Daddy Who

An essay by Anna Beth Wilson, as provided by L. L. Phelps
Art by Scarlett O’Hairdye

It all happened like this.

Last year, during my first semester at college, my roommate, Val, had this boyfriend who was all into Doctor Who. You know, that time traveling alien dude with the blue box? Yeah, played by that hot guy. And the other one. Anyway, so I was eavesdropping on her phone conversation one night, and I heard her mention this episode where one of the companions goes back in time and tries to save her dad. You’ve seen it? Ok, well, I haven’t, but I got the gist of it from the conversation. Anyway, it got me thinking. If one could travel back in time, one being me of course, maybe I could find out who my father was. Wouldn’t that be something? To actually know.

You see, it’s like this. Years ago, before there was me, my parents couldn’t have kids. Well, my dad couldn’t have kids. My mom knew this going in, and she was fine with it. You know, adoption and all that. But then she found out about sperm donors and got to thinking. Why not, right? At least the baby would be hers. As for my dad, no one would ever know I wasn’t his as long as the donor resembled him and all that.

Anyway, I wasn’t supposed to know any of this, but I figured it out by accident a decade after the guy I thought was my biological father had died. My mom was furious that I knew, saying it violated my father’s wishes and dishonored his memory or whatever, but it gave me a sort of peace at the time, you know? I’d always been different, and that my father was some random unknown donor made so much possible for me. I could be the child of anyone–a scientist, a brain surgeon, a famous author. There’s something thrilling in that, especially for a teen girl with daddy issues. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I knew that I’d probably find out he was something lame, but still, a girl can dream, right?

Anyway, I did my best from that point to find out on my own who my biological father was, but in the end, it turned it out that somehow or other the doctor who had done the procedures had lost all records from before 2000. I should have given up then and let things go like my mom had wanted in the first place, but I had this strong desire to know, you know? So when I overheard this conversation about time travel and all that, that’s where it all began, my grand scheme. I would travel back in time to December 1995 when my mom got her donation, and I would see who the dude was that gave the sperm.

So now you’re wondering how I would manage this time travel thing, right? Of course you’re wondering that. I wondered it myself at first. Then I found this cool group of time travelers online. According to them, the best way to travel in time was through bending time backwards. You know, like that yoga position where you bend and your belly is up in the air? Anyway, I’d heard this before, about bending time, and that it had been managed by ordinary people like myself, so I figured this group and their time travel method was legit. The only downside was that it left the time traveler in a ghost-like state, seeing as they weren’t supposed to be in the past in the first place. This meant you could see what was going on, but no one else could see you. But whatever, I didn’t need to talk to the guy, just see him, right? So this worked for me.

Daddy Who

But he was my father. My daddy. I wished there was a way I could apologize for where my thoughts had been, apologize for coming back in time for that stranger down the road rather than the man who had changed my diapers and kissed me goodnight, but in that ghost form, all I could do was look at him and feel regret for the years I’d been without him.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2015 collection.

Anna Beth Wilson is a college sophomore currently majoring in Sociology. She has no further plans to time travel.

L. L. Phelps is an American speculative fiction author currently living in Taipei. You can find her often on twitter @LLPhelps1 and occasionally on Her stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction and the anthology, Dragon: Ten Tales of Fiery Beasts.

Scarlett O’Hairdye is a burlesque performer, producer and artist. To learn more, visit her site at

Follow us online:
This entry was posted in Fiction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.