When Isaac came home from work, there was a sign propped up in the front window that said, “Please Join My Dinosaur Club.” That sounded like fun. So, after he’d put his hat and mittens in his coat pockets and hung up his coat and scarf in the closet, he went to find Charlie.
“Tell me about your dinosaur club,” he said.
“Well, my friends at school and I like dinosaurs so we kind of already have a club,” Charlie said. “We just need to have meetings and do fun things.”
“What kinds of things?” Isaac asked.
“I thought that maybe we could build a time machine and visit the dinosaurs,” Charlie said.
“That sounds a little dangerous,” Isaac said.
“Yeah, we’d need to invent a force field too,” Charlie said. “To keep the meat-eating dinosaurs away. And so that the bigger herbivores don’t step on us.”
“That’s a good idea,” Isaac said. “When is your first meeting?”
“Saturday,” Charlie said. “Miss Marta from next door saw my sign and wanted to join my club so that’s what I told her. Saturday after lunch, so at one-ish?”
“Let’s talk to your Mom and see what she thinks,” Isaac said.
“I already did,” Charlie said. “She said she’d be in charge of the refreshments. I’m putting you in charge of the time machine and the force field.”
“What’s your job?” Isaac asked.
“Oh, I’m going to call the club members and tell them about the meeting,” Charlie said. “This is going to be so much fun!”
So, Isaac needed to invent a time machine, and a force field too. But not really, because honestly, he thought time machines were a bad idea. Too much could go wrong. It was much better to look forward and take things one day at a time. So, he’d just have to invent a time machine activity. That didn’t sound too difficult.
He drove to the thrift store and bought some old clocks and egg beaters and mismatched silverware. Then he looked through his toolbox for washers and screws and wires, and tools to work with. In the kitchen he found brown paper bags and aluminum foil. He looked through the craft supplies too, and found tape and glue and yarn and markers and feathers and clear beads and river rocks and pipe cleaners. In the garage he found some boxes waiting to be recycled.
On the day of the meeting, Miss Marta was the first to arrive. Then old Mr. Jones from across the street came over. Then Charlie’s friends Tim, Robert, Kyle and John came over. They gathered in the living room.
“Thank you all for coming,” Charlie said. “Dad invented a time machine, so today we’ll all go visit the dinosaurs.”
“Actually,” Isaac said, “I thought we could invent a time machine at our meeting today and travel in time later. I’ll be right back.”
He brought in his boxes of supplies. “What’s all this?” Charlie said, as he started to look through one of the boxes.
“Time machine materials. I thought we could each invent our own portable time traveling and force field device. I think it needs to be small enough to fit in your pocket so that you don’t lose it,” Isaac said.
He cut a square of cardboard off of one of the boxes and started inventing. Everyone looked at each other for a moment. “Sounds like fun,” Marianne said. She pulled out some of the beads and the wire. With that, everyone started to look through the boxes and pull things out.
The time travel devices all looked very different and very interesting. None of them worked, of course, but everyone seemed to have fun. Marianne brought out a veggie tray and fruit popsicles. “I think this is what dinosaurs ate,” she said.
“Unless they ate meat,” Tim said.
“I didn’t want to serve raw meat,” Marianne said. “It’s too messy.”
“And gross,” Charlie said, making a face.
“When are we meeting again?” Mr. Jones asked.
“In two weeks,” Charlie said. “I think we’ll have a movie night. Is that okay?”
“Sure,” Marianne said. “In two weeks.”
Everyone said they’d be there and that they’d had a lot of fun. The club meeting was a success.
That night, when Isaac went to tuck Charlie in, he found Charlie sitting on his bed looking at his time travel invention. “I wish we could have time traveled for real,” he said.
“It’s probably better this way,” Isaac said.
“Maybe,” Charlie said. “Or maybe not. Someday I’ll invent a real time machine.”
“Alright,” Isaac said. “Just take me along on your first trip, okay?”
“Of course I will,” Charlie said. “It will be lots of fun.”
“Of course it will,” Isaac said.