Author: David Henson
“Hi, Dad, how are you today?”
“Same old, same old, Danny. Come in.”
Daniel and Stanley go into the kitchen, and the two sit at the table. Stanley begins scribbling in a notepad.
“I’m almost afraid to ask what you’re writing about, Dad,” Stanley says.
“Just an idea … an invention I thought of.”
Daniel sighs. “Now what?”
“I call it a DRTS — a Dematerializing Rematerializing Transporation System. It’ll beam you anywhere in the blink of an eye. That’s how we’ll get from place to place in the future.”
“There you go again, Dad. Don’t you see how you’re … confused?”
“I’m never confused, Son.”
“My gosh, Dad, you told Billy last month, this —” Daniel raises an arm and sweeps it around him — “is all just a simulation.” He raps his knuckles on the table. “You told Billy nothing is real, Dad. He could’ve hurt himself when he tried to walk through his bedroom wall.”
“I’m really sorry about that, Danny. I gave it some deeper thought after reading about this ‘Occam’s razor’ thing. I don’t think everything’s a simulation anymore.”
“That’s a relief, Dad. How about what you told me the last time I was here — how we’ll all have computers in our heads? Years from now?”
“Son, it’s only logical. Computers keep getting smaller, right? It’s inevitable that sooner or later they’ll be implanted in humans to enhance our capabilities.”
“Dad, please. Don’t you realize —”
“And not just humans. In the future, we’ll put chips in the heads of animals. Their thoughts’ll be translated into human speech. Mainly your higher mammals — pigs, dogs, some horses. Computers,” Stanley continues, “eventually will lead to all kinds of amazing things — levitation belts, invisibility cloaks, time travel and —”
“Eventually time travel? Talking pigs? Oh, Dad.” Daniel takes his father’s hands in his. “I’m worried about you. I’ve got to run now, but we’re going to … fix this.”
Stanley pulls his hands away from Daniel. “I’m fine, Danny. You don’t have to worry about me.”
“How was your father today, Dan?” Lydia says.
Daniel shakes his head. “Well, he’s off the kick about nothing being real. But otherwise about the same, unfortunately. Where are the kids?”
“Billy will be home a little late today.” Lydia says. “Field trip to the Mesozoic. I —”
“Boo!” Sally yells, suddenly appearing next to her father, then rising to the ceiling.
“Young Lady,” Daniel says sternly, “how many times have I told you? No cloaking in the house. Now come down here. Then switch off that belt, too.”
Sally does as she’s told. “Never get to have any fun,” she mutters to herself.
“As I was saying,” Lydia continues, “I think before we go to Jupiter,” she nods toward the family’s teleportation chamber in the corner of the room, “we should take your father in like we talked about. I think he needs is his memory enhancement chip replaced.”
“I agree. I know older people sometimes tend to live in the past, but not like Dad.” As Daniel speaks, a pot-bellied pig saunters up to him. “How are you, Hamster?” Daniel says, scratching the pig between the eyes.
“Absolutely famished,” Hamster replies.