Time Travel Logs

1954 Part 12

In a house, in the French countryside. Georges Picot was sitting at a crude wooden table drinking wine thoughtfully. He said, “This is a truly a good vintage. In a few years, don’t let them tell you that 1959 is a good vintage. It is all a scam to fool wine buyers. Repeat the assertion enough and they’ll believe it, grand-papa.” Phillipe sharply answered, “You are older than me and you are calling me grand-papa. People will overhear and talk.” Georges said, “Yes, cousin Phillipe.”

“Phillipe, I do not like any of the assorted leaders of France, from the lightweights of today such as René Coty, to Charles de Gaulle, to Mitterand, to Georges Pompidou, and all the rest who would be too young today to be of importance. Charles de Gaulle rides in on a horse to win the war in Algeria, and rides back out again having lost it. In 1968, your daughter, my mother, fights the police propping up that old dinosaur.”

Phillipe asked, “Because of Algeria?” “No”, Georges answered, “because 1968 was the year that all youth had to rebel against authority, all over the world. The kids went to university and learned to fight the old order. They succeeded nowhere. Here, nothing changed. In 1980 Mitterand gets in, but didn’t seem all that different from his predecessors. In Prague, Soviet tanks break up their little party, and stay there for another 2 decades. In Mexico City, they are massacred for no purpose. In Chicago they are beaten by police while chanting “The whole world is watching”, demonstrating against the Democrats for not being radical enough, but actually paving the way for Nixon to become President of the US. In China, they are actually instigated by Mao to attack their elders.”

Phillipe asked, “Can I see those photos again?” “Yes” said Georges as he carefully removed his camera from the case. “It is a good thing I happened to be carrying my charger.” Phillipe asked, “How old is Julia in this picture?” George answered, “61. You can zoom for more detail in the picture like this. Unfortunately I don’t know of a way to print these on paper.” Phillipe said, “I could always photograph this screen.” George shrugged and said “I suppose.”

Phillipe asked, “What can you do with your knowledge?” Georges answered, “Not much. Algeria is going to rebel, and I can’t stop it. I can’t stop all the French soldiers who are going to be sent there. Half a century from now, that time will mostly be remembered as France engaging in torture, and having left in the end. By then, there will be more Algerians living in France, than there ever were French living in Algeria. No, I cannot stop these forces of history.

I know what I can do, I can speed along one force of history and make some money. This is known as the slow food era. 50 years from now, everything is quick quick quick. Not everything, proper dining certainly still exists, but the fast food places have their cash tills overflowing with money.

I won’t have to worry about future trademarks, so I’ll call my chain of restaurants, “Quick food”. It will serve hashed steak patties in buns, so you can eat it fast with one hand. Narrow long pieces of fried potatoes to stuff your face with the other hand. An over-sugared flavored soda water in a wax paper cup with a sturdy straw, which you don’t need to even use a hand for. It will help push the food along, and the sweetness will make you swallow it all fast. You order it from the counter, and having made them in advance, it will be served almost instantly, you’ll sit at a table, or stand at a counter, eat fast and leave. Since it will be presented in wax paper wrappers or cartons, you can even leave with it to eat while walking on the street.

There will also be frozen meals sold in markets, and a small electric oven that zaps the food with radio waves, heating it up in 3 minutes without burning it.”

Phillipe said, “I think you were sent here for a higher purpose, and not to introduce the joys of quick food to France.”

Georges replied, “Perhaps. For instance, the only bettable sporting event I know from this year, already happened a few days ago. The West German upset over Hungary at the World Cup. The next sporting event I know about, I don’t even know the winner, but perhaps I can do something. Le Mans 1955, an out of control car crashes into the barrier to protect the spectators, breaks apart and causes a fire. 80 spectators are killed. After there are better safety standards. How can I prevent this tragedy?” Phillipe answered, “Maybe an anonymous tip? Maybe cause an evacuation?” Georges said, that might just mean a similar accident in a future year. Phillipe said, “We have a year, we’ll make a plan.”

Georges said, “Those kids in 1968 will attack my quick food restaurants. Unless maybe, just maybe, I can give quick food an anti-establishment air to it. Perhaps I should dress like an artist and hang around cafes in the left bank of Paris and intone slowly, “The ocean is a savage jungle.” and apparently deep statements like that. “This table is a social construct.” I can even invent deconstructionism. I took a class in that. I will deconstruct the meal, and leave it to its essentials, and as well save the worker and the student time and money. It is beginning to take shape in my mind now.”

Story: 1954: Part 13


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: