Michael’s Temporal Tourist Trap

The alarm clock reminded Michael that in two hours he needed to wake up. In two hours his day would begin anew with a toothbrush, shaving cream and a time of longing in the shower in memoriam of his separated wife, Gloria. After a moment’s thought he realized that if he did that presently he could spend the extra time watching cartoons. The crowds love that kind of thing. With utter disregard for the long term consequences of voluntary insomnia, Michael went towards the bathroom.

As he passed the living room to the bathroom, Michael considered his house’s curious floor plan. He probably had the only house in ten miles with a viewing room. It was cut off from the rest of the house by velvet rope. Ten people were currently viewing him, gawking and looking dumb as tourists are want to do. From this room, they could view every room except the bedroom and bathroom; apparently decency codes will forbid that. They even had their own door… which led to the future.

In the salad days of sometime after now, tourists are a jaded lot who travel through time and space with the vague hopes of something interesting to distract them. Michael’s house was an educational attraction, an authentic third millennium bungalow, complete with game consoles, gas stove and a microwave. Actually, Michael ‘accidentally’ broke the microwave after the fiftieth time he watched male patrons cover their crotch while in use. One day he was just a little to eager to move an iron skillet from the stove and it ended up crashing through the microwaves window. He played the caveman klutz and the crowd ate it up.

That was back in the days when he had a pregnant wife and the whole world in front of him. Now Gloria lived in Santa Barbara with equal custody. In six months and four days, Michael would join her and they would start again, hopefully. Paul looked so smart in all the pictures, aside from the drooling. She wouldn’t raise her child in a zoo and Michael couldn’t blame her but the contract kept him at the house.

The contract itself laid bare a mystery of time travel. Paradox is not a law of the universe but of the 32nd century Temporal Tourism Bureau. The TTB will be really into authenticity and their local division was quite willing to sue you over breach of contract. In fact, any interaction at all could be a considered a breach. That’s why when Michael found a little boy in his bathroom, Michael was a little distressed. Also Michael was naked and in his time, naked men in the presence of boys were heavily scrutinized.

“I know how it ends.”

The little boy had a tablet in his hands. Michael tended to get annoyed at people with wiki knowledge. This kid had Michael’s whole future in his chocolate covered hands.

“Good for you, get behind the rope.”

As he put a little pea of toothpaste on his brush, a thought occurred. All through the foamy baptism of his teeth, the thought persisted. After he spit, he looked back to see that the child still standing in the corner of Michael’s bathroom.

“Does Paul make it out okay?”

“What do you mean?”

“Does he have a good life?”

“Uh, yeah, he does pretty well. In fact he…”

“Stop, thats all I need. Go.”

Feeling helpful, the child left to find his negligent parents. There was a good chance this information was not true or after spoken wholly inaccurate due to tampering. Michael couldn’t think of such things, he could only assure himself that his boy would grow up right.