Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Confusing Time Paradoxes

Florence was attending her own funeral. She stood in the back and kept her face hidden by a handkerchief, though it didn't look like anybody would recognize her after the wrinkles and the plastic surgery to smooth the wrinkles. The turnout was impressive - even her estranged brother appeared, choked by grief. Her friend Larry was nowhere to be found, but she had no time to worry about that.

It was good to know that she would die by her own hand.

At the dinner afterwards, she masqueraded as a neighbor who was close to the deceased, sharing details about her future to cement her legitimacy.

"And she said that when she was fifty-five she left her second husband and had a torrid love affair with a world champion boat racer," Florence said. "Which means that I will divorce my first husband, disappoint my second, and have a third."

"Would it be murder or suicide?" Florence remember asking Larry as they partied on the beach, "if you went back in time and killed yourself?"

"I think it would be murder, since you have to kill yourself for it to be suicide," Larry said.

"Because somebody tried to kill me," Florence said. "And I think it was me. From the future."

The attempts became more and more frequent, more and more elaborate. Attempted stabbings turned to poisoned food turned to carbombs. Florence went into the witness protection program, but of course that provided no help. She was waiting in the basement of her new house with a shotgun, and it was only thanks to a broken sink and a pipe wrench in hand that she managed to survive.

When commercial time travel became a reality, she bought her ticket, set a trip into the future, and overpowered the guards that kept the travellers in their stasis bubble. She escaped into the future and there she would stay. She had to abandon her old life, but she didn't feel like she'd left much behind.

The mourners began to shuffle out of the restaurant and Florence went outside for a cigarette with a glass of the first drink that she'd had in years that she'd been able to have without a complex chemical analysis.

"It tastes so sweet," Florence said to the night air.

"Enjoy it," she said to herself, as her older version stepped around the corner. "Because it's your last!"

"Poison!" Florence said, tossing it down.

"Indeed!" her older self said. "The very poison that you gave me before I staged my funeral!"

"How did you survive?" Florence asked.

"The antidote!" older Florence said, waggling a vial.

"Why are you doing this?!" Florence wailed as she began to see double.

Before older Florence could reply, Larry appeared from behind older Florence and smashed her on the back of the head. She collapsed. He picked up the antidote from older Florence, pulled out the stopper and poured it down Florence's throat. Her vision gradually restored.

"Where have you come from?" Florence asked. "Why weren't you at her funeral?"

"I'm from the past, I wanted to come help you. I have a time bubble open - wait, I wasn't at the funeral?"

"Surprise!" said older Florence, shooting Larry in the back.

"No!" Florence yelled as Larry slumped to the side. Older Florence raised her gun.

"Say lights out, whore," she said.

"I heard a commotion," said one of the guards from the time bubble, sitting atop their standard dinosaur steed.

"Larry! Florence!" the dinosaur-mounted guard yelled, shooting older Florence with a portable time bubble generator.

"Noo!" she screamed, being sucked into the bubble.

And that's when Florence decided that the only way to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again was to kill her past self.

The Moral: the future's gonna be awesome when everyone's riding dinosaurs.

Prev # Next