Free to Read: "Today Only! Two Hitlers for the Price of One!"
Although “Today Only! Two Hitlers for the Price of One” never found a home, I hope you enjoy this twisted tale of how a scientist’s monumental discovery has some unintended side effects.
I think Kurt Vonnegut would like this one. :)
Today Only! Two Hitlers for the Price of One!
by Thomas Broderick
The scientist had just invented time travel, undoubtedly the greatest discovery in all of human history. He would surely receive the Nobel Prize, book deals, and countless job offers. The scientist was set for life, but he had a problem.
What to do about baby Hitler?
Though he did not have the stomach for murder, the scientist knew that once people could time travel, a slew of potential assassins would crawl out of the woodwork. Baby Hitler, and all of modern history, wouldn’t stand a chance.
The scientist slept on it, and while sipping coffee the next morning, decided it would just be easier to turn his time travel machine into a parallel dimensions machine. The required adjustments to his invention took only one afternoon.
Two months later, the scientist had filed all the necessary patents and created a corporation, Dimensional Inc. As expected, the world went ecstatic at hearing his announcement. Historians could study the past without fear of interference. The human race would finally solve the mysteries of its biological origins. These noble aspirations lifted the scientist’s hopes, but he knew it was just a matter of time.
‘A matter of time’ was only a single weekend. At the end of the Super Bowl, a reporter asked the MVP what he was going to do now.
“I’m going to kill baby Hitler!” The young placekicker screamed into the reporter’s microphone. A week later, wearing his full uniform, the MVP traveled into a parallel 1889. A camera crew from ESPN went along to capture the event. After tackling Hitler’s parents, he proceeded to punt the Scourge of Humanity out of the third-floor window.
Overnight, the whole world was clamoring for a piece of baby Hitler. Within a year sixty Dimensional Inc. offices opened up throughout the country. Another twenty were under construction in various international locales including London, Tel Aviv, Warsaw, and Moscow. At some offices, ambitious managers began to stock a variety of weapons that customers could use to kill baby (or any aged) Hitler: guns, knives, brass knuckles, and smothering pillows of various shapes and sizes. For the low, low price of $99, a customer could rent a weapon of his or her choice and have the experience recorded to a DVD.
It didn’t take long for people to start posting their Hitler killing videos on the internet. A television show dedicated to replaying the best clips was a smash hit. The show’s first $10,000 prize went to a young woman from Boise who had thrown a box of marbles in front of a six-year-old Hitler as he walked to school. Though a billion people had already watched the video on YouTube, the audience erupted into a riotous laughter as Worst Person Ever fell down and broke his little neck.
Two years later the scientist did win the Nobel Prize, but not in Physics, his life’s work. Instead, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. What had happened was that the leaders of the world’s two most powerful nations signed a historic peace treaty in front of Hitler’s crib. Cameras flashed as the two men shook hands. At the end of the ceremony, they both grasped a ceremonial gold dagger, and in a single thrust, drove its tip into the Devil in Human Flesh’s black heart. The bloody dagger went on display at the United Nations, where it became a powerful symbol of world peace and international cooperation.
“Even the most ardent pacifists cannot deny the results,” the scientist said during his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. “The world is truly becoming a better place, one dead Hitler at a time.”
By then, a million people had killed Hitler. A year later the total was five million. All of the Dimensional Inc. offices had digital displays counting the number of dead Hitlers in real time.
Dimensional Inc. had thousands of happy shareholders and a board of directors. The scientist was a very wealthy man. Still, he had a problem. The six-millionth Hitler was about to die, and that was an important milestone. After consulting the board, he had Dimensional Inc. temporally halt all Hitler killing at 5,999,999. Who actually deserves to kill Hitler? He asked his employees in a company-wide email.
A week later, Dimensional Inc. identified the perfect candidate. She was ninety-seven-years-old, one of the last documented survivors of the Holocaust. After a brief negotiation, the woman agreed only if her identity was not released to the public.
The scientist personally greeted the woman when she arrived at Dimensional Inc.’s New York City headquarters. He explained the process to her. She would appear right next to Hitler’s crib. It would be the middle of the night. No one would interfere with her revenge...no, justice.
“Will five minutes be enough?” The scientist asked.
“More than enough,” the woman replied. She had waited a lifetime for this moment.
In a flash, the woman stood in Hitler’s nursery. Below her, sleeping soundly, was the person responsible for killing every member of her family.
As pain and hatred threatened to consume her heart, baby Hitler awoke and started to cry. The woman froze, thinking that the noise would wake up the house. Yet no one stirred to check on the child.
The woman sighed and carefully picked up baby Hitler. She rocked him back and forth. “Fussy child,” she whispered in German, her native tongue. The Murderer of Millions fell asleep in her wrinkled arms, his chubby cheeks nuzzled against a bit of faded tattoo ink near the crook of her right elbow. The woman tucked him in. She even closed the bedroom window so that he would not catch cold.
The scientist was there when the woman returned to her dimension. She burst into tears, and saying nothing, left Dimensional Inc.’s headquarters.
That evening the scientist sent a message to all 643 Dimensional Inc. offices: Our company is no longer in the business of murdering Hitler!
Despite the scientist’s best intentions, Dimensional Inc. went bankrupt six months later. Quantum Inc., on the other hand, made a killing from all its new customers.