HAPLESS MALES (9)

HITCHES OF TIME TRAVEL

Time travel is nothing but a hackneyed storytelling device so you might imagine his surprise when as an old man he discovered that through a weird stumble of destiny he was capable of it himself. Or something like it. He suddenly had the power to bifurcate, to take the wisdom of his experience and advise his younger self about which choices were good ones, which ones a disaster. Don’t go on that date. Make sure the burner is off when you leave the house. Don’t assume your father knows what he’s talking about.

It was like he had two lives in his one self. He could give his younger self a much more joyful life as well the prospects of a more satisfying future.

And that’s what happened. The younger improved self did the impossible; he became as real, as individuated as the self that had gone on the date, left the burner on, etc. Amazingly, the new younger self also didn’t resent being told what to do by the know-it-all older self.

But there was a glitch. There is always a glitch in time travel. The younger self, with his comparatively friction-free existence, began to sluice through time’s chute at a greater speed than his fraught original, the one who made the mistakes. At an alarming rate this new being got nearer and nearer the smug old man, looking more and more like a mortal threat.

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