When my friend K of the beautiful bald head died, this evil-looking hag showed up at the funeral with her kid in tow and put up a big front, wailing about how she was O’s mistress and therefore deserved to be treated with respect by his surviving family, so I approached her carefully and took her by the arm and told her this was not the funeral for the great O, where even mistresses were welcome, but the funeral of my friend K of the beautiful bald head, and though he was bald, he was barely thirty and a bachelor, whereupon the old hag glared at me as if to say “We’ll see about that,” then polished off a bowl of yukkaejang and slipped out.
Anyway, this has nothing to do with any of that, but I can see into the future. The future that I will talk about from here on out takes place 170 years from now, that is, when all the rational people got the heck out of the solar system and the earth became a hotbed of radioactivity, cockroaches, and Freemasons: the year 2175. Humankind failed to protect the earth and, having learned from that failure, was mucking up the universe at a ferocious pace. How that was possible, I have no idea. I can observe their behavior, but I do not understand their science. The majority of their generation was in the same situation. Science has always been an art reserved for the few.
I watch them from Planet Earth, October 2005 a.d., 170 years before their lives. As it is fall, the sky is blue and the occasional [End Page 121] passing breeze carries the scent of dried filefish being roasted. Right now, it is not quite four in the afternoon. I always grow bored around this time. Not lonely, not lonesome, not alone. Just bored. Bored, so I sit at my desk. I close my eyes and ponder as much time as I want. The hag from K’s funeral keeps trying to leap out at me, but she’s come to the wrong place. Or maybe she was just really jonesing for some yukkaejang. I manage to shove her away and get back to pondering time. That is how I see 170 years into the future. What? Am I weird for saying I can see the future? It’s not that extraordinary. Anyone can travel to any place and any time if they want to. I mean, if they really, desperately want to. You close your eyes and spread your arms, desperately.
What I see is an eighty-four-year-old woman who works in a basic education facility on a colonized planet in the outer reaches of the universe. It’s not my fault she’s so old. Let’s turn our eyes for a moment from the distant future to the more recent past. The eighty-four-year-old woman, obviously, was born eighty-four years earlier. Her father was a handsome man committed to a life of bachelorhood, and he worked as a programmer for the governing council on an artificial sun. One day, he returned home and decided to end his life. He leisurely swallowed some pills and lay down. Just then, a horny yogurt delivery woman came by and raped him as he lay dying, a spaced-out look on his face. At the moment of his death, an extraordinary number of tadpoles burst forth from the tip of his penis. One of those tadpoles became this future woman.
The dazzling development of organs grown for transplant was not good for lactobacillus. Yogurt was rendered a superfluous part of the human diet, and the woman’s mother, who had staked her life on yogurt sales, likewise was reduced to rags. When the girl turned six, her mother sent her away to a poorhouse on the distant rice planet. High-density water covered twenty percent of the surface of that tiny planet, and the air was thick with the scent of moss. The three moons that hung in the sky were, because of...