This is probably a record, being the 6th landmark I've done. To be honest, I don't think I can do landmarks anymore. Is there more to me than I've told you? Yes. Do I have things that you don't know about? Yes. But I won't share. No need to.
As much as I've liked the past, learning what things happened to make the person we are today, I'm more interested in the person I'm going to become. But the views we have of our future self can be distorted by our desires, not by what really will be, or where we are headed. Do we have the ability to try to change things? Always. Does change always happen? No. We can't always choose every event that will shape us, but we can choose the perception of the situation, how to deal with it, what we ourselves can do to be the self we want to be.
So thats why I wanted a landmark about my future self, and more importantly, one written by someone else. Since I had written celia's 2000th, I figured I could ask her to return the favor. After putting a couple of conditions on it, which I struggled to meet, she came through. In fact, she even had others help her out. They all came up with a story that had me in it, in a futuristic way. Which was entirely cool. I read these, and was very happy that some people would take the time to do something for me.
These were written by different people. I won't give out any names, for fear of having someone feel "put in the spot light." So I won't name names. If people do want to claim them, they can. 2 of the stories were sent edited, and unedited. I post the edited ones now, and the unedited ones later. I will even post one of my own later. You all are more than welcome to add your own story, if you want.
"You can be whatever you want."
How many times have we all heard that? How many of us have said it to our children? Do any of us really believe that?
You can be whatever you want, but not an Olympic gymnast, because you aren't built for it. Not a pilot because you have no depth perception. Not a chemist because you just don't understand a titration process.
However, there's also a theory that every decision we make spawns a parallel universe where we made the other choice. There are near infinite dimension where our other selves exist or don't exist, depending on the choices of the multitude of generations before us as well as our own.
In this multiverse, you have no choice, you become everything you can somewhere or another. Take for instance that darling boy you know as T_Smith. So much potential and what will he do with it?
"Hey goober, pass the chives."
Nathan smiled a little to himself as he put down the knife he was using and grabbed the chives. He handed them to the person standing next to him at the kitchen counter, watching the way she held her tongue between her teeth as she artfully tossed the freshly chopped chives onto the stir fry they were creating. They didn't talk much, but they didn't need to; the smell of their concoction was enough proof of their special bond. Better than the home they had together worked hard for, better than the matching gold bands that adorned their second fingers, the rich aroma embodied perfectly the complex, layered, beautiful connection.
Now Nathan went back to chopping the tomatoes. One flick of the knife, backed by a little more gusto than was intended, sent a tomato chunk onto the spotless kitchen floor. Neither man nor wife batted an eye, however, for the vacuum cleaner in the form of Dr. Teeth soon came skidding into the room and lapped up the morsel in a few slobbery moments. Nathan stooped to rumple the growing puppy's ears while it grinned impishly. "Now, shoo, Doc, we're cooking," he said happily to the pup, who scampered obediently away. Dr. Teeth's paws clicked throughout the house, silent except for the sizzle of the frying pan and its ingredients. Soon, he thought, soon we won't be able to enjoy this silence because this place will be filled with the screaming and babbling of our babes and it will be absolutely wonderful. But for now, the dinner they were about to sit down to was all they needed to make this night nothing but perfect.
Nathan swung onto his horse, and looked back at the deserted city. He was alone now, the only one left. When he died, from thirst, or hunger, or loneliness, maybe, then there would be no one. Maybe that was how it was supposed to be.
He was still uneasy on a horse, but he couldn't drive a train, and the gas was gone, the tanks blown up or punctured. So he had taken a horse. The poor thing would starve, anyway, if he left it alone out here in the desert. He couldn't carry hay, and there hadn't been any grain. He'd rigged up saddlebags from a couple duffle bags he scavenged, and filled them with all the food and water he could.
How hard could riding a horse be, anyway, he'd thought, while he scavenged. You sit on it's back, and pull it around by reins. That was before he found out all the gear you have to get onto the horse before it's rideable. It had taken him a while to figure out how everything went on. The horse was tolerant, though, at least it didn't kick him or bite.
Nathan refused to give it a name, he even refused to name it Horse. Everything he'd had a name for was dead.
Man was not meant to live in a desert, Nathan decided as he turned the horse, and headed east. They had no defenses for the heat or the sun or the dust.
He'd decided to head east days ago, after seeing the dark cloud that still shrouded the mountains. He would have walked if he'd have gone west. Mountains were not a place for horses.
At least this way he wouldn't die alone.
T_Smith heard a car pull up and turned to look out the front window and see who it was. Sure enough, it was his wife, coming home late again. He dried his hands on his apron and turned away from the sink full of dirty dishes to greet her. The door swung open and slammed into the wall, and one of the babies upstairs started crying, followed by a second and a third. T winced. He had just put the triplets-Brigham, Mahonri, and Orson-down for a nap.
His wife, LaRue, let her briefcase fall to the floor with a loud thud. She kicked off her shoes and slumped onto the living room couch. "What, no 'Hi honey, I'm home'?" T asked. LaRue tried to glare at him, but she looked to weary to pull it off well. "Look, buster, I'm not the one who lost my job because I was surfing the internet all day long. Do you think I ever planned on supporting a family of ten all by myself? My degree is in home economics!"
"Hey, I'm not the one who doesn't believe in birth control!" T retorted. "I only wanted two or three kids, not a whole tribe!" Just as he finished saying that, the kids stormed down the stairs and ran to the living room. They surrounded the couch and started asking, "Mommy, what's for dinner?" LaRue looked at T with a smirk and said, "Yeah, Mommy, what's for dinner?"
Thunder's Core Smith hefted the bag on his shoulder, smiling as he thought of the price he'd get for this haul. It had been a good expedition; he hadn't seen so rich a cache since before the Landing. The Outsiders would be pleased.
At first it seemed they had come in peace. And they were remarkably easy to communicate with, having apparently studied our radio broadcasts for years. Still, there were a few things they hadn't quite figured out; our writing, for example. That was how T_Smith became Thunder's Core Smith: they apparently thought it was necessary to pronounce every symbol. It all seemed like humanity's first encounter with extraterrestrial life was going marvelously until the first hiccup.
Literally. It turned out that in the Outsiders' native language, the sound of a human hiccup translated to the most deadly insult. Two months of golden interactions were erased in a single moment of unfortunate and involuntary diaphragm contraction, along with much of human civilization. (Medical researchers were later amazed to find that no one had hiccupped for that entire two months.)
But they didn't kill everyone. Through some oddity of nature, their own survival depended on something that only humans could supply: Archie comics. They went from planet to planet, devouring as many as they could get their hands on, only leaving when the supply was exhausted. (Philosophers and physicists were never able to fully understand how every inhabited planet came to produce Archie comics.) They had crippled the production of Archie comics, and the mutants produced by the side-effects of the Outsiders' terrible weapons discouraged anyone from going to look for them. But the comics were out there, and the Outsiders were willing to pay handsomely anyone courageous enough to go searching for them.
Smith chuckled. Sure, he could have stayed home and helped rebuild civilization. But a name like Thunder's Core Smith would have been wasted on such efforts. A name like that needed adventure and excitement and, most of all, danger. And so Smith became one of those bold and daring individuals who came to be known as Collectors.
Suddenly, Smith stopped in his tracks. Just up ahead, a pack of dingo rats sat in the road, watching him approach. As Smith halted, they rose to their filthy little dingo rat feet, hunger and madness obvious in their eyes. Smith tossed his bag of treasured comics to the dirt and drew the big knife from his belt.
She stood naked in front of the mirror looking herself over. The ass looked good but the abs were starting to lose some firmness; she'd have to add more reps to her workout. It wouldn't matter for the winter catalog, but they were shooting the spring collection in 2 months and midriffs were big again this year.
Natalie had been a model almost her entire life, starting when she lived in Japan as a child. In her late teens and early twenties, her face had graced all the magazines more than once, and everyone wanted her body in their clothes. The work wasn't as frequent or as high profile now, but she still did a handful of shoots a year in addition to her regular catalog work.
She finally felt like she had some control over her life. She finally had enough time to herself to build whatever she wanted. She just needed to find him. Maybe the friend of a friend she was having dinner with tonight would be the one.
That old Asian guy must have lapped the reservoir a dozen times while we were playing tennis at the Gardens.
We made up all sorts of grandiose tales, about him being a spy running, or actually one of the old cyborgs in an old Asian man's body - which was unaccountably funny, considering they mostly became escorts for the rich - or maybe he was actually spying on us and our tennis game.
Then, one day when Kat served me the ball and I hit it over the fence (not used to my new jet-powered tennis racket, but when I get there- boy howdy!) and we ran out to get it, the old Asian guy came within two feet of us in his run and then just dropped dead.
I hate to say it, but it was simultaneously the creepiest and the coolest thing of all time. I wasn't sure what to do with him. I wanted to know if he was a cyborg, but touching a dead human, even in this day and age, is still ICK.
Curiosity overcame ick-factor, and Kat and I ran over to look worried and (most importantly) give his body a once-over. He was lean from all his running, and he was not a tall man, so our search was short. After flipping him over a little we saw what we were after.
It was a blue wire. The only blue wires they stuck into people anymore were the hallucinogenic ones. It was pretty simple - they were feeding him hallucinations, and he was running like mad from them. I felt under his skin with my fingers for anything else around the mid back area. Yup - a box. A harnessing box, intent on harboring the energy from the heart and lungs.
This guy must have been a MoFo. They never do that for anyone older than thirty anymore. And, it's illegal. So he must have been an incredible energy producer. I grabbed my little pocket knife and, as sick as it made me, cut the box out of him. We cleaned it off in a pond near the reservoir. This little baby was going to be our apartment's source of energy for the next year. I figured we deserved it. After all, he was our special little Asian guy. I think he would have wanted it this way.
Well, if they hadn't doped him up on hallucinations and forced him to run nearly twenty-four hours of every day. Otherwise, it's a beautiful thing.
Nathan glanced out the window and caught his own reflection skewed in the glass. He looked like himself, but not. He wondered who he was seeing, the man he'd have become if he'd finished that screenplay in college or the man who'd invested in John's business, even though he'd had to wipe out his savings to do it or.
"Daddy, what are you looking at?"
"Nothing important," he smiled as he picked his son up and held him in his lap. "All the important stuff is right here."
Posts: 9752 | Registered: Jul 2002
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Ooooo, that cyborg one is awesome. T_Dude, you're one of my absolute favorites around here. Congrats on 6000 (and I apologize for being impatient). If I ever make it out to Utah, I am totally holding you to that concrete offer.
Posts: 4532 | Registered: Jan 2003
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heh, originally they all had #'s matching the member #'s of the posters who contributed. i'm not claiming mine, but i think you'll all know which it is.
Posts: 3956 | Registered: Jun 2001
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Miles before him lay his goal, finally within reach. He had been working for what seemed like months to reach this place, a strange limbo between here and there, sky spreading out beneath him as wispy clouds obscured the unfamiliar lands below. Just a little bit longer and he'd be there, finally, in the middle of a group of people who were strangers yet not... strangers he belonged with... Yes, waiting for him at the end of this trip were those friends of his from across the web... and of course... bright orange tights.
He smiled at his reflection in the airplane's plastic window. He would surely have a wonderful time.
Posts: 4812 | Registered: Apr 2003
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Again, you guys are able to write your own version of my future, if you want. That's the basis of this thread, that you can add to it after it's been posted.
And I was going to add this, but hatrack burped and didn't let me:
I'm so uncertain of my own future. I know what I want and what I need to do, but I'm not sure if I can. Lately, I've had a bit of an uncontrollable anger, snapping at people, being incredibly cranky and sour (sorry to those that noticed), and at night, I grab a baseball bat and beat the stuffing out of a tree. I figure the tree doesn't actually deserve the punishment I put it through, but better a tree than someones face. When I drive in my car, I randomly just scream, not for any real particular reason. I decided that I would add my views of my future, or at least a reasonable view of what I see as my future.
Nathan woke up staring up at the ceiling knowing with absolute certainty today was not going to be a fun day. He knew the feeling, and had become quite used to detecting these kind of days before they even became those kind of days. It was the kind of day corny television shows use for comic relief, only there was nothing funny about it.
He got out of bed and hobbled in the direction of the bathroom, and on his way over stepped on one of Sarah's toys. Wincing, he grumbled a bit, looked down, and saw that he had broken it, whatever 'it' was. After the shower, he pulled his shirt over his head, and realized it was dirty. Not too noticably, but if someone was to look hard enough, they would notice. Going from shirt to shirt in his closet, he realize they were all dirty. And all he could do was say "it's just one of those days."
After dropping Sarah off for morning preschool and afternoon day care, luckily in one, Nathan got the distinct impression that somewhere between here and his College, there was a cop praying for Nathan to drive right past him. It wouldn't matter if he was only going 3 or 10 miles over, that cop was actually asking God for a patsy like Nathan to pull over. Shrugging, Nathan figured it was just a slow day for cops and also figured that there was nothing he could do to avoid it. He already knew that no matter how hard he tried, he'd be late for class.
The cop laughed at Nathan's theory of routine bad days, wrote him the ticket, and sped away.
"Well, I suppose the cop was generous. Now I get to prove that our law system really works," he muttered bitterly at the 20 dollar ticket.
Nathan walked into his Psychology class halfway through, apologized for interrupting, and sat back down. For 5 years now, he had been studying to earn a PhD to be a Psychiatrist. More than anything, Nathan wanted to be there for people. He figured a while ago that Psychiatry was a decent way to go.
After finishing his classes, Nathan got back in the car, which wouldn't start up. He tried to flag someone down to help him, but no one did.
"Alright then, I'll just pay to ride the bus, come back and get the car later."
Nathan got back to the house an hour later, and began calling around to see if anyone could help in picking up Sarah. The Olsens agree'd to help out, to Nathan's surprise. No doubt he'd be getting a talk from Brother Olsen about the need to be prepared for incidents so that he could be a better parent. Brother Olsen had a way about him that pissed you off, but you can't do anything about it. Climbing in the car, Nathan noticed Brother Olsen looking at the stain on his shirt.
Sarah greeted Nathan with a hug and a smile, for which Nathan was grateful for. When a child hugs you, it suddenly makes the day seem a little bit better. Children may rely on parents for physical and emotional survival, but in some cases, parents rely on children for the same emotional survival. Or so Nathan figured. Sarah then wiped her nose on his shirt.
Nathan decided that if today had to be a bad day, at least he would fix Sarah her favorite meal: Macaroni and Cheese, and Cantelope. It was Nathan's specialty.
Sarah decided to take a nap afterwards, while Nathan did the dishes. He looked over on the counter to see the picture of Jennifer. It was taken 2 years ago, but it still radiated her beauty. Nathan shed a bit of a tear, kissed his fingers, and touched the fingers to the picture.
"Still miss ya, babe."
Though today might have been one of those days, Nathan supposed it could have been worse. In fact it wasn't too bad, but it was only 2:00. Things could happen. After kissing Sarah on the head, he decided to take a nap himself on her floor, in case she woke up. Nathan liked to sleep through these routine bad days. And when Sarah did wake up, he would be right there for her.
Posts: 9752 | Registered: Jul 2002
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T_Man, I really hate to see you so unhappy. I hope that my story made you laugh (or at least smile).
Take it from someone who dealt with depression for years: it will get better. You're a great guy: you're smart, funny, and you're a good person. At times, life can seem dark, but keep hanging in there, and it will brighten again. Be secure in the knowledge that you are a worthwhile person and that you have friends who love you. If you ever need to talk, I'm here for you.
Posts: 4532 | Registered: Jan 2003
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