The Flammarion

Welcome to the other side! It’s 2019 and you’ve passed through with no hindrances, obstacles, or visible scarring. Here you’ll find everything remarkably improved from your previous existence. 2019 does, at first, look a lot like 2018, to be sure. But don’t be fooled. This is a whole new ballgame, as the kids said at some point or other.

You’ll find that 2019 is much cleaner, the goods are cheaper and more abundant, and the services are more reliable and efficient. Fewer things break down in 2019, and those things that do break down are fixed in a matter of hours at the longest. Moreover, well-being is at a height altogether unheard of in 2018. The anxiety you may feel now will smooth itself over in no time. Soon you will not remember what anxiety is or how it feels. There is a vigilant and noble police force but virtually no crime. There is an adequately lighted library that carries multiple editions of your favorite books. But good luck trying to find time to read them with your new and improved social calendar. You’ll find that brunches never end in 2019. They never end and are not at all insufferable or egregiously pricey; the company is neither too numerous nor too intense or underwhelming.

I could go on, but that would be a tad redundant. I should mention with firm emphasis that it’s important to cast aside any and all remaining memory of 2018. There is regrettably some residue that carries over. You’ve probably seen it in flashes and flickers. Don’t worry! It’s totally normal and expected. Alas, it’s one of the kinks that we can’t quite work out. Some think there’s something kind of necessary about it, because very little happens in 2019 with some kind of reason behind it. I’m not so sure about that. Dwelling on an ugly life has so many hazards.

That is what happened, of course. You know that much, correct? You died, alone. All of us died alone. Those flashes: of dingy corners and flickering lights; of hostile and cold overseers dealing out the latest druggy haze with poisonous indifference. And the isolation. Good God the isolation. The sheer loneliness that so defined everyone’s existence in 2018. The very term “2018” just fills everyone with a chill of hopelessness. It’s best not to bring it up in polite company, just FYI.

Everybody sheds 2018 in their own time. Though for some people — a very minuscule minority, I assure you — that time-span is forever. I guess in the haste to dispense with 2018 we tend to be a bit careless about the trauma others carry about it. It’s like 2018 is the only thing they ever understood. Or whatever understanding they had before they just allowed to have swept aside and taken over by 2018. These people can’t stop talking about 2018. “2018 this” or “2018 that” or “That’s so 2018, you guys!” Sometimes it gets to the point where they want to recreate their existence in 2018. Or some idea of it anyway. They cut off contact with anyone — very hard to do in 2019, it’s almost impressive. Though when they convene with others it is often with other holdovers. They spend all day trying to get themselves sick. They lick every surface, they have unprotected, high-risk sex, they drink household cleaners, they bang their heads against hard surfaces, they stick themselves with needles, they do anything and everything to contaminate their blood. Good luck with that. There’s no blood in 2019, no sickness, no VD, and no unwanted pregnancy. And even if they had, through some bizarre alchemy, contracted an illness, there’s a tip-top healthcare apparatus ready to treat them competently and inexpensively.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of if you can’t let go of 2018. There’s no shame in 2019. But it is kind of annoying. So we monitor the situation as best we can. We steer them away from the general population of 2019 at all costs, which given their antisocial tendencies isn’t that costly. We give them space, they give us space. And we hope that eventually they come around to the understanding that they no longer hurt or need to seek hurt in order to live. Because they, like us, don’t anymore.

I could go on… again… but that’s too glum. I’m sure you’re curious about your career prospects in 2019. What was your job in 2018? Barista? Freelancer? Lawyer? Congressional intern? Administrative temp? All of the above? You no longer need to worry about that. Everyone crosses over into 2019 fully able to code. And there are more than enough coding positions to go around. In fact, here are your Independent Contractor credentials and key card if you want ‘em. They give you access to the 2019 communal workspace. There you can pursue your own project or field offers to provide your skills to others. Do you have that neat idea that you never got off the ground in 2018? No obstacles stand in your way in 2019. In fact, you already have funding from numerous interested parties! Even better: you don’t need a résumé in 2019. Everyone already knows who you are and your best assets.

I guess you’re also wondering where you’re going to live in 2019. Again, a problem easily remedied, because it does not exist! Housing like everything else is plentiful and affordable. And by “affordable” I mean “entirely free.” Property is not an issue in 2019. You’ll notice all these rows of houses, and those high-rises peaking just over the horizon. They are all, technically, yours — and everyone else’s. You can walk into any home or apartment and live in it. You can have it to yourself or share it with anyone or any group of people. Think of 2019 as a series of understandings, or of having a bunch of knots untangled. I know it’s hard to believe. So hard to believe that you occasionally get the urge to, I don’t know, stick a fork in a socket or run your car headlong into a wall to feel any kind of pain. But everyone drives scooters in 2019.

All in all, you’ll find that in 2019 everyone is provided for and no one is useless. It is beyond belief how anyone could possibly find fault with any of it. Honestly that’s what gets me most about the holdovers. What can I do to make them see how great they have it now? Obviously this is 2019, so I have the ability to make a microchip that makes them physically sick every time they say “2018” and then immediately floods their neurons with synthetic endorphins and repeats. Sickness, endorphins, sickness, endorphins. But I keep stopping myself because it feels too wrong, too 2018 in its own sick way.

Maybe they are here for a reason after all. Yeah! If we didn’t have that miserabilist fringe, we’d have no metric gauge our own happiness. Being cured of misery has no safeguard against complacency. Of course! You must think I’m some kind of weird monster. Fair enough. I’m still figuring out things myself since coming to 2019. It’s wonderful, but a little overwhelming at times. Anyway, I’m keeping you. You’ll want to move the luggage you don’t have into the house you don’t own. Any questions?

What about my student de—

You still have that.

Chris R. Morgan is a writer from New Jersey. His Twitter is here, his blog is here.