TIMING IS EVERYTHING • by Joseph Sidari

“Dinner will be ready in an hour.” A woman wearing an apron and gesturing with a turkey baster shoos two boys out the front door. “Since your dad is working on one of his experiments, why don’t you two burn off some energy outside while I finish preparing the cranberry sauce?”

“Okay, Mom,” says Herbie. He drops the ball he is holding and kicks it to his brother. “Hey Georgie, I heard a riddle.”

“A riddle?” Georgie kicks the ball back, but harder. “I’m sure I’ll guess it.”

“Okay. If April showers bring May flowers, what do Mayflowers bring?” Herbie winds up and sails the ball past his twin, smashing it through a first floor window of the house. Smoke billows out.

A man emerges from the front door, and coughing. “Someone’s ball hit my time machine in the midst of a delicate temporal experiment. “

“Can we have it back?” asks Georgie.

“Are you serious? All the variables I had been manipulating about the first settlers in New England — well, it is all ruined!” He throws up his hands and storms back inside.

“Sorry, papa,” they yell after him.

“Why’d you make me kick the ball so hard?” asks Herbie. “I bet you were mad that you couldn’t guess my riddle.”

“Was not.” Georgie turns his back to his brother.

“Then what is it?”

“Um . . . maybe,” admits Georgie. “I dunno: what do May flowers bring?”

“Pilgrims,” says Herbie, without much enthusiasm.

“I don’t get it,” says Georgie.

“Me neither,” says Herbie with a shrug.

“Since you lost our ball,” says Georgie, “we might as well go inside and see if maman is done preparing the crêpes for our dinner.”

Oui,” says Herbie. “And then we can ask papa to explain that dumb riddle of his.”


Joseph Sidari writes from Boston. He has been published in Daily Science Fiction, Brilliant Flash Fiction, and Medical Economics, and is waiting for his agented novel, LITTLE GREEN MEN, to find a publisher. He hopes no one will accidentally delete Thanksgiving because a good cranberry sauce is one of life’s greatest pleasures.


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