The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 90

It was Christmas Eve in the year 2048. I was seventy years old. My family and I sat around the table, enjoying the aroma of cooked food waiting to be eaten, while Christmas carols played softly in the background and the colourful lights twinkled on the tree. On the right wall was the transmission from my cousins’ Christmas morning in Australia, and it felt as if we were all in the same room.

‘Is it true that, when you were young, people used to eat animals?’ my eight year old grandson, David, asked out of the blue.

‘That’s horrible!’ his little sister, Kirsty, responded.

‘Yip, back in those days the synthetic food wasn’t very good. We did a lot of things that you might consider very strange,’ I replied.

My granddaughter was not impressed and wrinkled up her face in disapproval.

‘What was it like when you were young?’ David asked.

‘It’s a bit difficult to explain,’ I replied. ‘It was very different back then. Tell you what, I’ll go fetch something to show you.’ I got up from the table and fetched a little souvenir box that I had kept from the early twenties. I sat back at the table and opened up the box. The two children leaned forwards, curious to see what was inside.

‘This,’ I started to explain, retrieving a one thousand rand note from the box, ‘was called “money”.’

‘Is that the king?’ David asked, pointing to the picture on the note.

‘No, he was the president,’ I explained, ‘which is almost the same as a king.’

‘What does the money do?’ Kirsty asked.

‘Everything,’ I replied. ‘You needed lots of these, and you would swap them for food, or clothing, or whatever else you needed.’

‘How did you get them?’ David wandered.

‘Well, there were a few ways,’ I began. ‘If you had enough of these, you wouldn’t have to do anything. Something, called a “bank”, would just give you more. The rest of us would either have to work really hard to get them, or we’d have to figure out clever ways to deceive other people into giving their money to us, without breaking a set of rules.’

‘So, it was like a game then?’ David suggested.

‘Sort of, except that it wasn’t fun to play, and if you didn’t play it well enough, you wouldn’t be able to eat.’

Kirsty put her hand over her mouth, horrified at the thought of not being able to eat. David laughed and smiled at his sister. ‘He’s just joking,’ David assured her, ‘There’s no way the president would have let that happen.’

Nathan only lived for 78 years this time, but deep down inside he knew that life did not end with death. He used to say, ‘If it’s possible to be born once, it must be possible to be born again.’ Now I’m going to press eject, and take out the Nathan Bauer disk. In its place I have another disk with your name written on it. I will rewind your life to a time when you were in a perfect situation to decide what you were going to do with the rest of your life. When I’m done rewinding you’ll wake up and find yourself just finishing off a book. You’ll be able to decide whether you’re going to spend the rest of your life trying to make a difference in the world, trying to take over the world, or just enjoying the rest of your life, relaxing, watching television and drinking beer every single day. The choice is yours. As for me; I don’t care. I’m just a robot.


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