I used to be a pothead. It was a phase that came and went pretty quickly, but it happened nonetheless. There was a period of about three months straight when I was 18 or 19 during which I wasn’t stoned out of my skull for a single, solitary moment. I went all out, pulling lamps apart to build my own bongs and MacGyvering the crap out of household items to build pipes. I smoked more than any one person should ever admit to, but heathens, it still paled in comparison to my friend, Emilio.
Emilio was a guy I knew out East. He worked nights in IT at the Royal Canadian Mint for a stint and was stoned out of his mind the entire time. It’s a miracle there aren’t Canadian five-dollar bills from 1999 circulating with boobs hidden in the security features. He used to call me from the mint on his breaks while he smoked pot on the grounds of one of the most secure government facilities in Canada.
“Cheardy?” He’d say. That was his nickname for me, pronounced “Churdy.”
“The fact I can smoke a controlled substance a few feet away from where they print Royal Canadian hundos makes me concerned for our country.”
I’d laugh and he’d tell me a story or talk about work or his girlfriend.
“Did I ever tell you how much my mom loves wrestling?” He asked one night.
“No. She does?”
“Yeah. She can’t understand what they’re saying but she stands there watching Wrestlemania, screaming profanity in Portuguese.” Later, on a night he called me from home, I overheard evidence of this.
Some nights we’d get into the strange reading material we both had a penchant for. Sitting on my balcony, sucking on a pipe with glowing embers in the bowl, I’d exhale and ask,
“Did you finish that Castaneda book you were reading?”
“The Teachings of Don Juan? Yeah, I did.” I could hear him take a long drag and inhale.
“I’ll tell you what, Cheardy… you and me? We gotta do some peyote together.”
“Alright. I’ll have my people contact your people and set a date.”
“We’ll travel the astral plane… project ourselves into a bank safe and walk out with some cash.” He coughed into the phone.
“You’re mere feet away from more money than either of us can wrap our minds around already, E.”
“Right.” He laughed.
On one particular night, I saw something strange in the sky. I lived very close to the Vancouver International Airport and it wasn’t uncommon for me to see strange lights and aircraft I didn’t recognize. I called them UFOs because they were unidentified to me. I didn’t believe they were aliens.
“Woah… what the fuck?” I rose from my lawn chair and set my burning joint down on the side of the ashtray.
“What? What’s up?” Emilio exhaled and cleared his throat.
“Another UFO. Three lights, just hovering there over the trees.”
“You’re fucking high.” I could hear him chuckle on the other end.
“Yeah, I am.” I reached back to grab my smoke. When I turned back to look at the lights, they appeared to be dancing. “Woah!” I exclaimed. My vocab suffered when I was high. I managed a lot of ‘woah’s back then.
“What? Tell me!”
“It’s just… well… the lights are… dancing.” I sucked on my smoke, paused, and then exhaled. “Like a fucking belly dancer or some shit.”
Emilio howled. “A belly dancer. You’re fucked up. You are fucked up, Cheardy.”
“I know. I know I am.” I gave in, sitting back down in my chair. Near silence consumed the phone call as all we could hear for almost a minute was each other in various stages of getting even higher.
“You ever wonder about alien sightings?” Emilio broke the silence.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean like… do you ever wonder if people actually did see what they claimed to have seen?”
“Yeah, of course, I’ve considered it, but I don’t believe it for a second.”
“What if it’s true, though?”
“Dude, I fully believe there is life out there somewhere… but there is not one molecule of me that thinks those aliens went to all the trouble of developing the tech to travel here, then travelled here, all just so that they could hide from us. It’s absurd.” I waved my hands as I spoke, even though Emilio couldn’t see me.
“But what if what people say they saw is actually what they saw, but what they saw didn’t come from outer space?” I could hear him fiddling with his lighter.
“What are you talking about? Where would these beings have come from, then?”
“Well… what if they came from the future?”
“Yeah. Now it’s my turn, E. You’re fucking high.” I leaned back in my chair and blew some smoke Os.
“High as a kite, Cheardy, but I’ve had this theory for a while.”
“Theory? What theory?”
“Well… think about evolution for a sec. Traits that help a species adapt to their environment are the ones that get passed on most successfully, right?”
“And in the future, our environment will have a ton more tech and automation and require a lot less physical strength, right?”
“I guess.” I shrugged.
“So, what would humans of the distant future look like then, if they were adapted to an environment like that?”
“I dunno, E. What would they look like?”
“Well, intelligence and sight may become the most important traits a human could have in that sort of environment, right?”
“So, perhaps the brain and the eyes become the most important parts of our bodies. They may even get significantly bigger, right?”
“I guess,” I shrugged again.
“And our body strength may not be as important, given the fact we would have machines and technology to handle all the heavy lifting.”
“Mmmhmmm. I suppose.”
“So, a human from the future might have a large head, with huge eyes and a frail, skinny body, no?”
“They might look like… say, an alien.”
The call got quiet as I let the idea sink in. That makes sense, I thought. That makes fucking sense. I put my smoke out and rose to my feet.
“Holy fuck, E. Are you saying maybe what people call “alien” sightings are actually evolved humans time travelling back from the future?”
“And they have to hide from us or else they risk changing history.”
“Jesus Christ!” I began to pace on my balcony, my eyes wide. “That makes so much fucking sense!”
“Mmmhmm. I’m not just a pretty face, Cheardy-bird.”
I sat down again and listened as Emilio lit a cigarette.
“Goddamnit.” He started to chuckle.
“What?” His giggles made me smile.
“We’re really fucking high.”
“That we are, E.” I managed, now laughing myself. “That we are.”