Butterfly the Time Traveler

So, I have told this story a time or two but never put it out there for the general public, so here it is, the story of when my wife met a time traveler (and I did as well, albeit only briefly). It's true, as far as I know, although my guess is that the time travel parts are lunacy rather than truth, but every once in a great while I will admit that I wonder.

So, it is 1999, and my not-yet-wife and I are going to New Orleans to a goth convention called GothCon. Which was allegedly a fund-raiser for AIDS research, but that turned out to be a total lie, but I digress. So there's bands and artwork to buy and so on, but one part is just the opportunity to wander around in the big room and meet other people with whom you might have something in common. While doing this, I notice at one point that Cassandra is in conversation with a skinny dude who has a straggly beard, and is dressed perhaps just a tiny bit shabby. Not crazy homeless shabby, but on the border. I swing by to see if she needs rescuing from a conversation she doesn't want to be in (my wife, she has always attracted the crazy, and yes it has occurred to me what that says about myself). As I get near, I see that she has the "this is going to be a great story for later" smile on her face, and so since she doesn't appear to need rescuing I veer off and talk to other people, whoever they were, not nearly as interesting probably as who my wife was talking to but I didn't know that at the time.

Later, she tells me that his name was Butterfly, and he was a time traveler. He said he had a chip in his hand, and let her feel it (she said she did not feel anything chip-like). He claimed to have a son named Gandalf who was still in the future; he and his son had some sort of falling out, and he regretted that, and thought he should go back to his own time and patch things up.

He said that they all had to live underground after a big war and a pandemic. There was a war in Iraq, but that was not the big one, there was another worse one later, and now they all had to live underground. He had been sent back to our time to find spare parts of some kind for a computer. Eventually his wife swings by to get him, and he admits to her that he has just told Cassandra all this stuff about time travel that he wasn't supposed to tell anyone. The wife, apparently, does not seem concerned. I don't think Cassandra ever heard whether or not the wife was also from the future, or was met "local".

Well this was all entertaining, so after we got back home from New Orleans I told her she should share this with our Yahoo Group for Austin Goths, which she did in a long email. We had a laugh about it and that was that.

So not long afterwards, I start hearing a lot about people putting chips in their pets, and it seems less odd to think that they might do that with humans. Then, the Lord of the Rings movies come out, and the idea of someone naming their son "Gandalf" seems more likely. Then, war is declared on Iraq and I start to wondering. I mean, we had already had Gulf War 1, so it's not as if this was the most stunning prediction ever, but it still wasn't a thing I would have picked to say would happen soon, so I asked my wife (we were married by then), "what else did that guy say would happen?"

"I don't remember," she says, "there was a lot of it. I remember I sent an email to our Yahoo Group for Austin Goths but I don't have that account any more."

"No problem," I say, and I log on to the relevant Yahoo Groups page and start looking through the archives. Oddly, there is a missing month or two, a blank spot in the archives where nothing is there, and it includes the time around the convention. There is older material, and newer, but that month or two is all lost somehow.

I have wondered about it, mostly laughing, every few years since then. Obviously, the recent pandemic brought it up again. My wife can't really recall anything more about it, but then it's been a long time now. I suppose, though, that if he had said anything more significant than a pandemic and a world war, I would have remembered it...unless the Time Travel Agency can wipe human memories along with server archives.