The Guild

Basically a little time travel story. I left it open for people to add on their own little stories, which could be a time-travel adventure. For the record, just follow this canon:
The entire Guild got together to prevent a nuclear apocalypse.
The patrons don't really have a time of their own.
The Guild is a closely guarded secret. They wouldn't spill it to just anybody.
You can't interact with your past or future self in a direct or changing way(For example, the narrator preventing his wif


If you go to a few certain bars across the country, you might notice something For one, the architecture of them seems somehow wrong, and some of the patrons seem out of place. if it's your first time, you won't notice these things. If it's your tenth time, you start noticing. When it's your hundredth time, you’re greeted with a dozen smiles as you walk in the door and then as the barkeep pours you a cold one, you definitely notice. You make friends there, eventually learning names that sound like they were picked out of a list, families that sound like the smiling man whose sipping on a cold Corona has no idea what it is actually live with someone else, and jobs they seem to know little about.


There is one thing everyone in that bar knows by heart, however. Everybody, from the filthy man whose been claiming he's down on his luck for the past three years to the man in the suit who claims he's a lawyer with a firm that doesn't exist, knows world history. They discuss the wars, the plagues, the famines, and the battles with passion and more detail then you can find in the best of books. The bar is open every day, every hour, and the longest I've ever stayed is two consecutive weeks. You drive in on your way from LA where you were covering the murder of some celebrity, and you pull over. Your walk in and say, "Isn't it a shame he's dead?" and nobody there seems surprised. They pass a few knowing nods with traces of sympathy between themselves, and start discussing whoever died, how they lived, and what they accomplished.


On that fateful two week stay, I was supposed to be covering rising gang violence across the country. The bar I knew was a better choice. I ended up losing my job, but in the end, that never really mattered. By the time you know the patron's histories and are greeted with kind words and warm looks, not neutral glances, your fate has been set. On that beautiful two week stay, I was treated to the most in-depth history lesson in the history of the world. Discussions ranged from when man was crawling out of trees to the present day, with arguments erupting in each era, but were always solved quickly for the sake of the discussion. I eat so many pretzels and drank so much beer I was in a permanent hangover, but I always slept it off overnight. When the discussion reached the current day, and the last argument had been resolved, all eyes had suddenly turned to me. This was one of my sober moments, and I was quietly uneasy. These people were my friends, but they were odd...


They look between each other and the barkeep, and my alcohol-dispensing friend nods. The so-called destitute man says, "Jack, my friend. You love us like family, right?"


I nodded. These people were like a family. Hundreds of visits, hundreds of meetings, knowing each other’s problems and triumphs.


"I think it's time we show Jack, guys."


That's when the poor man pulls out a small lighter and says in a strange tone, "Jack, your wife dies in three weeks, don’t try to change that. Her Ford Electric gets hit by a diesel semi. You win a Pulitzer in three years for your series on the Mexican civil war, and today is the negative third anniversary. The world used to end two years after that in a nuclear fireball sparked by a few superpowers, but we fixed that."


I simply stared at them in shock, not quite understanding. My 'poverty-stricken' friend passes me the lighter with a sigh as he says, "We knew from the first moment in that you'd be a good choice, but we decided to wait and make a few trips before telling you. I wanted to tell you earlier, but it's best to wait. Besides, calibrating straight years is much easier."


I took the lighter, and immediately felt pricks on my palm. I uncovered the steel handle of the lighter to see six spinning wheels, with numbers emblazoned on them. The first wheel held the numbers one to thirty, the second held the numbers one to twelve. They were about a centimetre apart, but the other four were crammed close together, each holding the numbers zero to nine. I looked at it for a moment, then realized it was a date: three years from now, to the day.


My friend who stood behind the counter, the one who had filled countless mugs with cheap beer, simply said, "It's already been calibrated for location. Go on; watch yourself win the most prestigious literary award there will be for the next hundred years, the happy memory will dull the pain in three weeks. It gets even better a decade from now,” He grins and winks at me, “but you'll find the ceremony quite impressive. Your seat is 2-A. Don't even try to talk to yourself. Go on, give it a flick."


The last thing I saw before simply vanishing and appearing in another time was the words stamped above the bar. Before, they had never held much meaning for me, but now I think they might mean something much more significant.


The words stamped onto the worn wood in a flowing script were: The Guild...

The End

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