Author : Paul Starkey
The ad said; “I’m rich, you can be too! Call to find out how!”
Frankly it was the sort of ad you see in the papers every week, and you always laugh at the idiots who reply. At least I used to, but the recession was pinching, and my redundancy pay was running out. I was desperate.
The interview was laughable. Just a bland guy called Tony asking me inane questions in a hotel room, followed by him waving what looked like a calculator in my face.
‘Congratulations,’ he said afterwards. ‘You’re hired.’
‘Yeah but hired for what?’ I asked, suspicious that I was about to be asked to strip.
‘Why to time travel of course.’
Desperate or not, this was the point when I stood up, flipped him the finger, and headed for the exit.
Before I could reach for the doorknob however, it vanished…along with the door. Suddenly I was facing a counter, an old cash register welded to it by rust; empty shelves lined the back wall, cobwebs everywhere.
Turning I discovered I was in an abandoned shop. The windows had been badly boarded up- and sunlight streamed in through myriad gaps.
I wasn’t alone. ‘Welcome to 1978,’ said Tony.
I was in shock, stumbling to the nearest gap in the boards, weaving my way like a drunkard (Chronosickness Tony calls it). Peering out I saw a busy high street. Only the people were dressed in out of date fashions, and the cars looked ancient yet brand new at the same time. Sweet Jesus this was the past…
A moment later and I was back in the hotel room, back in the now. ‘So,’ said Tony. ‘Want to be rich?’
I nodded like an idiot and he explained how it worked…
Firstly Tony is from the far future. He won’t tell me exactly when but whenever it is, it’s dull, and he seems a lot more at home in 2009 (apparently THE year to be seen in). To live here however, he needs money. Now I know what you’re thinking; time machine/lottery numbers/horseracing etc …doesn’t work. Time is a bitch, a cantankerous bitch at that. She won’t let you profit from future knowledge. Winning lottery numbers fail if you bring them back, horses fall…
After trial and error though, Tony discovered that time has nothing against hard labour, and nothing against putting your earnings in a high interest account then drawing the proceeds out in the future. However it only works with money earned in the past (trust a woman to be that fickle).
So Tony hops back, gets a job as a labourer for a week or two, banks his wages and skips forward to live off the interest.
He got rich, but he also got greedy, and he quickly figured out that he could only earn a finite amount alone. If he had help however…
So now I have a new job. I’ve been a street sweeper in 1970, a navvy laying railway lines in 1925, heck I even helped build the Titanic. I never have to work more than a week, then I return to the instant after I left to discover I’m a wealthy man.
Of course Tony takes half, but so what… I’ve worked just a month in the last year, and earned well over a hundred thousand.
Gotta go anyway, Tony has a new job for me in 1815. Only pays a schilling, but with that much interest I’ll wealthy enough to take a year off. I’m meeting him at Waterloo. I’m assuming he means the railway station…