Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Slumber Before the End of the World

"Now, I understand you've paid to be in cryostasis for a thousand years, and I know that it's not quite halfway there yet, but you have to listen to me closely: The end of the world will be tomorrow. You understand? Tomorrow?"

The man's words ring in my ears. It doesn't make complete sense, but I nod for now.

"You have two options. First, to witness the end. If so, you'll need to complete Form 1A for early cyro-release. Second, to resume cyrostasis, to freeze yourself so that you will die in your sleep, without knowing what hit you in your last moments, and to lose the chance to even enjoy one last moment on Earth."

"Not much of a choice there, right?"

"Right. I'll prepare Form 1A for you."

"Hold on, buddy. Let's resume my cyrostasis, as my contract clearly delineates."

"You're sure you want to do this? It's the end of the world, you know."

"No way. It's clear that you're scamming me."


"You're scamming me. First, if 300 years have passed, as you suggested, how come I understand you perfectly even with linguistic drift?"

The man squirmed visibly.

"Um... universal translators. Yup, universal translators were invented some time ago."

"Right.... and what is the cause of the end of the world?"

The man looked around for a quick answer, before answering "Global cooling."

The look on his face when he realized what he had replied was hilarious.

"And global cooling will happen exactly tomorrow?"

"Did I say global cooling? No, that wasn't really what I meant. What I really meant was global cooling... global cooling is a consequence of a meteor strike, which is the catastrophic event that is predicted to happen in 1 day's time, which is tomorrow. Of course, global cooling is the world ending scenario, but the meteor is the cause."

I stared at him for a moment. Some untruths don't even have to be unmasked for them to break down.

"It's fair to say the game's up already. Why don't you tell me what's your plan, and perhaps then you can set me back to sleep again?"

The man sighed.

"It's the end of the world alright. The end of my world if I don't discharge my quota of patients today. Cryostasis is too expensive to keep up in the long term, and especially so for 'early-backers'. That's why it's actually become a job to convince patients to agree to early release."

"By one means or another."


"That has got to be the funniest plan I've heard in the last, what, fifty years? At least, I'm guessing that's the real amount of time that has passed."

"Oh, you've haven't heard funny yet. You know something?"


"It is really 300 years in the future. I'm just the guy from the next row of cryo-booths. Someone just unfroze me last week using the same plan. But here's the killer- you know what kind of jobs are available to an ancient being from 300 years back?"

And then he started laughing.

"Probably the same kind of jobs that will be open to them 700 years later."