It isn’t every day you wake up to find Jules Verne hiding in your closet.
Its one thing to run into the Father of Science fiction at, say, a wine bar or maybe Starbucks, but finding yourself face to bearded face with him when you pull the little string on the closet light bulb? Believe me, it’s jarring.
Verne looked at me desperately but with no apparent surprise and raised a single finger to his lips and, just in case I hadn’t guessed his intent, whispered “shush.”
I stepped back and looked around my bedroom. I couldn’t see any obvious threats, so I looked back at Verne questioningly.
“S'il vous plaît restez silencieux. Wells est à la recherche pour moi!”
I was too tired to react. Not to mention, I don’t speak a word of French.
Verne tried it again in thickly-accented English, hissing the words below his breath. “It is Wells. He is a difficult man from whom to hide.”
“Wells? H.G. Wells? Ha. Well, good luck with that. You missed him by almost 100 years.”
Verne looked at me with disgust. “Idiot! Wells has his machine! How do you think I got here?”
My coffee-deprived brain couldn’t think of an answer, so instead, I just asked, “Ok…then, if you don’t mind my asking, what are you doing in my closest? Why are you hiding from him?”
Verne’s lowered his tone. “Wells and I, we have a rivalry. We are uncommon minds, do you see? We dream of what may be, and both take a strand of thread that is the science of our day and weave it into rich tapestries of what the future may bring! That we should come into conflict was inevitable.”
He paused, grinned, and looked at his watch.
“Also, I found him in three days, six hours, twenty-four minutes, and sixteen seconds. I cannot let him find me in less!”As I stood in front of him, trying to process this, he hunched down behind my winter coats, and closed the closet door. Through the door, I heard him mumble one last thing.
“Aussi, mon ami, un bon hôte doivent porter un pyjama dans son lit.”