Tag: future

Knowing the Future Doesn’t Help

Many years in the past, well before the internet, a kindergarten teacher looked at the row of tiny people sitting on carpet squares. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Everyone started talking at once. Then they each started talking louder in an attempt to be heard. The teacher started clapping out a rhythm. Clap. Clap. Clap-clap-clap. The students quieted down and joined in the last clap-clap-clap.

“One at a time. We’ll start at this side of the room.”

“I want to be a baseball player.”

“…a doctor.”

“…an artist.”

“…a monkey.”

“…a blogger.”

The teacher paused. “A what?”

Cassandra shrugged. “It’s like a writer, but it will be on the computer, when the computers are all connected.”

Everyone looked at her blankly. “That sounds nice,” the teacher said at last, and the class moved on.

Later, on the playground, a small group of children cornered Cassandra by the slide. “You think the computers will all be connected and take over the world? You’re going to help them?” One of the children said, smirking.

“That won’t happen. You don’t know anything about computers.” Another child said. “Stop pretending to be smart. You don’t know anything.”

Cassandra straightened her shoulders. “I know you are going to go to college, but you’re going to spend the rest of your life paying for it.” She turned to the other child. “You’re going to need braces and glasses by middle school.”

The children shrieked in anger and raced forward together to push her in the mud. When the teacher with recess duty approached, the children ran away. Cassandra stood up with a sigh.

“Do you need to go in and change?” The teacher made a face at the mud.

“I can wait until the end of recess. They’re just going to push me in the mud again soon.”

The teacher patted her shoulder. “You don’t know that. Try to be more positive.”

Cassandra shrugged. “I’m positive they’ll shove me in the mud, as soon as you leave to deal with the kids fighting over the shorter swing.”

“What kids?” Just then, sounds of shouting and crying came from the swing set. The teacher sighed and patted Cassandra’s shoulder again. “I’ll be right back,” she said.

Moments later, Cassandra was shoved back into the mud.

She went inside to change, knowing the teacher wasn’t going to come back. Someone was going to find a dead bird by the fence and cause a commotion that would last for the rest of recess. Cassandra changed and waited quietly by the doors for recess to be over.

At lunch, she warned Jimmy that he wouldn’t like the mashed potatoes. He took a big bite anyways and then spit it all over the table. During painting, she moved her paints and warned Sara to wave her arms less as she talked. Sara still waved her arms and ended up with paint all over her sleeve. At reading time, Cassandra told Mike to be careful walking to his carpet square, and he still tripped and hit his head on his desk.

When the children were lining up to go home, Cassandra paused and tugged on Amy’s sleeve. “It’s going to rain later, and you forgot your coat.”

Amy frowned. “No I didn’t. I always put it in my backpack.” Then she turned around to talk to someone else.

Cassandra sighed and continued to the back of the line. She could see the future clearly. Someday, all of this would be part of a blog post that no one would believe. No one ever did believe her, of course. She was used to it by now.

Future Not-Telling

When Dylan looked into the mirror as he brushed his teeth, it wasn’t his face looking back at him. Stumbling backwards, he reached for the doorknob and took a deep breath preparing to yell for help.

“Stop. I won’t hurt you. I’m you from the future.”

Dylan stopped and looked at the mirror. “You aren’t me. You’re old.”

The man in the mirror winced. “Ouch. I was a mean little kid. I’m not old.”

Shrugging, Dylan opened the medicine cabinet, swinging the mirror towards the wall. He tapped around the back looking for a power supply or some kind of electronics.

“Don’t you want to hear about the future?” The voice called out from the other side of the cabinet door.

Dylan closed the door again and faced the man in the mirror. “Like what?”

“Before we begin, I do want to point out that I’m not old.”

“You have a beard.”

The man rubbed at his beard and frowned. “Beards are cool in the future, you know.”

“It doesn’t look cool. It looks old.” Dylan was pretty sure after all that this was not him from the future. He wouldn’t ever have a beard, even if other people said it was cool. He opened the cabinet again to figure out how the trick was done. He knocked on the back of the mirror.

“Dylan, Dylan, Dylan,” the voice said. “Stop that. I can prove I’m you. I’ll tell you something no one else knows.”

Dylan swung the mirror back partway, still holding onto the edge of the door. “Like what?”

“Um. I don’t know. Oh, wait. You dream all the time that you can fly. You have nightmares about carnivorous flowers. You cheat when you play solitaire.”

“Whatever.” Dylan crossed his arms. “What do you want, anyways? It’s not like I’ll really become you anyways. Not now that I’ve seen how stupid I look with a beard.”

The man in the mirror stroked his beard again. “I told you, it’s cool. Wait and see.”

“So, why are you here? Do you need to warn me about something?”

“Hmmmm.” Old Dylan thought for a moment.

Dylan rolled his eyes. “Did you forget why you came here? Told you you’re old.”

Old Dylan pointed at him through the mirror. “That’s it. I’m not telling you anything. You get to suffer.”

“I thought I was you.”


“So you’ll suffer too.”

Old Dylan smiled. “Yeah, but I’ve already lived through it.”

“But maybe you could tell me some stocks to invest in or something and we’d both be rich.”

“You’d just waste all the money before I could spend it,” Old Dylan said.

“That’s what you think.”

“I’m you too, so you think it too. Hah!” Old Dylan crossed his arms across his chest.

Dylan swung the cabinet door open and knocked on the back of the mirror.

“Knock it off, that’s annoying and loud.”

“You’re old, old, old, old, old old, old.”

“That’s it, I’m leaving.”

Dylan knocked on the back of the mirror a few more times. When he didn’t hear anything, he swung the mirror back in place. Old Dylan was gone.

Years in the future, when beards were actually cool, Dylan didn’t grow a beard. But he was interested in time travel. He studied it extensively, with the firm belief it would someday be possible. When he joined a team inventing a way to visit the past through mirrors, Dylan volunteered to be the first test subject.

He convinced them to allow him to check in on his younger self so that they could see the effects of visiting a past self firsthand. After a bit of reflection, he decided to grow a beard just for the occasion. He thought it would be best to complete the loop. Plus it would be funny.

“You can’t tell your younger self anything about the future, you know,” the lead researcher reminded him. “You signed an ethics agreement.”

“Don’t worry,” Dylan said. “I won’t tell me anything.”

Brothers in Time

Once upon a time, far in the future, three brothers set out to seek their fortune. Fortunately for them, their father was a brilliant, yet somewhat mad, inventor. So he gave each of them a time machine as they set out on their adventure.

The youngest brother decided to live in a tropical climate before people invented the wheel or fire or tools. He decided that would give him plenty to impress the people with, and life would be easy. And it was, for a time.

Unfortunately, before long, someone came knocking on his door. “We’re the time guardians, let us in,” a deep voice said.

“There’s no such thing,” the youngest brother replied.

“We’re from the future, sent to fix past events that were messed up by unregulated time travel,” the voice said.

“If you’re from my future, shouldn’t you leave me alone as part of the past?” the brother threw his things into a bag and grabbed his time machine.

“Let us in, and we’ll talk about it,” the voice said. The door creaked as it began to open.

The youngest brother grabbed his time machine and set it to home in on his brothers. It took him to the nearest one, the middle brother. He was living in Renaissance Italy.

When the youngest brother arrived, the middle brother was in the middle of a discussion with a number of important scholars. The youngest brother hid until they left, and then he hurried into the house. “Brother, guess what?”

“What are you doing here?” the middle brother asked, looking annoyed.

“There are time guardians from the future trying to stop us from changing anything in the past.” The youngest brother looked around. “Hey, are you going to eat that? I missed bread more than I thought I would.”

The middle brother passed him the loaf, looking thoughtful. “Time guardians? Are you sure?”

The youngest brother nodded. “They said they were from our future.”

“If they’re from our future, shouldn’t they leave us alone as part of the past?”

“That’s what I said!” The youngest brother looked out the window. “Hey, are you expecting company?”

“No, why?”

The youngest brother pointed. “There’s a group of people headed this way. Oh, here they are.”

Someone knocked on the door. “We’re the time guardians, let us in,” a deep voice said.

“There’s no such thing,” the middle brother said. He quickly packed a bag and grabbed his time machine. He looked at the youngest brother, who was already setting the machine to jump to their oldest brother.

“We’re from the future –” the voice began, but the brothers left before they could hear the end of the sentence.

The youngest brother was still holding the loaf of bread. He chewed on it as he looked around. “Where are we?”

“Moon Base Alpha,” the oldest brother said, stepping away from the sink and wiping his hands on his coveralls. “They needed a permanent maintenance worker, and I was familiar enough with the technology to impress them. I got the job.”

“But didn’t they abandon that base when the funding ran out?” the middle brother asked.

“Yes, and it was self-sustaining,” the oldest brother said. “I think I can make a case for staying on and maintaining things if I volunteer my time for room and board.”

“But won’t you get lonely?” the youngest brother asked.

“Video chats. Plus, they’ll develop teleporters soon enough. If the base is in good working order, maybe they’ll select it as a tourist site or a historical monument.” The oldest brother shrugged. “I thought it was worth the risk.”

“Do they need any more maintenance workers?” the middle brother asked. “We need a place to hide from the time guardians.”

“There’s no such thing,” the oldest brother said.

“Yes there is. They’re from our future,” the youngest brother said. “They want us to stop messing with the past.”

“If they’re from our future, shouldn’t they leave us alone as part of the past?”

“That’s what I said,” the youngest and middle brothers said together.

The oldest brother sighed. “Tell me what you know.”

The other two brothers shrugged. “That’s pretty much it,” the youngest brother admitted.

“You didn’t stay and talk to them? Of course you didn’t.” The oldest brother shook his head.

Just then, someone knocked on the door. “We’re the time guardians, let us in,” a deep voice said.

“Coming,” said the oldest brother. He let them in.

The men in spacesuits took off their helmets after they came through the air locks. They sat down on the chairs in the lobby of the station across from the three brothers. “We’re from the future,” one of the men began in a deep voice.

“And you don’t want us to change the past,” the youngest brother said.

“That’s right,” the man said.

“What about maintaining it?” the oldest brother asked. “Can we get permission for that? Or research? There must be some way that we can use our time machines without hurting the past or the future.”

“Of course there is,” the man said. “Let me give you some of the paperwork with the rules you need to follow. If you are willing to agree to the rules, and come to the future for some training, we would be happy to allow you to continue to use your time machines.”

And so the brothers read the rules and went to the training. The youngest brother joined the time guardians. The middle brother became a historian. The oldest brother continued to live on the moon. And they all lived happily long before they were born.

The end.

Flashback Friday: Trolling Around

This story was originally posted on October 26, 2017. I like the idea of modern trolls. Now I wonder what trolls of the future would be like. Would they haunt the bridges of starships, adding malware to the ship’s computers and changing the navigational coordinates when no one’s looking? Hmmmmmm.

Grag was under the bridge typing away when Frod came to visit. “Hey Frod,” he said. “Where’ve you been? I haven’t seen you in years.”

“Yeah, well, you know how I never paid attention in class?” Frod said.

“Of course I do. You snored so loud that we could hardly hear what the teacher was saying.” Grag rolled his eyes..

Frod laughed. “I wasn’t that bad, was I?”

“Do you remember any of the lessons?” Grag asked.

“Good point.” Frod scratched his arm. “Anyway, when we were talking about life skills, I thought I needed to live under a fridge to gather my hoard. Wow, it was a tight fit. I only ever managed to grab a handful of dropped change, but the food was good.”

“You’re joking, right?” Grag asked.

“Not really,” Frod said. “But enough about me, tell me how you’re doing.”

Above their heads, they could hear the pounding sound of someone crossing the bridge. Frod looked over at Grag. “Aren’t you going to go get that?”

Grag typed something on his laptop. “Nope.”

“Don’t stop trolling just because I’m visiting. I may have slept through all our lessons, but I could help,” Frod said.

“No one trolls in person anymore.” Grag pointed at his laptop. “It’s all online now.”

Frod looked around. “On what?”

“Online. Look.” Grag turned his laptop screen around.

Frod squinted. “Your dog is ugly and has fleas,” he read. “Did you write that?”

“That’s modern trolling,” Grag said.

“But what good does saying weird things online do?” Frod asked.

“What do you mean?” Grag started typing again.

“Well, you can’t eat your words,” Frod said. “Or gather them up to keep you warm at night.”

“You really missed a lot sleeping through all those lessons.” Grag kept typing. “I don’t troll to make a living. I do it because I’m honoring my cultural heritage.”

Frod scratched his head. “But you still have to eat. And you still need to build a hoard so that you can find a nice cave to settle down in, right?”

“Of course I do.” Grag closed his laptop and turned to look at his friend. “I work as a customer service representative.”

Frod frowned. “Are those really words?”

“Of course they are. I work for a human company, answering questions about the stuff they sell and handling returns. Things like that.”

“That doesn’t sound like a good job for a troll,” Frod said.

Grag laughed. “You’d be surprised.”


“Listen,” Grag said, leaning forward. “Do you want to build a hoard and earn money you can exchange for food?”

Frod nodded.

“Good, good,” Grag said. “It’s the modern troll way. I know of a collections agency that’s hiring. I think it would be a great job for you. Do you know how to use a telephone?” Grag held up a cellphone.

“That’s a telephone?” Frod asked. “It’s so small.”

Grag sighed. “I think you were under that fridge too long. Don’t worry. You’ll pick it up really quick. Are you hungry? We can talk over lunch.”

“I found some bread in the park this morning, but I had to fight some ducks for it,” Frod said. “I’m starving.”

“Let’s get a pizza.” Grag stood up and put away his laptop.

“That sounds wonderful.” Frod smiled, showing his crooked teeth. “Thanks for being a good friend.”

“Don’t mention it,” Grag said. “Ever. I’ve got a reputation as a troll to keep up.”

Grandpa’s Astronomy Lesson

“Grandpa, look at the book I checked out from the library,” Jim said. He held up a book with a picture of the solar system on the front.

Grandpa took the book as he sat down on the couch next to Jim. “The planets?” He opened the book and flipped through the pages.

Jim leaned over and turned the pages to show a picture of the earth with a wedge removed. “See, the earth has layers, like a jawbreaker. Inside the center, there’s liquid and solid metal. Neat, huh?”

“Of course there is,” Grandpa said. “That’s what baby space phoenixes look like.”

“Huh?” Jim looked at the diagram again. “Space phoenixes?”

Neil, who had been adding a mustache to a picture of a panda in Carrie’s coloring book, dropped his pen and grinned. “Is this a grandpa story? We should get Lynn. She’ll want to hear it.” Read More