Dr. Floyd threw the switch. In the chair, the change was instant, but it started slowly. At first a tingle, then a building of a tense humming that throbbed through his Max’s head. When it seemed it couldn’t go any farther, Max felt he would start screaming spontaneously. Then the world popped like a large soap-bubble. Max slid through what had been real and touching him like it was wet and he was covered in a thick lather of soap. His ankles felt they were above his head, then everything went twisty. When the soapy feeling cleared, his now bare feet had just squished some yellowish hay in a field.
Max immediately started there and looked at the hay. It still had quite a bit of green to it, but had recently been cut and lay where it fell. He picked up a piece and examined the type of plant it was. He’d seen some just like this in a museum once. All the stuff he saw on the farms near the lab grew with big round grains that almost looked like marbles. He always figured it was because only robots did farming anymore, and the round stuff was easier to move around in their machinery.
Which is also why Max didn’t think twice about what else besides socks had gone missing during transport. At least not until the bearded man in a button up work shirt, sporting a wide black brim on his hat and rolled up sleeves, cleared his throat.
Max dropped the stalk of wheat and ran for it. The man had a scythe after all.
A whistle cut the air. Soon a few flat wagons were pulled up nearby with horses. Other guys with beards and black hats all started chasing him. At least they had put down their scythes.
Max led them on a merry chase. The ground was just as lumpy as what was outside the lab, but there wasn’t a whiff of salt water in the air. Pretty soon Max managed to get them all lined up so that they were only coming after him single file, no encircling capture moves planned.
Next thing he knew, his feet were running on a hot hard black surface. A pair of solid double yellow lines went right up the middle of a long snaking path. The yellow paint was less hot on his feet, so Max ran on that. He glanced back and saw that he was gaining some lead on them. When he looked forward again, however, a weird box was moving down the road toward him without horses. Max stopped with stupefaction. The thing was moving at a very fast rate and pushing such an incredible amount of air off of it. Max rubbed his eyes to make sure he wasn’t seeing things.
The sound of feet behind him drove him on. He ran right towards this amazing box. When it got closer, he could see a wide shiny metal ladder in the middle of it, but the rungs were so close together they didn’t make sense to be for a person’s feet. Right when it got close enough for him to see it’s fat black wheels it was rolling on, a loud honk erupted from it like a hundred angry geese taking offense.
The soapy feeling pulled Max’s feet off the road and up into the air. He found himself sitting on his clothing. They lay on the chair as if their blow-up mannequin had deflated.
Dr. Floyd was moving towards him. “Success! Put some clothes on so we can try it again.”