She blinked into our offices just as we were entering the latest dates for The Human League. “Quick,” she said. “You must post the schedules for Cowboy Mouth and Eric Clapton on the Internet today.”

“What’s the rush?” we asked, knowing that people from the future are always in a hurry regardless of what era they happen to be visiting at any given time. “How will these listings effect that which is yet to happen?”

“Well, don’t you see,” she said, clearly exasperated at our lack of knowledge of the shape of things to come. “By publishing these tours on the Internet, as well as the new dates for Drive-By Truckers and Adema, we’ll prevent the chain of events that eventually led to the recall of Governor Schwarzenegger in 2006.”

“Arnie?” we asked in amazement, clearly astounded by the future turn of events. “They wanted to recall the Terminator? Why? Did he raise taxes?”

“Much worse,” she replied. “He made a sequel to the End of Days.”

Needless to say, we jumped right on it. We slammed in all the dates she requested that we add, including the new routings for Bob Mould and Corn Mo, when suddenly, a question formed on our tour-gathering lips.

“We’ve been meaning to ask you,” we said to the lady from the day after tomorrow. “Did you folks ever solve the music piracy problem that’s facing the recording industry today?”

“You mean file-sharing? Nobody in the future does that.”

“But how…”

“How did we stop it? It wasn’t easy. Especially after President Eminem failed to push through a constitutional amendment making it legal for copyright holders to offer $10,000 bounties on all suspected infringers.”

“Really? What happened? Couldn’t he get enough support from Congress?”

“Congress had no problem with it,” she said as she pulled more schedules out of her purse, including the itineraries for Hatebreed and Tindersticks. In fact, Speaker of the House Lars Ulrich backed him 100 percent. It was the recording industry that fought it.”

“The recording industry was against it? But why?”

“They claimed that the phrase, ‘Dead or Alive,’ left too much wiggle room.”


“But it didn’t matter. Because, in 2009, President Eminem signed an executive order authorizing the RIAA to send out roving bands of copyright squads to engage in ‘seek and destroy’ operations.”

“And that worked?”

“Like a charm,” she answered. After all, how would you like Ozzy Osbourne and his family rooting through your house looking for illicit copies of songs by Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young and Shawn Colvin?”

“Enough said.”

“Besides, it solved a few other problems as well,” said the time-traveler as she took her PDA from her purse and entered the necessary coordinates to make another leap into the future. For instance, it was a RIAA squad that finally found Osama bin Laden.”

“The notorious terrorist? Where? How? Or should we say, ‘when?'”

“2011. One of the squads raided a home in Brooklyn that was suspected of housing illegal copies of songs by Cher and the Eagles. When they broke down the door, they found him sitting in front of the TV watching American Idol XIII,” and cursing out Simon for not being tough enough on the losers.”

“Brooklyn? But what was Osama bin Laden doing in Brooklyn?”

“He was renting a room from Saddam Hussein.”

“What?” we exclaimed. “A roving band of armed RIAA copyright enforcers found the two most infamous, the two most wanted men in recent history? What did they do?”

“What else could they do?” she answered as the temporal flux that would suck her back to the future began to form around her. “The RIAA squad shoved both Osama and Saddam up against the wall. Then they pointed their rifles at the heads of the two men. I’m telling you, it was quite a sight. The two were trembling and shaking, while the members of the squad stood there waiting for the order.”


“Well, what do you expect? After all, the RIAA is a very goal-oriented, focused trade organization. They know how to handle desperate men like bin Laden and Hussein.”

“You mean…”

“That’s right,” she said right before she blinked into eternity. “The RIAA confiscated all the MP3s on their hard drives.”