I piloted my time machine back to 1889 to kill baby Hitler and prevent World War II, as I had been trained to do, but I couldn’t go through with it. He was too cute. Even though I had practiced killing a series of increasingly realistic evil babies—starting with a burrito that would make someone sick if they ate it, and progressing through several dolls that expressed Nazi sympathies to the doll that sprung upward to attack my lips and eyes—my training came to nothing. Baby Hitler smiled too sweetly. I stood over his cradle and thought of the millions dead, but in the end I returned my skewer to its sleeve.
Fortunately, I was still able to complete my mission. Thinking quickly, I set my time machine for 1903, to kill teen Hitler. This I accomplished with relish.
When I arrived at his house in turn-of-the-century Leonding, wearing the clothes our team had painstakingly fashioned to match the style of the late 1880s, teen Hitler called to me from the front stoop, offering directions to a home for pensioners. Seeing that I was annoyed, he apologized and thanked me for my service in the Crimean War. Then he announced to his father that a message had arrived from Otto Von Bismarck. Being engaged in some industry within the house, his father could not hear teen Hitler smarting off from the porch, and so was shouted at to come outside even after he had obviously arrived.
“I’m sorry,” Mr. Hitler said genially. “He’s at a difficult age. Won’t you come in?”
This remark sent teen Hitler into a black study. He scowled at the table as his mother served us lager, black bread, and the most delicious bratwursts I have ever eaten. Say what you will about the woman who raised Adolf Hitler, that bratwurst was great. Teen Hitler only glowered at his, though, breathing heavily through his mouth.
“Aren’t you hungry?” his mother asked. To fill the silence that ensued, Mr. Hitler inquired what brought me to Leonding. For this part of the mission, at least, I was prepared. I launched into the story of my life: a printer’s apprentice, now a journeyman, come to pursue my devotion to the typeset word. This aspect of the mission was one I had particularly enjoyed rehearsing, and I played it with élan. I was just getting to the part about newspapers’ importance to civic order and the kind of print shop where I’d like to work when I was interrupted by a loud belch. Teen Hitler’s father reddened.
“You will treat guests in this house with respect,” he began, but Mrs. Hitler cut him off.
“It caught him by surprise,” she said, laying her hand on teen Hitler’s shoulder and sitting down next to him. “He is only hungry, because he does not eat his bratwurst.” She plucked a bratwurst from his plate and waved it playfully under his nose.
“You’re not funny!” teen Hitler shouted, knocking the bratwurst from his mother’s hand.
“Adolf, please!” she protested. “I was only trying to cheer you.”
“I was only trying to cheer you,” teen Hitler repeated in a mocking tone.
I reached across the table and slapped him so hard that his head hit the wall and exploded. That’s how I remember it, anyway. I was so mad. Regardless, I fled the bloodstained kitchen to my time machine, my mission heartily accomplished. It was such a success that I set the controls for a year earlier and killed teen Hitler again, this time during Oktoberfest.
I file this report knowing it will mean nothing to you, and that I will return to a 21st century that never heard of Adolf Hitler. My heroism will go unnoticed—punished, even, as I am sure this report will stain my record of otherwise canny service to a nation that, now, cannot understand my sacrifice. But I assure you, dear reader, it was worth it.