Unforetold

Genesis 6:6: "And God reconsidered having made man upon the earth, and He became grieved in His heart."

I was drinking coffee
in a cafe
on the Finchley Road
when a man approached
and said, excuse me
but I can tell
what the future holds.

That's great, I said.
Let's head straight
to the bookies.
Do not pass go.

No, he said,
they all say that,
but I can foresee
that neither you nor me
will visit the bookies
and make lots of money.
Or indeed any

Sorry, I said,
but I can foresee
that I will slap your face.
And I slapped his face.
Yes, he said,
they all do that.

For God's sake.

Yes, he said,
they all say that,
but if I do something
I know I won't do
then I know I won't do it
so I'd better not do it
or I cannot do it
or a bit of both
if you know what I mean
though I'm not sure I do.

Maybe, I said,
there are different futures.

Oh, he said,
they don't all say that,
please say it again.

Maybe, I said,
there are different futures.

Oh, he said,
and ran outside
where, in version A,
fortunately,
he wasn't run over
by the 263

but, in version B,
unfortunately,
he was.


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