Time, time is cruel.
You can say whatever you want, but you can never understand that time is a complete bastard. There is nothing exceptional about it; the problem is what they do not tell you. I am here in this asylum; they refer to it as ‘a home’. It is all because I messed with time. Excuse me for just one moment, and I shall explain.
Right, that’s better. The drug round! It is one perk of being here, free drugs! Firstly it was Donepezil, and now it is Memantine. Do they work? Should I care? I take them anyway. Hiding them under the tongue is a pain in the arse when they are this size.
Time, most people think of time as A to B to C. You have the past with the letter A, then you have the present B, and C is obviously the future. We know that you can travel from B to C. It has been possible for years, even if you are unaware of it. Time is always moving. They don’t tell you that you can’t travel from C to B or B to A. This is so important; it is why you don’t have anyone going back and assassinating Hitler or pushing out The Beatles’ hits before they formed. You cannot Sports Almanac the timeline. That DeLorean you are building is useless. It is pretty evident when you think about it. If it was possible to travel back in time, then things would change, so you can either not travel back, or you can, and you can’t change things. Time must be fixed.
Now, where was I? Sorry, my brain isn’t what it once was. I seem to be getting more and more forgetful these days. So can’t go back, but can go forward. You can’t break the speed of light. We have known this for years. Einstein taught us the famous equation E=mc2. The faster and closer you get to the speed of light, the larger the mass and the more energy needed, so you can never exceed it! You can, however, get close. We have been doing this for as long as we have been travelling into space. We have already travelled in time.
Booze! Why can’t we have alcohol in this place? Most of them here are half the way to heaven or hell anyway. What harm would it do to get drunk, to live a little? They pump us full of narcotics. Drugs to help with memory, pills to stop memories, medications for depression, antipsychotics and everything else. A concoction of remedies, a tube of smarties with everything to help, or so they say, and yet I can’t have a drink? Fuck that. If I am crazy, then I am crazy. Let me embrace the insanity with open arms; I welcome it.
If you travel at 99% the speed of light — so the maximum possible — and you fly outwards for two-and-a-half years, then you fly back to Earth at the same speed. You have to avoid a load of space junk (and planets!) and overcome fuel and ship stability. I shall gloss over that as it is not part of this. It is irrelevant to my tale. When you arrive back, for you, five years will have passed. However, on Earth, it is thirty-five years. This is slightly out, it is back of a fag packet mathematics, but you get the idea. You have travelled 30 years into the Earth’s future. If they’d let me access a computer for more than basic puzzle games, I’d be more accurate, but it is a close enough guestimate.
You jump in your ship and say Auf Wiedersehen to those that you love, and off you go, onwards and upwards! What could go wrong? Well, here is the problem. You know all about it now, but knowing now will not help you solve it. You can travel forwards, but you cannot go backwards. So you are stranded decades ahead of everyone and everything you loved. It is a one-way ticket; you are the first time traveller, but you can’t tell anyone. It is really rather obvious when you think about it, but that is something I just did not do.
Did they know? The boffins that designed this experiment? Top secret! That is what they had said. Who was I going to tell? They must have known! I just jumped in, and they let me. I was collateral damage, I suppose. What did they expect? To turn up in thirty years and find me long gone. They’d collect the data and then forget about me. Well, I decided that I was not going to let that happen.
With my mind spinning and in complete mental dizziness, I thought to myself, I know I will go further into the future. After another thirty years, then the boffins in that time will have a solution. You are still just a side note in an experiment they deny even existed. So bollocks. Flux capacitor charged and primed. Cloister Bell donging, hot tup fizzing and the clockwork circling. I shall move forwards!
I jumped again, and then once more. I am now one hundred and twenty years out of time. Family and friends are long gone. Dust in the ground, sand in the wind. I try to contact anyone who may have known about the experiment, but it is long forgotten, redacted? Buried by successive governments, and now it is long lost? Governments, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Is it any wonder they think I am crazy? Imagine a Victorian transported to your time! It would drive them to insanity, think of how the world has changed.
Maybe it is the drugs; perhaps it is me. Maybe it is time, but I don’t remember things that well anymore. Things get muddled. I don’t think they designed the human brain for timelines and skipping decades at a single bounce. I can’t remember if I have a family. I think I once did. Did I have children? Did I leave a loved one behind? Am I crazy, or are the drugs designed to control me? I really do not know anymore. I don’t even remember the year. I think the drugs are kicking in.
What was I talking about? Oh, yes, family. Family is important. Never forget that. I have, I have forgotten. I forget lots of things. How long have I been here? They tell me it has been years, many, many years. The drugs help. They help me forget, or do they help me remember?
Time is cruel. Age is cruel.