Week 33: The Mess-Up Museum (Prompt: A story set 100 years in the future)

It was a great day to not be in school. School was inside and it was a beautiful day, though we still had to be inside. But at least not in school. We got to go the Mess-Up Museum.

That wasn’t actually its name. It was just what everyone called it, even the grown-ups when they weren’t thinking. They’d say it and then laugh a little sheepishly. “I mean,” they’d say oh-so-politely, “the Pre-Shift Memorial Museum.”

Its real name was dumb, anyway. The Mess-Up Museum suited it better.

Most of us had been there before, but we lined up and followed Ms. Thedeker and the bearded guide, who was trying too hard. I guessed he wasn’t real used to kids or something.

Me and my buddies, Garrett and Darian, were kind of hanging in the back like we did, when the guide stopped us in front of an exhibit and asked something. We must have missed it the first time, because Ms. Thedeker waved a warning finger at us in the special way she had. We shut up and listened.

“I said,” Mr. Beard said, raising an eyebrow at us, “does anyone know the main problem facing the world a hundred years ago?”

Garrett spoke up. He was pretty smart, that one. Ms. Thedeker said he’d be smart if he wasn’t so smart-mouthed. We were still working that one out.


I laughed, but Mr. Beard actually looked impressed. “In a way,” he agreed. “Do you know why?”

Garrett had the look on his face when he didn’t know something but he was thinking how to answer anyway. “Yeah,” he said, “’cuz ‘fore the Shift people didn’t know what to do with it so they burnt it and burnt it and burned up the whole world, so the scientists scienced a bunch and made all the garbage into stuff again, so –“ here he paused for breath (and drama) “ — we’re all garbage now.”

Mr. Beard raised an eyebrow. “Indeed,” he said. “Especially you, my friend.”

We got a good laugh out of that one. Even Garrett. Him and Mr. Beard were best pals after that. I guess he was used to kids after all.