Author : Justin Short

The world’s largest man will tell you like he has told half a dozen others: you are not experiencing time travel. Just relax. Of course, he’ll feed his face on a double bucket of chicken as he explains it, but that part isn’t vital to understanding.

“This so-called time travel,” he laughs. “Like, picture the guy here last month. Begged me to let him in on the secret. Man was dying to get back to the 1960s and go to Woodstock. Couldn’t help him.”

Impossible. Just a romantic pipe dream. Traveling this way is as farfetched as world peace, as unlikely as a dog not eating its own puke. So sorry, hippie wannabe. Sorry, world.

The bucket is low. No problem, the man just pulls out a five-gallon water tank filled with twice-baked potatoes. Your feet burn with anxiety; why, after all, are you here? You beg him to get to the point. And with potatoes shooting down his throat like whipped cream, he does so.

“Now, first thing: we’ve never actually met. And this part may surprise you, but this is the first time you’ve ever stepped foot in this room.”

You try to argue. You’ve been here before. Every detail is familiar – that’s a fact. And it’s not some kiddie notion like déjà vu.

“I could use a glass of water,” he croaks, turning red from his tray of biscuits. “But I repeat: this is nothing so juvenile as temporal manipulation. Not even a vivid flashback. Thing is, pal, you can recall the future. Even predict it sometimes. And that feels funny when you try to deny the fact. I know.”

You shrug. Instinctively, you knew that. The way you visualize people a day before you meet them. Those daydreams of conversations that don’t occur for weeks. Even tried to confide in a friend once – embarrassing mistake.

Still, his response doesn’t satisfy. So why am I here?

The blob smiles, one jowl puffing out in a friendly gesture. “You forgot this part, I reckon. Too bad.”

You remember (or remember when you remembered), but not soon enough. The pistol was hidden under the pie pan. It’s leveled at your nose. The fat man gives you an only-doing-my-job shrug. “Of course I’m sorry. Nothing against you, bud. Just…you remember the future like it’s a boring memory, but so do I. And it’s my job to make sure that memory doesn’t happen.”

A flash. Dying stings worse than you recollected.


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows