41-year-old software designer Jarred Ingram was, on the whole, an average sort of guy. He was about average height, just a little over average weight. His politics were middle of the road. He believed everything in moderation. His life was steady but not slow, and he often summed it all up with the phrase "I'm just happy to be here."
Sitting on his couch one night dividing his attention between work and Netflix, he heard his doorbell ring. He grabbed his wallet off the coffee table and went to the door, thinking it was a delivery driver.
The door's chime was the call of destiny itself. The moment Jarred opened the door, he became the intersection of time and space, instead of someone holding a carryout bag, a tall older man with neatly trimmed white hair and deep-set jade eyes. He stood tall and proper, wearing a suit perfectly tailored to his long frame.
"Jarred?" the man asked.
"Yeah," Jarred said with polite suspicion.
The stranger flashed a smile and held out his hand. "Hey Jarred, My name's Michael Oliver. It's nice to meet you.
Jarred reluctantly shook Michael's hand. "What is this about exactly?" Jarred asked in a cautious tone.
Michael chuckled. "Jarred, I took out a life insurance policy on you.
"A life insurance policy?
Nothing extravagant," Michael continued, "just two hundred thousand. I went with a relatively small sum because I'm doing a little experiment here and I'd rather not get too tied down in bureaucratic muck."
Jarred looked struck. "Wait, you took a life insurance policy out on me? You fuckin creep, I don't even know you."
Micahel was unphased. "Any minute now, you're gonna have a massive stroke."
"I'm gonna have a stroke?" repeated Jarred.
"That's right, you're going to have a massive stroke and die in your living room. Your wife and daughter will find you when they get home. It'll probably be pretty painful but pretty quick." Michael said ponderously.
"Well, anyway, sorry to bother you, but I just couldn't resist. Have a good rest of your night."
Michael went back to his car and waited across the street. He watched with bated breath as he watched Jared's wife and daughter going from the car to the house. The door closed behind them. There was a moment of pause followed by piercing screams.
When the race to develop time travel technology got underway, some dismissed it as a ridiculous waste of money and, ironically, time. Others warned that the inherent dangers of tampering with the fabric of existence were too grave. To pursue this endeavor would inevitably lead to the destruction of the universe itself.
But where some saw the existential danger, one very savvy investment banker saw a gleaming opportunity. Michael had seen "Back to the Future 2" and instinctively knew there had to be some way he could innovate and build on Biff Tannen's sports betting model.
That's when he remembered who was going to win sports matches or how some stock was going to do wasn't the only information that a visitor from the future would be privy to. He would also know who is going to die and when.
"That's when it hit me. Life insurance," Michale declared triumphantly.
"Well, that's really interesting." Janet, the middle-aged insurance claims agent, said in a sweet tone that seemed to express a sincere desire to feign interest.
"There's a problem, though. After reviewing your claim, I'm afraid we can't issue you payment."
Michael was dumbfounded. "Why the hell not? I took out the policy more than ninety days ago. I haven't missed a payment. What possible reason could you have to deny me?"
"Honey, I get it," Jan said sympathetically. "And if it were up to me, I'd give you the money, but I'm afraid it's not."
"Well, what's the problem then?" Michael snapped.
"You're from the future, right?" asked Jan
"Well, since you're from the future, you're from another dimension, and technically that means you don't exist here."
"But I do exist here." Michael insisted, "I can prove it a million different ways."
"The OTHER you exists here," emphasized Jan. "It's multiverse law you're from another time and another dimension, which means we can't cover you."
"But you took my premium payments!" Michael fired back.
'Yeah, those we can probably refund to you," Jan said reassuringly.
"This is bullshit," Michael fumed.
"I know, but it's the policy. There's nothing I can do." Jan said sympathetically.
Michael thought for a moment. "Well, what if I were to kil-I mean what if the me here were to disappear then I could take over his affairs and collect the money as myself-I mean him, right?"
Jan shrugged. "Worth a shot."