Imagine My Future

A short story by Jon Christopher.

This story was originally titled “Press The Record Button” and submitted to several magazines earlier this year. After having it rejected I decided to re-edit it, gave it a new title, a slightly different ending, and to post it here to celebrate the 36th anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie on May 25, 1977.

MecoSW

The future was just a radio signal away…

Jonathan rapidly spun the tuning knob of the bulky shortwave radio sitting on the desk in front of him. He was scanning the AM band, moving from one top forty radio station to another trying to find his song. At the moment that song was the Meco #1 hit – Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band.

It was the fall of 1977, and Jonathan had just entered 8th grade, but Star Wars was what was really on his mind. The movie had come out in May and had changed everything for him. Jonathan had been a childhood Trekkie, but that was nothing compared to the impact Star Wars had on him. Since he had seen it for the first time – and he had seen it over twenty times by the time summer ended – it was just about all he thought about, all the time.

And now there was a song out on the radio (yeah it was disco and disco sucked, but this was Star Wars) with the theme song from Star Wars that included really cool laser sounds and R2D2 beeping, light saber sound and other sounds from the movie.

Jonathan was hunting for the song to capture it with a tape recorder. He had been doing it all Saturday afternoon – tuning from station to station trying to catch the song from the beginning so he could get a really good recording. He was sitting at his desk in his room. Most of the desk surface was taken over by the large, post-World War II era shortwave radio. His dad had bought it at a garage sale, but Jonathan had convinced his dad to let him keep it on his desk in his room.

Jonathan had constructed a spider-web like antenna array tacked up on the wall behind his desk. He was sure this helped him get better reception. He also kept his parent’s tape recorder sitting next to the speaker on the side of the shortwave radio to record things he heard. Often times he recorded the various foreign voices that came through the static just because they sounded so strange. Today he was using the tape recorder for a more basic need – capturing a pop music song.

So far he had recorded the song twice, but not completely. One time he had captured the end of the song, and once he got it about halfway through. He had been at it for several hours and his mind was starting to play games with him, offering suggestions like, “If you take a break for exactly 5 minutes then all the radio stations will reset and you’ll get your song” and “first tune to 10-Q and then over the KHJ, then quickly to the Spanish language station on the right end of the dial, then back to 10-Q” and so on.

After awhile of this Jonathan decided to take a short, five minute break and cruise the shortwave bands. The radio had three different shortwave bands which Jonathan would slowly scan from one end to the other, using the fine tuning knob when he found something interesting to bring the signal in even better. The eclectic mix of sounds and static as he moved across the dial was both interesting and soothing at the same time.

Near the end of his five minute break a voice came through the static, “Jonathan, press the record button on your tape recorder.”

Jonathan stopping turning the tuning dial.

After a couple of seconds the same adult, male voice repeated itself, “Jonathan, press the record button on your tape recorder.”

Jonathan pushed the record button on the tape recorder.

“Jonathan, I am going to tell you some very important information. This information will affect your whole life from this moment forward. Before we go on I must point out that what I am going to share with you must never – NEVER – be shared with anyone. No one but you can know these things. If anyone finds out you will be a dead man (or worse). Tell no one. Trust no one. Again. Tell no one. Trust no one.”

Jonathan’s adrenalin was kicking into high gear. He quickly got up and made sure the door to his room was closed as the voice continued.

“Jonathan. I am you, but I am 52 years old now. The year I’m living in is 2016. Many things have gone wrong in the world since I was your age, things I wish I could have done something about but couldn’t. I never had enough leverage, enough money, enough power to be one of the people that helped shape the world. When I was your age Jonathan I thought I would be one of those people…”

Jonathan knew exactly what he meant. He saw himself as someone who could be a politician or a judge or something when he grew up.

“Jonathan, what I have in mind to do is to give you the keys to the future, and the ability to change my current reality at the same time. If you make the changes I have in mind while you grow to be my age, together we could change the structure of the world.”

Jonathan didn’t quite comprehend what “himself” was saying, but the voice did sound vaguely like his own voice when he heard it recorded. He sat listening as the voice from the future continued.

“I am going to tell you somethings that will happen in your future, my own past, so you can use this knowledge for financial gain. I’m going to give you stock picks, market trends, lottery numbers, World Series winners, Presidential winners – everything you need to be one step ahead of everyone else.

We have several problems to take care of to make this work for us. The first problem is every bit of information I give you will start to change my own world. Our existences are entangled, and just your knowledge of these future events will change my present, your future. I have run extensive computer models to make sure we do this right. I have concluded that only by introducing certain ideas in a certain order, spread out over a certain period of time can we make these changes without completely messing the whole thing up. This is a delicate operation, but I know you Jonathan, and I know we can do it.”

Jonathan was overwhelmed at this point. His mind whirled on the impossibly of his situation. The voice continued.

“I’m going to give you a set of dates and events in a series of three broadcasts. We have to let a short period of time pass between the broadcasts so we don’t make errors we can’t fix in the next broadcast.

Remember – never, ever share these broadcasts with anyone. If even one other person knows, everything will change in ways we do not know nor can we predict.”

Jonathan from the future then read off a list of events, dates, and subjects for Jonathan to pay attention to at certain points in his life. He gave him companies to invest in, ways to get the money he’d need to invest, people he would need to know and ways to know them – for 20 minutes he gave him the basic insider’s guide to the next 39 years of American culture, politics, business and finance.

At the end of reading the list the voice from the future told Jonathan the next broadcast would be the following Saturday afternoon, at the same time and on the same frequency. And then the voice faded into static. Jonathan hit the stop button on the tape recorder.

Continue reading

Today’s Image #294

Title“Swimming In Memphis – Vol 1 – Image #12
Dimensions – 7″ x 7″
Format –  mixed-media collage on paper
Date – 1997

During the time I was faxing images to my computer I started a very short run collage magazine called Swimming In Memphis. This is one of the pages from the first volume. It was in a square-sized format and printed on a photocopy machine at Kinko’s. A very limited number of copies were made…

This collage page uses the same USS Someplace image which I posted as Today’s Image #292 on July 7th, 2012.

Today’s Image #292

Title“USS Someplace Cocktails – Faxed Image
Dimensions – 4″ x 6″
Format –  faxed photo on fax paper
Date – 1997

Here’s a short story from our website back in 1998 – The animated GIF images were made using the faxed images…

[1] the first shot...

We really didn’t need to waste any time getting there… I think everyone else heard the same thing we had, but it meant something more to us. Larry wanted to get back to the bar, but Claire wanted to go talk to the police that were just arriving. Claire was always following after police like some puppy dog… maybe that’s why she was always getting thrown into the pound.

We turned and and and… stumbled away from Long Beach Blvd.

[2] long beach blvd...

Run down, runs down to the Harbor, where they’re building a new aquarium, where the Pike used to be, the seaside resort amusement park… later, seedy underbelly and then torn down.

Larry’s dad ran the Skeeball concession, and bought heroin from incoming sailors… Claire had been a girl working the boardwalk… lots of scars.

[3] redevelopment...

Bring in the Queen Mary, bring in the Spruce Goose, bring in the Shore Line Village, try and bring in Disney… but there is no getting away from the fact that Long Beach, like it’s twin brother San Pedro, is the Navy and Prison… hard drinking and past glory… old burdens and dim hopes… but that’s not why we’re drinking…

“This isn’t this redevelopment, this is redemption…” said Freddy. He thinks he’s the city council or something. I just wish he’d shut up.

[4] redemption...

Freddy says redemption makes everything worthwhile… at least it’s better then a sharp stick in the eye. He was always trying to hit everyone, a real jerk. “You ever smell a rug?” he says… real menacing like…

Chuckski really tried to straighten him out, at least his face… wish Chuckski came around like he use to. Ain’t nobody like they used to be…not even the USS Someplace is like it use to be. Sometimes everything seems frozen solid still in time… usually…

[5] uss someplace

We should have bet Larry again… Claire almost got taken away, we would have been fifty bucks richer.

I don’t know… is it just me, or does this place seem a little emptier since Chuckski left?

Freddy hates Chuckski, but he hates everyone… people like that always seem to like us, I don’t know why that’s so… we were just trying to get home again, USS Someplace, Long Beach Blvd… California.

The End.

2010 | Share Your Story

Last year my motto for the year was Share Your Truth, and this year my motto is Share Your Story

Where does my motto come from?

I have been following the tracks of a vision, a creative pilgrimage of sorts, for several years which I am now chronicling on one of my project sites I launched in 2009 called The Turning – A Serial.

This journey continues through 2015, with various periods of time marked-out and notated in different ways… and each year has a motto.

Why a motto?

Because it simply condenses the massive amount of ideas I’m working with into a single phrase, which helps me stay on track throughout the year. When I forget why I’m doing  everything I can always come back to my motto and find the tracks of the vision.

The overall piece that The Turning is a part of is something called The Book of Days and has taken over a significant part of my life since it began in 2008.

This vision began with one tiny little spark of an idea…

One Human, Being

A Very Short Story About My Name

In late October 2007 I had a funny little thought one day, “I’m just one human, being…” which, for me, embodied the idea of just one human in the act of being and also the idea of what is possible from just one human being. What difference can one human being really make?

And then I thought, “I wonder if the domain name ‘onehumanbeing.com’ is available?” – I checked, it was available, and I ordered it immediately.

the onehumanbeing logo - 2009

the onehumanbeing logo

In that instant, a whole new journey was launched and Jon, onehumanbeing became part my identity and my new working name.

For over twenty years I had been doing all of my work under my name Jon Christopher, which is just part of my full name, but expressed my identity and my mission – “Gift of God, Christ Bearer.”

Ever since I was very young I thought of names as more than just random labels we put on people, but as a statement of identity, and I had changed what I wanted to be called every few years – lengthening or shortening my name – to fit my image of myself or to make a statement about who I was going to be next.

Around the time I turned 21 I choose to become Jon Christopher and started off on a new path that led to Tania and the life which I now live; and then, 22 years later, a new metamorphosis had begun.

After a few months of use one human, being smoothed out and morphed into Jon, onehumanbeing, which made it easy to give people my name and my web address – onehumanbeing.com – in one easy to remember phrase (at least it seems that way to me, but mostly people just get really confused when I tell them my name is Jon, onehumanbeing.)

It was around this time that my dreadlocks got started and our two dogs, Moseley and Suki, joined our lives.

It’s taken all of 2008 and 2009 for theses changes to do their work and strip away old material and habits, and for new ideas and possibilities to solidify.

But now a certain part of the process has finished and a new year and a new decade has begun and I continue on my journey.

Other Peoples Stories

Our friends, Russ and Laura, got on their bikes and hit the road this last year…

They recently stayed at Slab City near the Salton Sea and in the spirit of sharing stories I wanted to share an excerpt from their blog – you can go to their blog to read the whole story.

The Slabs – Russ Roca on The Path Less Pedaled


…While we are having our coffee, a steady stream of characters come and go. One pear-shaped old man comes and talks with us. He tells us how he use to volunteer at free clinics, how he has been on the road the last fifteen years and has lived year round at the Slab for five years, how he lost contact with his brother and family but reconnected with them recently through Facebook.

Every sun burned, dust covered face has their own story, their own unique tragedy or tale of escape that has brought them to the Slabs. We hear snippets and loose threads that make up the strange patchwork tapestry of the place but we have to keep moving…

Read the whole story here… The Slabs

You can read about their project, and follow their story on their blog The Path Less Pedaled and about Laura art work on Tangerine Treehouse.

Until later, best of health,
Jon, onehumanbeing