The Chicken or the Egg

A man, Harry, is sitting and reading intently. He occasionally mumbles. He slowly looks away from the paper and then suddenly announces, “of course!” He stands, ready to take action upon his realisation.

Before he can take a step, a second man enters.


Harry is confused by the second man’s presence. He doesn’t know this man and is unsure how he got into the room. He asks the second man, “where did you come from?”

The man gestures over his shoulder with his thumb and responds, casually, “the future.”


“I’m you, Harry. I’m you, from the future. And I have travelled back in time, one year from the future, to stop you. What you are about to do will have grave consequences for the future.” Future Harry, now more animated, continues to gesture behind him as he keeps saying the word ‘future’.

“You’re not me.”

“Of course I am Harry. I’ve come from the fut-”

“You don’t look anything like me.”

“This is what everybody looks like now, in the future.”

“Because of what I’m about to do?”

“No, because – because of something else.” Future Harry snorts and laughs, “there’s no stopping that.”

“So next year I’m going to look like you? Everybody is going to look like,” Harry gestures up and down at Future Harry’s body, “you?”


“Even ladies?” Harry asks in a slightly hushed voice, leaning towards Future Harry.

Future Harry looks at the ground with a sad expression on his face. He nods, “yeah.”

“Why should I believe any of this? You could just be some looper that’s broken into my house, spouting an intriguing hard sci-fi pitch.” asks Harry, taking a step back.

“No, I am you. Sure, I even remember this happening.”

“Did you believe you then?”

“Ah no, it sounded like a load of bollocks. But I can prove it now! I know about your – our – fake Tinder profile.”

Harry acts nervously, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Dallas Conway, sex attorney. He hasn’t gotten you very far yet, has he?”

“No. Will he though? In the future?” Harry points over behind Future Harry, where he had been gesturing earlier.

“Oh yeah. Not until everyone looks like this though.”

“Wait, how does Tinder work when everyone looks the same?”

“Not particularly well, I’ll be honest.”

The two Harrys entertain a brief silence, before Harry asks his future self, “how exactly does time travel work? Do you have to be naked like in Terminator?”

“Jesus, no. Sure who’d time travel in the nip?”

“Well, do you have a weird looking car or a telephone box or a blue telephone box that’s not actually a telephone box?”

“Nah, that’d all be a huge pain. Especially looking for parking. No, it’s just an app.”

“An app? An app on your phone makes it time travel?”

“Yeah, look.”

Future Harry takes out his phone and holds it up. He points to the little icon of a folded piece of paper with a pencil sticking through two holes in it.

“Fair enough. Hang on though. If you’ve come back to stop me – you – us! – doing something then why would I bother travelling back to stop it happening? Unless you never did it either? Then how do we even know it shouldn’t happen?”

Future Harry stands tall and points his finger at Harry.

“I know what you’re thinking. I wanted to do exactly the same thing and it’s just not right.”

“But it’ll work, I just need to get some more eggs from the shop.”

“No, Harry! The three-egg baguette is never meant to be.”

“But if I line the inside with the fried egg…”

“Yes, then the scrambled eggs won’t soak the bread and destroy the sandwich’s integrity. I had the same plan, but I was stopped from making the thing and I’m here to stop you too.”

“I’m going to my kitchen to poach some eggs. I will see this three-egg baguette made. You can even have a bite. But if you try to stop me, be warned. I taught you everything you know.”

“No, I taught you everything you know.”

The Harrys pause and look puzzled as they try to work out which way makes sense. Harry makes a beeline for the door, but Future Harry grabs him and they engage in a scuffle.

A third man enters the room, holding a peeled, boiled egg.


Harry and Future Harry stop fighting, while still holding onto each other.

“Who are you?” they ask in unison.

“I’m you guys, but from the past.”