Jordan walked back to his dorm room, feeling just the tiniest bit drunk out of his gourd from all the drinks that his friends insisted he try. It took him several minutes to get his key into the lock, and a couple more for him to find the door knob so that he could open the door. He called out a drunken hello before remembering that his dormmate had left for the week to visit his parents.
When he awoke the next morning, he had the worst hangover of his young life. He was trying to remember the events of the previous evening, when he heard two voices coming from the living area.
“Pete, is that you? I thought you were going to be gone for at least another couple of days.” Jordan said.
When he made his way to the living area, he found that there were two strangers, a man and a woman, standing around.
“Who are you, and what are you doing in my dorm?” Jordan asked.
The woman was the first to speak.
“Hello. My name is Carol, and this is Paul.” she said.
“Hey.” Paul said.
“We came here to meet you.” Carol said.
“Why?” Jordan asked.
“Well, it’s not every day that you get to meet the man that invented time travel.” Paul said.
Jordan blinked at the two for a few minutes.
“Look, I don’t know who put you up to this, but I am very hungover, so if you two could just leave…” Jordan said.
Carol reached into her pocket and pulled out an orange pill. “Take this.”
“Why? What is it?” Jordan asked.
“It will help with your hangover.” Carol said.
Jordan shrugged and took the pill. A few minutes later, his hangover was completely gone.
“Wow, I fell much better. What was that?” Jordan asked.
“It’s a hangover cure. It will be discovered six months from now, but the FDA won’t approve it for about seven years.” Paul said.
“Yeah, that sounds about right.” Jordan replied.
Jordan plopped down on the sofa. “So you’re saying that I invent time travel?”
“That’s right!” Carol said.
“But I haven’t invented it yet. Doesn’t talking to me now risk changing the timeline?” Jordan asked.
“No, the method of time travel you invent has a ‘Quantum Anchor’, or something like that. I don’t quite understand the science behind it, but basically it means that you’re always tied to the timeline that you came from. Even if you made a drastic change to the past, nothing will have changed when you go back.” Carol explained.
“You figured that our after the third time you killed Hitler.” Paul said.
“Wait, I go back in time and kill Hitler? And nothing changes?” Jordan asked.
“Yeah. You killed him five more times just to be sure. The seven times after that were just for fun.” Paul replied.
Jordan shook his head. “So if history can’t be changed, then what do people use time travel for?”
“Well, you end up making a fortune licensing out the technology to schools, archaeologists, anthropologists, and so on.” Carol said.
“Not to mention how much money you make selling vacation packages. There’s a lot of demand for tickets to the first Beatles performance, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the discovery of fire…” Paul said.
“I bet I sell millions of tickets to people that want to kill Hitler.” Jordan asked.
“Not really. You pretty much put a moratorium on that after some guy kidnaps Hitler and brings him to the present day.” Paul said.
“Let me guess, one of those Neo-Nazi jerks?” Jordan asked.
“No, this guy was trying to get rich by selling ‘Hitler memorabilia’ on the internet.” Carol said.
“What kind of ‘Hitler memorabilia’?” Jordan asked.
“Eyes, fingers, toes, that kind of thing.” Carol replied.
“I honestly thought that the mustache would end up being the big ticket item.” Paul said.
Jordan shuddered in disgust. “So apart from that nauseating thought, everything turns out all right for me?”
“Oh yeah. I mean, you do lose most of your wealth in your divorces, but you still have enough to maintain a pretty comfortable life.” Paul said.
“Divorces? As in more than one?” Jordan asked.
“I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Your third marriage seems to be pretty solid.” Carol said.
“Any chance you could tell me who my third wife is so that I can avoid meeting the first two?” Jordan asked.
“Well we could, but I don’t think you’d really want that. You do have some good times with them, after all, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on the good memories.” Carol said.
“Besides, we have to start thinking about heading back, and you have a Physics class in thirty minutes.” Paul said.
“Oh! That’s right!” Jordan exclaimed.
Jordan grabbed his books and supplies, and ran out of the dorm room. Carol and Paul each pressed a button on their belt buckles, and were surrounded in little white and yellow sparkles of light.
“Do you think we should have told him that we’re his exes?” Carol asked as she started to fade away.
“Are you kidding? I don’t want to rob this timeline’s version of me of the chance to see Jordan’s freakout when he finds out he’s bi. It’s adorable.” Paul said, fading away into the aether.