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When my sister invented time travel I was taken aback. She offered very little in the way of explanation; her coy smile and her fists clenched into tiny balls at her hips was the backdrop to the curious stampede of primeval men from her Gucci bag. I told my mother that she was far too young for such extravagance. I still think I’m right, but I’m not sure how. Or when.

My sister was nine-and-three-quarters when she invented time travel using fishing line, a mascara comb, the leather bag and, occasionally, three soft-boiled eggs. The primeval men were the first voyagers through the rice paper membrane of time and space. They emerged from her bag, curious, hungry – at about half past noon on a Sunday.

“They’re very small,” I said.

“Yes,” my sister agreed. One of the soiled gatherers attempted to munch on her nail polish. “I’m not sure if it’s a side effect of the time travel.”

The primeval men enjoyed themselves living in the birdhouse above our kitchen window. Our mother would lay seeds at the entrance and the men would lie in wait for the nearest pigeon. Unfortunately, they were slaughtered to a man when an enterprising squirrel managed to wedge himself inside the narrow aperture.

When I found the displaced Roanoke colony in my bathtub, I told my sister she’d gone too far. For once, my mother agreed. The last thing I saw was the Gucci bag thrown at my head in protest. After I wiped the egg off my face and assured the parson I was no friend of the devil, I felt justified by my words. But I’m not sure how. Or when.

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