“We cannot exclude the possibility of time travel as it has not been disproven to our satisfaction. All things are possible until proven otherwise.”
—spokesman for the Stephen Hawking Foundation
Maybe the experiment was a joke—he was said to have a wicked sense of humor. Alone among balloons & flutes of champagne, maybe he hypothesized ways they’d appear. The door? Some sort of ship? Perhaps the sudden drama of bodies pulled from air, like rabbits from a hat. Maybe he was disappointed when it ended. Even famous physicists can get the Sunday evening blues, a dishwasher to empty & work in the morning. That terrible shift from future to past. Maybe it was all a joke—& this is what I pin it all on—if it was a joke, there must be a punchline. Maybe linear time is a scam. Not a forwards or backwards proposition, an ant on a string. Maybe there are worlds stacked like dishes in a sink & maybe there’s a world in which he’s still waiting & maybe there’s a world in which they’re arriving & maybe—oh! maybe—they’re already here.
Meghan Phillips is the editor in chief of Third Point Press and an associate editor for SmokeLong Quarterly. Her stories and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Passages North, wigleaf, and Strange Horizons. More of her work can be found at meghan-phillips.com, and she tweets: @mcarphil.