There was nothing unusual about the postcard. It waited on my doormat, nestled within a bill and some junk mail. On the front of it was a photo of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the sleek, flowing curves bathed in moonlight by the river. I smiled. I didn’t have a choice. It was like a painter receiving a postcard of The Starry Night or Water Lilies, a nudge to the soul, a reminder of what they longed to be able to create. Scrawled across the back, an inked afterthought, letters curved together to say: Even now, made me think of you. Hope you’re doing well. Erin x. My finger traced the words. There was nothing unusual about the postcard.
Except Erin didn’t exist.
A trap street is an amazing idea. Mapmakers, if they want to protect their copyright, historically have added “trap streets” to their maps to ensnare any would-be nefarious copiers. How it works is that the mapmaker would add a fake or incorrect street to their map. If someone else then subsequently copied their work, they also copied the trap street. It would be impossible to explain how you independently came up with the same fictional street as someone else, and therefore it neatly shows that you have copied the original mapmaker’s work.
The question at the root of Proof of Concept is: what if you had trap people to serve the same purpose?
From that one single idea, I found the story unfolding in front of me. It evolved to also consider the nature of reality and hit a theme for me of whether it really matters what is real and what is not, as long as you live your life. I’m thrilled that this story found a home in Issue #49 of NewMyths and I urge you to check out the entire issue here (it’s free to read!): https://sites.google.com/a/newmyths.com/nmwebsite/past-issues/2019/issue-49
And this brings to an end my series of stories published in 2019. I hope you found something you enjoyed, and I hope you continue to read my work going into 2020!