Shorts

The Aged Traveller

Time, time is cruel.

You can say whatever you want, but you can never understand that time is a complete bastard. There is nothing special about it, the problem is what they do not tell you. I am here in this asylum; they call it a home, and it is because I messed with time. Excuse me one moment and I’ll explain.

Right, that’s better. It is one perk of being here, free drugs! First it was Donepezil and now it is Memantine. Do they work? Should I care, I take them anyway. Time, so most people think of time as A to B to C. You have the past, that is A, then you have the present B and finally C is obviously the future. We know that you can travel from B to C. It has been possible for years, even if you are unaware of it. What they don’t tell you is that you can’t travel from C to B, or B to A. This is so important, it is why you don’t have anyone going back and assassinating Hitler or pushing out The Beatles’ hits before they formed. You cannot Sports Almanac the timeline. It is obvious when you think about it. If it was possible to travel back in time, then things would change, so you can either not travel back or you can and you can’t change things.

Where was I? Sorry brain isn’t what it once was, I seem to get more and more forgetful these days. So can’t go back, but can go forward. You can’t break the speed of light. We have known this for years, Einstein taught us that, the famous equation E=mc2. The faster you get to the speed of light, the larger the mass, so you can never exceed it! You can however get close. We have been doing this for as long as we have been travelling into space. We have already travelled in time. Okay, so energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. This is simple stuff.

Booze! Why can’t we have booze? Most of them in this place are halfway to heaven or hell. What harm would it do to get drunk, to live a little? They pump us full of drugs. Drugs to help with memory, drugs to stop memories, drugs for depression, antipsychotics and everything else. A concoction of drugs, a smarties tube worth all to help you, or so they say, and yet I can’t have a drink? Fuck that, If I am crazy then I am crazy, let me embrace the insanity.

If you travel at 99% the speed of light — so the maximum possible — and you fly upwards for two-and-a-half years, then you fly back to earth at the same speed. When you arrive back to you in the ship five years have passed. However, on Earth thirty-five years will have passed. This is slightly out, it is back of a fag packet mathematics but you get the idea. You have travelled 30 years into the Earth’s future. If they’d let me have access to a computer for more than basic puzzle games, I’d be able to be more accurate, but it is close enough.

You jump in your ship; you say Auf Wiedersehen to those you love and off you go, onwards and upwards! What could go wrong? Well, there is the problem, you see. You know about it now, but knowing now will not help you solve it. You can travel forwards but you cannot go backwards, so you are stranded thirty years ahead of everyone and everything you loved. It is a one-way ticket; you are the first time traveller, but you can’t tell anyone. It is obvious when you think about it, but that is something I just did not do. Did they know? They must have known! I just jumped in and they let me. Mind spinning and in a complete mental dizziness you think, I know, I will go further into the future. Another thirty years, then they’ll have the solution. They do not. You are still just a side note in an experiment they deny even existed.

You jump again, and then once more. You are now one hundred and twenty years out of time. Family and friends are long gone. You try to contact anyone who may know about the experiment, but it is long forgotten, redacted? buried by successive governments and now it is long lost? Governments, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Is it any wonder they think I am crazy? Imagine a Victorian transported to now! It would drive them to insanity, just think of how the world has changed.

Maybe it is the drugs, maybe it is me or maybe it is time, but I don’t remember things so well anymore. Things get muddled, I don’t think they designed the human brain for timelines and skipping decades at a time. I can’t remember if I have a family, I think I once did. Did I have children? Did I leave a loved one behind? Am I crazy or are the drugs designed to control me, I really do not know anymore. I don’t even remember the year. I think the drugs are kicking in.

What was I talking about? Oh, yes, family. Family is important, never forget that. I have, I have forgotten. I forget lots of things. How long have I been here? They tell me it has been years, many, many years. The drugs help, they help me forget, or do they help me remember?

Time is cruel, age is cruel.

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