Missives from the Future: 2058 (Tegan Elizabeth Webb)
Love Me New
Love love me do you have the coordinates for the Quora solar system? Negative, I’m still waiting for them to upload. How many rotations are we on for this cycle?
11.11. Ah, make a wish!
You know I love you “but you can’t be sure they won’t mess with my head, what if they take out all my mods?” Ma and Mum are fighting about system updates again. I told Mum that just because the government is handing them out for free it doesn’t mean Ma needs to get one, but Mum said it wasn’t even about that. She said she’s worried about Ma getting one of those viruses that killed all those AI in New Zealand last year.
I’ll always be new, “but new isn’t always good,” I say, and I tell them about this article I’d read that said that a computer is actually more likely to get a really bad virus the more up-to-date it is, because I thought it would help stop them fighting. But instead I just got in trouble for comparing Ma to a computer, and so now I’m sitting in my room listening to Strawberry Fields Forever really, really loud, because I know that’s one of Mum’s least favourite Beatles songs, and so please love me do you think we should’ve stayed?/No.
Strawberry Fields Whatever
Let me take you down, because I’m going to Strawberry Fields Whatever Ma, it’s a music blog I found from the early 2020s that is kind of obsessed with the Beatles, and now I’m kind of obsessed with them again. It hasn’t been updated since 2017, I don’t even know if the people who made it are still alive, but I do know that they were all alive when Joni Mitchell, Prince, and Ringo Starr died. Anyway, I just really love how they write about music, I love how they call the Beatles“ three identical boys, plus another one, with all flat white where their eyes and nose and lips should be. They have that hair, and those suits. The Beatles are John, Paul, Ringo and another boy, is it getting hot, the screens are starting to get shimmery, are you sure we’re going in the right direction?/ You said 56.32 rotations right?/Yes, we are going the right way/Okay but I should just listen to my Mother’s when they say something is cool but Everything is real and there’s so much to get hung about and also their favourite Beatles album is the White Album, which is good and all but also really obvious? Anyway I told her that she should read the blog, that she would probably like how much Liz and LJ and Jen care about things, because they actually care so much about a lot of stuff. It makes me feel okay for caring about these things as much as I do you see that? It looks like a tear, like someone tore it open like a pomegranate, and look, all those asteroids are seeds spilling out/ fuck/ no it can’t be, if it was a tear we wouldn’t be alive, and all of this would've been for nothing/ are we at 11.11 rotations yet?/ it’s okay, love, I’ll tell you when to make a wish I was alive back then instead of now, drinking actual wine and smoking actual cigarettes with Liz and Laura Jane in New York, and talking about their Ten Beatles Songs They’d Rather Die than Live Without until it’s two in the morning. And then they’ll both go to bed and I’ll just sleep in the bathtub like in Norwegian Wood, which apparently is also a book, a book that Kate keeps telling me to read because it’s a ‘classic’, but I don’t want to because I’ve got catch up on Strawberry Fields Whatever.
This bird hasn’t flown
she told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh
I didn’t and crawled off to sleep in the bath full of coordinates and cold starlight. I thought we’d run into at least one other ship by now but when I awoke I was not alone because Kate ended up coming over, and for once I had the whole place to myself because Ma and Mum and Karen and Brayden were at some community meeting, or at least that’s what they called it, but I’m pretty sure it was a protest. Anyway, I was a bit nervous about inviting Kate over because we don’t live like her and her family, and I wasn’t sure what she’d say about all the mattresses on the floor and how long it would take to figure out that we live here with two other families. I guess it’s not such a big deal though, lots of people live like this now, and Mum said lots of people lived like this when she was young, and even well before that. That’s why they go to the community meetings, to figure out ways to push back against the government that’s trying to make it seem like it’s all our fault and not at all theirs. They said that next time I should come with them, and I said yeah maybe, but when they’re all at their meetings it’s the only time I get to be by myself, it’s too dangerous/That’s the only way we’re going to make it past the belt. It’s okay, I made five wishes already today/What rotation are we now?/10.51/Okay, I’ll go, but I’m waiting to make one more wish/I don’t know if we can wait but Kate came over at 8, and she brought a frozen pizza, and we cooked it in our tiny microwave oven, and then we went to my room, and lay on all the mattresses, and she didn’t say anything mean about it, and we ate the pizza and listened to all of Rubber Soul, which turns out is her favourite Beatles Album (it’s my third favourite), and my chest felt so full of hot gas, it kind of looks like a giant pearl. Are you getting all of this?/Yeah. This bird has flown south west, 4.43 rotations. Can you hear music? I can definitely hear music, isn’t it good, Norwegian Wood?
This story was written by Tegan Elizabeth Webb.