"The interesting question isn't 'what they wrote', it's 'did they actually write anything?'" Dylan said as he took a sip of his freshly bought coffee.
"What do you mean? The general population of all modern societies have more-or-less all kept journals of their daily life. It would be very interesting to find out what daily life was around the eighteen hundreds. It is sad that most journals are lost forever, and with it the knowledge that they possessed of the seemly mundane life of their authors." Cory responded, almost as if he has thought about idea for years, which, perhaps he has.
"I'm not arguing that the knowledge that we could gain from reading journals from the past would be immense. What I am saying is something a bit stranger. What if they never wrote anything in their journals? What if it was all scribbles?" Dylan takes another sip of his coffee, looking over the edge of the cup to see if Cory is even paying attention. He is.
Cory cocked his head at the notion. "That is absurd. Are you saying that people in the past sat down and scribbled for hours on end? Why would they do that, and besides we do have a few journals, we know that they wrote words in them."
Dylan was ready. "I know that of the journals that we have from the time, they are –they are filled with words. But what about the journals that we don't have now? Are... were... they filled with words?"
"Why would you think anything different?" Cory squinted back.
"I know..." Almost a sip of coffee, ready for Cory to ask.
"..you know? Know what?" Cory sits back getting ready for the punch line of the joke that he doesn't follow.
"You know the project that I have been working on? With the lasers and mirrors and whatnot" Dylan says as he stares into his coffee, starting to swirl it.
"Well, it worked. It was a stupid idea, But it worked." Dylan sighed.
"Ok, it worked, now what was it supposed to do? Slow light down or something." Cory said trying to remember the details that Dylan said months ago about the project.
"Yeah, basically. Well it worked better than I thought. Way better. It, somehow... somehow reversed light, and... " Dylan looks up at Cory and gives a 'here it goes' kind of look "...and I went back in time..." Dylan waits for the hammer to drop from Cory, but it doesn't come, Cory is stunned, and rightfully so.
"Well here's the deal, it's not as useful as I thought. First off I was able to only be in the past for maybe 5 minutes, max, then I was sucked back to the present. I went back about two maybe three years ago. And..."
"..No that is awesome, five minutes is fine, and you get to see what..." Cory seemed to get a little twinkle his eye.
"...No, there is another problem. The past is full of static."
"What? What do you mean static?" Cory replies.
"Well most things seem like normal but some things, it seems personal things were just... oh you know, blurry, or pixilated, or just static. It's hard to explain." Dylan seemed to have lost interest in his coffee, and seemed to be more interested in staring, or remembering ...or both.
"Well give me an example." Cory said, with a newfound love of being nervous.
Dylan was ready "Ok, here is one, and this brings me to my original statement. You know Dr.Tolling, my Major Professor?"
"Yeah" Cory knew it was one of the guys down at the lab, he was sure knowing the specific person was not that important.
"Well, he kept notes in a personal journal while working on stuff in the lab. He never let anyone look in the journal, and we never did. Well when he died he requested to be buried with his journals."
"Oh, that guy, OK now I know who you are talking about." Cory said, finally able to put the name with the face.
"Well, when I went back in time one of his journals was out, and I looked in it, and get this. All the lab diagrams that he designed are in there."
"And?" Cory says, still waiting for the punch line of the joke.
"The other notes, they weren't there. Well they were there but they were scribbles. They weren't text, just pages full of scribbles...pages." Dylan said "And I know that he wrote real things in there, words, not scribbles." Dylan was staring to show that this too was stirring him up.
"How can that be." Cory said/thought.
"Other things too, I started to look everywhere, and things seemed to be normal, except for things that were personal notes of his... and of other people too, they were just static-y scribbles, not really even there."
"So what does this mean?" Cory said very intrigued.
"Well, this is what I can get of it." Dylan took a deep breath "anything that is not known now was static. The lab designs that were in the journal were fine, but his personal notes were not readable. Anything that no one currently knows about is just static in the past. They don't really exist anymore. So Dr.Tolling spent all his time writing scribbles, not words, well they may have been words at the time, but now... well now in the past they are just scribbles. So for arguments sake he spent all that time just writing scribbles... Anything from the past that is not known now is just static." Dylan sits back in his chair as if it is the first time that he thought of the concept, although it isn't.
Cory matches Dylan's posture "Why would that happen? Why would things that are unknown currently just be static?"
"I don't know, maybe there has to be something with the way we perceive the universe." Dylan says seemly exhausted.
"Well I have an idea, can your time machine work the other direction?" Cory says sitting up.
"I would guess so, I don't know, it wasn't really supposed to work in the first place, but I guess." Dylan eyes his friend.
"Ok then, take this napkin into the future and read it." Cory writes something on the napkin and folds it up and gives it to Dylan. "Now don't read it until you get into the future. If the static is based off of the current knowledge then you shouldn't be able to read it when you open it in the future."
"That is true. Ok, well I need to get off to bed; I think I have a good amount of work to do tomorrow." Dylan says as he gathers his stuff.
"Alright, same time tomorrow night?" Cory grabs his hat.
"Yup, see ya."
They both head out home for the night.
"So? How did it go?" Cory says as he writes things down in his journal, moving his stuff over to make room for Dylan.
"It said 'Napkin', and you wrote the 'I' in napkin as a 1. It was as easy to read now as it was in the future." Dylan says, as if stunned.
"That is strange. And you didn't read it until you were in the future?"
"Yup." Dylan sighs.
"So how was the future?" Cory says having stopped writing in his journal after he saw the state that Dylan was in.
"It was fine, nothing was static-y." Dylan still was in a daze.
"That is strange. They would only the past have static? Say how do you spell, calendar?"
"C-A-L-E-N-D-A-R" Dylan replied back, he didn't have to think about how to spell words, it was always easy for him. "But you want to know what is really strange? The world is full of static now. Like right now, some things are blurry, not as bad as in the past, but they are defiantly static-y now. When I got back from the future I noticed a few things were static-y. I don't get it." He looks at Cory. "What are you writing?"
"Well, I had kept them private, but after the talk from last night I went home and scanned all my journals that I have been keeping, and posted everything online. I don't want to just be writing scribbles. I put a lot of work into my journals. And really anything I say can be read by anyone... it really is a waste to keep all of it private." Cory says as he apparently is thinking hard about what to write next.
"Mind if I see?" Dylan asks curious to see what Cory is writing... hopefully nothing about how crazy he is.
"Nah, I don't mind." Cory hands the journal to Dylan.
Dylan starts to thumb through it, and then thumbs through it quicker, and quicker. "Your journal... it's all... it's all scribbles." Dylan says almost as if he is crazy.
"Here!" Cory, takes the journal back "No, they are all words, I can read them! They aren't scribbles, see!" He holds the journal open for Dylan to see a page that Cory must have thought was full of words.
"Nothing, I only see scribbles. Cory, man I hate to say it, but it is scribbles." Dylan says almost as if he is about to have a mental break down.
"Are you saying that all the work I put into all my journals are for nothing!" Cory says as he stands up.
"No, I am just saying that this one has been for nothing. This one will not be known in to the future." Dylan says, trying to calm Cory down.
"I have to go." Cory grabs his coat and buts his journal in his pocket.
"I am going to go scan this one; I haven't scanned this one yet. It has some good ideas in it I don't want it to be lost." Cory hurry heads out the door.
"It doesn't matter, it is already lost." Dylan says as Cory leaves the building. Cory doesn't hear.
Cory hurries across the street and doesn't notice as the journal in his pocket slips out as he jumps over a puddle of water. The journal falls unto the ground and then cartwheels into the drainage hole. Never to be seen again.
Dylan sees it go. And sits back down.
"Now the interesting question is; did Cory actually need to know how to spell calendar?" Dylan thought to himself as he took a drink of his freshly brewed coffee.