The sound of ticking clocks is heard, getting louder and louder. Not all of them are perfectly synchronized. After a few seconds of ticking, ticking, ticking, alarms start to go off. Some of these are simultaneous, but most are not. It’s unclear if they are meant to go off at the same time. As the various alarms reach a deafening cacophony of starting and stopping, the familiar opening logo of BACK TO THE FUTURE appears on the screen. It is quickly followed by the word AGAIN, which appears in almost the same font. CINEMA: The easiest part of everything was retrieving Doc’s parents. Marty supposed that, after messing around with this particular dilemma for over twenty years, the old man had just about perfected his plan. But nothing is ever perfect, and they sure figured that out in a hurry. According to plan, Doc set the controls of the refrigerator for April 6, 1917, the date that the United States declared war on Germany. He had chosen this date when he first tried to time-travel, way back in August of 1962, because he had not been born yet – he wasn’t sure what might happen if there were two of him at any given time – and because it was one of the only dates he could actually remember. Doc was terrible with dates. His words were in Marty’s head when the refrigerator shuddered to a stop. There is approximately a 150 foot stretch of space between where your door opens and where my parents’ door will open one minute later. When he pushed that door open, he was greeted by an army of trees. The land where the Browns would eventually build their house had once been a forest, just like Doc said. Marty switched the hoverboard on, hoping that his skills had improved enough to get through the forest maze. He pressed a button on the speaker in the fridge. POPCORN: “Well, I guess I’m here. No sign of your parents yet.” CINEMA: The com-link crackled, sputtered, and Doc’s voice came back to Marty across more than sixty years. That voice was small but still audible. They’ll be there, so be ready, he said. This is the last chance to get them back, but if you think you can’t return to the machine with them in four minutes . . . just get yourself back. I’m serious, Marty. POPCORN: “Yeah, sure thing, Doc. No pressure.” CINEMA: Doc figured that returning them to the present would have altered the timeline too significantly. Therefore, he had the machine set to make another stop before coming back to 1983. He would not even get the chance to see them – not in the present – but that’s just how it would have to be. He was telling Marty all of this for the umpteenth time when something began to blur and glimmer deep in the woods. POPCORN: “Gotta go, I see them.” CINEMA: Doc’s voice squirted from the crude speaker, but Marty was already gone. Marty wove in and out of the trees, more like surfing than skateboarding, and not at all unlike Luke Skywalker racing through the forest of Endor on a speeder bike. Despite the urgency of his mission, Marty began to smile, then to laugh. The hoverboard was a blast. Then, there it was, flickering into view like a surreal mirage. The Brown family living room. Erhardt still had his legs crossed at the ankle, Hill Valley Telegraph unfolded in front of his face, while Sarah was stretched out with an old science book on the couch beside him. For just a moment they appeared to not have realized that anything was different. Then they both stopped, Sarah looking up from her book, Erhardt’s paper dropping to his lap, having heard or felt something in either their original time or in this one. And they realized that they were in the woods. As he swiftly approached, Marty could hear Doc’s father, as calm as could be. Well, Sarah, I’d have to say that Emmett’s work might be progressing. Marty skidded to a stop in midair. The board sputtered and dumped him on the forest floor, right in front of the Brown living room. POPCORN: “Uh, hello. I come in peace. I’m from the future and, uh, well, your son sent me back to get you.” CINEMA: Doc had said that he didn’t know how his parents might react to seeing Marty. If you have to knock them out, go ahead and knock them out. But Erhardt looked at Sarah and Sarah looked at Erhardt, as if all of this were the most normal thing ever. I’d offer you something to eat, Sarah said, but I’m not sure where the kitchen’s gone. POPCORN: “It’s okay, we don’t have a lot of time. Matter of fact, we’ve gotta fly.” CINEMA: Doc’s father folded up the newspaper and placed it on the couch beside him. He stood and turned to his wife, extending his hand. Mrs. Brown, he said. But the hoverboard was not starting. Marty flipped the switch on the contraptions underside again and again, to no avail. He smacked it like he were trying to get the picture to come in on an old television, but there was nothing. He tossed it aside into the fallen leaves. POPCORN: “Are you folks up for a sprint?” Doc’s Parents? CINEMA: The refrigerator had begun to shimmer just as they reached it, panting and wheezing, with Marty, not surprisingly, in the lead. Erhardt held his wife’s hand, ushering her inside the unusually large appliance first. Marty followed them both. The forest had just started to blink out as he slammed the door shut. The three of them were pressed up close together as everything began to rumble and rock. Marty’s elbow was jammed into Sarah’s chest. Erhardt said, so how is our son anyway? Doc’s voice was attempting to come through the com-link, but the little time machine was rumbling something fierce now. The three passengers looked at each other, no one saying a word. Marty wondered if Doc had figured for the extra weight, wondered if they might not yet tear apart the fabric of all space and time. POPCORN: “It’ll all be over soon.” CINEMA: One way or another, Sarah said. Then it all stopped and everything was quiet again. Tentatively, Marty opened the door. The Brown family estate was engulfed in flames. The Emmett Brown that stood in front of the inferno, gasoline can still in his hand, was about twenty years younger than the one Marty knew. His plan had worked just as he’d hoped it would. Marty looked at Doc’s parents, then stepped aside. Oh my, Sarah said. POPCORN: “I’ve gotta get back to the future, folks. It was nice meeting you.” CINEMA: Sarah took Marty’s hand, while Erhardt was walking up behind his son. Doc’s head was bowed, already calculating how he was going to undo what had been done. The gasoline can dropped to the ground. Then Erhardt said, this might be even worse than when you tried to dig a hole to the center of the earth. Just as Marty was pulling the door shut, he saw Doc turn to look at his parents. There were tears in his eyes. The refrigerator began to rumble. And to rumble. Marty drew a huge sigh when the machine finally trembled to a halt. That was it for him, he was never going to do this time-travel crap again. He had never wanted to get back to regular old Hill Valley so much in his entire life. He couldn’t wait to see Jennifer Parker, or his own parents. Hell, even the thought of seeing his brother and sister wasn’t so bad. He pushed the door open for what he assumed would be the last time. POPCORN: “Oh shit.” Doctor Who on the Moon CINEMA: The first thing he saw was the strange man in the fedora standing right in front of the open doorway. His long scarf trailed off into the wind. He was looking directly at Marty, almost as if he had expected him, and he was grinning. But, behind him, it looked like Marty had landed on the moon. Nuclear winter, the man said in an English accent. POPCORN: “Come on, now. I was only gone half-an-hour, and . . . who the hell are you?” CINEMA: You’ve actually gone about seventy years past where you intended to go. This is the first moment where it’s actually safe to stand here again. The man seemed distracted by the refrigerator. We don’t have long, but if you don’t mind . . . indicating the fridge. He pushed past Marty, took two steps, then walked back out. It’s not bigger on the inside? POPCORN: “No, why would it be? That’s just crazy. Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but I really need to find Doc . . . Doctor Emmett Brown.” CINEMA: Yes, you do need to find him. You and your doctor played around with time and you’re really up against it now. Events that were going to happen, didn’t. Another set of circumstances occurred that were much more dire for everyone. And you’re standing on my scarf. POPCORN: “Your . . . oh, sorry.” CINEMA: It’s quite okay. A couple years after you meet Emmett Brown, a group of men steal some plutonium from the local power plant. Rather than being used for its original purpose, the element (along with the terrorists) become involved with a resident of Hill Valley. Someone with a small business cleaning automobiles, hoping to improve his lot in life, though lacking the intelligence to properly do so. I believe his name is Biff Tannen. POPCORN: “My dad’s boss?” CINEMA: I suppose so. The man produced a small brown bag, reaching inside for a bit of candy. Would you like a jelly baby? Marty shrugged and took one. I’ve already interfered more than I should and I can only send you back to when you originally departed. But you must restore the timeline to what it was meant to be. POPCORN: “What? Wait a minute, how do I do that?” CINEMA: The man looked at him very soberly and said, Woof. He offered Marty another jelly baby, then stuffed the bag back inside his coat. Things are going to seem a little different when you get back, but that’s just until you straighten everything out. Don’t pay it much mind. Now, hurry back into your icebox, there’s not much time. As soon as the door closed, the refrigerator had already begun to shake. It seemed to be getting worse. Marty began to curse time-travel and mad scientists all over again. He reached for the com-link, hoping to tell Doc that he was on his way. But the fridge was rocking like Jerry Lee Lewis on a bender. All that Marty could do was brace himself against its walls and hope for the best. Marty flung open the door, leaping from the refrigerator. He was already hollering for Doc, to let him know that this was it. But Doc was not in his lab. As a matter of fact, Marty wasn’t in the lab either. He recognized his new location right away, from when he used to spend long hours practicing on his skateboard. He was in the Hill Valley dump. The dump was at the furthest edge of town, as far from the Brown estate as you could get. Marty didn’t have his board with him, so he started hoofing it. After nearly an hour, and several miles, he had almost reached the Hill Valley city limits. It was then that he heard the rumbling sound of a hot rod engine behind him. The souped-up ’55 Chevy almost hit him, then screeched to a stop thirty feet ahead. It raced backward, almost hitting him again, and then the driver stuck his head out the window. What the hell, McFly, the driver said. You almost made me hit you. Come on, get your ass in here. Marty got in. POPCORN: “Biff.” CINEMA: That’s my name, don’t wear it around. What, did you just get back in town? POPCORN: “Uh, yeah, you could say that. Why, what did you hear about me?” CINEMA: I don’t know, man. You got kicked out of that band just before they got any good, then left to find your fortune or something in New York. Dumbass. Last I heard, you were beggin’ for change on the street. He began to laugh hilariously, reaching over to slap Marty in the arm. Your old man know you’re back yet? POPCORN: “Probably not.” CINEMA: Well, he’s gonna be glad to see you. He’s been one miserable bastard since your mom left. Wait, what, but Marty shook it off. He wanted to ask a million questions. He also wanted to lock Biff Tannen in a basement somewhere. It seemed like the best option for everyone. But he had to stick to plan, had to find Doc and – POPCORN: “Hey, hold up, what happened to the clock tower?” CINEMA: They tore it down, butthead. That was years ago, where you been? That crazy old scientist inherited a bunch of money or something, and then did this. Whatever the hell this is. What this was, Marty realized, was a scene right out of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Built from the outer shell of the old tower, Doc had constructed a colossal maelstrom of metal that twisted almost fifty feet into the sky. At ground level were two figures, also crafted of metal, that Marty knew were Professor Aronnax and Ned Land, who had been sent to find the awful sea monster which had been terrorizing sailors. What they had found instead was the great submarine Nautilus and the possibly insane Captain Nemo. What the sculpture depicted was the professor and the whaler staring up into the massive tidal wave that would claim the Nautilus at the end of the book. The construction that rested at the top of what used to be the clock tower was a blacksmith’s rendering of the doomed submarine, just before it met its fate. It was really quite amazing. And Doc was in that submarine right now. POPCORN: “You can drop me off here.” CINEMA: Biff looked bewildered, which was a look that frequently crossed his face, usually just before he decided he was going to beat someone up. This time was no different. Suit yourself, butthead. He reached in front of Marty to pop the door open. It was almost hard to imagine that this imbecile could cause the destruction of Hill Valley, but then Marty remembered the stories his father told him about high school. Biff had more confidence than brains, and that was a combination that made the best bullies. Marty gladly got out of the car. POPCORN: “Thanks, and Biff . . . try to stay out of trouble.” CINEMA: His words were met with nothing but laughter and the sound of screeching tires. He knew, no matter how all of this turned out, that he’d have to go another couple rounds with Biff Tannen. POPCORN: “Hey, Doc! Doc, it’s Marty, and we’ve got big problems!” CINEMA: From above there came a clank and Doc’s face appeared over the top edge of the metal submarine. He was made alien by a huge set of welding goggles. Marty who? POPCORN: “Marty McFly! You know, the guy who’s been working with you for months now!” CINEMA: There was more clanking, a variety of thudding and cursing, and then something came hurtling down from above. Marty cringed and covered his face, but it was just a series of ropes. He watched as Doc glided down on a fairly slick pulley system. His feet hit the ground with a subtle thud. POPCORN: “Man, am I glad to see you.” CINEMA: I’m afraid you’re mistaken, young man. We don’t know each other. POPCORN: “Come on, Doc. I went back in time for your parents. I dropped ’em off right after you burned the house down. It was . . . um, 1962.” CINEMA: Doc was puzzled, yet there was something in him that wanted to believe. There’s no way, he said. I couldn’t solve the problem of alternative polarities, or find the right kind of explosive force to successfully propel larger objects into the continuum. Besides, I gave all of that up when I made the house vanish. There was a whimper from above. He turned, started to tug at another set of pulleys, and a fuzzy shape began to drop from the sky. I thought I had killed them. POPCORN: “You didn’t kill them, but you sent ’em back in time. Look, Doc . . . you’re allergic to all synthetics and you’re terrible with dates. Your favorite singer is Chuck Berry. Your mother’s favorite song was Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” and she used to play it on her old Victrola all the time. You worked on the Manhattan Project, okay, and . . . and when you realized what could really happen with the atomic bomb, you knew that you’d have to create a time machine. In case you had to go back someday and try to undo that discovery.” CINEMA: Doc unhooked the harness and Einstein immediately went for Marty. The sheepdog had somehow managed to remember him, leaping up on him and covering his face with dog kisses. Doc watched in silence. POPCORN: “Well, this is that moment, Doc. There’s some really bad stuff that’s gonna happen if you don’t do everything you did before. I need you, man.” CINEMA: Einstein certainly seems to know you. Then a big smile slowly stretched across his face. Great Scott! I made a time machine! POPCORN: “Actually, it was more like a time door . . . but, yeah.” CINEMA: Doc began to do something fairly unlike him. He began to jump up and down, hooting with glee. I made a time machine, I made a time machine! I really did it! POPCORN: “So, what do we do now?” CINEMA: The first thing they did was to pile into the unlikely old Ford pickup where Doc kept most of his blacksmithing tools. They returned to the Hill Valley dump and ultimately reclaimed the unusually large refrigerator, which required a hoist and another series of even stronger pulleys. Though it was not bigger on the inside, it was certainly heavier than the average appliance. Then, once they got it back to the Brown family garage, Doc quickly began to recall all the things that had been lost to time. I lost both of my parents anyway, he said. My father had a heart attack several years ago. My mother hung on for almost another year, playing that Victrola endlessly, until she finally just didn’t wake up one morning. You know, she was the reason that I loved science so much. Therefore, it was unfortunate that Doc would not be the one to retrieve them. The refrigerator was not running as it should have been and he knew that he would have to stay behind. Just in case something should go wrong. In a matter of months, with Marty’s help and shaky remembrance of all the dates involved, they were ready to rock. The plan was to snatch them from outside the burning house in 1962, then return them to another point in 1917. Doc’s reasoning was that, since nothing in time had apparently been altered by their first stay there, a second one should end up mostly the same. Marty stepped inside the refrigerator again. The machine is going to make a terrible sound, came Doc’s voice on the com-link, but don’t worry too much. There’s a – POPCORN: ” – a very small nuclear reactor in the fridge’s motor. Yeah, yeah, I know.” CINEMA: So the machine shook and it shuddered and it finally arrived, once more, in August of 1962. Marty missed seeing himself by no more than a minute. He did not, however, miss seeing another version of Doc. He was standing in front of the burning house again, with both of his parents at his side. All of them turned to look at the unusually large refrigerator which had just appeared, once more, in the yard. Erhardt and Sarah looked at Marty like someone who had just walked back in the house after forgetting his car keys. Doc, in this case, had never seen Marty before in his life. Again. POPCORN: “Hey guys. Boy, do I feel embarrassed.” CINEMA: And he pressed a switch on the com-link. Emmett Lathrop Brown, this is you speaking, but it’s also me. We’ve made a terrible mistake. Well, I made a terrible mistake, in believing that I could do anything. I thought that I could change both the past and the future, but . . . as you once told me, Father, there are consequences for all the things we do. I wasn’t willing to face those consequences. This young man is named Marty, and he’s a good friend. He has come to take our parents back . . . to another time where they will be safe, and everyone else will be safe too. His voice cracked on the speaker, paused, then continued. You must not give up on your work, Emmett. I know you will think there’s no point now, but, believe me, there is. Father . . . Mother . . . I’m sorry for what I’ve done. If there was some way I could undo it . . . Son. It was Doc’s father. He began to talk to the voice in the speaker, but then turned to his child that stood beside him. Do you really think we don’t know about all the amazing things you’ve done? Even when there were things you didn’t consider. When you sent us back to 1917, which is what you’re going to do right now, we were already there. He began to laugh, something Emmett could rarely recall his father doing. And we were really wonderful people. Doc’s mother spoke to the speaker. Emmett, there were four parents, son, and we all loved you. We lived together for years, swapping stories that we didn’t always finish. Then, when we knew that you were on your way, we all decided that everything would eventually become too confusing. Erhardt. The other set of us decided that it might be a good time to return to the Old Country. They lived there, happily, for many years, and are buried beside each other in an old graveyard in the woods. Just like the woods in which we built this house. POPCORN: “Oh shit, I did not see that coming.” CINEMA: Both Docs were silent. My dear boy, Sarah said, turning now to the youngest version of her child, you can do anything, and you should. We know how much time means to you. It means a lot to all of us. Nobody knows their future, Emmett, so you must make it a good one. It’s time to go, Doc said from the speaker beside Marty. by RatTheRipper CINEMA: When Marty stepped out of the refrigerator for the last time, in 1983, he looked at Doc and Doc looked at him. They embraced silently, patting each other on the back. Doc shut the door to the machine. POPCORN: “Man, this time travel sure makes me tired. I was supposed to join the guys for this gig, but I’m just gonna go home.” CINEMA: No way, Marty, you can’t do that. What if this gig is your big break and, if you get out of it, they finally get fed up and kick you out of the band? Why, that could change the entire future of rock and roll. POPCORN: “Jeez, Doc, it’s just a birthday party.” CINEMA: Then Doc all but forced Marty into the DeLorean. He squealed his wheels all the way across Hill Valley until they reached a house that Marty knew too well. It was Jennifer Parker’s house. The other members of the Pinheads were just climbing back into the van as Marty got out of the car. When they saw him with Doctor Emmett Brown, they all stopped and looked at each other. Jennifer raced up to Marty. Before he could say anything, she threw her arms around him and pressed her lips to his. Marty McFly, what’s a girl gotta do to get your attention? POPCORN: “Hire me for her birthday party?” CINEMA: As it turned out, it was a good thing that Marty had made it to that birthday party. The guys in the band would have, in fact, kicked him out had he not shown up. Jennifer’s father had already found someone else to play her Sweet Sixteenth, a band whose tour just happened to have been taking them through Hill Valley. Marty, as some of you probably know, would eventually go on to influence the past (and, hence, the future) of music, whereas these other guys didn’t even really know how to play. They were called the Wyld Stallyns. – j meredith POPCORN CINEMA will return . . . in time. Meanwhile, feel free to comment, share, or click a ‘Like’ . . . it makes the guys feel good. Check out all our previous editions here on PSYCHO DRIVE-IN. John E. Meredith and Psycho Drive-In do not own the rights to Back to the Future, Doctor Who, Bill and Ted or any of the characters from any of their franchises. No money is made from the writing of this story. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related John E. Meredith CINEMA: So there, what did you think of that? Pretty cool, right? POPCORN: Eh. CINEMA: What do you mean ‘eh’? POPCORN: I mean eh, dude. It was okay. Never thought it’d end. CINEMA: What?? Come on, I put some time into writing that thing. It was epic. It was fairly faithful to the spirit of the films. I purposely made it three parts to match the trilogy. It had pathos, laughs, and even a lesson. How the hell could it just be ‘eh’??? POPCORN: It was okay for fan fiction, I guess. CINEMA: Fan fiction??? I’m going to beat you! I’d like to see you tell a better tale than that! POPCORN: Sure, dude. CINEMA: Seriously, I dare you. POPCORN: Whatever. CINEMA: And it’s gotta have full sentences. POPCORN: ‘kay, dude. CINEMA: Fan fiction, my ass. POPCORN: Eh.