By Susan Ashworth
I have a fifteen year-old son that time travels. A lot. Not in that naked-and-in-the-middle-of-nowhere Audrey Niffenegger fashion, but in a way that allows him to slip with miraculous ease between problems. He pauses time when things get difficult with a quick tap on his Time Stop Device and erases any comments he doesn’t like. This allows him to shift to a parallel universe where nothing bad ever happens. Well, nothing he can't control.
So now you're probably thinking, "Wow, fantastic! The first recorded example of interstellar cross-breeding - a human woman and a Time Lord. Fab!" Er, no. Our little Time Lord chose his own special gift. I think he must have hung back after the Tactical on the Other Side and spoke to the Great Temporal Oversee-er (GTO) and said,
"Look, if I'm signing up for this Life on Earth Mission...."
"Yes, yes, hurry it up man. I've got three hundred trainee autists in hangar three waiting to parachute into Europe today."
"Right, interesting number. How come there's that many?" said my son.
"Increased research interest." said the GTO. "And as you know, numbers drive the economy on both sides."
"OK, that figures." the lad said with a nod of the head. "Look, if I'm going through a lifetime out of synch with the other primates, I really do need a little extra something."
"And what's that?" said the GTO. "A photographic memory? "
"Mathematical genius?" The GTO raised his eyebrows.
"Nope" the lad said with a shrug.
"Oh come on," said the GTO and shook his head." 'Rain Man' was part of your basic training! What else do you think there is?"
"Time travel" said my son, with a grin as big as a ripe banana.
"My, my, that's a big ask."
"Yeah, I know, and that's not all..."
"Go on." said the GTO and gave one of the angels the thumbs-up to load the plane.
"Well, I'm going to need to be able to fart like an elephant in public."
"Interesting..." said the GTO and rubbed his goatee. It is, if only for the immense pleasure I will derive from abusing people's patience with my sardonic sense of humour."
And because the GTO was running out of time and patience, he granted my son his two greatest wishes and dropped all twelve pounds of him round our house one summer morning. Life has been a lot more interesting ever since.