The Great Loop
The First Time Traveler
The Great Loop
Kyle walked through the doors of his new school feeling apprehensive and doubtful. It was the third time he had switched schools; his mother, Kelly, was a stewardess for a big airline company so they moved around a lot. Kyle’s dad died unexpectedly, so Kelly and had to find work fast. The family was in bad financial shape when Kyle’s father passed. Eventually, she found steady work at a bar. While working at the bar, she, through a friend she made there, got caught up in the life of high-class escorts. She liked the attention she would get from men, and most importantly, she liked the money. Kelly was just happy to have a lifestyle that was financially stable, even though it was morally depleting.
Eventually, Kelly got the job as a stewardess. One of her most frequent “customers” traveled extensively and wanted to keep her close to him. He also happened to be one of the owners of the airline. Kelly felt apprehensive at first, but after she got a taste of the “good life", she climbed aboard the euphoric roller-coster ride, never wanting to get off. She was able to afford an expensive house, put Kyle in a nice school, and even got him a nanny so he wouldn’t be alone when she left for weeks at a time. However, the “good life” had its costs.
Kyle often switched schools, so he and the nanny would frequently live out of fancy hotel suites as Kelly got settled in her new environment with whatever businessman she was with at the time. All this happened within the 2 years since Kyle’s father passed.
“Now you hold your head up high,” the nanny said. “Don’t be afraid. You’re smarter than the rest of them anyway.”
“It’s not always good to be smarter than everyone around you though,” Kyle said.
She smiled, “I know Kay, I know. Just remember what we talked about. You’re special, no matter what anyone says.”
He liked his nanny, ever since the day they met. That was a year and a half ago, when she filled the motherly hole that was left by his real mother.
Kelly would always say, “I do all this for you baby,” but Kyle never understood what it meant, seeing as how he hardly ever saw her around. He was now fifteen and the only memory of love from his mother consisted of an earlier time period, back when his dad was alive. They’d go to the park and read stories to him; one day they were all sitting on the grass having a picnic and reading the story, “The Little Engine That Could.” His mom read the words while his dad acted them out in hilarious exaggeration.
They were all laughing at something funny dad did—how he twisted his face to go “Toot Toot!” while his mom read, trying to contain her laughter in between the words. That was his favorite memory, and he hung on to it. That is, until the nanny came into the picture. She came at a sensitive time in Kyle’s life. Just as he was about to react to not having his mother around, another woman swooped in just in time to save the day. They often read together, and the nanny supported Kyle’s fascination with science; she gave him books and movies related to science and they would talk about scientific theories, philosophy, the existence (or non-existence) of God, and the nature of the soul. She knew he had a hard time fitting in, and would always comfort him with words of encouragement that always made him feel better. The only time he felt out of place was around his peers, but today would be especially difficult because he was at a brand new school.
“Now Kyle, don’t be afraid,” the nanny continued. They were still sitting in the BMW, idling in front of the school.
“I’m not afraid,” he said. He was lying, and he knew he was lying. The nanny knew it too. She smiled at him and took his hand, saying, “you know, your favorite philosopher Plato went to school. He didn’t seem to mind it much.”
Kyle laughed, “Come on, Franny. You know he was a teacher.”
“Yes, but he still had to go to school, right?”
“Yes, but he invented it! He never had to worry about bullies and people picking on him!”
“Sure he did! Everybody does!”
“Yes, even me," the Franny said. "But we can talk about that later, Kay. You’re almost late! You can’t be a great scientist if you’re late for class! Now get in there and do what you do best—learn!”
Kyle suddenly felt better about the whole thing, and with a deep breath, he opened the door and ran into the school.
“That boy is going do great things,” Franny said. She pulled off into the busy line of cars leaving the early morning drop-off.
“Kyle Stain?” The Teacher called again.
The door bursts open and Kyle, breathing hard, managed to get out, “Here! I’m right…here.” The kids laughed.
“Alright, alright everyone. This is no way to treat a new student,” the teacher said.
He found his seat in the back of the class, put down his book bag, and began to catch his breath.
“Not a bad entrance for your first day,” a student next to him said. “The name’s Morgan.”
“Kyle,” he said reluctantly, while reaching for his notebook inside his book bag.
His first day went alright, except at lunch, when he was reminded of how alone he was. He sat at the table with only two other people—an Albino girl, and Morgan, who were both seated several seats away from one another. The overlapping conversations in the cafeteria made him feel anxious. He brought his philosophy book to lunch as he’d done at other schools, but this time was different. He kept feeling as though he was being watched. He looked up just in time to see Morgan looking away. He thought it was weird, but kept reading.
Plato wrote Metaphysics of presence: When a speaker speaks, you trust that language because that speaker is present to the language, but writing is detached from its speaker, it makes it easier to lie and twist it to your own ends. Holistic: everything is one..inspiration comes from the divine. Truth is unattainable because we are fundamentally unable to perceive it because we are fundamentally— He looked up once more.
There it is again.
That feeling like he was being watched.
He chose to ignore it.
“Platonism" is a term coined by scholars to refer to the intellectual consequences of denying, as Plato's Socrates often does, the reality of the material world. In several dialogues, most notably the Republic, Socrates inverts the—
“Hey nerd!” A burly 12th grader shouted. “Yeah, I’m talking to you, nerd! Whatcha readin’?”
Kyle, scared to death, chose not to look up from his book. Instead, he pretended not to hear the two-time senior as he continued to yell.
“Aye! You can’t hear me? Aight den, I’ma come over there right fast.”
It was at this point that Kyle begin to quiver. Oh no. Bullied on the first day? This is a first, he thought.
Even though it was as loud as it was in the cafeteria, Kyle could still hear the footsteps approaching. They sounded like boulders, crashing over and over again into the linoleum floor. He closed his eyes and awaited the inevitable. Just when all seemed lost, Kyle felt a small brush past his arm as the senior walked over to Morgan and smacked the book he was reading out of his hands. He held Morgan up by the collar. When he did, Kyle saw the name of the book Morgan was reading.
A book on Aristotle…wow, Kyle thought.
“Now I know you can hear me, nerd!”
Morgan lifted his arm up to straighten his glasses. “I heard you all along,” he said.
By now, there was a small crowd forming around them. Kyle looked on in empathy as Morgan came face to face with a textbook bully.
“You say you heard me all along, huh? You tryna play me? I feel like you tryna play me.”
“Naw dogg,” Morgan sarcastically retorted gesturing with this arms, “I ain’t tryna play you. We coooool, see? No jive. Ain’t no half-steppin’ over hea!”
The crowd erupted into laughter. The bully, feeling embarrassed, cocked his fist back, planning to sock Morgan a mean one. When he did, something unexpected happened.
“Hey!” Kyle shouted. The laugher stopped. All eyes were on him. “Now, listen, you’re not going to hit him. I won’t allow it.”
“You won’t allow it? Aight then,” the bully said.
“Thanks for sticking up for me back there,” Morgan said. They were in the boy's bathroom, standing in front of the mirror accessing the damage to Morgan’s eye.
“Keep the ice on it—it’s going to help with the swelling,” Kyle said.
“It sucks that people like us can’t just read philosophy books and not get punched in the eye, huh?”
“Yeah, but why did you egg him on? You were bracing for the impact the whole time. Why didn’t you just walk away?”
“Because I’m not afraid of him…well them--bullies I mean. Yeah sure, it may hurt if they hit you, hence the bracing for impact—but if you survive, you come out complete. Whole. Yourself, ya know? Like, you didn’t sacrifice a piece of yourself because you were being threatened, ya know? You stood tall in the face of the enemy.”
“Been reading a little too much Aristotle huh?” Kyle joked.
Morgan laughed, “actually it’s Karl Marx I draw inspiration from with that ideology.”
“Amazing,” Kyle said.
They both smiled; a new friendship was forged and solidified in the burning heat of aggression. The bell rang. They ended up spending a lot of time together from that point on. Kyle actually looked forward to going to school—not only did he soak up the knowledge the teachers were giving, he did so for the first time with a friend.
Two years pass.
“You really think that people should believe in a God who doesn’t exist?” Morgan asked Kyle as they walked home from school. Morgan continued, “Especially since there is no hard evidence to suggest His existence, at all?”
They walked home many a day and had this conversation. The heat, the sounds of cars passing by, and the smell of trash from the landfill all became familiar to Kyle. So much so, he didn’t hold his nose anymore when walking down Turnlake Street. After all, more important matters were on his mind.
Kyle thought about his friends’ question and answered, “Truth is unattainable, because we are imperfect. Therefore, even if there is a God, which I believe there is, we couldn’t possibly know it, because our very perception of reality is greatly flawed due to our primitive understanding of nature and the soul.”
“I see,” Morgan said. “But why even postulate such a claim if you don’t have evidence to back it up? We should, at the very least, be able to test it—if we can’t do that, then it’s not real.”
Kyle thought hard about a response and said, “let me put it this way. Split yourself into two people for a second. Let the original you be the control. The copy is the experiment. Say you’ve never been in love, right? Like, you have no idea what it is and never experienced it, at all.”
“Ok, I’m with you,” Morgan said.
“Ok, and say your copy went off and fell in love with a woman and came back to tell you about it. Your copy says ‘aw man this is so awesome! Being in love is the bee's knees!’ Since you’ve been in love before, the original you is a prefect candidate for a control in this experiment, right?”
“You’re talking about Julia, aren’t you? Love is a tricky game indeed.”
“Yes, but focus. Now listen, say your copy is telling you all these wonderful things about being in love with this other person. What would your original say?”
“I’d ask him to prove it,” Morgan said.
“Indeed, you would, wouldn’t you? Now imagine that you are the copy. How would you go about doing that?”
There was a long pause. For a few minutes, all that could be heard was the sound of the cars passing, and the scuffle of two pairs of shoes walking on the rocks in between the railroad tracks.
After it was apparent that Morgan didn’t have an answer, Kyle smiled, “Aaaand that’s why truth is unattainable! You can’t even express something as divine as love, because, even though you’ve been in love before, you lack the divine insight to provide, through language, a reason—any reason, to believe in its existence!”
“Indeed,” Morgan said.
“Indeed, indeed!” Kyle laughed.
“But how do you know God is real though?” Morgan asked. “Have you had a unique experience with what you call "the divine" to begin with? Did it appear to you some time in your life?”
Kyle smiled. There was another long pause. They walked on.
“Well, this is me,” Morgan said, as they walked up the driveway to his parent's house. Even though Kyle had seen this house a hundred times before, today it seemed unfamiliar, new. It wasn’t a big house like Kyle had lived in—it was a one-story small house with a green roof. It had a little chimney on the far left side of the house, and was painted red—-bright red in fact. Maybe that’s what it was. Maybe the sunlight reflecting off of the red paint on that hot day, just before summer was about to begin made Kyle feel like he’d seen the house for the first time.
“Can I come in?” Kyle asked, almost shyly.
“Of course you can! You know you’re always welcome in my house, man. I’m just surprised because you don’t usually ask to stay over when we walk home. Franny usually meets you here to pick you up every day.”
“I know, but today is different. She’s sick at home. They say it’s cancer.”
Franny had taken custody of Kyle almost two years earlier when Kelly decided that she was going to permanently move in with her latest boyfriend, a computer mogul. Franny protested against moving Kyle again, since he was so close to high school graduation. Kelly agreed. She bought them a house, signed over parental rights, and hopped on a plane into the great blue yonder.
“Oh, okay,” Morgan said relieved. “It’s normal for cancer to make you sick—they will just send her the antidote and in a few days she’ll be back on her feet.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Kyle said. Then he sighed.
“What’s wrong?” Morgan asked.
“Just thinking. If this was twenty years ago she would have been a goner.”
“Oh, yeah. You’re right. Lucky us, huh?”
Kyle looked off into the distance and said, “maybe.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, for example, we have the cure for all cancers here in 2036, right? It’s so close to a time period when it wasn’t available. So close…yet so far, in time.”
“That if we could knock down the wall of yesterday, we could potentially save billions of lives,” Kyle said.
“What are you getting at, exactly?" Morgan asked.
“Isn’t it obvious? Not luck, but time travel, of course!” Kyle said, holding one finger up.
“And how are you going to do this?’
“I don’t know—I just know it’s possible.”
“How?” Morgan asked.
“Because, my friend, anything is possible.”
Kyle stayed at Morgan’s that night. They talked about quantum theory all night long, to a background of Beethoven, while sipping apple cider. They agreed on almost everything, with the exception of the divine existence. Some time passed and one day Morgan found himself faced with a chance to justify his doubt in the supernatural. He lived close to what the public calls “the most haunted house in America.” He saw a sightseeing brochure commercial about it the night before, and decided to give it a shot.
The house looked awful. The hallways were dark, even though there were lights lit—they were at opposite ends of the hall, lighting up the dark green wallpaper as Morgan made his way down it. All he wanted to do was walk throughout the house, walk back outside, call Kyle and tell him empiricism just scored a huge goal—but that’s not what would happen. As he walked throughout the first bedrooms, nothing happened. There was no ghost—just dilapidated bedrooms, mostly unfurnished and damp, reeking with the overbearing scent of mildew. He made his way up the stairs.
It was the same upstairs—except for one room. It seemed to have voices coming from inside it. It was at the end of the hall, and when he heard it, that’s when Morgan knew he was afraid. But he kept his wits about him, saying to himself for science! as he ran to the end of the hall. He turned the knob on the door and his life changed forever. There seemed to be a small cloud forming in the center of the room, right above the old, raggedy bed.
The voices seemed to be coming out of the cloud—they were saying, “send it now! The window is closing!”
“But we don’t have the correct coordinates!” Another voice said.
“I don’t care! Send it now!”
Morgan was astonished. There is no way this is happening right now, he thought.
He looked around the dimly-lit room. No projectors of any kind around. He even went to the closet to check and see if someone was playing a prank on him. Nothing in there but emptiness. He turned back around just in time to see electrical sparks coming from the cloud as the room became windy. After what seemed to be a lifetime of waiting, there was a whoosh sound and a book shot out the cloud and flew right towards Morgan and hit him in the face, knocking him out. The cloud disappeared.
When he awoke, it was morning. The sun's rays shone on Morgan’s closed eyelids as he squinted while slowly opening them.
What happened? Mogan thought.
As he came to, he realized he had a huge knot on his forehead. He stood up and started to remember last night. That’s when he saw the book. As he went to reach for it, he heard the front door open downstairs.
“Welcome to the tour of the most haunted house in America! Watch your step, you may encounter the famous ghost of Jane Dough, who died in this house in 1965…”
Morgan knew it was the tour guide bringing people inside for a look at the house. He had to get out of there—after all, he did sneak in last night. He grabbed the book, opened the window, and carefully climbed down the wall of vines to the ground.
So that really did happen huh.
He ran down the street and kept running until he was out of breath. When he stopped in front of a coffee shop, he went inside and stood in line.
“One expresso please,” he told the cashier while catching his breath.
“Coming right up, sir. Do you need ice for that?”
“Ice for what? Oh, this thing? No, it will be alright. I’ll be fine. Had a little fall that’s all.”
“Oh, okay. Your coffee.”
He sat down and looked at the book. It looked like a regular composition notebook—black and white with a tittle on the front: See note on inside cover. He took a deep breath and opened the book.
June 7th, 2071-- I am writing this journal for the purpose of extending my life beyond the wiles of evil in the name of philosophy and science. If you are reading this, and you are me in the past, then you now have irrefutable evidence of time travel. Not only that, you know whats going to happen in the future— your future—this is very valuable information is it not? Of course it is. We both have been pondering truth for some time now, but even with time travel, I am afraid to admit that we are still no closer to finding it than Aristotle was 2000 years ago. I guess Plato was right, huh? Anyway, enclosed is a journal that I have kept since my first day of college—I don’t have to tell you this if you are me but you know we came up with an experiment that would require us to keep a journal and write down what we did everyday, talk about our emotions and feelings, sparing no detail. We did this to record every moment so if time travel ever became possible, we could send this back to you. Who knows? Maybe it could save our life. Maybe we could save other people’s lives. There is a lot of evil in the world. You may not be religious now, but don’t worry—you will reconcile your empiricism with your spirituality and find a nice, cozy balance between them. Sounds crazy, right? But for now, you must trust me. I’m happy I kept this detailed journal over the years—lately I’ve been feeling like someone’s after us—which only sped up my research and efforts to construct a time machine. We work out in Silicon Valley— and I own one of the companies at the fore-front spear-heading the whole thing. I mean, “we” own one of the companies. But that’s what this is all about. We have to protect ourselves. We just successfully sent a rock back in time—just today, actually. Yup. We embedded a 20th Century watch in it and sent it back to pre-historic times. Sounds a bit anti-climatic, I know, but it proved time travel was possible. I immediately began constructing this message—which is attached to the journal I have been keeping all these years. This is what you now have. The future is in your hands, Kyle. What are you going to do with it? "
Holy shit, Morgan thought. He couldn’t believe what he just read. He turned the page.
August 4th, 2039--Today is the first day of college. Morgan and I went to student orientation.It is sunny today. It rained last night, and some today, actually. I’m not sure about having a liquor store so close to campus though. The University is huge! The girls are very pretty. Morgan tried to talk to one of them in the parking lot—because she reminded him of Julia, but she turned him down! It was funny to me but I think his feelings were hurt. He will be okay. I feel excited about the future. I signed up for a calculus class today—it will be useful in understanding how time travel could work.
Morgan stopped reading and closed the book. He was deep in thought when his cell phone rang. It was Kyle.
“Hey. What happened to you last night? I called you like ten times.”
There was a long pause.
“Hello?” Kyle asked.
“Yeah, I’m here. Listen you’re not going to believe this, but I think you were right.”
Morgan paused again. Maybe I shouldn’t tell him until I’ve read a little more, he thought. “Uh, well, about what you said about M-theory. It’s possible that the basis for the theory of everything might be fundamentally flawed.”
“Oh, I see. Well hey are you still going on that field trip to science museum today? I don’t want to go alone. I won’t know anybody there unless you come.”
“Yeah, sure, I’ll be there.”
With time, Morgan became increasingly obsessed with the journal, and increasingly distant from Kyle. He kept the journal hidden from Kyle, and when he was alone, he read it constantly. He began to think selfish thoughts. He wondered if he could use the book for financial gain. He didn’t care about helping people; his philosophy was such that there was no God and therefore no real reason to help anyone unless he was recognized publicly for it and made a profit. He knew Kyle felt the opposite, so he kept the journal hidden until he could find a way to get rich off of it.
After reading countless pages about the day in the life of Kyle, he decides to skip a couple hundred pages.
Lets jump ahead a few years, shall we?
October 1st, 2052-- Getting closer now. My people from the science department printed out a small-scale time machine using a 3D printer. This might work. You’d think after finding the “God particle” we should have been able to time travel by now, but alas, it is harder than I ever imagined. It’s got to be something easy, something unexpected; after all, who knew the cure for cancer was just a mixture of pollen and chlorophyll? Anyway, I must— “
Bingo!” Morgan shouted, as his face filled with joy.
Kyle finds out about the book, but before he knew what it really was, Morgan ran off with it, never to be seen again. The friendship ends bitterly. Years pass. After decades of trying, Morgan couldn't figure out the right formula of pollen and chlorophyll to cure cancer. He gets rich off of other information though, and makes a small fortune “predicting” small events he connected together throughout the journal. He is successful all the way up to 2071, when Kyle is just about to send the original journal back in time.
Morgan, like Kyle, is now in his 50’s and he wants to make things right. He begins spying on Kyle and when the day comes, he surprises him with a visit in Kyle’s office in Silicon Valley. But Kyle isn’t happy to see him; especially when Morgan tells him about the journal and how he’s had it all these years, and how he found it.
A scuffle ensues, and Morgan accidentally kills Kyle when he knocks him over the head with a paper-weight.
What have I done?
With Kyle dead on the floor, Morgan has an idea. He takes Kyle’s current journal and begins writing in it.
When he is finished, he looks at his friends’ lifeless body on the floor. I shouldn't have done this to you, buddy. This is my last chance to make things right.
He adds an addendum to the first page of the journal. It read:
Morgan, since you’re the one who finds this journal, you should know that in the future you kill your best friend because of it. You get greedy and only think of yourself. Don’t let that happen again. Yes this is real, and yes I’m you in the future. If you don’t believe me, check the birthmark underneath your right testicle. See? It’s real. Don’t waste this opportunity to make things right. I now know just because I don't believe in a God, doesn't mean I have to be a dick. Don't waste your life on selfish ambition!! I hope you take heed to this message. The future is in your hands now, Morgan. What will you choose to do with it?
I hope this works, Morgan thought.
He goes to the lab and when the employees don’t recognize him, they sound the alarm. Morgan then closes himself up in the room with another scientist.
“Start it up! Now!” Morgan yells, pulling out a letter opener from his jacket pocket. He grabbed it in Kyle’s office during the scuffle, but never used it—he didn’t really want to kill his friend.
The scientist complies, and when the machine starts whirring, he tells the scientist, “I want to send this book back in time. And I know where to send it.”
“Sure,” the scared scientist quickly answered. The machine began to stabilize the energy fields around it.
“However, we haven’t tested it yet,” the scientist adds. “Kyle was going to test it by sending a rock with a watch embedded in it back in time. We haven’t done that yet.”
Just then, security could be seen entering the lab. They yell at Morgan through the thick glass.
“Come out of there! We know what you did to Kyle! We’re going to get this door open and when we do, you’re going to pay for what you did!”
“Do I look like I care if you tested it?” Morgan yells at the scientist. “Send the damn book back, now! Send it now! The window is closing!”
“But we don’t have the correct coordinates!” The scientist said. The ones you just plugged in were not the original ones we planned to input!
“I don’t care! Send it now!”
A cloud of smoke starts to propagate in the center of the machine. He put the book inside of it and the machine began to increase in a humming noise until it was almost deafening. The room became windy and papers began flying around everywhere.
Security was almost inside. Morgan looked at them as they tried franticly to open the door.
Holding his ears, he repeated to himself I hope this works and adds, Maybe through knocking down the wall of yesterday, I can get my friend back and we can change the world—together. I can only hope me in the past will be convinced of this. Thanks for everything, Kyle. You were a good friend. You are a good friend.
The book disappears into the past just when security gets the door open.
To be continued…
About the Creator
Born and raised in Atlanta Ga, Flow brings an introspective flavor to hip-hop. Beginning in 2003 with beat making, and 2005 with protools, there has been an exponential growth in both productivity and creativity. Won't let me say more smh
There are no comments for this story
Be the first to respond and start the conversation.