“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. “As witness!”
“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 Past!”
“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 Past awaits!”
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 Door.