It’s been a long trip out to Ithaca. I’d gotten a tip from a friend who works in care out there, who’d said earlier in the week there was someone in the facility he worked at that I should meet.
“We can’t make heads or tails of it,” he says as he shows me in. “Man thinks he’s from the future or something, and… well, see for yourself.”
The man on the other side of the table is the kind of unassuming you’d have a hard time picking out from the crowd if not for the restless energy thrumming below the surface.
“Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself,” I say, taking out a notepad and pen.
“You mean to ask who I am. Not important. I won’t be born for another five years, so that would be pointless, don’t you think?”
I put the pad down. “You’re talking about time travel? You mean Twelve Monkeys, warning from the future? Because I liked that movie too.”
He considers the reference for a second. “Yes, you could say this is a warning from the future, though I suppose if a warning is to be made, one must start at the beginning and work one’s way back.”
“So what’s the situation,” I ask, curious about what it could be this time. It’s always something different. “Global warming, world war, a hypercane?”
“It all started when CBS started showing Supergirl,” he starts, slowly piecing together the words. “Nobody thought CBS would take a chance on a big property without a CSI in the name. Then Supergirl happened.”
“Oh yeah, Supergirl,” I say. “Trailer came out yesterday. It’s about a quirky girl who works in fashion, saves the world. It looks cute-”
“It looks nothing!” he shouts, pounding a fist on the table. “You don’t understand. In my timeline, we have 124 channels of 24 hour superhero programming. There is no other programming. The critics warned us and we didn’t listen. We didn’t listen.”
He sits back, choking up. “I’ve… seen things you people wouldn’t believe… The Whizzer expanded universe on 3D Imax. I watched the two week Comet the Superhorse marathon on TBS and liveblogged it. All those… moments…” Teardrops quietly splatter on the scratched up table top. I sense that these were only the latest of many tears shed, now gone like tears in the rain.
“Ok, I think it’s time to wrap this up,” my friend says, appearing at the door.
I leave that day, considering many things. The future of entertainment. The corporate strategy that led CBS to take a chance on Supergirl. The fact that Supergirl looked like a pretty cute riff on superhero TV. But mostly, who would be cast next in Captain America: Civil War.
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