Previously, when Wednesday last got Wacky: You found yourself stranded two hundred years in the future, after a time travel money making scheme went awry. The good: your investment grew into a multi-billion dollar fortune. The bad: thanks to higher than expected inflation, that’s less than the typical fast-food worker earns in the course of a year. The ugly: any attempt to withdraw the money in order to travel back in time (and not invest the money in the first place) causes the money to disappear (something about causality and other things that sound like they should be part of a Star Trek plot line). What will you do now?
You stare at the ATM for a while, watching as your money blinks in and out of existence while you consider withdrawing it, lamenting the quirks of time travel. You finally consign yourself to staying in the future (or your new present; you make a brief mental note to invest in a dictionary that will give you some words to describe your new situation).
After withdrawing your entire fortune, a few thousand Reagans (million dollar bills; the basic unit of currency in an over-inflated future), you try to figure out where to go from here. After making one last attempt to spend this money on a rental time machine (you swear you hear Reagan laughing at you as he briefly blinks out of existence before reappearing), you resign yourself to your fate: working in the 23rd century, at least long enough to earn money to travel back to your own time.
First, though, you need someplace to live, and probably some food, too. Actually, to judge from the gurgling in your stomach, it’s probably best to go for the food first, and then try to find some lodging. Luckily, there’ s a little food stand not that far from the time travel company. Unluckily, it seems that only food products that aren’t insanely expensive are food pellets.
You try to ask, in the coolest way possible, just how many pellets you need to consume in order to stay alive, and find out that you hold a month’s worth of food in the palm of your hand. Provided you have a hand the size of a shopping cart; it turns out that there’s only so far you can compress the 2,000 some calories, numerous vitamins and minerals, several grams of fiber and assorted flavorings and preservatives you need to consume each day before physics says you have to stop. You buy enough pellets to last a week or two, fork over a goodly amount of Regans, and pray that you don’t turn into a hamster before you finally make it back to your original time.
Then it’s off to find a place to live. You don’t need anything too grand; you literally don’t own anything but the clothing on your back and the supply of pellets you just bought. You manage to find a perfect place for your base of operations; a sleep tube at a hotel that’s half a meter (20 inches) wide, half a meter tall, and 2 meters (80 inches) deep (the ‘Presidental’). Not much space, granted, but it gives you a place to sleep.
Then comes the real trouble: finding a job. You think about your line of work before traveling to the future, but that’s probably out. Your field has probably advanced so far that you would barely understand what was happening. Much as an eighteenth century doctor who awoke in the twenty century would wonder where you kept the ether and the leeches, there would be almost no way you could simply pick up as, say, an electrical engineer and start working.
Of course, that leaves one very undesirable career path for you: minimum wage jobs. Not the most appealing possibility, but you have to do what you need to do. Figuring that fast food would be a good start when looking for a job that doesn’t require crazy twenty-third century skills. It’s a nice thought, but fast food, like much of society, has gone mechanical: all the prep work, and even the serving, is handled by robots. Clown robots.
After feeling the first sting of rejection, and worrying that you will have nightmares for years, you seek other employment. You try to find a decent sales job; surely, the techniques for trying to move product can’t have changed that much. Schmooze, be personable, and push the products. Yup, that’s the ticket.
Unfortunately, years of (over)exposure to high pressure sales tactics, constant bombardment of advertisements, and of course, lots of advance on fighting temptation have rendered most traditional advertisements useless. In their stead, a new technique has risen to prominence: mind control! Yup, rather than subtly (well, at least by comparison) trying to influence your decisions, advertisers took the path of least resistance and started to force consumers to purchase their products. Of course, with hundreds of different corporations throwing conflicting subliminal messages, the end result is about as effective as twenty-first century pop-up ads (and just as concerning to the average citizen). Just to be safe, you resolve to avoid all media until you’re safely back home.
You finally find a job, at a pet salon. Too bad all the animals are intelligent. It’s incredibly disconcerting to be berated by a dog for screwing up a nail clipping, or mocked by a bird for a bad feather comb-over, or insulted by a cat for improper grooming techniques (actually, considering how cats normally are, that’s not too surprising). Still, you muddle through, doing your best to save up money for a return to the past, promising yourself that you’ll never, ever, EVER get a talking pet again.