History of the Future

George Orwell has been my favorite author ever since I found a signed copy of ‘Down and Out in Paris & London’ in a secondhand store. I got it after Christmas with the money mom & dad gifted me, however, Poppy didn’t let me read until the spring break. He said he’ll be back from the war soon & if he’s not back by the spring break, I can read it myself.

Now that the final bell is about to ring, I glare at the minute hand travelling to the Roman XII on the clock above our grumpy Social Science professor – Mrs. Martin. My poppy hasn’t still returned from the war but I’m free to read it, he promised me.

It happens within the next couple of minutes. The bell rings and I rush out in the hallway with my bag. Robert & Patricia, my only friends, follow me after packing up their bags.

I jump down the stairs at our entrace. I misplace my foot and hit my elbow, but the adrenaline keeps me going.

‘Wait for us, candy ass.’ Robert struggles to scream as he runs toward me, holding his heavy bag close to his chest.

‘What’s so cool about the book that you nerds are so cranked about?’ Patricia is staring down at me through her double-glassed spectacles.

‘Patric, did we ever ask you why were you so cranked to have bobbed your hair like a boy?’ I give a high-five to Robert who is still gasping to breathe as he stands next to me.

‘Stop calling me Patric. The name’s Patri-‘ ‘Run fast, fatass.’ I’m already a yard ahead of them & I don’t bother if they’ve heard what I said.

As I reach the neighborhood closest to my home, I hear Robert complaining about wanting to go see the Tennis match of his big time sweetheart but I decide to ignore.

‘We’re home.’ I carelessly dump my shoes in the rack and run towards my room. ‘Welcome back, Steve. H-‘ ‘Gotta go.’ I cut her mid-sentence and she tells me not to rush.

‘Hello Mrs. Rogers.’ Patricia & Robert enter my room and I grab the hardcover locked in the wardrobe.

As I take a seat on my bed, Robert hops on and snatches the book from me. ‘Careful.’ I instruct him, but his eyes are mesmerized by the fine finish of the book. His fingers gently feel the fabric covering the book and he opens it.

“With Love, to Steve. George Orwell”

‘It is really his signature! And your name on it! How did that happen?’ I’m surprised to see Patricia hip about an author. ‘From when did you start to think this is cool? About my name, my best guess is this was for some other Steve who must’ve owned it.’ I arch an eyebrow and she adjusts her glasses. ‘My mom has recited me this book when it came out last year. It is amazing. I’m here only because I wanted to see if you’re not lying.’

‘Is that so? Then let’s start reading it!’ Robert returns me the book and as I turn the page I read another note written with the same ink as the signature.

“Learn the truth behind the origin of George Orwell’s upcming book – 1984. 678-436-7092”

‘Is that a phone number?’ Patricia pokes her head, blocking my vision. ‘How could that be a phone number? They’re supposed to have letters, too. Dumbass. And what is 1984? An upcoming book by Sir Orwell?’ I push her head away and try to make sense of the 10 digit number in front of me.

‘Do you think we can dial it?’ Robert looks up at me with a gleam of hope in his eyes. ‘Won’t hurt to try, I guess?’ With my compliance, we run to the phone kept in our living room. I’m glad we installed it recently.

With shaky fingers I rotate the dial and press the numbers in front of me. I don’t expect it to be a valid number and when there’s a static response, I shut it down.

‘Nah, it’s just a joke. Probably someone at the store did this.’ But the moment we’re about to climb up the stairs to my room, the phone rings.

The three of us stare each other, appalled. We walk towards it, I swallow a huge lump in my throat and pick it up.

‘Hello?’ ‘Hello, is it you? Steve?’ My terrified expression increases the nervousness on the faces of my friends. How does this man know my name? ‘Y-yes. Who are you?’

‘Oh, god. I cannot believe this is happening for real? Nic will never believe me, either! Mark was right! Listen, Steve. Is your dad, Joseph, back from the war?’ I drop the phone from my hands. How could he be knowing all these things about me? Who is Nic?

While I’m stupified, Patricia picks up the phone. ‘Yes, he’s here.’ She speaks up. ‘How do you know my name? Who are you?’ I snatch the phone away from her.

‘Who are you?’ I scream at him. More out of fear than anger. ‘This is me, Steve. I am you. I’m calling from 84 years in the future. I’m Steve Rogers.’

©The Honest Fabler — Ashutosh Gursale
©Image Source — Google Images

Post Script:

No doubt this was the first time I included so many Easter Eggs into one single story. To be honest, I didn’t plan the story to go as it went, since I wrote it on a reddit thread! Actually, if you want a good writing idea, you should go on r/writingprompts! This was my prompt:

[WP] You buy a book in a thrift store, and in the cover you find a note saying “if found, please call” with a phone number. Out of curiosity, you call the phone number, and the person answering is you from the future.

Be that as it may, here are all the Easter Eggs I wanted you guys to know about:
  1. Patricia & Robert are just names. Although, Patricia is taken from Hellcat’s alter ego.
  2. The book I mentioned ‘Down and Out in Paris & London’ was released in 1933. Therefore the current year is 1934.
  3. Steve Rogers was born on 4 July 1920.
  4. I’ve portrayed him as a mid-school-er living with his mom. (Alteration)
  5. His dad, Joseph Rogers, (According to comics, he died in WWI) is on a war. (Alteration)
  6. The phone number mentioned is the one we see in Infinity war when Tony Stark drops his phone.
  7. Back in 1930s’ the phone numbers had Letter and Digits’ combination. Which is why they don’t think it’s a real number.
  8. Their curiosity is rose because in 1934, nobody knew 1984 will be a Cult Classic book by George Orwell, since he published it in 1949.
  9. Finally, Mark is Mark Waid, one of the notable writers of Captain America.


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