There are some places where the make-believe infiltrates the real, where the line between fantasy and reality is blurred. None but the child’s supple mind can unearth these secret places as for adults, time and age have atrophied the sense which perceives the preternatural. Those of us who have been luck enough to stumble upon such astonishing lands as children, grow into skeptical self-doubting adults who relegate such experiences to the realm of dreams. This is how it would have been with me when my childhood adventures took me off the map of rationality – if it wasn’t for one crucial thing….
It all started with a photobooth. Melbourne has photobooths in the city for novelty or passport purposes. My childhood friend and I entered one hoping to take some memorable shots after a fun day in town. But the events that followed were the last thing we expected. We pressed the button to start the shoot and listened to the countdown, making silly faces ready for the shot. When the flash went off, however, there were no photos in the machine. We stepped out of the photobooth wondering if the thing was out-of-order when we found ourselves in a whole new world. The machine had literally transported us to another planet. The people were purple and there were twin suns in the sky. The people of this strange place looked at us with as much shock as must have felt, and out of pure instinctive fear we ran back into the booth. We pressed the button again and were transported back to Melbourne. The photobooth was a real life tardis!
We ran back home to tell someone and no surprises – no one believed us. When we went back the next day, the Melbourne photo booth hire company had apparently removed the tardis-booth because all that remained was a vague square-shaped mark on the floor. But there was one last thing, there on the floor where the photo booth once was, was a strip of images featuring two young boys bearing expressions of shocked horror, surrounded by a purple race of people against a backdrop of double-sunned sky.