The pint-sized tornado met Ben at the door as he arrived home from work. Her eyes sparkled with excitement as she brandished the paper for his review. “A time capsule, Daddy,” Sophie said. “We can put anything into it and read it fifty years from now.” She whirled around him, dancing a jig while he plucked the paper from her hand.

    He read the flyer and noted there were two options available – fifty years or one hundred years. A random thought formed in his mind as he considered the possibilities. “OK, Soph, we’ll contribute a family vessel to the fifty-year capsule.” Ben looked at the wild-haired child as she whooped and jumped for joy. “This way, you’ll still be alive to read the notes yourself.”

    “Thank you, Daddy.” Sophie ran from the room to return and hurl herself at him to hug his waist.

    As she raced away for the second time, Ben called, “It’s all got to fit in the container.” He doubted she even heard his words.

    Over the next week, Sophie was in a frenzy deciding what should be placed in the box to be discovered fifty years from now. Her parents reminded her to think about things which might change or messages she might want to remember.

    The town of Farmington had a long and distinguished history. As part of the original English colonies, it recognized the connections between the future and the past. The whole town was involved with the time capsule project.

    Ben wrestled with his contribution for days. A secret he carried from his childhood still burned in his heart. At work as he directed the employees within the company he owned, he often thought about the rotten bricks which made up its foundation.

    His grandfather basically stole the company from his business partner. The man was an inventor with no business skills. The partner signed a document which transferred one of his patents to the business partnership being formed by his grandfather and the inventor. Ben was visiting the small office that day and happened to be within earshot. Of course, he was clueless about what was happening. But years later, when the business moved to a larger space, he found the document in the safe.

    What good would it do now? he thought. The old man died without any kids. I have a family to support and employees who need jobs.

    Ben pondered and rewrote his contribution while Sophie collected and discarded potential contributions for the event. She was reminded about the space consideration when she was prepared to sacrifice her favorite toy.


    The day of the internment arrived. All of the units were sealed with wax to reduce the threat of moisture degradation of the contents. A crowd buzzed around the steps of City Hall. Ben tried to keep track of Sophie while greeting members of the community who sought to speak to him.

    “Hey Ben, good to see you.” The town manager approached with his hand extended. “Are you going to join the town futuring committee? We could use your opinion.”

    “I appreciate that, Walter.” Ben looked thoughtful, “You know I try to keep the company out of town politics.”

    “True, true,” Walter said nodding his head. “But it is important to have some view from you since your company and its support businesses have such an impact on the economy.”

    “How about if I send one of the other officers?” Ben asked.

    “Better than nothing.” Walter chuckled, “Just make sure you weigh in with any thoughts.”

    Ben smiled and shook hands again as he mentally dismissed Walter. He wondered what he and the town would think if they knew the truth. Truth he wasn’t sure he would be able to maintain or contain much longer.

    However, now thanks to his daughter Sophie, he spilled his guts. Explained in gory details and placed them where they would not but reveled until after he was dead. He planned to spend the next years doing good and laying the groundwork for the future reveal.

    The family containers were loaded into the time capsule chest as they watched from the back of the crowd. As the final items were placed inside, Sophie leaned down from her eagle eye position sitting on Ben’s shoulders to ask, “Is that what a casket looks like?”

     Ben stared up into his daughter’s inquisitive eyes and wondered where she heard talk about caskets. “Not exactly,” he hedged. “Though they do have similar functions.”

    “One of the kids at school said this whole thing is creepy because we are going to dig it up again. You know, like grave robbers.” She looked like the ghoulish idea was not totally unpleasant.

    “We’re creating history.” Ben looked at his daughter and took a deep breath. “Sometimes things you think are important now don’t matter in the future while other things which aren’t special become more valuable as time passes.”


    Four days later, Ben was notified by the secretary of the Farmington Town manager the time capsule was missing. His heart dropped as she inquired whether or not his family receptacle contained anything of value.

    “What do you mean? Anything of value?” he asked as he tried to grasp the possibility of his secrets being laid bare now rather than after his death.

    “I know your daughter was very excited about the project. She called us several times, …well, your wife called asking questions.” The woman was at a loss to make him understand.

    “Yes, she was thrilled to think about the future and the connection to the past.” Ben tried to focus on the current situation. “I don’t think she put anything in which would interest other people.” Of course, my contribution would be very valuable to some of my critics, he thought.

    “We have been asking everyone if they put jewelry or money or other types of valuables in their container even though we discouraged that type of item. We really can’t understand why someone would steal the capsule otherwise.”

    “No, Sophie did not put jewelry or money in the thing.” Ben sighed and asked, “How did they steal it?”

    “The thief apparently used equipment to remove the granite stones that were placed on top to secure the site after burying the chest.” The secretary was prepared to move on now her question was answered. “We will be in touch if there is any news.”

    “Thanks,” Ben said as he hung up the phone and shook his head. He now had to explain a theft to his daughter and prepare for the biggest secret of his company to be made public. Just another day at the office.

October 10, 2020 00:44

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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