasted time. I probably shouldn’t be sharing this, but much of that time is spent reading, or watching educational type videos he downloaded to his tablet. I’ve known Garrett for ten years, and in that time, he as read more books than all the other people combined in my life.

Being an incredibly attractive blonde woman with a popular Instagram account, I know a lot of people.

As the weeks passed, Garretts garage went from being a place where he parked his two cars, and a motorcycle, to a shop with something akin to an airplane taking shape in the middle of the floor. I commented on its appearance.

“I started with a homebuilt aircraft fuselage. Aluminum is a great medium for generating and sustaining the gamma field needed to “warp,” time and space.”

Yes, Garrett air quoted the warp part of his sentence.

Before long, his gleaming polished aluminum aircraft fuselage was sitting on what appeared to be army green helicopter skids

“I got them at Axe-Man’s surplus.”

My bemused expression coerced him into a follow up, “They were cheap, and are just to provide space between the fuselage and the garage floor. I am not made of money Hannah.”

“Where will the Flux Capacitor go,” I said, unable to resist teasing him.

“Funny! It is made of aluminum, not stainless steel. And, it isn’t going to get up to eighty-eight miles an hour. It’s just going to sit there and do nothing.”

“What if it works?”

“It won’t”

It took Garrett six months of almost continuous work before he proclaimed his experiment ready. To my frustration, he even snubbed a couple of booty calls during this process. Something my stud man Garrett never did before this obsession grabbed ahold of him.

“It’s done,” he said as he bent into the cockpit to flip a couple of switches.

“Now what?”

“I test it.”

“You haven’t tested it yet?”

“How do I test it without a witness?” He said testily, giving me one of his looks.

“What’s to witness? I have seen nothing happen before.” This actually elicited a smile from his otherwise serious countenance.

“I am afraid it will.”

“Huh?”

“I told you. If it can be done, I can make it happen. Last night I was running through the systems, making sure everything was within tolerances, and…well…”

Garrett looked off into space for a long time as his mind seeming to have left his body. Then with a shrug, he focused those piercing eyes on me and said, “I might have been wrong.”

His tone scared me. His mind was always in the clouds. He was always daydreaming. Looking toward the future. Towards his next project. But he also made sure I knew I was the center of his world. Even when he was laser focused as he was with this time machine project.

“I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

Again, his mind left his body. But this time, only for a moment, “It will be fine. You cannot fold that which does not exist.

“Garrett…”

“I will be fine.”

With that, he climbed into the highly polished wingless aircraft, slid the canopy closed, and started flipping switches. I could hear the thing coming to life. Feel something happening. The hair on my arms stood on end followed by the silken strands that hung about my shoulders. Soon, the skin of the aircraft time machine took on a glow of its own.

Garrett looked towards me from within the plastic canopy, flashed his dazzling smile, and offered a thumbs up.

Hesitantly I replied with my own thumbs up then he was gone.

No flash, no dramatic whirling of currents, or gale force winds. No electric bolts slashing about my mad scientist’s lab.

He was just gone.

Now, I wonder, was he right, or was he wrong.

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