by Christopher Jon Heuer
"Dad, do you think time travel is possible?" Billy asked. "Like on Space Cadet Jake?"
"Probably not the same way it happens on television." Father tousled his son's hair and adjusted the telescope. The sky was darkening rapidly. Venus and Jupiter blazed overhead. Even Mars was visible now. Father pulled the small plastic kitchen stool from the trunk of the car so Billy could stand on it and see through the eyepiece. Billy always liked Jupiter the best. Through Father's telescope you could see the bands, the four stars that were really Galilean moons, and sometimes even the Great Red Spot. Though it was only red in the pictures. Through the telescope the entire planet was yellow.
Father thought about it. By way of reply he swiveled the telescope on its tripod and pointed it instead at the face of the full moon. He didn't really need to use the laser diode to home in on it but he used it anyway so Billy could watch and learn. "Okay son," he said. "Look through the eyepiece. What do you see?"
Billy stood on his tiptoes on the stool. "Nothing."
"Just wait," Father said.
A few moments passed. "The moon!" Billy squealed, excited. "I see the edge!"
"Keep watching," Father said.
More seconds passed. "I see more of it now," Billy said. It's moving across the circle!"
"The view field," Father said. "Yes. Keep watching."
After a minute, Billy said, "It's almost gone."
"Right. Why is it gone?"
Billy thought about it. "Is the telescope moving?"
Father laughed. "Good guess! But no. It's locked into place on the tripod."
"Then the moon is moving!"
"Yep. It's orbiting the Earth."
"But what does that have to do with time travel?"