This story was written and posted online within and hour of when I started writing it. The voice of the narrator sort of came to me and I liked how much of an honest bastard he is. He’s very human, down to earth and gritty.

My friend the time traveller

So, I knew this guy from the future. I know what you’re thinking: yeah right; I told him the exact same thing. He kept being from the future anyhow. I asked him, of course, when he was from and he replied that the future of his origin was just far enough away for him not to be bothered by it presently.

He hadn’t come to warn us about anything. No impending doom or nothing like that. The immediate future holds nothing but more of life, he said; more work, more hassle and that’s it. What he had actually come for was quite simple: he wanted to be very rich, quickly with no work at all, and now he could. He had brought with him a list of all major sporting results of our time and I told him that this was a very Back to the Future thing to do and he replied that this was in fact from where he had gotten the idea. He added that any idea worth mentioning from this period of time had in fact come from Michael J. Fox anyway. When I inquired about paradoxes and the continuous flow of time he shrugged and said that he had no idea and didn’t really care much. He wasn’t the brightest sort – in fact he was very simple minded wanting only money and nothing to do all day. In that sense me and my friend were very much alike. So, of course he hadn’t any idea how the time machine had worked or nothing like that either. I guess it was really bad luck that no one brighter had come to our past, but there you go.

Naturally, he had no money with him and immediately wanted to borrow as much money as I had so that he could place his sporting bets. I had plenty of crazy moochers in my life so I refused, but he then wrote me a list of all sporting results of importance for the upcoming Sunday and said that he would prove himself to me. And he did. Spot on with every single result and that of course changed things for me. I lend him everything I had and some of what I could loan from others around me and we went to get rich. We agreed to split it all between us and divide the bets out among all the bookies we could find. By late Sunday we were rich and we were so excited about it that we went out to celebrate in style. This was, after all, just the beginning of the good life.

As it turned out, though, it was the end of the good life as well. Some journalist noticed us poor looking saps tearing up town on a spending spree and apparently we bragged to him about our scheme at some bar very late in the night and he wrote an article on it. The article was published and then the sports results started changing as we had somehow impacted the present enough to change the course of everything. During the next betting session we barely broke even. We still had money left but not enough to base our whole lives on which got my friend extremely depressed. He said that he certainly hadn’t come back to this crappy past just to be poor again here.

As I returned to work, saying easy come easy go, my friend stayed at home getting increasingly depressed. I was actually worried that some strange time paradox would suddenly cause my friend to vanish, but that didn’t happen. Not in that sense at least. Instead he attempted to rob a bank. I saw it on the news live; he sucked at that too. He tried to drive off from the police on a bicycle which turned out just as ridiculous as it sounds. I guess they didn’t have cars in the future he came from. Well, the trial was sort of quick and my friend went to jail for a long time.

I see him occasionally, but he has become quite gloomy to talk to and miserable.  When I saw him last he threatened me saying that he felt that all of our winnings should really be his, and when he got out of jail he would come and take it all from me. Instead I used what was left of his winnings to pay an old class mate of mine in the slammer to rough up my friend and discourage this strange idea of his. My old class mate put my friend up in the hospital for a couple of weeks in dire need of extensive dental work. Since then I haven’t gone to visit him much as thing have grown sort of awkward between us.

I fear that my friend doesn’t fit well into this time. But then he didn’t fit well into his own either. Perhaps that is what it is to be a time traveler – not to fit in anywhere but just hurry through one’s own miserable life. I really don’t know, but then what does anyone really know about time travel anyway?

By Jeppe Grünberger