I: Commencing interview with revival two-seventy-four, Francis McKenzie. Computer, attach time and location tags.
C: Tags confirmed.
I: Thank you. Now, how are you feeling, Francis?
F: A little blurry, if I’m honest. Less achy than usual. Everything seems… Are those my hands?
I: Yes, Francis.
F: Huh. They seem smoother, younger…
I: What’s the last thing you remember, Francis?
I: Take your time. Don’t try to chase the memories, let them come to you.
F: I was… I was dying, wasn’t I?
I: That’s right, Francis.
F: You’re not like I imagined at Sunday school.
I: [chuckle] No, Francis, I’m not an angel. My name is Irena. I’m here to conduct your cryonic exit interview.
F: My… Oh yes, I had a contract, didn’t I? Those Russian doctors turned up after I was taken to the hospital. They talked about cryoprotectants and vitrification and needing to act fast. Then they put me in an ambulance, hooked me up to a drip, the world got warm and dark and… It worked, didn’t it? Ha! It really worked!
I: Yes, Francis.
F: It’s Mr McKenzie.
I: If you want. Now, there’s going to be a lot to adjust to, so why don’t you ask me a few questions, and I’ll do my best to ground you here.
F: How long has it been?
I: Eight hundred and eleven years.
F: Eight hundred and… Are they dead?
F: Hatchett. Trovsky. All those goons who were out to get me.
I: President Hatchett? Yes, she’s been dead a long time. And going by your records, I assume that you mean FBI Director Trovsky. He’s dead as well.
F: Dead dead, or did they get frozen? I wouldn’t put it past them, copying my ideas just so they could come back and keep persecuting me.
I: Neither of them was cryonically preserved.
F: Ha! I beat them. I beat them all. Unless, wait… Did they leave instructions? Have you bastards got cops waiting outside the door?
I: No, Francis. No one’s going to incarcerate you.
F: Mr McKenzie. I told you once already.
I: I’m sorry, Mr McKenzie.
F: No one calls me Francis without my permission.
I: What else would you like to know, Mr McKenzie?
F: My investments, are they intact, or did they find some loophole to rob me? They’ve been after me since I made my first billion, envious little weasels, trying to take what I earned.
I: Your investments are intact.
F: And eight hundred years, they must have grown immensely, right? Am I still the richest man in the world?
I: You now own the largest accounting in US dollars ever seen on Earth.
I: But no one uses them any more.
I: The accumulation of wealth in the hands of cryonically frozen millionaires made the old financial system unviable. We abandoned that financial model some time ago.
F: You took it from me.
I: You still have it, Mr McKenzie, all the money you want. It’s a fun novelty. You should enjoy it.
F: A fun… Why you little… I’m Francis goddam McKenzie! Whatever currency you’re using now, I’ll go out there and make a billion again. Ten years from now, people will be dancing to my tune.
I: [chuckle] You know, you’re going to make a fascinating subject for someone’s dissertation. A window into ancient financial systems and the antiquated values underpinning them. I’m almost jealous of whoever gets to write it.
F: Ancient? Antiquated? I’m king of the markets, girl, one of the original entrepreneurs. I’m not going to be interviewed by some spotty trainee. I’ll hit the lecture circuit, get a book contract, do my own podcast with all the top sponsors. Then I’ll take that money and turn it into what I do best, making more money.
I: I’m sorry to disappoint you, Mr McKenzie, but that’s not going to achieve what you want. Your era was fascinating, of course, but misguided at best and harmful at worst. Only real enthusiasts study the neo-dark ages.
F: I’ve got the golden touch. I’ll teach them to make their own fortunes. People love that shit.
I: That’s just not how modern society works.
F: You, you’re out to get me too. You all are, tearing down what I had, building your bullshit socialist state.
I: Not socialism, Mr McKenzie. Just not your capitalism. And honestly, no one’s out to get you. Almost no one has heard of you.
I: Do you need some time to yourself, Mr McKenzie?
F: No one’s heard of me?
I: Don’t think of it as losing out. Think of it as a fresh start, untainted by your old reputation. From what I can see, it was quite unsavoury.
F: Untainted by…
I: We can talk more about the past later. For now, let’s focus on the future. Do you like working with plants, building perhaps, or making music? We can find work for anyone who wants it. Maybe you’d rather travel for a while, do some reading, get used to the world. It can seem very strange after so long.
F: No one.
I: Mr McKenzie?
F: I’m… [sob]
I: There there, Francis. It’s going to be all right… [pause] This is a sedative, to calm you down. We can talk again once you’ve had a nice rest.
I: Computer, call the refreezing team. This one isn’t ready for the modern world.
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Lies We Will Tell Ourselves
A spin doctor forced to deal with aliens who loathe lies.
A squad of soldiers torn apart by the fiction in their midst.
A hunting submarine with its dead captain strapped to the prow, the crew promising that one day they’ll revive him.
We all tell lies to get through the day, some of them to ourselves, some to other people. Now read the extraordinary lies of the future in these nine short science fiction stories.
Lies We Will Tell Ourselves is available now from all major ebook stores.