(A short piece of fiction to kick off the first full week of fall.)
“What if I told you the future, though?
Told you the future is out there, already unfolded, ready to be told, to be grasped by those prepared to hear it, to tell it?
The future, not deterministic, you slotted in place from the very beginning, your very beginning, your life playing out inexorably, vainly strutting and fretting against the tide. Why this? Why now? Because that’s the way it is, why it must be.
You swept up in the future already in motion, patterns and configurations laid out over the course of some 14 billion years. 14 billion years. Imagine that. You can’t. A billion years, never mind 14. A thousand years! Beyond human comprehension. Last year seems like a blur, doesn’t it. Fourteen billion is just a number with too many zeros to be anything but meaningless.
The future, as indifferent to us, our being, our presence, as the past. The past took place. The future takes place. As is. Done. With us. Without us. Regardless of us.
The future, history’s progress, offering you possibilities not probabilities. Seize your possibility. Seek it out. The future expands regardless.
Who are you to think you can change the future? What special knowledge, what superhero power do you possess that allows you to believe you could alter the future? Faster than a speeding bullet? Stronger than a locomotive? That’s above your pay grade, my boy. An overweening superciliousness that goes before the inevitable fall. A cupful, thimbleful of self-important pride that blinds you to the task at hand. Being present. Being conscious to the here and now. Being what you need to be to be who you want to be in the future. What you believe that’ll be. Who you think you’ll be.
That’s what you have to decide. The decision is yours. The outcome is the future’s.
You’re not telling me my future though, you say. Did I say I’d tell you your future? Did I? No. I said I could tell you the future. The future. Nothing to do with you. You’re beside the point. Do you want me to tell you your future?
Extinction. In the end. The End. Extinction. Obliteration. A slow grinding fade into ultimate insignificance. No one will remember who you were, what you did. Your name won’t even register with the loved ones of your loved ones of your long lost and forgotten loved ones. Your name won’t ring a bell. That’ll be long before, eons before our sun burns out of its life-giving heat and energy and the earth becomes just another empty, frozen planet like almost every other empty, frozen planet in every other galaxy out there. Before the universe collapses. The Big Crunch.
That’s the future.
Are you crying?
You were expecting what?
Love with a tall, dark, handsome stranger?
That’s what you thought this was?
That’s what happens when you believe in fairytales.
Don’t tell me. You still believe in Santa Claus. The Easter Bunny?
Come on. You’re smarter than that, kid. Stop being so naïve. You’re not a baby anymore. You can’t afford to continue being so immature, so gullible. You have to start seeing the world like it is or you will get eaten alive out there, sport. Look around. It’s a world full of monsters, champ. Monsters everywhere. Monsters under your bed, monsters in your closet. Did your mommy tell you there weren’t such things as monsters, that monsters don’t exist? Did she?
What are you, in kindergarten still? Are you? I can’t you hear? Are you? Still in kindergarten? What? No? That’s right. No, you’re not. That was last year. This is now. Grade One. Play time’s over, buddy. No more nappy-naps. Game on, OK. Put away childish things and put on your big boy pants. Everybody’s done tying up your shoelaces. It’s sink or swim now. Do or die. OK?
You alright? You’re alright. Go get ‘em, sport.
Mom’ll be by to pick you up at 3:30, OK?
Go on. Get out of here.
Daddy loves you.