Twenty-eight-year-old William Nolan, another newcomer to the field,
introduces us to the capricious Time Door of Professor C. Cydwick Ohms,
guaranteed to solve the accumulated problems of the world of the year 2057.
by ... William F. Nolan
Open the C. Cydwick Ohms Time
Door, take but a single step, and—
"In one fell swoop," declared
Professor C. Cydwick Ohms, releasing
a thin blue ribbon of pipe-smoke
and rocking back on his
heels, "—I intend to solve the
greatest problem facing mankind
today. Colonizing the Polar Wastes
was a messy and fruitless business.
And the Enforced Birth Control
Program couldn't be enforced.
Overpopulation still remains the
thorn in our side. Gentlemen—"
He paused to look each of the
assembled reporters in the eye.
"—there is but one answer."
"Mass annihilation?" quavered
a cub reporter.
"Posh, boy! Certainly not!" The
professor bristled. "The answer is—TIME!"
"Exactly," nodded Ohms. With
a dramatic flourish he swept aside
a red velvet drape—to reveal a
tall structure of gleaming metal.
"Golly, what's that thing?"
queried the cub.
"This thing," replied the professor
acidly, "—is the C. Cydwick
Ohms Time Door."
"Whillikers, a Time Machine!"
"Not so, not so. Please, boy! A
Time Machine, in the popular
sense, is impossible. Wild fancy!
However—" The professor tapped
the dottle from his pipe. "—by a
mathematically precise series of
infinite calculations, I have developed
the remarkable C. Cydwick
Ohms Time Door. Open it, take
but a single step—and, presto! The
"But, where in the past, Prof.?"
Ohms smiled easily down at the
tense ring of faces. "Gentlemen,
beyond this door lies the sprawling
giant of the Southwest—enough
land to absorb Earth's overflow like
that!" He snapped his fingers. "I
speak, gentlemen, of Texas, 1957!"
"What if the Texans object?"
"They have no choice. The Time
Door is strictly a one-way passage.
I saw to that. It will be utterly impossible
for anyone in 1957 to re-enter
our world of 2057. And now—the
He tossed aside his professorial
robes. Under them Cydwick Ohms
wore an ancient and bizarre costume:
black riding boots, highly
polished and trimmed in silver;
wool chaps; a wide, jewel-studded
belt with an immense buckle; a
brightly checked shirt topped by a
blazing red bandana. Briskly, he
snapped a tall ten-gallon hat on
his head, and stepped to the Time
Gripping an ebony handle, he
tugged upward. The huge metal
door oiled slowly back. "Time,"
said Cydwick Ohms simply, gesturing
toward the gray nothingness
beyond the door.
The reporters and photographers
surged forward, notebooks and
cameras at the ready. "What if the
door swings shut after you're
gone?" one of them asked.
"A groundless fear, boy," assured
Ohms. "I have seen to it that
the Time Door can never be closed.
And now—good-bye, gentlemen.
Or, to use the proper colloquialism—so
Ohms bowed from the waist,
gave his ten-gallon hat a final tug,
and took a single step forward.
And did not disappear.
He stood, blinking. Then he
swore, beat upon the unyielding
wall of grayness with clenched fists,
and fell back, panting, to his desk.
"I've failed!" he moaned in a
lost voice. "The C. Cydwick Ohms
Time Door is a botch!" He buried
his head in trembling hands.
The reporters and photographers
began to file out.
Suddenly the professor raised his
head. "Listen!" he warned.
A slow rumbling, muted with
distance, emanated from the dense
grayness of the Time Door. Faint
yips and whoopings were distinct
above the rumble. The sounds grew
steadily—to a thousand beating
drums—to a rolling sea of thunder!
Shrieking, the reporters and photographers
scattered for the stairs.
Ah, another knotty problem to be
solved, mused Professor Cydwick
Ohms, swinging, with some difficulty,
onto one of three thousand
Texas steers stampeding into the
This etext was produced from Fantastic Universe November 1956.
Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S.
copyright on this publication was renewed. Minor spelling and
typographical errors have been corrected without note.