Improvisation / Short story


My name is Aaron Hertz. People believe me to be a strange person because I think of bizarre things. This may be true, but for an engineer this is quite the advantage. Strange ideas, as long as I keep them grounded in reality at least half the time, lead to some innovative ideas. I am currently working on a way to make a computer mouse out of a tiny plastic bag of air. It’ll be revolutionary.

However, sometimes I think up ideas that even I will admit make no sense and are just plain useless. For example, right now as I go about my daily bus ride to York University for my morning lectures, I day dream about the possibility of time travel.

But not just any kind of time travel. I’m talking about a very specific kind of time travel. One kind of theoretical time travel is the kind where somebody from the future goes back in time and finds that there are now two of them (one in the future and one that exists at that moment in time). I’m thinking of the other, the kind where the time traveler becomes who she or he was back in the past with the knowledge and memories of the future.

How would you convince someone you were from the future and not crazy? It’d be pretty tough.

I like to think ahead. So, just for fun, I’ll make up a random gibberish sound that will serve as my password and never tell anyone. If in the future time travel becomes real and is needed and somebody I know is going to travel to the past I will simply tell them the password. They can give it to their past me, which is present or slightly future me, and I’ll believe them.

I think up a gibberish sound. “Jaga High Hee”. Yeah, I can probably remember that. I’ll keep it in my mind in case I need it. I probably won’t, but hey.

I get off the bus and approach the front door to the life sciences department of the university. Suddenly, my math professor runs towards me. What’s he doing here? The math building is on the other end of campus. He looks like he was running a long way because he stops to pant and catch his breath. He walks towards me.

“Mr. Chen?” I say. “What’s the matter?”

“…Jaga…High…Hee!” he says.

The two of us say nothing for a while. I clearly must have misheard him.

“Well? You told me to tell you that,” he says.


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