This morning I woke up to find that I had received my 1,000th follower on Twitter! I promised everyone on there that I would write an original flash fiction story of 1,000 words (a word for every follower) if I got enough follows.
I am definitely a man of my word, so without further ado I present my freshly-written story “The Problem With Time Travel” :
“Do you want to know the problem with time travel?” Gaurav asked as he and his roommate waited for the PlayStation to update. Scott rolled his eyes and groaned. He had been listening to him ask ridiculous questions all morning.
“That is doesn’t exist?” he responded dryly. Gaurav ignored the condescension.
“No. The problem is is that if you go back in time to try and change the future it wouldn’t work. Same if you try and warn somebody in the future that something bad is going to happen. The best you could hope to accomplish is change a few minor details. Everything else that is supposed to happen will happen.” Scott turned and looked at him. Gaurav was beaming. He spent the vast majority of his days reading comic books, playing video games, and watching the same few sci-fi shows on Hulu over and over again. It was one of the few perks of being on disability. It also gave him time to think about some of the wildest things imaginable, and convince him that he was an expert in all things theoretical physics that did not actually involve real physics. That was where Scott, the actual scientist, came in.
“How do you figure that?” He regretted asking the second his lips closed. Gaurav’s smile brightened.
“Think about it. Say you went back in time twenty years, right? Everything that transpired to make today today in that twenty-year period has already happened. That means that the present is set in stone. Nothing you can do in the past will change the present.” Scott closed his eyes patiently.
“I’m sure if I dropped a nuclear bomb where this apartment is we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.”
“No, but we could be having it in a different house. Some conversations that are meant to happen are going to happen. Even after a nuclear war.” Scott’s eyes opened.
“You’re saying that you and I talking about a hypothetical “problem” with fictional technology is meant to happen?” Impossibly, Gaurav’s smile widened even more.
“I don’t even know why you have a problem with it, Scott. You’re a physicist! You should be all over this stuff!”
“I had a hard week and it’s my day off. The last thing I want to do is talk shop.” He shook his head.
“But you just said that it was fictional technology. That’s not talking shop, roomie. Unless…” Scott stood up and slid his phone into his pocket. “Where are you going?”
“To grab a bite to eat,” he sighed, looking down at the TV screen. “It’s taking forever to load. Text me in a while and let me know what you want and I’ll bring you back food.” Before Gaurav could start talking his head off again he hurried out the door.
“I thought you said you weren’t coming in this weekend?” Dr. Barnes looked up from his tablet as Scott stepped into the lab. He tossed a Chik Fil-A bag into the trash.
“If I didn’t get out of that apartment there’s a good likelihood I wouldn’t be coming back here at all.” Barnes chuckled.
“Roommate problems again, eh?” Scott snickered.
“Every day.” They shook their heads together.
“That sucks, man.”
“Still,” Scott shrugged, “I think I know a way I can fix it.” He stepped over to the Tachyon Shower and started looking it over. Barnes hesitantly sat the tablet on his desk and walked over to him.
“You’re not serious?” Scott nodded. “Do you realize how dangerous that is?”
“I know what you’re going to say. Don’t worry, I have it all figured out. I was thinking about it all during lunch and I think I can make it work without a hitch.”
“Are you seriously thinking about going back in time and getting a different roommate?” Scott paused.
“Actually, I want to test a little theory that Gaurav was going on and on about to me earlier. He claims that what is meant to be is going to be no matter what.” He motioned towards the device. “If he and I were meant to be roommates, this will prove it.” Barnes was still hesitant.
“What are you going to do?”
“My ex is the one who introduced me to Gaurav in the first place. We met at the Halloween party last year at Franko’s. I’m going to go back a year, buy a costume, go to the restaurant and convince my younger self to not under any circumstances become roommates with Gaurav. Shouldn’t take me more than two hours. I did the calculations already.” He began entering numbers into the console. “And don’t worry. If you feel like anything has or is going wrong, shower yourself back a few minutes and stop me. Otherwise…” He pressed a button and quickly hopped into the device. He disappeared within seconds.
Two hours later he returned.
“Well?” Barnes asked, amused at the lion costume Scott was wearing when he reappeared. “How did your visit to 2019 go?” The other man looked excited.
“Better than I hoped! I forgot that I had been having doubts about rooming with him in the first place. It didn’t take me long at all to convince myself not to get the place with him.” He looked around and noticed that everything seemed exactly as it was before. “We all good here?”
“We are,” Barnes answered, relieved. ‘I don’t think we screwed up time at all.”
“Hopefully somethings have changed. I don’t ever want to listen to one-sided, hypothetical conversations about time travel, teleportation, aliens, zombies biting vampires from someone I live with again!” He started tearing off the costume, sweat dripping everywhere.
“What are you going to do now?””
“Go home and shower!” He tossed the costume in the trash. “And see who I’m living with these days!
At the apartment, Thuong and Scott sat in the living room waiting for the Xbox to finish updating.
“Do you know what the problem is with time travel?”