A suitcase full of rarities

Ah, that’s exactly what I need, Atlas thought. They studied the bright street sign on the other side of the road ‘Martins Second-hand Store’. The cars whooshed with a speed they hadn’t seen in years. Atlas stepped forward, expecting the car to stop, but instead the driver started screaming:
“You fucking idiot!”
Atlas recognized the gesture of the man; that was one thing that hadn’t changed. Confused, they kept running to cross the road, barely being able to dodge the honking cars. They had forgotten that in 2024, people still drive their cars themselves. How ridiculous, don’t they know it is dangerous? Atlas shook their head, clenched the suitcase handle, and pushed through the door.

*cling, cling, cling*

“Good morning!” a slender bald man hurried toward Atlas. An artificial smile pasted on his pale face.
Atlas straightened their white blouse and put on their customer smile.
“Good morning, dear sir. My name is Atlas, and I have some items that might be of your interest.”

Atlas carefully laid their leather suitcase down on the counter. The one they had received from their grandparents from the time before that dreadful Day of Laws.

Day of Laws

In January 2050, the EU passed a list of laws which ban products that they didn’t deem necessary for humans to survive. Food, clothes, music, personalized devices and more. One last drastic attempt to save the world from climate change. This will be known as the Day of Laws.

They opened the lock, and with a swing, presented their precious collection to the man. Atlas was quite proud of the variety of items they were able to gather. Hopefully, this will justify the unlawful acts they had to commit to get them.


“I present to you my fine collection of pre-law items.” Atlas dug around, trying to find the first item.

USB Type-C port will be the new standard for portable devices.” [13, 14].

“On this USB-C stick is a collection of all the music we had before the Day of Laws. More music than you can listen to in a lifetime!”

The man chuckled. “Don’t we have Spotify for that? USB sticks are a thing of the past.”

Atlas murmured in themselves. I need to find something that will blow this man away.

They had a watertight three-step plan. 1. Show examples of their most precious items. 2. Gather and store items that will be outlawed and cost fortunes in the future. 3. Travel back and sell!

It should be easy enough. Start their future in the past.

Ah, this is an item no human can resist! Atlas showed the purple bar on their hands as if they were presenting a bar of pure gold.

Chocolate might disappear in 2050.” [12, 13].
The man scratched his head.
“Are you taking a piss? Go to the supermarket across the street and buy one!” His smile had transitioned into a straight line.

Atlas felt their courage fade away like the last day they saw snow. Maybe something that is more expensive now already. Ah yes!
We will not use devices only VR.” [14, 15].
“I present a mint condition Switch! It is modded and has every game on the market. A true gem, if you ask me.”
               “Hmm, that’s something I can sell. Do you still have the original box?”
Of course, Atlas doesn’t have the original box. Is this man insane? It was hard to find it in a case alone.
               “Unfortunately, I don’t.”
               The man sighed. “I can’t sell it then. I’m sorry.”

Atlas didn’t want the man to sell it. They only wanted to convince him to treasure it, and become business partners. They could inform the man what items would be forbidden in the future and they could share the profit later. Atlas had one last idea.

They sighed. “Okay, let me be honest with you. I’m from the future. A designer without a job, a dealer of the past.”
Maybe honesty could work?
“I want a partnership so we can gather these rare items now and sell them in the future. It’s maybe not the cleanest of business, but definitely better than what I had to do for this suitcase.”

The man chuckled. “I’ve heard that tale before. If you really are from the future, you can surely show me proof, right?” He smirked, satisfied with his comeback.

Atlas got to the bottom of the suitcase and handed the man a small book they made in case this would be the reaction. They couldn’t bring a newspaper, since they don’t have them anymore.

AI image generated with Copilot
The man went through a few of the pages. “Listen, kid, I can recognize AI images from miles away. I’m not gonna get mad, because it seems like you have lost it. So, I’m asking you to leave my store with your bullshit.”
“AI images? That’s punishable by law. I would never!” Atlas protested.
“I’m not going to ask you again, sir.”

Atlas dropped their shoulders and carefully put their precious items back in the suitcase. They locked all of it away and firmly grabbed the handle.
“You will regret this in the future,” Atlas murmured, defeated.

When they left through the door, the man in the store started laughing. What a weirdo. Saying he is from the future, but selling items from the now. Shouldn’t they have servers full of music, fountains of chocolate, and even better game devices? That man was talking nonsense.

And even if there was the slightest possibility, he told the truth. It wouldn’t be a future he would want to live in or help create…


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