I must point out at this juncture, that it was a rather strange looking picture
that I looked down upon. Nothing in the lobby had any color whatsoever. Outside
the lobby windows we could see the snow slopes, and they too were completely colorless.
We seemed to be on a colorless island of sorts, however, because out past the
slopes to the left I noticed that everything was blue, and to the right everything
"This is the center of the universe," Shadow said matter-of- factly. "Of the Blue
and Yellow Universe," he added.
Of course, I had never heard of the Blue and Yellow Universe, but I took his word
We checked in at the desk, and a bellboy brought us up to our suite.
The rooms were immensely extravagant, and huge. But rather strange looking, because
nothing had any colors.
"Don't get too comfortable," Shadow snapped when I threw myself on the bed. "We're
not staying very long."
"Oh," I sighed. All this YODELing was making me a little tired.
"Put your ski gear on," Shadow muttered, and he pulled a snow suit out of the
closet and tossed it to me.
"We're going skiing?" I gasped nervously.
I gulped, and did as I was told. "Aye, aye, captain," I shrugged.
Before I knew it, we were up on the slopes, and away we went.
I had never been skiing before, at least that I knew of. But even if I had, I'm
sure it wasn't anything like Time-Skiing.
Time-Skiing is exciting.
I don't know how else to describe the rush of roaring through time so much faster
than the speed of light, and yet being able to see it all whizzing past. People,
places, and events rushing by with all the thrill of a runaway roller coaster.
My heart was pounding when we reached the bottom of the slope.
"That was great, Shadow," I laughed. "Let's do it again!"
Shadow was staring down at my feet.
"George," he said slowly, "George where's your boot?"
I looked down at my foot. "I don't know. It must have fallen off while we were
skiing. But I'm not worried," I chuckled, and I hopped on one foot while Shadow
stormed off toward the lodge. "Hey, I'm sure we can get a replacement."
"George, I don't think you understand what you've done."
"What's the matter, Shadow? It's just a boot. So, they'll charge us extra. I know
we don't have any money, but what can they do to us..."
"You don't understand, George. You weren't just skiing. You were Time-Skiing,
man. You can't just let things fall into time. There's no telling where they can
end up, or what damage they can do."
Back at the lodge, a porter showed us to the Reading Room and Shadow walked over
to the magazine shelf. He pulled down the latest copy of Time-Skiing Monthly and
"Oh, boy, George. Look what you've done!"
He flashed the magazine in my face.
"The End of the Blue and Yellow Universe!" the headline read.
"Huh?" I stammered. "What are you talking about?"
Shadow stood there skimming the article. "Oh, boy...Yipes..." he muttered to himself
as he turned the page.
"Come on, George," he groaned, as he rolled the magazine up; when we passed the
garbage can he carefully dropped it inside.
I hopped nervously after him.
"This is worse than I thought!" Shadow was sighing.
We dashed up to our room and Shadow threw my clothes into a knapsack. "We probably
won't have time to come back again," he muttered angrily.
Then we stopped in the lobby to get me a replacement boot, and headed back to
the slopes. Meanwhile, Shadow tried to explain what I had done.
"Apparently your boot dropped under the table of a commemoratory meeting between
the Blue Hemisphere and the Yellow Hemisphere of the universe. Once every 100
years, either the Blue ambassadors visit the Yellow Hemisphere or vice versa.
Your boot rolled under the table while the Blue ambassadors were visiting."
"So?" I said defensively. So far it didn't seem that bad.
"So, when the Blues left, the Yellows found the boot, and the longest war in the
history of any universe was begun. It lasted for 10 million years, and it caused
the complete destruction of the Blue and Yellow Universe!"
"How could my boot do that!" I protested.
"Apparently it entered a time when there was great environmental concern, and
foot deodorant had been banned for ecological reasons. Over the years, foot odor
became such a bad problem that it was illegal to take off your shoes in public.
To leave a smelly shoe behind while visiting another's home was the worst of all
insults. The Yellows thought the Blues had left the boot behind, and they fired
yellow missiles in the Blue Hemisphere.
"The Blues fired on the Yellows, and every missile that hit created a green scar.
This went on for so long that eventually there wasn't anything blue or yellow
left in the universe -- everything was green."
"Wait a second!" I snickered. "So, no one was killed or anything?"
"Oh, no. But nobody knew who was a Yellow and who was a Blue anymore, nor where
the dividing line was, either."
"So, in other words, it united the Universe!"
"Well, in a manner of speaking..."
"Then what I did was a good thing! I created a new united universe -- a Green
"Well...yes...but there already was one of those, and besides, that's not the
issue here. The point is that if a Time- Change is not corrected before you leave
the Time-Ski slope, it gets sent to the Reader's Guide to Paradoxical Literature.
And once it's in there, it can never be changed."
"SO! So, every library in every known universe will have your name indexed under
'Boot' and the Time-Catcher will see it, and he'll come and catch you just after
you cause this Time- Change!"
"That's right, oh! Now we've got to go and get that boot back."
Shadow dragged me back up on the slopes. He pointed off to the far corner of the
Blue Hemisphere. It was starting to turn green.
Shadow gave me a nasty look. "The Change is starting to set in," he mumbled.
I looked embarrassedly to the right and saw the Yellow Hemisphere was looking
a little on the green side, too.
Shadow rolled his eyes, and we Time-Skied to exactly where the article told us
the boot had landed.
Shadow waited in the darkness while I crawled on my hands and knees under some
dignitary's chair, and under the table.
Apparently, we came just a little too early, because as soon as I was under the
table, the boot came bouncing across the floor and hit me in the ear.
I jumped up in surprise and banged my head. The room was suddenly quiet. But someone
laughed and glasses were tinkling again, and the air was filled with voices.
I crawled out of there as fast as I could!
Shadow hugged me when I was safe in the shadows. "I was kind of worried, there,
pal. If they had found you..." He shivered and hugged me again.
We Time-Skied back to the slopes, and I looked off to the left and saw an un-tarnished
Blue Hemisphere. The Yellow Hemisphere to the right was pure yellow. I felt kind
of proud as we skied toward the lodge, but I held onto the boot very carefully!
Before we were halfway down, however, two figures soared past us, and I noticed
it was the other-Shadow and other-me. They also seemed to be in an awful hurry,
and I looked back and saw the Time-Catcher rolling down the hill, with his net
wrapped around his head.
Obviously, he was an even worse skier than I was!
Then, from the left, another Shadow stopped in front of us. "Hi, guys. Glad you
made it. Not too much further to go until you get to Mary," he promised. "You
better put on your YODELcaps -- here he comes," the other-Shadow warned, and turning
to the blundering Time-Catcher, he stuck out his tongue and yelled, "Na, na, na,
We put our YODELcaps on, flipped our glasses down, and of course became invisible.
The Time-Catcher groaned and rolled after what I assumed was Shadow-312.
"Flip your cap," Shadow commanded, and we YODELed off the slope.
Slopes of My Life
Chapter 32- MP3 song demo by Lyndon DeRobertis)