On June 12, 2015, Joey Martinez was awoken from a sound sleep at 3:15 AM by his cell phone. He considered letting the phone ring unanswered, but then he got up and picked up the phone.
“Who is it?” said Joey.
“Is this Joey Martinez?”
asked a woman.
“Yes,” said Joey. “What's
“Joey, I'm glad I got you,”
said the woman. “Joey, I have a warning for you. Your life is in
“Who is this?” asked
Joey, sitting down on his sofa.
“My name's Karen,” said
the woman. “Joey, I have to tell you something you may find very
hard to believe. This morning everyone in your city, Smith City,
is going to die. You've got to get out now, or you'll be one of the
people who dies.”
“How do you know this?”
“You wouldn't believe me if
I told you,” said the woman. “Please, just take my word for it.
Jump in your car, and start driving. You can save your life.”
“No way am I going to do
that,” said Joey. “Not unless you tell me how you know that
everyone in the city is going to die. Is it some terrorist plot?”
“No, it's not that,” said
the woman. “OK, I'll tell you. It's going to be a meteor. It will
hit this morning at exactly 9:15 AM. It's going to wipe out your entire
Joey had a fancy new digital
phone that allowed a user to engage in a conversation and check the
Internet at the same time. Joey checked the news. There was nothing
at all about an incoming meteor.
“You're full of it,” said
Joey. “I just checked the news, and there's not a word about a
meteor heading for Smith City.”
“That's because they don't
know about it,” said the woman. “It's not one of those big
asteroids that the astronomers can detect way ahead of time. It's
just a little chunk of rock the size of a small building. But it will
hit your city with such kinetic energy, that everything will be
“So how come you know about
it?” asked Joey skeptically. There was a pause.
“OK, I'll tell you,” said
the woman. “But you'll never believe me. I know about it... because
I'm from the future.”
“Oh, that explains
it,” said Joey incredulously. “So you're a time traveler from the
“No, we tried to do that,
but it didn't work,” said the woman. “I'm not someone who
traveled to your time from the future. But I am from the future. You
see, I'm not calling from your time. I'm calling from 300 years ahead
of your time.”
“You seriously want me to
believe that this is...a phone call from the future?” asked Joey.
“That's the truth, incredible as it sounds,” said the woman.
“Let me tell you the whole story. In my time, three hundred years
from your time, in the year 2310, scientists started a huge program
designed to create a time machine. They put together all kinds of
fancy technology. Then they tried to create a spacetime wormhole they
could use to send a robot back into the past. But it didn't work.
Every time they tried it, the wormhole destroyed the robot, rather
than sending it back in time.”
“Go on,” said Joey, not
believing a word of the tale.
“The scientists were about
to shut down the program, but then I got involved,” explained the
woman. “I studied the technology, and realized that it would never
work to try to use the spacetime wormhole to send a robot back in
time. But I also realized that the technology could be used for
another purpose. It could be used to create a communication channel
allowing someone from my time to talk to someone in your time.”
“So I decided to test my
theory,” continued the woman. “I got a list of all the victims of
the Smith City Meteor Fire of 2015. I found your name on the list. It
took some more time to get your phone number, but I also got that.
Then I tried using the spacetime wormhole technology to make this
phone call. The phone call worked. Don't you realize how important
this call is? It's the first phone call ever made between two
different time eras.”
“What is this, some kind of
prank?” asked Joey.
“No, it's no prank,” said
the woman. “You've got to believe me. That meteor is heading right
now for your city – not in my time, but in your time. You've got to
get out of your city, or you're going to die.”
“Don't call this number
again,” said Joey. “Haven't you got something better to do than
to pull these kind of pranks? Get a life!”
Joey hung up the phone, and
went back to sleep.
He woke up the next morning,
and dressed, showered and shaved, not in any particular hurry. After
eating his regular breakfast, Joey got in his car, and began driving
toward his job in downtown Smith City.
But after driving a short
while, he looked at the clock on his dashboard. It was 8:45. What if
the phone caller was right? He would have only 30 minutes left to
Somehow that calculation did
the trick. He turned his car around, and began driving away from the
city as fast as he could.
After driving for 30 minutes,
he suddenly saw the sky light up mysteriously. It was as if the sun
was streaking across the sky.
Joey heard a deafening sound, a sound like nothing he had ever heard.
He covered his ears, and looked towards Smith City.
There in the distance he saw
a giant orange mushroom cloud, the aftermath of the meteor striking
the city and incinerating it.