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|Charlie MacDuff and the Test of Time|
by I. MacPenn
When Charlie got to school, everything seemed to be going in slow motion. The hours ground by. Classes lasted forever. Finally, it was the last period of the day, and Charlie went to an assembly about a field trip that was planned for tomorrow.
At the assembly, a paleontologist named Cordelia Harrison talked about finding dinosaur fossils in eastern Montana. She had long, blond hair, talked very fast, and wore a long khaki vest with dozens of pockets. You could see the tops of maps, notebooks, pens, and strange-looking tools sticking out of the pockets. She carried a big blue bag filled with fossils that she showed to everyone. She reached in and came up with a shiny, black banana that turned out to be a T. rex tooth. Then she pulled out a shark's tooth that was bigger than her hand - plus a lot of other fossils, even fossilized dinosaur skin.
Cordelia was going to lead the entire class on a fossil dig field trip to look for dinosaur bones and other fossils. Charlie missed some of what she said because he was thinking about his new computer. He could barely wait for the final bell.
When the bell rang, he dashed out of school and ran right to the police station. It was only about eight blocks away. Deputy Oppenborn was there as usual. He said, "Hi, Charlie. What's new?" He was being sarcastic. Charlie had called the station so many times to find out about his computer that they joked that they could have him arrested for harassment.
The Deputy said, "No one claimed the computer, Charlie, so it's yours. You can stop calling us now." The Deputy unlocked a cabinet, rifled under some papers, took out the red computer, and handed it to Charlie. Charlie opened it up and saw that it still worked. "Fantastic!" he yelled. He closed it and ran home.
When Charlie got home, he ran upstairs and sat at his desk facing the window. He pressed a lot of different keys and tried different combinations of keys, but nothing he tried did anything. When he pressed just the red, triangular key, the "Time" label on the screen began blinking on and off. So he typed "March 8, 1990," his birthday - maybe the computer would show him great things that happened on his birthday. Charlie always liked that kind of thing.
Before he could read the screen, a swirl of mist appeared, and Charlie fell on the floor. His desk and chair had disappeared.
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