Serial Two Serial One Short Stories Main Page


-1: [yes, minus one] But there was just one more thing

Clearly, if my story was true, then everything would be fine and as you all observe it, except for the fact that I blatantly went against what I was warned at all times and told you all about it, to give you back your lost memories. Naturally forces beyond my control destroyed the structural integrity of the last part, however this still leaves open the alternative possibility that everything I said was not true at all but just a load of rubbish I had made up! As rational beings you must surely deduce the latter.

Consequently I must construct/tell-you the next story such that all is coherent, and that both possibilities are equally possible/probable. And yet it must also be interactive. How is this possible??? I'm not actually sure yet but I'm pretty sure that it'll be based on some, all or none of these facts:

a) There is NO difference between: having free will and yet still having predetermined actions, and NOT having free will but being unaware of that absence.

b) I don't know whether or not Schrodinger really had a cat. Hence the cat is in a combination of two states: the not-existing-and-never-did-state, and the alive/dead state which is probably, but not certainly a dead state now anyway as that was all a long time ago.

c) Bananas are yellow and generally curved.

d) Another fact that is top secret and cannot be disclosed until I reach part 6.


-0: So the black pig had gone away and I had the message. No-one but me knew what had happened, and I wasn't allowed to tell anyone, not even in the form of a fictionalised short story told in parts at the end of my e-mails. This was particularly annoying as I really liked the idea of putting a little bit of story at the end of e-mails, but this was so obviously the real-life story I wanted to tell, and nothing else could compare [well I guess we'll see when I get up to Serial 3] How on earth could I get over this terrible dilemma? There was no way of communicating with any next-level being without telling someone to ask them after they had died, and this would breach the contract anyway. I tried praying but nothing happened. And then one day something not very amazing happened, although it is quite amazing really compared with what happens on most days. One Saturday I decided on a whim and a prayer to go and explore some more of the caves in the Gorge [if you don't live in Bristol then you probably haven't been in any - they are all very cool!] [and their reality is independent of the truth or otherwise of this story!!] I could build up atmosphere here but there's no real point, and this part is supposed to be really short anyway. I found at the way back of one of these caves a highly mysterious black box, of dimensions 1 by 4 by 8.5. It was just sat there, looking suspish, in the beam of my mini-maglite. A bomb! Yikes! I thought. And then I noticed a bit of paper on the floor by it. The paper said, "No it isn't a bomb. Trust me. I'm you. Code Z82"


+0: This was exactly what I would have written on a note to myself, with the code to convince me that it genuinely was from me and not some sinister agent of evil impersonating me [as I sometimes get.] I think everyone should arrange a top secret code with themselves for just such a situation. So anyway, I touched the box, and it opened automatically in response I guess to my fingerprint or something. Glowing volumetric light spilled out [as in when shafts of light illuminate dust - obviously there was no dust in the cave, this is just an unrealistic special effect that I thought I'd throw in - after all, my SFX budget in this story is effectively infinite!!! Wow I hadn't thought about that before! Oh boy!!] Anyway the box then went down to a sensible light-level and revealed itself to be lined with red and blue thick wavy stripes of velvet. Definitely from me then. And on the velvet was a piece of paper, which in my handwriting said this: 'Hello Tim. You can tell your story as a fictionalised serial at the end of e- mails as long as you do as follows: take this box outside so that it can charge up on solar power. It stores energy as matter and will thus grow in length to dimensions of approximately 1 by 4 by 9.5 After the green light comes on it is ready. Re-write both notes on new bits of paper to prevent infinite decay , and put them both back in the box. The box will then take itself back in time in order to deliver itself to you, and thus create a self- consistent time-loop. Finally, in order for you to tell your story, it must not have happened: Mr Bunny ensured that this was so, however you must make it so that not only did it never happen, but Mr Bunny never made it never happen either. Since he exists out of time this apparent potential paradox does not affect him. To do this you must simply include a banana skin in the box. It will deliver this to such a point in space-time that your time-table will be utterly different, causing the agents of evil [or was it anti- neutrality?] to pick on someone else to carry out their vile scheme. This will not affect your current time-line as this is precisely the method which Mr. Bunny used. By your doing it instead, you are no longer indebted to him. There you go!'


1: So it seemed that this explained everything. But there was just one thing Much as I was about to create a 'self-consistent time loop', how on earth had the loop actually started? Surely it meant that I must have somehow gone on into the future (at the normal rate of 1 second per second, most likely), somehow obtained the time-travelling device, somehow worked out the whole banana-skin thing, and then sent it! How could this possibly be? It seemed clear that I would never know, as I was myself going to close the time-loop and could never start it again. Perhaps similar things would happen leading me to be able to create such a loop in the first place, but then again perhaps they wouldn't. Anyway, it was an extremely cloudy day so I decided to take the mini- monolith home with me, and save it for a sunny day, rather than have to come all the way back out to the cave. On the way back, a car passed me by going at some speed. I glimpsed it and suspected that its number plate read "G10 BYE" or somesuch, and quickly running out into the road to get a better look before it got too far away to be sure, I saw that it was. Excellent! I had already seen the numbers 1-9 and it was about time I found a 10. I smiled. And then I was run over and killed by an irritatingly quiet car driven by a surprisingly careless driver. 'Dangit' I thought as I slipped off the mortal coil, only then realising why it was called that, 'Not only am I really annoyed that I'm going to die, its also annoying for other people who quite like me, and indeed even more annoying for the universe in general as, failing to send this monolith back in time will indubitably cause an irresolvable paradox thus ending all time and space as we know it' obviously I thought all that very quickly.


2: So I ascended upwards to the judgement place, passing some eagles on the way (we avoided eye-contact, just to be on the safe side), and, hearing some lift-music, headed towards it. Sure enough I found the Judgement Building and went in to join the line for judgement. The whole place was a bit like a post office, but there was one entrance and two exits. The exits had handy signposts above them saying "Heaven" and "Hell", and a little computer- printed-out bit of paper blu-tacked up between them said "Please refrain from swapping the signs around, under penalty of eternal damnation". As soon as I arrived, some very important looking dude who was looking down on the line from a balcony raised 2 of his eyebrows and said, "Ah there he is. Open it up." At which a new door came into existence, with a sign above it saying "Limbo-like-state of non-existence". All of the Tellers at the desks at the front of the lines suddenly turned around the sign that said "Open" to reveal the other side, which said "Position closed. Please proceed to Limbo", at which there was much uproar and gnashing of teeth. Then a voice came over the music (which was annoying because they had just started playing Guantanemera) and said, "Tim Mannveille has caused a severe paradox. Please proceed to limbo in an orderly fashion." And the voice was so reasonable that for some reason everyone calmed down and started off through the new door. "Well" I thought, "Lucky for me - Limbo is bound to be nicer than Hell, and I'm pretty sure consigning every living entity in the universe to limbo is a pretty big sin unless they-" "Would Tim Mannveille please report to desk number one." Darn.


3: Given the choice between eternal limbo and the possible fiery wrath of the heavenly red-tape dispensers, I like any other sensible cat chose the latter. It's a good thing I wasn't a foolish cat. The fact that I wasn't a cat probably helped a bit to that end though. Er anyway, I went up there sheepishly (not cattishly, you see) and there was this horribly thin woman - thin like a pencil, like a stick-figure painted with a paintbrush really, but with more detail - and she looked at me with that librarian-stare over her headmistress glasses, and waved her parental finger of authority at me, as if trying to hypnotize me, although in fact it was the more conventional finger-wag of disapproval as it turned out, luckily. I could tell this was going to be bad, so I decided to delay the inevitable with some questions of my own. "How did that little loop I broke start anyway? And what about the driver who killed me, isn't this partly his fault? What about the person who decided on the speed-limit for that road? Or the person who designed the bumper of the car? On the person who designed my trousers? What what what what?" I finished lamely, worrying that the increasing tenuousness of my line of enquiry was reflecting badly on the more pertinent first question. Fortunately she ignored all the rubbish. "Lets see if we can't fix this little mess. We'll start by seeing exactly what happened before, now hold on" she leaned back in her chair, and grabbed a book out of an infinite shelf. "This should cover the first time around. If we skip back a little..." she went to about nine tenths of the way through the book, which was very big and had impossibly fine print in it, and adjusting her trifocals to the electron-microscope position, began to read.


4: As she read, everything went wibbly in a spooky flash-back type way... Through the wibbliness I saw my alternate reality self doing ordinary life stuff, and the thin woman's voice over said, "It would seem that you followed your instructions very well. You made no mention of the bizarre events that Mr Bunny altered, but unfortunately you related a similar story of time-travel and history adjustment in one of your few published stories." My life skipped forward to me skipping and jumping holding a book by me actually in print. The time accelerated and the viewpoint followed the book on its rather dull adventures, from bedside to bookshelf to car-boot-sale and back around again. Eventually someone picked it up and threw it into a digitiser box and got the whole thing electronicised, and the camera had a much harder time following the data around the world. "A couple of thousand years later it seems someone was doing some research and came across your work. She ran it through a translator which produced an elegantly compressed pray-see, [except, spelt correctly], and from this she realised that you would probably be ideally suited to assisting her in her time-travel problem. She was living in a time when reckless use of time-travel was becoming a problem." The footage of this woman that had found my book now melted into a bizarre montage of scenes: Elvis was performing in a specially formed band with Glenn Miller, and in a lab somewhere, enormous advances in science were being made by a specially-formed committee of the world's greatest scientists that had supposedly died young. Then it cut to show this woman, who it turned out was called Meless, getting irritated over many years with some guy, mainly during their martial art classes that they attended together, and eventually her challengeing him to a duel in what used to be the sahara desert at precisely one-million-and-two-thousand years BC, by their calender.

To Be Continued...

[although I doubt it... TM 15/8/2]