I was looking straight at what looked like me, but it couldn’t be. I mean, yes – it was me. His face, height, frame, every visible detail of the man stood before me was me. But it wasn’t me. He looked deflated and hopeless.
“Who are you?”
“It’s me George. I’m you, but from the future.” He sounded just like me. “You must listen to me. I have–”
“No – I know where this is heading. I’ve seen this kinda thing in films. You’re gonna say that some kinda evil is going to steal something seemingly pointless and take over the world and out of the billions of people I’m the only one who can stop it.”
My future-self stared back at me with a vacant expression on his face. I didn’t think he was expecting me to just snap at my own face like that.
“I don’t have time to gallivant around the world on some silly quest to save the future. You of all people must know how little time I get to relax. You come traipsing in from the future, disturbing me on my holiday–”
“In the future, George, there is no Thailand.”
“I don’t care! I’m enjoying it now – at least I was until you came along and started bothering me. I was quite happily unaware of our troubled future. Now please, go back and just deal with it yourself.”
“George. Listen to me. You don’t have to go on some quest.”
“You have to die, George.”
“Oh well it was either a quest or death. You’re all the same. If you’re gonna come from the future to annoy me on my holiday, which you of all people know I saved and waited a very long time for, then the least you can say is I get to go to some exotic paradise and drink coconuts and catch a tan. But no – it’s the ‘you’ve gotta die’ twaddle.”
“If you don’t die then terrible things are gonna happen.”
“If I died then how would you know that these things aren’t just gonna happen anyway? I mean, you, I, will be dead. So how would we know, eh?”
I could see my future, shabby, tired self pause. My future-self looked around him, looked around me; warmth, sand, clear waters, loungers, booze and sunshine. I wondered if the future me had forgotten what it was like to get away from it all. I know I had. It was like I could see the many miniature versions of him behind his eyes all sitting around a vast table discussing the next move.
“You know what?” he said. “You’ve gotta good point.”
Half an hour later we were soaking up sunshine on loungers, drinking cold beers, and listening to the sea lap the sand with its gentle caress.
“So what about the future, future-George?”
“George, I’m on holiday – it’s not my problem.”