It took the gnomes over a year to build it. They worked long days and on through the nights, since as everyone knew, gnomes always looked tired, so what was the point of sleeping? They chattered and hammered and laughed all day, and ate like badgers. Every day food was delivered in massive quantities that defied the diminutive size of the diners. Still, the gnomes could not be matched in sheer cunning with mechanical devices. They made the time machine from nothing but spare parts from an auto scrap yard and lots of screws. When it was completed, they put away their tools, took their pay, and left in an old yellow school bus.
The thing looked like a phone booth. MacElroy surveyed the finished product skeptically. He opened the glass and metal door, and stepped inside. There was a phone mounted on the wall. It was ringing. He looked around the compartment and could see nothing that indicated it was anything but a phone booth. He picked up the receiver.
“Hello?” said MacElroy. Silence. He was about to hang up, and then heard the warbling of a dozen tiny giggling voices over the line. He slammed the phone down on its hook in anger. Mostly he was mad at himself. Swindled once again by gnomes. Hungry gnomes that never slept. The last thing he needed was another phone booth.