'Ah, Sam. Have you seen that girl - Mandy - that John brought back last night? I think she's crazy or something,' Martin said as Sam came back into Martin's room carrying his half-empty mug of tea.
'Why? Apart from wanting to have sex with John, that is. Which, to my mind, makes her crazier than a hereditary peer.'
Martin waved Sam over to look at the computer screen. 'She just read this email and started saluting, calling me captain and saying something about the rest of the crew.'
'Sounds about average for the kind of girl John usually picks up.' Sam put down his mug and read what was on the screen. He nodded thoughtfully. 'It's a mystery isn't it? Can you remember anything unusual that's happened? Maybe we've missed some vital clue.'
'What do you mean... something unusual? It's all been fucking unusual!' Martin sighed. 'I just can't think of anything that's been usual about today... at all.' He turned as the door opened. Lisa smiled briefly and nodded to both of them as she came into the room.
Sam shrugged. 'I've been thinking....'
'Congratulations,' Martin said. 'Did it hurt much?'
'Only at first,' Sam said, glancing at both of them in turn. 'This...' he tapped the computer monitor, 'seems to know exactly what we are doing, thinking... and are about to do.' Sam looked for agreement from Martin and Lisa.
They nodded in unison.
'Now, the only reason I can think of for that, is it must already know what we are going to do, right?'
'Right.' Lisa smiled helpfully at Sam, urging him to go on.
'Right then,' Sam said. 'It also claims that you, Martin, gave her... it... its... her name. But we know you are not good enough a programmer even to consider doing something like that with a computer... giving it a name and a... a personality. Anyway, such things could only happen in the future. Current technology isn't anywhere near good enough for that... yet. So, that has to be the answer.'
'What is?' Martin shrugged.
'Yet. Is that what you mean Sam?' Lisa said.
Sam nodded and smiled, leaning back on the bed. 'Yes, I think all these things are messages from our future selves.'
Martin shook his head. 'I can only see one thing wrong with your idea, Sam.'
'What's that?' Sam said.
'It's a load of bollocks. What do we know about time travel?'
'It's the only thing I can think of that fits.' Sam shrugged.
'It's still bollocks though,' Martin said. 'You read too much Science Fiction.'
'You explain it then.' Sam waved his hand across the computer set-up.
'Well... I can't... but time-travel? No. There has to be a far more mundane explanation.' Martin glanced at the cube, but it still seemed intent on ignoring them. He turned to look at his old knackered laptop, sitting forgotten on the edge of the desk, and wished things could be that simple again.
'I suppose so,' Sam looked down into his tea mug. 'So what are you going to do then, ignore it all?'
'No, I don't think so. I'm going to go along with it.... See what happens.'
The brand new printer beeped. Martin frowned at the flashing light on the printer, trying to decode what the helpful icon on it actually meant, shrugged, and put some blank paper into the printer hopper.
'What's happening now?' Lisa said.
'Apparently, it's printing out a list.' Sam was reading the pages as the printer disgorged them. 'It seems Hermione here wants us to go shopping.'
YOU ARE READING
Juggling BallsScience Fiction
Martin Laws hates mysteries. So why has someone sent him a bag of juggling balls? Why has he no memory of buying a new computer? Why has that new computer decided Martin needs to go shopping? Why does a hairstylist he's never met before keep s...