“I don’t see what’s so great about it, they’re just trees.” Tim was losing the man. This man thought in capital gains and simple products. No imagination.
“I must not have explained it well enough.” Tim put his hand on one of the leaves, “Do you see this leaf? This leaf is a revolution in photosynthetics, this leaf… could power an entire household alone.”
The man’s eyes opened until they were balls glued to his face by some magic. It was a grotesque sight.
“So if this leaf could power a home…” Tim lead.
“Imagine what a whole forest could do.” The man followed.
“Exactly, and it will be your name, your fame. All it would cost you is the planting, after that, we all profit from your vision of a future- a future powered by nature!” He waved his hands in the air to show the man a glimpse of pure glory, “All you need to do is sign the contract here, and my company will do the rest. You will be famous, my friend, famous and richer than ever!”
“No, there’s no way any idiot would have believed that.”
Tim pulled up the contract on his phone and showed it to John. “look here,” he said, “Proof!”
“You’re kidding! No!… I- I can’t believe this!” John was laughing, “Aren’t you worried about being arrested for fraud?”
“Why would I be, I told him the truth. It’s not my fault the idiot couldn’t be bothered to read the fine print- which incidentally, is surprisingly easy to add after signing these days. He will be famous for this after all. If he didn’t ride on the donation then he’d lose his reputation.”
“Yeah but he’s bound to sue,” John said, “3 billion is a lot.”
“Pennies to him.” Tim laughed, 300,000 trees a month- that’s 3.6 million trees a year, John. No one has ever done this, one year alone could help reverse our already ruined climate. I’d be happy to go to prison for saving the world. Now, the deal is, would you?”
“What do you want, Tim?”
“I want a moonbase, and I need your help to get one.”
“Tim Travis, born 1995, started out ordinary, but his relations are a peculiar one. He was the descendant of Victor Lustig, heir to the throne of Charles Ponzi. His skill, his gift, created the world we have today. His imagined city of forests inspired real scientists to develop living solar cells. His scamming of 26 millionaires and 12 billionaires gave us the moonbase, the floating forest city of New Manahattan, and of course the terraforming dome on Mars.
“We owe so much to this man, who used his powers for altruistic means…”
-The Museum of Earth History,
Historical Turning Points Exhibit
Tim Travis 1995-2094
“Huh,” a young man said, “says here he was thought of as the Robin Hood of his age, stole from the rich and changed the world.”
“We could use more people like that, ever since the colony revolts everything has gone to shit.” Said the man’s friend.
“Well apparently all you need is a phone and a few seconds of a rich man’s time.. and you can do anything.” Said the young man. He stood a while, and then he took out his phone and made a call.
This story came from an idea I have kicking around in my book Adebayo’s End. In that world, Earth has transformed its landscape such that there are no deserts, but massive forests made of solar power plants. The catch is, the power plants are just that, living plants bio-engineered to collect and store solar energy for human consumption. It allows for giant cities the size of countries that power themselves, and solves massive ecological problems.
But when I did research on this I found the evidence that we may someday have photovoltaic cells which look like trees lacking. So I decided to write about a man conning someone into donating their money for a tree-planting business. To top it off, I hope you liked it, more stories coming!