The Program — Move past and break things

Move past and break things

Enhance readability: Off On

Powered by Beeline Reader

Rate this episode:

(1 poor, 2 so-so, 3 good, 4 great)

Total: (loading...) (? votes)

IMS: Hello, this is IMS, the author of The Program audio series. If you’re enjoying the show, please share it with two friends you think would like it as much as you do. If every person who liked the Program found just two new listeners, the show would grow exponentially. The Program counts on you. And comes for us all.

ANNOUNCER: The following narrative should be considered as an addendum to the chronicle of The Program. It has never been reliably dated, and most experts regard it as apocryphal. Listeners are advised to apply due scepticism.

TIME TRAVELLER: This is an unusual story.

It's a story about fatherhood. Good fatherhood. And no, that's not what makes it unusual.

What makes my story... atypical is that it involves time travelling. And, as with any good time travelling story, I need to start from the end.

Or at least what is currently the end; I don't travel in the future so I can’t say for certain what the end will be.

My name is not important. I am not important. I don't say this because I have confidence issues - well, I have those as well, but they’re not the reason for my self-deprecation. I’m merely stating the truth from a biological standpoint. I never became a husband, and I never became a father. So when my story comes to its end - its real end - no part of me will propagate. And I'll become the first ascendant in my genetic lineage that failed to reproduce. So you see, I'm afraid there's no way to characterize me as anything but unimportant.

My father was meek and non-confrontational. True to the evolutionary theory, this meant people would take advantage of him. He was one of those people who'd get tailended and end up paying for damage on the other person's car. That was before the Program got us self-driving vehicles.

My father's friends - and he had many, as people of soft nature often do - would say he was foolishly good-hearted. But to a child, foolishly good-hearted is just foolish. Indeed, that's what I thought of him - a fool. It was only much later I realized that anyone who thinks someone else is a fool, is more likely than not, a fool himself.

My mother suffered from a mental illness. She had to be institutionalized when I was nine, leaving me as inheritance a distrust of love, a fear of abandonment, and a lifelong need for approval that never fully came.

Growing up without a role model was though. Unsurprisingly, I was bullied. Surprisingly, it happened rather late in my childhood. I was twelve and I was scheduled to spend the whole July in a summer camp. It was the first time I would be left completely on my own and I was full of hope I’d finally make some real friends. The kind you go and solve mysteries with, preferably with a talking dog as a sidekick.

Looking back, I’m now aware there was only one way the experience could have gone. Placing a scrawny twelve-year-old with no social skills in a group of fifty peers naturally led to me being bullied. I say “naturally” as it is truly a natural fact - any newly created social group will undergo rapid sorting of its members until clear hierarchy is established. My place in the order was predictably at the bottom, just above a Korean kid who couldn’t speak English. But at least he was left alone, whereas I was actively tormented.

It started with an overweight kid teasing me. Today I realize he was he using me as a social springboard, likely concerned that his excess weight would cause him to be targeted himself. My mind was unable to grasp why anyone would attack someone not displaying even the slightest bit of aggression. I now understand that this is precisely why - with me staying unresponsive to increasingly disparaging slights, my attacker was certain he had found a suitable victim. This caused his abuse to escalate. Desperate, I tried to turn the situation into a joke, acting as if him and I had a relationship in which I welcomed being made fun of. Of course, other children saw right through this and I became the punching bag of the entire camp. Even some girls couldn’t resist the opportunity to make fun of me in order to score a few social points.

I spent the rest of camp alone, reading books. Even though I could still not comprehend the majority of them, I knew they were better than what surrounded me. I still think of that experience as one of those that moulded me into who I later became. Similar to how glass can only be blown hot. The only way it can change shape afterwards is for it to break.

I moved from home when I was 18. I went to the city to study literature. My student years were misspent the same way Western civilization dissipated - through complacency and lack of urgency. Having graduated into what turned out to be a prolonged death spasm of capitalism, I was unable to find a job. At the same time rents in cities were skyrocketing, with politicians pledging they would do anything to resolve the housing crisis - which apparently meant doing anything except building more houses. I was two weeks away from eviction when I saw that a local library branch had an opening. I applied and got accepted. Last year I celebrated my 30th anniversary on the position. Well, “celebrated” might not be the right word, as no one remembered my jubilee, let alone threw a party. But the fact remains I've spent three decades behind the desk of the fiction department in the basement. Well it may not sound glamorous, but during the Update, when the tension between the haves and have-nots became so great the society finally snapped, the basement was the best place to be.

Solitude has an ill reputation only because most people cannot live with themselves. Being alone and being happy however is being fully at peace. Besides, it’s not like I live alone anyway - I have Rick and Morty with me. I’ve found them seven years ago when I heard faint meowing coming from a tied-up shopping bag. When I untied the bag what came out were literally cats. Rick is black and white and he’s a talker - he’s always chirping, or purring, or making sounds. Morty is an orange tabby and a bit of a scaredy cat - he once got startled by a house plant. Worry not, the plant later got its comeuppance.

I persuaded myself I was happy. I thought I was content. In truth, I only accepted my fate. But fate, it seems, had other plans for me.

I didn't pay much attention to the first message I received. All it said was TEST. I'm not sure that even qualifies it as a message. To call such a self-serving piece of information a message would be akin to calling masturbation sex. Which was actually quite a fitting comparison, since it appeared the sender was me. Evidently I’ve sent a message to myself, even though I had no recollection of doing it. Stranger still, the message was dated three days into the future. The whole affair was so odd I promptly dismissed it and thought no more of it.

Until three days later.

When I opened my eyes that morning, I saw a notification informing me that I was chosen as a beta tester of an experimental feature of the Program. It would allow my messages to be delivered not only to a specific recipient, but at a specific time as well. My mind immediately raced back to the message I received three days ago - the one that said TEST and nothing else. So I composed a new message and selected myself as the recipient. I then picked the same delivery date and time I had received the TEST message. Even though it was in the past, the system accepted this input as valid. Perplexed, I slowly typed the four letters, T - E - S - T, deliberating over each one as if it were a sentence. Then I quickly added number 2 and pressed SEND.

Almost instantaneously, a message with the text TEST2 appeared right above the original TEST message. Then a startling thing happened. My message, the TEST2 message, received a reply. It was a simple question: “Who is this?” The sender was me.

Needless to say I was bewildered. But I was also intrigued. So I answered what my name was, what the name of my father was, and added that I was a librarian. As soon as I’ve sent the message, a reply appeared. It stated that the other person had the same name, same father, and that he was a librarian as well. It also stated, verbatim - “I believe we are the same person communicating through time. I write this three days into your past. I am however unable to send you a message myself, but can only respond to your messages.”

It crossed my mind that I might be the target of a friendly prank, but I quickly dismissed that theory because I didn’t have any friends. Well apart from Morty and Rick, but this didn’t fit their sense of humour. So I exchanged a few more messages with my temporal doppelganger, conducting a few simple experiments. We first ascertained that it wasn’t possible to send messages in the past to anyone except to myself, or - precisely speaking - a former version of myself. We also determined I was only able to send messages back to specific periods, the logic behind which I did not yet fully comprehend - not that I was able to comprehend why I was able to send messages to the past to begin with.

It wasn’t long after we identified these rules and limitations, that my past self asked me to check if there were any gigs that have been resolved in the three days that separated us concerning kidnapped children, or at least lost pets. A bit alarmed, I asked him why. He then suggested I should inform him how the case was solved so he could find the kid or animal first and be the one to reap the reward.

It goes without saying I was appalled by his suggestion. I wasn’t sure what offended me more - the fact that someone was trying to take advantage of this extraordinary situation, or that that someone was basically me. Needless to say, I haven’t replied, and with my past version unable to send me messages proactively, that was the end of the matter. But it did make me wonder: if any of us had a chance to meet ourselves - would we like us?

I didn’t go to the library that day. Instead I spent the whole day processing what to do - if anything, since simply ignoring the timed-delivery functionality was also an option. It is probably evident by now that I’m not a daring man; and to be clear, I would never consider this a disparagement. But even I had to admit, it was a sad thought that the only heroes in my apartment were on the bookshelves. It was so that I decided to send a message more than 40 years into the past. I decided to message myself when I was twelve.

Needless to say I didn’t go to work the following day either.

Once the romantic inspiration that propelled me on my quest wore off, I was left with a much more mundane question: how the heck do you write a message that you’re a time traveller to a twelve-year-old so he takes you seriously?

I then remembered that was the summer of the olympic games. So to establish my credentials, I scheduled my message to be delivered at the morning of the men’s 100 meters final and included the result times of all contestants that would race later that day. It took a few revisions, but I was finally able to craft a message that was both concise and convincing. It was then that I finally, with great trepidation, dispatched the message.

As always, the answer appeared almost instantly - for some reason it seemed that time flowed much faster on my end. But even accounting for this, I could tell that my twelve-year-old-self hadn’t invested much deliberation in his reply. All he wrote was: “What is this nonsense?”

It took me a few moments to read and parse this sentence. And when I did, I realized it was not referring to what I wrote, but how I wrote it. In my excitement I forgot I was sending a message to the period preceding the switch to phonetic orthography. So I strained every bit of my brainpower to retype the message into English as it was written before the spelling reform. How the heck did we ever write this way?

Once the linguistic mix-up was resolved and my twelve-year-old-self could actually read what I wrote, his reaction was much more enthusiastic. So much in fact that I was taken aback by how readily he believed me - he didn’t even wait for the race to check the results! It was a poignant reminder just how hungry for attention I was back then. Heck, at twelve I was probably secretly fantasizing something exactly like this would happen to me!

My younger-self wanted to know how’s life going to be for him in the future - surely I have become a fireman as was his dream? I deflected the question by invoking an honoured time-travelling directive of not talking about the present, and then started working on my real objective - averting the events at summer camp and sparing myself of the ensuing anguish. So I began coaching my twelve-year-old-self how to best cope with what he was going to encounter.

Knowing what worked, and more importantly what didn’t, I instructed him to confront the bully at the very first encounter. I told him to call out the kid about being fat. But - I said - do it with a smile. Tell him: “I’m going to be your friend, so that when a bear attacks us you’re the one he eats!” Then laugh and pat the fatso on the back like he’s your best pal. Do this with all the kids at the camp - always call out anything that makes them stand out, as if you know their secret. The trick however is to then immediately do something nice for them. Draw attention to someone’s shoes bought at the dollar store but then share your sandwich with them. Make fun of someone’s designer shoes but then make their bed in the morning. Hearing this advice, my twelve-year-old-self was confused, but I told him that’s exactly the point; that being hot and cold to people confuses them, and that when you have two people, one of who is confused and the other who is not, the one who is not has the upper hand.

The twelve-year-old-me was still unconvinced. One of the concerns he had is what if someone gets angry at his insults and beats him up. I told him that’s unlikely to happen, as humans are evolutionarily wired to attack those who they perceive as weaker than them, not stronger. However, in the highly improbable case he did get into trouble, I told my twelve-year-old-self I could give him a magic spell to drive off even the biggest and strongest adversary. I told him that if he ever gets into a serious confrontation he should utter the following incantation: “My father has instructed me to punch anyone who bothers me straight in the face!”

The time to depart for summer camp finally came. The camp itself was deep in the woods with no access to the mobile network, so I gave my twelve-year-old-self some final words of advice and told him to have fun. As he was leaving the house, I sent him one last message: "Oh and one more thing. There's going to be a Korean kid at the camp. Be nice to him."

With my younger self staying in the camp for a full month, I finally had a bit of time to reflect after what was for me a long day of non-stop messaging. And it was precisely time that I ruminated about - specifically, how it shapes us. We are all products of our time. My father, he was a product of his time. A time in which the notion that fathers should emotionally support their sons simply hadn’t entered the consciousness yet. And I can only imagine how little affection my father got from his father. I only met my grandfather once. He definitely left an impression - being emotionally available wasn't the one. I guess fighting in wars hardens people.

I was snatched away from my contemplations by a shrill tone of an incoming message. The kid was back from the camp! He never had to employ the magical dispel sentence I’d given him, and it seemed he gained enough skills to preemptively deflect anyone from bothering him. Not only that, but he and the Korean kid actually became friends. They didn't have a talking dog as a sidekick, but still, it was a good start.

Needless to say, this whole time-travelling mentorship thing really hyped the kid up. And I have to admit, I got caught up in the excitement as well - I was already working out what knowledge I would impart to him next. Maybe together we could figure out how to approach that girl we fancied in seventh grade... But at that moment my mind got overwhelmed with acute pain snuffing out all other thoughts. A pang of nausea followed immediately afterwards, so intense I almost blacked out.

When I finally opened my eyes again, I was still in my personal library. If you could any longer call it like that - the books, all the books were gone! Instead of my vast collection, I was looking at the few titles that remained on now vacant bookshelves. Morty and Rick were sniffing around the empty space where numerous tomes lay just a few moments ago, visibly confused. Shell-shocked, it took me a few moments to realize that something much, much more valuable evaporated as well. Try as I might, I couldn’t remember anything about a single book that disappeared! I had no recollection reading any of them!

It was then that I grasped what had occurred. With me not being miserable in the camp when I was 12, I had never discovered solace in reading; which meant I had never fallen in love with books; which meant I had never studied literature; which meant I had never become a librarian. Which meant that with my every intervention in the past, I was erasing myself from history. Every message sent back was a potential bullet to the head, as I had no way of knowing that anything I say won't disrupt the timeline further.

Realizing our relationship was constructed in a way from which I could only lose, I instituted a complete communication blackout - which wasn’t hard to do, seeing that my younger self couldn’t message me without me reaching out first. I wasn’t happy about it, but I was left with no other choice. The less the kid knew, the better.

Or at least that was my intention. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop thinking about the calamity that was far behind me, but for him, just around the corner. The most taxing chapter of my life. The one when I was diagnosed with leukemia at 15.

A combination of chemotherapy and targeted radiation was ultimately successful in treating the illness. I survived without even a scar to attest to the months of suffering I endured. Which was actually an apt summary of the whole ordeal: invisible pain, no witnesses.

Thinking about it, I finally decided - I would do better, the temporal continuum be damned! No child should endure the winter of despair without as much as a warm word! Besides, what dire repercussions could a bit of moral support conferred on a 15-year-old battling cancer possibly lead to? The only effects I could foresee were positive - joy and gratefulness.

That is not how things transpired.

I’ve sent the boy a long, heartfelt message, double-checking the spelling of each and every word. I started by telling him I know how he feels - something most experts advise against saying to people undergoing hardships, but I deem that in this particular case it was quite appropriate. I then told him that everything is going to be alright - the fact I was sending him this message being the best proof of that! I finished by apologizing I didn’t have any magic spells for him this time, but urged him to stay strong nevertheless.

His reply was heartfelt as well - it just wasn’t as favourable. It said: “For someone without magic you’ve pulled quite a trick - disappearing into thin air for three years”.

From my perspective, merely a few hours passed between my last message and the one I’d sent him, so it was definitely true I hadn’t invested enough thought into how he would perceive the hiatus. So I did my best to reconnect. I told him that I was sorry for being out of touch for what he perceived as three years, and expressed regret that I wasn’t in a position to better explain what prompted my radio silence. He demanded to hear more about me and my life in general. Presuming he would find the unglamorous future I’ve been living disappointing and not wanting to further disturb the lad during the difficult period for him, I decided to withhold that information. I’ve told him however that there was a strong argument for staying reticent, imploring for just a bit of understanding.

My appeals did little to abate his indignation, which surprised me, as the recollection I had of myself at that period was one of a rather pliant and meek teen. The 15-year-old I was conversing with was much more quick on the tongue and headstrong. I couldn’t help but wonder if the advice I’d given him when he was twelve contributed to his present-day willfulness. Why on Earth did I even contact him again? It’s not like I could help him now. I tried to do that and look what good it did, causing nothing but damage! So I decided there and then: no more interventions into history, no matter how unjust, or indifferent, or plain old cruel it was - both my decision, and the history.

The very next moment, I felt nauseous again. Sharp pain grabbed my gut and then travelled upwards into my skull where it exploded, leaving me disoriented and disabled on the floor.

I don’t know how long it took me to regain my composure, but when I did, I realized that this time much more than books disappeared from my apartment. All the furniture was gone, except for a dilapidated couch and a dirty mattress on the floor. Everything else was either sold or had never been there in the first place. It was then that I noticed something of much greater value missing. The litter box - Rick and Morty’s litter box was gone! I started calling them, telling them there’s food for them, their favourite snacks for them -- a whole box -- a whole case! …But they were nowhere to be found. And I realized I was in the apartment alone. My two little furry mates were gone. No cat toys. No dinner bowls. Only sadness.

I had difficulties remembering my mother’s face. I remembered my mother well, both before and after her mental troubles began - but try as I might I could not recall what she looked like.

I could however still vividly remember my father’s visage. He was on my mind a lot lately. I don’t think I’ve ever fully appreciated the difficult position my father was put in after my mother’s diagnosis. And I had to admit it was possible I was focusing too much on things he didn’t do for me, while not giving him enough credit for the things he did. As a father, your only duty is to not disappoint your son. Unfortunately, it is also the only thing that is impossible to do.

I ended up in a dark place. My thoughts gyrated around a black nucleus, picking up more and more negativity with each passing spin. In the centre of it was probably the most hopeless period of my life. I was 18, and I was persistently and utterly alone. I was hungry for love, and hunger drives even the smartest fish to the hook. So I did what everybody did back then when they didn't have an answer. I turned to the Internet.

I ended up in some... strange communities. Pick-up Artists, Men’s Rights Movement, Men Going Their Own Way, Red-pillers, and other fringe organizations that the mainstream society rejected. But what few people understood back then was how difficult it was for men to get even a little bit of love; and how much that little bit means. Before the serendipity feature of the Program, to be an average man in the dating game was to be in a severely disadvantaged starting position. You were the one sending all the messages on dating sites and receiving no replies; the one putting yourself out there and making the first move; the one being nice and getting nowhere, feeling unattractive, frustrated, and unwanted. And how likely is it that you won’t hate others, if you hate yourself?

I tried offering my younger-self advice at 12 and I tried offering him solace at 15; neither seemed to affect the boy’s path, which appeared to lead him to the same soul-crushing solitude I lived in. But I still couldn’t stop asking myself was it possible to save him from bitterness and resentment that ruined my life? I knew what I was about to do potentially meant losing a lot. But there was no other way. I had to contact him again.

Unsurprisingly, his reaction wasn’t exactly enthusiastic. “I was wondering when you’d show up again, old man. Here to peddle some more magic spells?” - was his whole reply to my thoughtfully crafted first message. As expected, I encountered an angry young man. I wanted to tell him that wherever there’s anger, there's someone ready to take advantage of it. It took me years to realize this and disentangle myself from the toxic networks I’d become part of - years my younger-self would be able to use much more wisely if only he would listen to me.

But then I realized that this was what I was doing all along - giving advice, as if my future vantage point gave me all the answers. What my younger self needed wasn’t a mentor, but a friend. Someone who would be genuinely interested in him; someone who would acknowledge him and care. Someone who would say it was okay to be angry, or unhappy, or any of the emotions he was feeling. Someone who would neither condemn nor criticize nor commiserate, but who would teach him vulnerability, and show him it’s normal to fear failure, to be scared of exposure, to be worried about the future. Someone to share the pain of being alone. Someone to impart all that I felt as well.

So I did.

At long last I’ve told him everything about my life - how I was not the time-travelling superhero he thought I was, but just a guy equally sad, and upset, and confused. I told him about the mistakes I’ve made, about chances I didn’t take, about dreams for which it was now too late. I told him how ashamed I was. We exchanged stories; we shared thoughts we’ve never told anyone; we opened our souls to one another, and I don’t know if it was one soul or two souls, all I know it was laid bare between us and it didn’t matter who it belonged to. He cried, and I cried, our tears formed a single flow, and it was cleansing, it carried the memories away, good and bad, I could feel them disappearing, going, but I didn’t care, for me it didn’t matter; I could feel him smiling, our smile spanned over 30 years; I misspelt half the words again, but he understood me, we understood each other perfectly.

I woke up with a headache. At first I didn't recognize where I was - or who I was. It’s a funny feeling, not being able to remember your own name. I tried to jog my memory by going through the names I could read on the spines of the countless books I could see in front of me. Was I Edgar? Ernest? Ezra? I didn’t know. What I did know was that I must have been a writer. I mean, who else would have so many books in his apartment?

Then I realized - the books, the books are back! And the apartment, it was looking nicer than it ever has! There was no dust, and things were tidy. I didn’t know what magic spell did this, but I did know one thing with certainty: this had been my last interference with the timeline. Not only were the things unlikely to return to a better state than they currently were, but even if they did, my mind was unlikely to survive it.

However, my resolve also carried a soul-stirring consequence: I would never talk with my younger-self again. It had only been a few hours and I was already missing him; the thought that I would never learn what became of him was excruciating. I was lost in reverie when I heard footsteps behind me. I quickly turned around and saw a woman coming out of my washroom! She was about my age, wearing sweatpants and a towel around her head. Startled, I couldn't think of anything better to ask her other than the obvious: who was she, and what was she doing in my apartment. To which she laughed softly and said: “Silly goose. I’m your wife.”

I don’t remember well what happened next. Because of my patchy memory and diminished abilities, the Program assigned me a place at a long-term-care facility. My purported wife would visit me every day and tell me stories from our past - stories I obviously had no recollection of. She gently explained what was happening to me was progressive Alzheimer's. I tried to explain that there was nothing wrong with my head, and that my deteriorated state was due to an experimental feature of the Program, albeit apparently not a particularly successful one. Hearing this she raised her brow and asked me if I had ever heard of one of Program’s experiments not being successful, which I must admit left me without further argument.

I wasn’t able to complain that my existence was uncomfortable - only dull. I wasn’t able to remember how much of my past I’d lost, because, well, if I could, I wouldn’t have lost it. I did remember having two dogs, that much I was sure of, but not much else. I’ve even started forgetting my father. Did I even have a father? Was I my own father? No, that doesn’t make any sense. The past would confuse me, so I’d mostly live in the present, reading books - an activity I discovered I was quite fond of. Writing on the other hand I didn’t enjoy one bit. So maybe I wasn't a writer after all. Perhaps I was a historian. That would be quite fitting, wouldn’t it?

I would still think of my younger self a lot. I remembered meeting him as an enamoured twelve-year old boy. I remembered him as an inevitably disillusioned fifteen-year-old teenager. I remembered the anger he felt as an eighteen-year-old adolescent. And I couldn’t help but wonder how he turned out in the end. Were all my interventions of any use? Was everything I gave up worth it? I couldn’t just stop worrying. That's the thing with worrying: once you start to worry you worry for the rest of your life.

I knew it wasn’t a good idea. I knew I was risking losing what was left of me. But I had an obligation. I had to contact him again.

The trouble was, his experience diverged so much from mine that I had no way of gauging in which stage of life I should message him. Nor could I know if my advances would be welcome. So I settled at the age of 28 - ten years after we’ve last spoken, and a couple of years before the Program appeared. As for the message itself, I ditched elaborate openings and went with a simple “How are you?” - and even that required my full concentration to write correctly in pre-reform spelling.

Turned out there was little danger of me influencing him any more. Don’t get me wrong, my 28-year-old-self was glad to hear from me and was cordial enough, but I couldn’t shake off the feeling that he was a bit distant. But then again when you think of the years between us - literal years - I guess estrangement comes only naturally. Time works against us all.

Of course, I didn’t hold his reservation against him. After all, my younger-self was now married and had problems of his own. I knew from my purported wife’s stories they had difficulties getting pregnant, and how they never succeeded in conceiving a child. It goes without saying, this was a huge stress point in their relationship, exacerbated by the fact their infertility condition could have been solved with an expensive treatment - a treatment which they couldn’t afford.

My parents’ generation had promised us social fairness and flying cars; it left us with record inequality and ridesharing. It took almost a decade for this rotting system to finally unravel and the Program to replace it. Even so, its effects are felt to this day. Depression and anxiety - that is our parents’ legacy.

I wanted to leave a different heritage.

Back when society still used money, there was something called the lottery. Lottery gave out money at random - what sense it made to distribute such an important resource at random, I cannot say. Just imagine - guessing seven numbers would grant you liberty from senseless work. It would allow you to enjoy creative pursuits, eat good food, and stay physically fit. It would buy you a house. It would get you a baby. All this from seven random numbers. Who says magic spells don’t exist?

It's probably not hard to guess what I was thinking.

The only problem was, relaying these seven numbers would alter my original experience so radically that it would almost certainly axe the rest of my memories; the rest of my identity; the rest of me. It would leave me nothing but an empty, drooling shell, having lost everything.

Each of us gets only one life.

As a kid, I didn’t think that was enough.

As an adult, I can confirm it isn’t. Of course it’s not enough.

However, we’re lucky. There is a way to get more than one.

With every child we multiply it.

True, it costs us a bit of self.

But whatever we’ve lost, was given to us to lose.

So what does it matter that I’m gone, if he remains?

Of course I wanted the best for him.

So I write down the seven numbers.

And I add a little message.

"I am so proud of who you've become. I love you very much."

Then I check my message for spelling mistakes, and I press SEND.

[The Program main theme]

ANNOUNCER: This episode of The Program was made by two people: Pat Fry and IMS. Music in this episode was composed and played by Jessica Moss, adapted from her album Entanglement, published by Constellation Records. Main music theme by Christien Ledroit. Visit for more details. The Program follows the maxim: “If it's inaccessible to the poor, it's neither radical nor revolutionary.” Which is why the show is free for everybody. Please help keep it that way by making a donation for those unable to do so themselves.


Ivan Mirko S.


TIME TRAVELLER - Pat Fry (website)


Jessica Moss (website)
published by Constellation Records (website)


Christien Ledroit (website)


original art by Carlos Costa
Courtesy of Kevin Cope