Postcards From The Future #1


The argument goes that if anyone ever masters time travel then The Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, is the first point in time they could send anything back to. Let’s say they start with postcards…


Our history annals tell us that the first postcards came through in Summer 2013, but until now we’ve never known where they came from. Logically, one of us science students, writing in 2213, or someone like us, must write them. But every science student knows from their history what the postcards said, so the writer will have to be someone who doesn’t know his history or he’d be too self-conscious. I reckon our janitor here on C Block would be ideal.

Me and Saskia Flanagan got him talking the other night in his little booth and put a spot of vodka in his tea and gave him some postcards and pens and encouraged him to start writing a sort of diary to the people of the past. He seemed to buy into the idea after a while and we left him to it.


Nutters. Nutters you all were. Wars and famine and popstar superstars. Celebrity chefs and gardeners earning more than presidents of countries. You ought to be ashamed. Folks starved while others ate off golden platters, pissed money down the toilet like water. Whole nations laboured in debt for decades for the miscalculation of bankers, while footballers changed teams for enough money to have built hospitals. Nuclear power, don’t start me. Wasting resources on weapons you could never use. When the 2015 tidal wave hit England, three of your power stations blew up, millions had to be moved to the highlands of Scotland. But not quick enough. Damned disgrace. The lies and complacency. Short-termism. Anything for a fast buck, to hell with the risk of polluting hundreds of square miles for a quarter of a million years. Stupid, stupid, stupid.


Well done, Arnold, we told him. This was close, getting there, but not quite the exact tone and wording of the famous June 7th 2013 first contact postcard. It seemed obvious however that if we encouraged him and left him to it some more, he would come up with the goods. His handwriting was getting close too, looked as if he just had to be under a little more stress when the time was right. We’d work on it.


How are things back there, really? These students are bugging me here. Spoilt little brats, sent here by their rich mummies and daddies to be made into tomorrow’s super-scientists for perfecting probes to Titan or some guff, or sending silver armchairs into the future. Oh I know it’s worthy work and I’m just a dullard like Huxley’s Epsilon-Minuses. Hey, where’s all that sex that geezer predicted? I ain’t seen none of it, that’s for sure.
Hey, listen up you 21st century degenerate ape-men, even the janitors read Huxley and Shakespeare in the future, d’you hear that? Yeah! Even I’m smarter than the best of you goons, and I’m just good for cleaning toilets.


Damn. Old Arnold doesn’t seem to be getting this. Maybe Saskia and I are going to have to write the postcards ourselves. But how could we fake his handwriting? Maybe we should hold a laser gun to his head and force him to write what we want. Dictate it to him. Maybe that’s how the postcards were written. We’re closing a causality loop, that’s what this is!


You know what? This will shock you. I envy you people. Even, or maybe because of, all your wars and famines and disasters and stupidities. You had it good you know. It was exciting back where you are. Anything’s better than the unbearable boredom of the future, and the company of spoilt children. They get worse with each generation, more comfort means more vanity and complacency. More arrogance. They don’t know they’re alive. They scream the house down over an insect bite. You lot, bloody animals though you were, you were real men and women. Hard as nails and resilient as hell. You were better than us. Enjoy your lovely self-made theatre of fire and damnation while you can back there, it makes you what you are, gives you all your drama and your beauty. I envy you. All those great books and films about all your trials and tribulations. We don’t have those anymore. For drama, we have to turn back to the past, the history that is your present. They’re talking about sending postcards back now, but tomorrow it will be people. Crummy little holiday makers in Hawaiian shirts and training-shoes, coming back to saunter through the Killing Fields of Cambodia or the kilns of Buchenvald. How come that’s not in the history books? I’ll bet it is you know. I’ll bet that’s what all those UFOs were.


Arnold isn’t playing ball. We know he’s writing secret postcards that he isn’t showing us. The ones we get to read are worse and worse, just red herrings (whatever that antiquated expression means!) He must think we’re daft. Enough’s enough. Tonight we’ll tie him up at knife point and force him to write out a transcript of the 2013 postcard, then we can sneak it into the Even Larger Hadron Collider tomorrow and send it back. We’ll be famous. Credited as the geniuses who sent the first object back through time! I can’t wait!


Funny how things get lost in the post. Bad enough with snail mail, as they used to call it, never mind contra-temporal transport as we now call our greatest achievement. Just because a postcard has a certain date, doesn’t mean it was sent that day. My great great grandfather Arnold Nirankar died just over a hundred years ago in mysterious circumstances, and only today have we uncovered his secret box of postcards. I wonder if it’s too long ago for the law commissioners to hold a retrospective inquiry. One of these postcards looks like an exact facsimile of the famous 2013 first contra-temporal postcard. How peculiar. I think we should organise a public commemorative service and centenary celebration and send it back through the Time Collider.


Weather here, wish you were nice. Little bastards. Is this what you want? Hope from the future that your lousy race survives? Can’t an old man rest in peace without being tortured by the games of inane children? You build your big toy to get my attention. God particle this, God particle that. Here I am, listening through your big silver ear five miles across, shouting at you though your circular racetrack mouth, like an angelic trumpet blaring. I am here I say. And I have heard you. You exist. Big deal. Now let me go back to sleep for the love of Jesus.