He loved Halloween, but rarely got any trick or treaters. He didn’t understand why since he lived in a nice neighborhood. The rumor was that kids preferred to go to the rich part of town where residents had their staff pass out king size candy bars.
Justin still bought five bags of candy every year and hoped for the best. It was almost eight o’clock, though, and he’d been visited by a grand total of three kiddos.
Whoever was at the door now was going to make out like a bandit because Justin planned to give him all the remaining candy and call it a night.
When Justin opened the front door, candy filled jack o’ lantern in hand, he discovered a pint sized Obi Wan Kenobi awaiting him.
The little guy had brown hair and a pair of large glasses that sat crooked on an all too familiar face.
Justin was so thrown by his visitor’s appearance, that he stared at him in stunned silence.
“Aren’t you going to say ‘Trick or Treat’?” he finally asked.
“This isn’t your typical Halloween experience,” the precocious young Jedi replied.
Justin studied the boy. He was probably ten and wore the brown hooded robe most associated with Luke Skywalker’s mentor. His fake beard was starting to peel away from the left side of his face, and there was a plastic lightsaber tucked into the belt that cinched the robe into place.
“I wore that exact same costume for Halloween when I was ten,” Justin mentioned.
“Really?” the boy rolled his eyes. “Don’t you get it yet, Justin? I’m ten year old you. Are you clueless, or did I have a stroke or something in my thirties?”
Justin dropped the jack o’ lantern, and candy exploded out of it in every direction to litter the front porch.
Jedi Justin sighed heavily. “I knew this was going to be a fiasco. I’m supposed to give you this if you don’t believe me or just freak out.”
The boy pulled an envelope from his robe and held it out to Justin, who accepted it with a trembling hand.
The writing on the envelope was a perfect match for his own. Was this kid some sort of master forger? He tore open the envelope and quickly read the letter inside.
“What does it say?” the kid asked impatiently as he tried to press his beard back into place.
Justin had gone pale before tearing the letter up into tiny pieces, which he then stuffed into the pocket of his jeans.
“Let’s just say that Future Us wrote about a few things only I would know in order to prove that he was who he claimed to be, and you are a time traveling ten year old version of me,” Justin blurted out and then leaned against the doorway for support.
“What kind of things?” Young Justin inquired.
“Nothing you should know about now,” Justin snapped. “And things you should really avoid doing when you’re sixteen, twenty-three, and thirty-one. How in the world does someone that adorable grow up to do such reprehensible things?”
“So, wait. You’re okay with all this? Some elderly stranger tells you that you’re going to time travel to meet your future self and you just believe him?” Justin demanded.
Little Justin shrugged. “I’m a kid, it’s Halloween, and I’m hopped up on candy. Plus, you know how domineering our stepmother is. A chance to get away from her and see if we actually turn out okay was way too tempting to reject. You remember how you were when you were me. All you wanted was to escape your horrible life.”
“Ten was a pretty lonely time,” Justin recalled with a heavy sigh.
Present Day Justin crouched down to pick up a stray Mounds bar. He offered it to the younger version of himself, who politely declined with a nod.
“So this doesn’t look like Brooklyn,” the little Jedi observed as he wandered to the porch railing to look out into the neighborhood.
“It’s Maine,” Justin informed him with a smile. “You’re going to love it here.”
“How did we end up here?” the little guy asked as he attempted you use the Force to get a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup the leap off the porch and into his hand.
The visitor’s eye lit up with excitement. “We get married? Can I meet her? Do we have kids? Are they here or out trick or treating?”
He rushed across the porch as if anticipating an invitation to meet his future wife. The man of the house, however, held up his hand to halt the advancing mini Jedi.
“Slow down, Obi Wan,” Justin advised. “We’ve been divorced for a long time. There aren’t any kids, and the only thing you’ll find inside are loneliness and depression.”
“You’ve given yourself over to the Dark Side?” Tiny Kenobi queried as he worked to mask his disappointment behind bites into his candy bar.
“You could say that,” Justin admitted. “Although, one might argue that getting married is when I actually turned to the Dark Side.”
The kid pulled the lightsaber from his belt and used it to scratch his head. “I wonder why Old Us sent me to this particular moment in time. I mean, you seem even sadder and lonelier than I am back in my day. The future doesn’t look very promising.”
Big Justin motioned for Time Travel Justin to join him over at the porch chairs. Once they were seated, the older version handed the younger model a Mounds bar.
“I know you hate these, but you acquire a taste for them in college,” he explained. “Why not gain an extra decade of enjoyment and start eating them now?”
The kid had no argument for that logic, so he took his chances with the candy.
“I think Old Us sent you here tonight to remind us both that life gets better,” Justin waxed philosophical. “I can assure you that we fall in love several times. With women who are way out of our league. We buy this awesome house. And you know your crazy love of movies? I’m not going to spoil the surprise, but it totally pays off.”
Shorter Justin smiled broadly. “And maybe to teach me to like Mounds bars.”
Justin chuckled at his ten year old sense of humor, which wasn’t much different from his present day sense of humor, now that he thought about it.
“But what’s in it for you?” the littlest Jedi asked.
“Obviously, my future is pretty amazing if I end up with access to a time machine, McFly,” he answered with a big smile.
“Cool, but I don’t get the McFly reference,” the time traveler confessed.
“Something else to look forward to, young Jedi,” Justin promised. “So has this journey through time made you more confident about the future?”
“Knowing that I get married and escape to a place far from our stepmother does give me hope,” he replied optimistically as he scooped up some Mounds bars from the porch. “I have a question for you, though.”
“Since we get divorced from the woman we meet in college, and that clearly leaves you sad and broken, should I avoid falling for her when the time comes?” he asked sounding wise beyond his ten years.
Justin did not hesitate in his reply. “No way, little dude. Our life is what it is because we met that blonde haired California girl. Don’t mess with the time/space continuum.”
“I’ve searched my feelings, and I sense that it’s time for me to go,” Time Travel Justin said with a chuckle. “Did you see what I did there? That’s a Star Wars reference.”
“The Force is clearly strong with this one,” Present Day Justin countered. “So where is your time machine? I’d love to check it out.”
Little Justin shook his head emphatically as he stood up and tucked his lightsaber into his belt. “Old Man Us was very clear that you couldn’t see the time machine. He said if you even got a peek at it, there was the potential it could alter the future.”
“Bummer,” Justin groaned. “Safe travels, little me.”
“May the Force be with you,” the trick or treater answered with an adorable smile.
Justin awakened with a start on the couch. His watch revealed that it was almost midnight. There was an empty bag of Mounds bars on his chest, and four more empty bags of Halloween candy on the floor.
Something on the porch caught his eye, so he opened the door to investigate. Resting on the chair was a plastic lightsaber and a Mounds bar wrapper…
Happy Halloween, Modern Philosophers!