Short Story Fiction
When the Future Needs the Past
Scott A. Gese

A time traveler from the future needs help from someone in the past in order to protect a project he’s working on.

when the futureImage source/Unsplash

Michael Westing reluctantly put his book down and got up from his comfortable chair. His attempt to ignore the persistent knocking at his door had failed. Whoever was there was not about to leave.

“Hold on, I’m coming.”

He opened the door to find an older man, well dressed and clean cut. He held a briefcase.

“If you’re a salesman? I’m not interested.”

“No, I’m not a salesman,” the man quickly replied. “My name is Destin Westing.”

“Westing? Are you a relative?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact I am. I have a message for you. May I come in?”

Michael was a natural skeptic. He didn’t move aside. “A message from who?”

“I can explain, but it will take a few minutes. Please, may I come in?”

“Why would it take a few minutes to tell me who sent you?” Michael questioned.

“Please, this is extremely important. May I come in?”

Michael relented and opened the door a little wider to let the man in. “Have a seat. Would you like a beer?”

Destin took a seat on the couch. “No thank you,” he replied.

“My time here is limited so let me get right to the point. You may not believe what I’m about to tell you, but I swear it’s the truth.”

That was enough to intrigue Michael. He took a seat across from Destin. “Go ahead. I’m listening.”

“I’m not sure how to say this except to just put it out there. Michael… I’m your Great Grandson.”

Michael couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought. He stood up from his chair and towered over Destin. “What are you talking about? I’m not even married. I don’t know who you are or what your game is but I’m not having any part of this bullshit. Get the hell out of my house.”

Destin held his hand up toward Michael. “Wait, wait. Hear me out. I know this sounds crazy and it makes no sense. I don’t blame you for reacting this way but I’m telling you the truth and I can prove it. Let me explain. Please. Listen to what I have to say.”

Destin was persistent so Michael backed off. “Go on, but it better be good.”

Destin continued. “Technology is moving at such a rapid pace these days. It only makes sense that at some point in time mankind will understand how to manipulate the very fabric of time itself. This will make time travel possible. It won’t happen for decades yet, but it does happens and it happens in my lifetime.”

Michael sat back down. “Time travel? Science fiction is my favorite genre. I’m sure this will be an entertaining story if nothing else. Have at it.”

Destin relaxed. “You may not be married now but you will get married. It won’t be for another few years. You’ll have kids. Three of them. Two boys and a girl. Your oldest boy will be named Will. He’s my Grandfather. His son will be my father. I’m his youngest. I won’t be born for another sixty-some years. I’m here from over one hundred years in the future.”

“Hmm, I see,” replied Michael sarcastically. And… why are you here?”

“I detect the skepticism in your voice,” replied Destin. “I don’t blame you. The truth is, I’m here because I need your help. What I’m about to ask you to do will change history.”

“Ha, great. This just keeps getting better and better. And exactly what is it I need to do to change history?”

“First let me explain why I need you to do what I’m about to ask. In my time I’m a scientist and an engineer. I’ve been working on the theory of time travel for several years now and as you can see, I’ve achieved it to some degree of success. My problem is this. I need money to continue perfecting my work. There are cor…”

Michael quickly interjected. “Woa woa. Just a minute here. I see it now. You’re nothing but a con man, here to get money out of me. Isn’t that right??

“No, No not at all. I don’t want money from you. I want to give you money.”

“Give me money? You need money but you want to give me money. You’re too much. Oh please do continue with your story. I’d like to know how the hell that works.”

Destin continued. “The time I live in is very controlled. There are certain corporations, certain individuals watching me closely. They tell me they want to sponsor my work. In reality, they want to take control of it. If I let them do that, the state will take my work and either bury it or use it for military applications. Maybe both. I can’t let that happen. I had to devise a plan and you’re part of it. Here’s what I need you to do.”

Destin opened his briefcase, pulled out two slips of paper and handed one to Michael. This is a lottery ticket for a drawing worth more than twenty million dollars.

“I stopped by the corner supermarket and picked this up for you. I did my research. I guarantee you this ticket has the winning numbers on it. After you claim your winnings I need you to do this for me.” Destin handed Michael the other sheet of paper. It was the address to a brokerage house.

“I need you to set up this account for me and purchase shares of the company I’ve listed here and make me the beneficiary. All the information you need on how to do this is written on this sheet. I need you to purchase five million dollars worth of their stock. The rest of the money is yours.

When I return to the future it will be worth about ten times this much. It will be enough to finance my work and bribe off those who would want to control it. Will you do this for me?”

Michael looked Destin in the eye. “Mister, I don’t know who the hell you are, but if this is some kind of a prank, it’s pretty damn good. And to think it only cost you the price of a lottery ticket. Am I on Candid Camera? Is there a hidden camera in your briefcase?”

“I understand your skepticism. I assure you there’s no camera in my briefcase.”

“Then why don’t you do this yourself? Why do you need me to do it for you?” Asked Michael.

“Two reasons,” replied Destin. “First, I’m not really here. I don’t exist yet, so I’m not carrying any identification and have no way to set up the account. Secondly, I can’t take anything back with me that I didn’t come here with.

I do have what I need to get back home and I plan to disappear before your very eyes. If that’s not enough to convince you I’m for real, that winning lottery ticket should do the trick. Please, don’t let your Great Grandson down, Michael. I’m depending on you.”

Destin reached into his briefcase and pulled out a small electronic device. “It was good to meet you, Michael. Thank you.”

“Listen, Destin, I may be skeptical but I’m a man of my word. If you’re for real you’ll have your money when you return. Now let me see you disappear. If you don’t, I’m going to kick your ass.”

Destin gripped the device, pressed his finger to the screen, smiled and disappeared.

When Destin returned to his own time, he found his Great Grandfather was indeed a man of his word. The account had been set up and the money was waiting for him.

Thanks to his Great Grandfather, Destin was able to finish his project unimpeded. Unfortunately the project wouldn’t remain Destin’s for long. Michael had helped his Great Grandfather change the course of history but those in charge of the public's knowledge of history were not about to let it be publicly known.

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved

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