“Give a man a time machine, and he’ll embark on a quest. Teach a man to catch a time machine, and the first man’s day gets distinctly worse,” Wayne Rubblefish said to his pupils. He’d grown bored of meeting up with Dawson Filter and his band of merry travellers to intimidate them directly, in favour of training others to take action.
Wayne Rubblefish was Director of Human Relations for the Illuminati for the Blind, a secret and largely evil society. Until recently, he had been wholly obedient to the Head of the group, Xavier X. But Xavier and Wayne’s values differed. Xavier X felt that the society’s mission would be best fulfilled by establishing a totalitarian government to the far reaches of the galaxy, with himself as Emperor. Conversely, Wayne said that the group should focus its efforts more on the torment of individuals. In fact, Wayne Rubblefish did support the idea of a totalitarian government; but felt that he would be a better leader for it, and also wanted to be its leader. He felt a duty to thwart Dawson Filter from discovering the True Meaning of Feelings before establishing the new order, though; because that was what an older version of himself had told him one day in April. Besides, devoting the Illuminati for the Blind’s activities to this insignificant mission would give him time to plan his government. But Xavier X became impatient and told Wayne to discontinue the anti-Filter (Contamination, as it was sometimes called) project. Officially, he did; but he was secretly training a small team to find the Quest Committee’s time machine and thwart Dawson Filter and co. indefinitely.
Dawson Filter and co. also had a plan. Using the power of reading, Dawson Filter had determined that the author of the crossword puzzle that started his quest was named Sherlock Dracula.
Felipe, an intern of sorts, had kept and index of everyone in the world when he saved them from a pancontinental fire. There were two people named Sherlock Dracula. Twins. One had an unlisted address, the other’s was listed as “351 Watson Dr. Fallacy, SK.” Felipe, Dawson Filter, and Sylvester Denny boarded Felipe’s time machine. Sylvester set the coordinates for Fallacy, Saskatchewan, 12 October 2026. Felipe pressed a button and travelled.
In 2026, after walking out of the machine, the trio was surrounded by a gang of visually impaired thugs.
“It’s them,” said an elderly woman with one eye.
“We’re here to entrap you,” a legally blind former undercover police officer snarled.
Sylvester Denny darted between two hooligans who appeared to be fully blind. Now that the society members were all on guard, Dawson Filter and Felipe dashed between the two most feeble-looking ones. The thinner one grabbed Felipe’s leg, but in doing so, broke his own arm and relented. On the ground, the thug, blind and broken, called out:
“Go on! Go to Mr. Dracula’s house! We have your time machine. Good luck getting out of Saskatchewan without a time machine.”
The trio looked at one another. The woman with one eye slid into the machine. They were so close to Sherlock Dracula, and it would really spoil the moment to have to come back to Fallacy some other time.
“I can stay with the time machine,” Felipe said, “you go on, I’ll come back for you.”
So sooner had Dawson Filter and Sylvester Denny turned around to walk to Watson Drive than Felipe sprinted through the crowd and hopped back in the time machine, hardly closing the door before the machine shuddered and disappeared.
. . .
Dawson Filter rang the doorbell.
“Dracula residence, Sherlock speaking,” a voice called through the door.
“Hello, we’re Dawson Filter and Sylv-“
“Excellent name, come in.”
Sherlock’s house smelled exactly like the sort of house that would belong to someone in his late 80’s, although Sherlock was clearly 59.63. Potpourri lined the windowsills, and aloe vera plants were strewn across the floor.
“Did you ever write crossword puzzles?” asked Dawson Filter.
“No, you must be thinking of my brother. He lives on Franell, now. It’s a dwarf planet he discovered in the mid-reaches of the galaxy. But don’t tell him it’s a dwarf planet.”
“Okay, thanks for your time.”
Dawson Filter and Sylvester Denny stepped out onto Sherlock’s porch to wait for Felipe. After a week, it became clear that problems had happened