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Fiction: “Off the Hook” by Richard J. Dowling

May 11, 15 • Fiction, Marquee4 CommentsRead More »

offthehook“Listen. This is going to sound unbelievable, but it’s absolutely true. I’m speaking to you from the future.”

“Don’t be daft.”

“You’re confused. That’s all right. Let me explain. Thanks to a killer time-travel phone app, I’m calling you from the year 2025.”

“You’re calling me from daft-in-the-head is where you’re calling from, matey.”

“You have to cancel the wedding.”

“What? But Kimberley’s had her hair done.”

“Trust me, it doesn’t work out. The marriage, I mean. Not the hair. The hair’s fantastic. Female mullets are fab.”

“I’m sorry but who are you when you’re at home?”

“I am your future self. Ten years from now. You and I are the same person.”

“We chuffing well aren’t!”

“Let me prove it. I know things about you that only you would know. For example, when you’re alone, you eat curry naked.”

“Yeah? Well, a lot of people don’t like getting chicken tikka masala on their jumpers. There’s even a facebook page. It’s called—”

“You had a poster of Nicholas Cage on your bedroom wall until you were 25.”

Moonstruck was a popular film! That proves nothing.”

“When you get an erection, you make the bionic man sound in your head.”

“Okay. You’re me from the future. I totally get it.”

“Good. There’s no time for questions. This call is—”

“What’s it like? The future?”

“Huh? Oh, you know. Terrible. Kimberley made life hell. She moans about everything. You lose all your friends. I won’t even mention the mother-in-law. You’ve got to get me off the hook.”

“Do you have flying cars?”

“What? No.”

“Laser swords?”

“I wish.”

“Is Nicholas Cage—?”

“You and your chuffing Nicholas Cage! Yes, he’s still doing films. Though we could have done without the sequels to Leaving Las Vegas. Anyway, I told you there’s no time for this. Promise me that you’ll cancel the wedding.”

“But I love her.”

“I know you love her now, but I’ve got ten years’ worth of hindsight. It’s not worth it.”

“You’re saying that in the future I don’t love Kimberley at all.”

“Not a jot.”

“And she don’t love me?”

“Neither.”

“It can’t have been all bad.”

“Well, the first few years were okay.”

“There you go, see. Maybe you’re just going through a bad patch.”

“Ridiculous.”

“Is it?”

“It’s possible, I suppose. In the same way that they might stop making The Simpsons is possible.”

“Isn’t there the tiniest chance that things could get better? Isn’t there anything at all you like about her?”

“Well, she still has that lovely mullet.”

“You’ve gone to all the effort of phoning yourself ten years in the past. Perhaps if you put that kind of work into the marriage..?”

“Whoah. Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m the problem. Maybe if I just tried a little harder…”

“That’s the spirit.”

“You know, you might have just saved my marriage. Thank you. Thank you so much. Hey, that reminds me. Have you got a pen?”

“What for?”

“For riding daisies on the moon! What do you think you need a pen for? I want you to write something down.”

“Oh, I thought there might be, like, a chronic shortage of biros in the future.”

“No. Petrol, water, and clean air are all in short supply, but we have enough disposable pens.”

“Phew, that’s good to hear. Right. Got it. Fire away.”

“Okay. Take down these numbers: 12, 19, 28, 29, 38, 49, 30.”

“Ah, the Fettuccine sequence.”

“The Fibonacci sequence. No. It’s the winning numbers for tomorrow’s lottery, including the bonus ball.”

“Chuffing hell!”

“The prize money will be 13 million quid.”

“You star!”

“Put the money in a high-interest account…”

“Of course.”

“… and in ten years, it’ll be just enough for me to pay the cost of this call.”

storyend_dingbat

Richard J. Dowling is a writer who hopes to bring a smile to the faces of life-forms throughout the galaxy. Born in England, he currently resides in Spain and, for the moment, is happy living on Earth. You can read his previous story for us here—“Dragonomics”—or reach him directly at facebook.com/RichardJDowling

4 Responses to Fiction: “Off the Hook” by Richard J. Dowling

  1. Pete Wood says:

    Great story! Worth the read just for the one-liner about Leaving Las Vegas.
    Only complaint is that the dialogue needed attributes. Not always clear who was talking. A bit of setting would have helped.
    But very funny. Keep writing.

  2. Thank you, Pete! Glad you liked the story. I take your point about the dialogue attributes. I was under the spell of Terry Bisson at the time. (Still am!) And he has a lot of stories using this technique. Anyway, thank you again for reading and commenting!

  3. Jason Flanagan says:

    “…the bionic man sound in your head.”? This random reference must be from the author’s personal experience. ;-p

    Well done, I enjoyed this. It’s so good, I suspect you phoned this to yourself from many years hence.

  4. Thanks, Jason! The bionic-man-sound-thing is just pure invention. Pure invention. It’s just pure invention I say!