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Futures Market

Mitchell Edgeworth is an Australian writer living in London. His fiction has been published in magazines including Postscripts to Darkness, SQ Mag and Pseudopod. His Black Swan stories, about the oddball crew of a dilapidated spaceship in the 22nd century, are currently serialized at Theaker's Quarterly Fiction. He tweets as @mitchedgeworth and keeps a blog at grubstreethack.wordpress.com.

In 1980 my future self traveled back in time to speak to me. I was twenty years old, sitting on the front porch of my parents' house in Utica clipping my toenails. He was thirty years old, wearing a suit and tie.
"Pay attention," he told me. "You're going to invest in these stocks. Circuit City. Eaton Vance. II Mark IV. Gap...."
In 1990 he visited me again, now forty years old, while I was reading the Wall Street Journal over breakfast in my apartment on the Upper East Side. "Put that away," he said. "You're going to buy stocks in these companies. Biogen. Kansas City Southern. Middleby Corp...."
In 2000 he came to me while I was drinking a negroni at the bar at the Glen Cove Yacht Club, watching the sun go down between the masts of the sailboats. He was fifty now, but still looking good, with a little botox and maybe a nose job. "Apple," he said. "Intuitive Surgical. Priceline...."
After he'd finished off his usual list of about thirty stocks, as he stood up from the bar stool to leave, he glanced at me and added, "Oh, and sell everything in the summer of 2007."
In 2010 I was sitting in a deckchair on the back lawn of my beachfront mansion in East Hampton. My teenage son and his friends were messing around with the jet ski, and my nine-year-old daughter was building a sandcastle on the beach. I watched with slight apprehension as a hobo shuffled up the beach towards her, but he walked right past and came across the lawn towards me.
He'd aged terribly in just ten years. His eyes were bloodshot and the skin on his left cheek was mottled and red. He had a straggly grey beard and a nasty scar across his forehead. I could see his ribs through his grey t-shirt and his boots looked like they were held together with duct tape.
"Sell the stocks and the bonds and the house," he said. "Buy some land in Montana. Learn how to shoot and hunt and ride a horse. Take a first aid course. And stock up on potassium iodide...."
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Author Comments

I started investing in the stock market a few years ago and, like any casual investor, soon came to wish I could see into the future. But since you also start to subscribe to the maxim that the stock market is the best place to park your money, any gains you make go right back into it, giving the whole enterprise a neverending vibe--and it could all come crashing down one day.

- Mitchell Edgeworth
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