Striving to inject some wonder and whimsy into people’s humdrum days, an older man with a sense of humor installed a plaque in front of his stately home reading: “Queenston Heritage, Frederick John Wimple, 1812-1896, Inventor of Time Travel, Lived here in 2065.” The installation was done discreetly, such that no one really knows when it occurred.
Recently, a local doctoral student decided to covertly document the amount of time that tourists and passersby spent looking at the numerous heritage and historic plaques dotting the quaint village which 19th century Mr. Wimple had called home in the late 21st century. The researcher’s results were made public in the form of an article published in a local paper.
Having great pride in the relatively large role their home has played in the forming of a now great nation, townspeople were dismayed to learn that on average most people spent twice as long reading the plaque pertaining to Frederick John Wimple. Given that the dozen or so other plaques detailed in the study typically contained ten times the amount of information as the Wimple marker, this was seen as evidence of an apathetic populace and confirmation that we’re living in a post-truth era.
Looking to draw evermore visitor traffic to benefit the local business community, it recently leaked that the village council was furtively formulating plans to install several other fictional “contemplative plaques.” Additionally, the grand Victorian home at the purported site of Mr. Wimple’s past residence of the future was recently sold off-market for an exorbitant amount of money to a mysterious theoretical physics think tank based overseas.
SCOTT G. HARVEY teaches psychology at SUNY Buffalo State and resides in the Niagara Region of Ontario with an ever-changing mixture of humans, cats, dogs, and chickens. He is the author of Savagely Noble: A Young Man’s Journey from Ignorance, Through Illusion, To Identity. His short fiction has appeared in Short Story Avenue.