By the time I realized why this sublet was so cheap, it was too late—I was being tortured by the Inquisition. In case you were wondering, it was nothing like the Monty Python skit. How awesome would that have been? Well, it doesn’t help that I started giggling when they told me to, “Confess the heinous sin of heresy.” Oh God, hah! Oh, hah, huh. Hmm, sorry, can’t help it, makes me snort every time I remember that bit. But yes, my burns are still healing. Dear God, who knew screaming into a small transponder would cause so much hullabaloo. I forget how touchy the early Spanish empire could be.
I mean, I grew up Catholic, for Christ’s sake, but I never had to learn Latin, thank you, Vatican II. So when they asked me to prove my religion by reciting a few prayers, I busted out what I thought as “Profession of Faith,” but these guys thought I was spouting heresy because I was speaking modern Spanish. I did forget my Babelfish, which may have saved my ass. Wait – is it even programmed for medieval Latin? Well, lessons have been learned, that is all I have to say.
And here they are:
(1.) Double-check that your sublet to Andalusia’s Golden Era is for BEFORE 1478.
(2.) Remember to look at the profile of the person you are subletting from to make sure they aren’t a bored, rich sadist who wants to watch you suffer a bit AND pay for the “pleasure” of it.
(3.) Always, and I mean always, remember your Babelfish. Modern languages are always a tip-off and can mess with history. Ah shit, did I just change history? Has my guest rating gone down? Thank God for the fixed term on the sublet and automatic return to our time period. Not sure how the empty shackles will be explained to the Inquisitors. Hold on, I am quickly checking Spanish history on the network to see if anything has changed dramatically. Hold please. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit!
Which leads me to
(4.) Always do a thorough research of the current understanding of the history of your destination and write that shit down or copy it somewhere where it cannot be altered in order to do a thorough comparison afterward.
And if all else fails,
(5.) See if there is a cheap ticket back to the immediate past to prevent yourself from buying the sublet in the first place.
Heather Bourbeau’s award-winning poetry and fiction have appeared in The Irish Times, The Kenyon Review, Meridian, and The Stockholm Review of Literature. She is the winner of La Piccioletta Barca’s inaugural competition and the Chapman Magazine Flash Fiction winner and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her writings are part of the Special Collections at the James Joyce Library, University College Dublin. Her latest poetry collection Monarch is a poetic memoir of overlooked histories from the US West she was raised in (Cornerstone Press, 2023).