Problems with myself
An unexpected meeting in Bali
As suspected, the end of the world can be largely blamed on Facebook.
I mean, if you really wanted to, you could blame me instead. It would be more accurate, to tell the truth, but come on. I think we can all agree Facebook makes a much better villain.
Fuck you, Facebook. The world is about to pop out of existence and I don’t even have a Dislike button to press to let people know how I feel about it.
Anyway, I first heard about myself when Lena sent me a message on the annoyingly convenient social media service. I was sitting on my balcony at Lovina, looking out over the red-tiled roofs and trees laden with coconuts and frangipanis, when the little ‘bloop’ sound of an incoming message alerted me to my existence.
I had been seen on the beach at Jimbaran, Lena’s message told me. Apparently I was older, with grey hair and a beautiful wife. Straight away, I knew time-travel must be involved. I decided I had to go and find myself immediately. If my future self had chosen to come back to this little island at this particular point in time, clearly he meant for us to meet up. Oldme must have valuable information for me - stock market tips, betting results, disasters to be averted, deaths to be avoided, the location of buried treasures and the where, when and how of gaining a beautiful wife.
It’s what I would do, if I were me. And I am me. So that settled it.
I set off the next day on my little candy-cane scooter, red and white and no substance to it at all. Fortunately there’s not much scope to travel more than 40km/hr in Bali, so the scooter’s lack of guts wasn’t really a problem. I wound my way up over the mountains in the north of the island, and then dodged my way through the traffic in the south and by the time the sun began to set I was in Jimbaran.
As I rode, however, a series of thoughts kept trying to force its way to the front of my mind. What if Oldme wasn’t here to see me? What if, by seeking out my older self, I was fucking up the space-time-continuum-thingy…or whatever it was called on bad television? What if Oldme didn’t tell me anything? What if he just sat there, all smug with vague hints and bullshit about how I have to find the way myself, like a real-life version of the Monk Joke that my sister Jacinta tormented her younger siblings and cousins with that time on the beach at Rutland?
By the time I arrived at Jimbaran and parked my scooter, I was feeling particularly ill-disposed towards myself. Things didn’t improve when I saw Oldme, right away, like it was preordained. I was getting out of the sea from a swim, in way better shape despite the grey hair and additional years. I saw my face drop as Oldme caught sight of me, and heard myself say in a voice of deep dismay:
As soon as I saw my younger self by the beach, I knew I had stuffed up. The malnourished-looking bastard wasn’t supposed to be here.
I knew my own memories. December 2022 - I was supposed to be in Malaysia, on my way down to Singapore. I had taken a particularly dodgy ferry from southern Palawan to Sabah - avoiding pirates, terrorists and proposals from desperate Philippino girls along the way. I got a hell of a story out of it. I never went to Bali on this trip…that was next year, after I went home for Christmas…fuck.
I’ve fucked up the timelines, somehow.
This was my fourth time, coming back to the past. I always tried to keep the changes to a minimum, but somehow it has all gone wrong. Maybe just the accumulation of little alterations, the build-up of beats of that chaotic butterfly’s wings…whatever it was, it was bad news.
In shock, I think I just told myself to fuck off.
Since it seemed pretty clear I would be getting no help at all from Oldme, I decided the only thing to do was antagonise myself. Perhaps it arose from a certain variety of jealousy, who knows? Should be good for a laugh at any rate, I thought.
“…you’re not supposed to be here. Why aren’t you in Malaysia?” he was saying.
“Shouldn’t that be ‘I’m not supposed to be here? And ‘why am I not in Malaysia?’ After all, we’re the same person,” I replied.
He looked at me like he knew exactly what I was doing, and didn’t appreciate it. Makes sense, I suppose.
“Shut up,” he said in a voice that sounded like he was keeping a good deal more unsaid.
“They say that talking to yourself is a sign of madness. I wonder if that means telling yourself to keep quiet is a good sign or or a bad one?” I continued conversationally.
Oldme took a deep breath through his nose, eyes closed and jaw clenching slightly, then exhaled and spoke, trying to sound calm but urgent at the same time.
“Look, this is bad. Really bad. And I shouldn’t have to tell you this, you’ve already time-travelled by now, so you know the dangers…”
I decided I had to interrupt at this point.
“Sorry, me. I have no idea what I’m talking about. I’ve never time-travelled in my life. Also, that really should have been ‘I shouldn’t have to tell me this, and so I know the dangers’…and so forth. Really, it’s like I’m not even trying.”
At that point I noticed the sky was beginning to break up over our heads. That’s probably a bad sign.
Bloody hell. I don’t remember being such an annoying jackass at that age. The trouble was, this younger self was an entirely different person. He’d never even gone back in time. He must never have found the portal.
Jesus Christ. How many changes must have occurred for that to happen? Or not happen, as the case may be. How far back do these changes go, the ripples turning to waves over years, centuries, millennia?
I needed to get through to him, explain what was at stake. Maybe we could fix this. At that moment, great glares of green and purple light broke free from the sky above us, great rents in the fabric of reality splitting open. Not ripples and waves, then. A fucking tsunami.
Not a great sign.
“Look,” I said, pointing at the blotch-rankled sky. “We need to do something about this, and we don’t have much time. We need to work out where our respective timelines start to diverge, and maybe I can go back again and fix it before it all goes wrong.”
“Well, I’m not a betting man, but I’d suggest if you had already time-travelled by this point in life, and I haven’t, then the first time that you did would probably be the point we’re looking for,” Youngme said.
I couldn’t help myself. “Shouldn’t that have been ‘then the first time I did would probably be the point we’re looking for?”
“Right, so do you remember going looking for that abandoned theme park in Sanur, the first time we went to Bali with the rest of the family?”
“Yeah, the one that was supposed to be overrun with crocodiles?”
“That’s the one.”
“Yeah, I didn’t find it.”
“Right. Well, I did. While I was walking around inside, a bridge crumbled under me and I fell into one of the ornamental lakes. A big albino crocodile came after me and I tried to swim away, but I was disorientated under the water and went down instead of up. Luckily at the bottom of the lake there was this glowing blue light. A portal through time.”
“I can see how that would go undiscovered by most.”
“I know, right? Anyway, maybe we can get back to Sanur and fix this before existence ends.”
A great tearing sound shook the earth as time slipped loose from its moorings.
There was a great tearing sound, like the world was phonebook getting ripped in half by an old-timey strongman, from back when phonebooks were actually a thing.
“We?” I asked Oldme. “You’re the one who time-travelled in the first place. Seems you’re the one who should be fixing it.”
“What happened to being the same person?” he asked.
“Whatever,” I said as another rent opened up in the sky, a colour without a name streaming through from the void. “I don’t think it matters, anyway. No-one’s getting from here to Sanur in time, by the look of this.”
Oldme’s shoulders slumped. “Maybe you’re right,” he said. We were silent for a moment, watching the world falling apart around us.
“How did you come to find me here, anyway?” he asked eventually.
“Got a message on Facebook telling me you were here,” I answered.
“Fucking Facebook,” he said.
“Yep. Couldn’t agree with me more on that one.”
For the hell of it, I was about to ask about my wife, and where he’d found her, when something struck me, and the world went out.
I looked at the unconscious body of my younger self, whom I had just felled with fallen coconut. I dropped it, blood on its husk and on my hand.
The idiot never asked about the other times I had gone through the time portal, how I managed to keep avoiding that crocodile. The trick was to always go through with some other food for it, like a diversion. I normally carried a couple of dead chooks in each hand when I dived into the water of the lake.
I dragged his body towards a scooter parked by the beach, garish red and white. Somehow I knew it was his, maybe his memories were merging into mine as time swirled. Maybe he was right. Maybe I’d never make it to that long-abandoned theme park in Sanur in time.
But I have to try.
At least I will have something to distract the crocodile if I get there.
About the Creator
Read one too many adventure stories as a child and decided I'd make that my life.
I grew up on a cattle station in the Australian Outback and decided to spend the rest of my life seeing the rest of the world.
For more: www.roderickmakim.com
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme
We make them in ways that allow us to heal, address, fix, cope, and acknowledge whatever we want to get to before some other heartbreaking, external circumstance does it for us. https://adivineh2o.com/
Such an interesting take on the challenge. Your work was quite good!
“The root cause of all problems is ignorance.” And to be clear, “problem solving” and “improvement” are learning processes. If you didn't learn, you didn't solve the problem, and you didn't improve anything. At best you suppressed the symptoms. https://shakemods.com/
We make them in ways that allow us to heal, address, fix, cope, and acknowledge whatever we want to get to before some other heartbreaking, external circumstance does it for us. We create our own problems in the scope of knowing we eventually have the solutions, so we can safely (albeit painfully) deal with them. regards: <a href="https://spotifymod.com/">Spotify premium mod APK for iPhone</a>
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By the time I reached “Fuck you Facebook” I was all onboard. And about 99% certain you were an Aussie.
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the picture of the roof is sick.. is it a metal or tile??
Enjoyed this. Congratulations on getting a top story!
Excellent concept for the challenge. I love this idea. So many great parts to it. Really enjoyable.
Time travel, what a mind melt. You handled it well. I would like to know how the ending will change his life now, or later or in the past …..wait to confusing I’ll leave it up to you. Congratulations.
OMG! Such fun. Loved, wait. If one of u is unconscious how come u still talking. So u r the one who broke time. Gosh darn it. Def subscribe and heart