2nd Place 2015 YWA (Grade 8) – Joschua Mueller from SIS


Back to the Future, Made in China (tied for 2nd place – Grade 8)

by Joschua Mueller

“What’s my score, Mr. Tierrez?” I asked my teacher. “You’ve failed this assessment, Josch!” he shouted. I looked at him with a sad face. Then he said, “No! You’ve had enough time to prepare. Go home now!”  I didn’t have a choice… Well, I thought, one “Concern,” or the nice way of saying, “Fail” on my report card won’t be too bad.

I walked out the front door of our school and saw two vendors. Normally, there was one, the cotton candy man. Today though, there was also a man on a picnic blanket and a big metal box with two handles. There was a sign saying “Taim Travo.” I read it a few times and thought, oh, time travel! Like he could really make me travel in time. I was curious and asked him how much it would cost.

He answered in choppy English, “One hundred RMB.” Of course, I wouldn’t pay 100 for an electric shock or whatever that box produced. He came running after me saying, “Okay, I give you fifty!” I shook my head.

Then he kept going, “Special price for you, only thirty!”

I said, “No thanks!”

“Okay, what do you want?” he kept saying.

Just for fun I replied, “Ten kuai.”


Wow, time travelling with a Chinese street vendor for 10 RMB! I followed him back to his machine. He asked me where I wanted to go and when. So where and when did I want to go to? Hmm, why not go back one week and tell myself not to fail that test? I wrote the information on a scrap piece of paper. Then the man flipped some switches and connected the box to a car battery. He told me that 10 minutes from now, he would transport me back.

I paid him the money, sat in front of the box, and grabbed the two handles. He calibrated the box and pressed a button. Instantly, I felt dizzy and was blinded by a huge bright light. Seconds later, I found myself in a freezing cold environment. It was snowing. I saw people skiing, and there was a little restaurant beside me so I entered. It was clear to me that this was not where and when I wanted to go. There was a newspaper on a table next to me that said December 20, 2004. I mean, what do you expect from a street vendor’s rusty machine? But the time travelling actually worked. That’s something, right?

I grabbed someone’s hot chocolate to keep warm and went outside again. There was a little boy standing there all alone waiting for his parents. He was tightly packed in a snowsuit. I walked towards him and asked him if he knew Joschua and if he was present.

“I am Joschua,” he answered. I couldn’t believe it. This was me? I recognized my face in his. I told him, “Hey, this is going to sound crazy but I am you, in ten years. I came here to visit you. I think it’s crazy too, but you can ask me anything you want.” He looked really amazed.

Then he asked, “Do I become an ice cream man?”

“You’ll have to find out yourself. I’m too young to be working. Now I love airplanes more than becoming an ice cream man. I’m a real aviation freak now,” I told him. Then the smaller me replied, “Wow, I never thought about that before. You’re right. I think ‘pilot’ is my new dream job!”

We chatted, and he asked me more questions. Then I finally looked at my phone and found that I only had one more minute left before Mr. Time Machine would transport me back. “Listen, I have something to tell you,” I said. “You won’t probably remember but anyways, in ten years, about spring 2015, I need you to pay attention in class so you won’t fail the test at school. By the way, the answer to number one is ‘B.’ I have to go now, but keep it up with those airplanes, buddy.” He gave me a hug and then I left.

I didn’t want to freak people out or confuse my smaller me, so I went behind the restaurant and just in time, I felt this dizziness again. After a blinding blast of light, I stood there in front of Mr. Tierrez. Then I asked, “Did I fail the assessment?” I expected an angry yes but he said, “Joschua, you have the best grade! You got everything right! I’m proud of you, but for some reason there is an airplane next to the first answer where you selected ‘B.’ Well, nice job.”

The End.


Congratulations to Joschua Mueller who has won a Beats Solo 2 headset sponsored by DVpizza.com

1 Comment for “2nd Place 2015 YWA (Grade 8) – Joschua Mueller from SIS”

  1. Bonnie Horibata

    Excellent story on how you combined time travel with everyday Chinese life on the streets. Science fiction, humor, and family made a great combination. Well done Joshua

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