The current accepted scientific theory is that there are multiple bubble universes coexisting with ours. This is nothing new to us comic book readers or sci-fi enthusiast; we’ve known that for decades. It’s called The Multiverse.
My name is unimportant as I’m sure that we’ll never meet. I am average. I mean it; I am of average height, weight, looks and intelligence. I went to school and made basic grades. I like girls, usually not the ones that might like me though. I had a friend or two that I lost touch with when we left school just like everyone else. If I walked into a room a few people might look up to see who entered and then go back to what they were doing, while most wouldn’t even bother to notice. I am everyman and no one all at the same time. Nothing exciting happens to me.
So why the hell am I writing this you ask? Simple; you see I no longer live on Earth, well that’s not correct; I no longer live on My Earth. It all started when I was walking home; I observed this old house that I had never noticed before. Now I walked this route daily and I know if it had been there before to-day, I would have seen it.
It was a house that had gone to ruin from neglect and it had a turret on one side of the front door that probably formed the living room while upstairs it was the master bedroom. I just couldn’t help myself I went up to the front door and tried it and sure enough it opened. It was lit by the daylight that was streaming through the windows, which meant that I could see clearly but it wouldn’t last much longer. I ran upstairs to check it out and sure enough the turret part was a bedroom with old furniture left in it. The bed was a big old queen-size four poster that had the remnants of what appeared to be curtains attached to it. It reminded me of Scrooge’s bed in those old movies we all watch at Christmas time. I would not have been surprised to find a chamber pot and bed warmer under it. Beside the bed was an old round side table with an old, well used candle in a metal candle holder. On the pillow was a book opened and turned upside down, as if someone had been reading it. This bugged me as I like books and that is a disrespectful way to treat one, it can break the spine.
I looked into the other rooms and saw another slightly smaller bedroom and what might have been a nursery except it was empty but for an old rocker. I went down stairs and checked it out. At the back was a kitchen with an enormous fireplace and an old country table, which seemed to be hand carved, with three chairs. Going back to the front door I found a living room on the side opposite of the turret which had a chesterfield and arm chair for entertaining guests.
The turreted room turned out to be a Library with a bookshelf of books and a comfortable reading chair and ottoman. I looked at some of the titles of the books, most of which I had never heard of such as “Industrial, Light & Magic: How they can exist in Harmony”, “The Chronicles of the People of Sklar” and “The Arts and Practices of Mrlyhn: Mage, Sorcerer or Charlatan?”, along with many more. The ones that caught my interests the most though were those that had titles I knew. Like “Alice through the looking glass”, “The Wizard of Oz”, “John Carter of Mars” and numerous others that seemed to take part in alternate realities from the protagonist’s world. I picked one called “How I got Here: A guide to leaving home unannounced” and sat in the chair to read it. It was about a young man that had been transported to another dimension where he found that it was several centuries behind his and they had yet to learn about electricity and modern medicine. I was well into it when I noticed that the light had started to fade, making it hard to read. So I got up and found a book mark returning the book to its place on the shelf before leaving by the way I came in. As I shut the door I could swear that I heard it lock but when I tried it again it opened as easily as before.
The next day as I walked home I stopped into a camping store and bought a head lamp that you charged by cranking it, as well as a sleeping blanket with a body heat return inside, you know it looks like silver foil. It turned out that they had a dumb sale on if you bought certain items you got a free gift. I qualified for a hunting knife which looked more like a large diving knife to me and its strap on sheath. I purchased some jerky at the corner store along with bottle water and headed towards the house. I opened the door and went into the Library, as I put my bag on the chair I realised that the circular night table was beside it and on it was a purple and gold embroidered Royal Crown Bag. I figured someone else had been inside and called out. I then went upstairs and looked into those rooms too; the book on the pillow was missing as was the candle but everything else seemed the same.
I went back down and checked the sitting room but could not determine any differences there either. I sat in the chair and stated reading again. I could not get into the story as the Crown Royal bag kept drawing my attention. I mean I knew it was empty; there was no bottle in it and it looked flat other than the corner that always seems to have a bad stitch. I picked it up putting my hand inside and immediately felt something grab it and start pulling on it. It was another hand but that was impossible, so I grabbed the window sill and pulled for dear life. Whoever was pulling me must have done the same thing as they were not budging but I was. I felt myself slowly being pulled into the bag, yes I know the bag is just big enough to hold a twenty-six ounce bottle of booze, that didn’t stop the feeling nor the fear that I was about to disappear unannounced. I reached for my shopping bag and looped my arm through the handles then dragged out the knife and stabbed where my hand ended. It hit something and whatever it was let go of my hand. I pulled out quickly and sat gasping and sweating looking at the bag in fear and disbelief. "WTF" was all I could think. I sat for a while and must have dozed off because when I awoken it was dark and my watch showed it was ten o’clock. I went to the front door and left for home vowing never to return.
The next day I went to the house with my previous bought items as well as paper, pen and my eighteen clip FNS-40 just in case, as well as extra clips in my knack sack. I opened the Crown Royal bag and tossed in one of the notes that I had written last night. I waited a few moments and then turned the bag upside down and shook it; there was no way in hell that I was placing my hand in there again that’s for sure. Out dropped a piece of paper on which I read my name plus some additional information.
It seems that “I” had stumbled upon an old cave in which I found a bag with jewels seemingly spilling out of it. I reached inside to check for more and was pulled into the bag. I emerged in an old house that seemed to be built into the roots of an Oak tree. There sitting in front of my seventeen year old self was an older version by about thirty years, this was five years or so ago.
My head was swimming, I mean if you had written me this I would have laughed at you. Talk about preposterous plot outlines. Apparently I am a Fixed Universal Point, one of the few beings in all Universes that exist around which time and history rotate. I mean I am tempted to say “Dr.?” right? This all sort of blew most of my prewritten questions out of the ball park. I threw in one though and again shook out the answer.
“Every one of us is searched out by TPTB and something that would peak our interest is placed to bring us to the wormhole. We are then snatched by the one that we are to replace, who then moves onto another world to help it. Only the one most suited to the job is picked. Please come through as I have been summoned and I cannot leave this world without you here.”
I have to admit that I was tempted but I wanted more info on this swap. I wrote out a new piece of paper and sent it on its way; a little while later came its reply.
“Nobody has ever refused before and you could maybe even cause grave consequences if you don’t come.” Well as I said being average means that I have average curiosity, with no need or desire for adventure. So I put the bag in a drawer and sat down to read some more books.
The one I picked up was about a fifteen year old boy that was somehow sucked into another world when his parents were attacked at home. It turned out that he was a Mage on this world and he used his knowledge from his home world to create weapons of mass destruction, rifles, pistols and such. It was an engulfing story and I enjoyed it, even if it left me wanting more. The next story I read was about a man that had hidden out on another world for eighty some years and when he returned to his own world he found out that millennia had passed since he left. I never found out what had happened as every time I picked up the book to read on, chapters had disappeared like they had never been written. The next book was about a mage that became involved with a once and future king, or his advisor, who had evolved into something beyond anything any one could imagine. The protagonist had an ability to travel to other universes to see what could happen in his, based upon the decisions he made. Also very enjoyable but I was beginning to see a pattern here, while thinking about this I had an eerie feeling that I should get out so I grabbed my stuff and went to leave. The door was stuck and would not budge, so I took my gun and blew the hinges off and when the door fell in I made my escape.
I went home and notice that I had not zipped up my knack sack and one of the books had fallen in. It was the one that had been on the pillow which other than a precursory look I had not read. So I sat on my bed and started in on it. It was about a guy around my age that had been pulled through a hole in his mother’s bedroom closet to another world and how he had used his smarts to better the lives of people there. Now most people would go check out their closet but not me I was quite happy with where I was and just who I was. I had no special knowledge, not about fighting other than what I saw in gung fu movies nor about weapons other than to load a magazine and point at what I wanted to hit. I knew nothing about magic except that it was all illusion, sleight of hand and misdirection. So if I did go to another world I would either be useless or dead within the first chapter. I mean let’s be honest here; I am a bloody red shirt. Well I felt myself dozing off and after all the trickery that had been happening I knew I did not want this book near me while I slept. I opened my window and tossed the damn book out it and then closed it again before going to bed.
The next morning I was woken by pounding on my door. I answered it and there stood this sweet young thing in a short green dress and what seemed like wings sown on the back.
“Did you through this book at me last night?” she asked.
“No.” I replied, “A friend did. He got drunk and was mad that I was reading it rather than go drinking with him. I am sorry if it hit you.”
“It didn’t but I saw your window close, but as it was rather late I decided to drop it off this morning. I read it and found it interesting. Maybe we could discuss it over coffee some time.”
“Sure but why are you dressed like a fairy?”
“I work at the theme park downtown as a pixie. I live in Apt. 8 so if you are interested we can grab that coffee some time. I’ve got to go or I’ll be late for work. Bye.”
Well I watched out the window to see her but never saw her leave. I then remembered two things, first we don’t have a theme park and second there are only six flats in this building. That was it; I grabbed my sack, threw in a couple boxes of ammo, the book and headed back to the house. I was going to put the book in the shelf and leave for good. It dawned on me that it might be boarded up now as either the police had noticed the door down or someone had called them.
Freaking place, the door was back and once again opened for me, as if it had never been dismantled. Well fuck that I thought I sure am not sticking around. So I was almost half way out the door when I saw that damn Royal Crown bag sitting on the side table and it looked like it was full of paper. Next thing I knew I was picking it up, untying the draw string and emptying all the messages that had accumulated onto the table. I picked one up and started reading them.
“Glad you came back, it wouldn’t be the same without you.” “Okay, let’s get a few things straight. Time is running out and if you do not come through now, your opportunity will be lost.” “Grab what things you would like to bring with you in a box or bag and get the show on the road.” “Gillian seems to like you and looks forward to boinking your brains out.” “I am waiting.” I won’t go on as most of the messages were of the same ilk. I picked up my pen and wrote, “Don’t hold your breath waiting as I am not coming so fuck off and go find another us.” I threw it into the bag along with a pixie stick I had brought from the store. I was about to close it when I thought of another note and wrote.”If you don’t stop sending notes I will burn this bag with mage fire and your little house too.” I hope he/I bought into the bluff.
I tied the bag and started on a walk to cool down and relieve the stress that had been building up. Now don’t get me wrong Gillian was pretty, hell to be honest she was the hottest blue eyed blonde I had ever seen. To think that she wanted to boink my brains out was tempting but for all I know I could be lying. Wait a minute, when did I start thinking of him as me? Now I don’t know about you but I believe in Free Will and I don’t care who says I have to do something. I don’t, if I don’t want to. I stopped into the barista to get a “double double” to go and continued on my walk. I decided to go to the park and sit for awhile, that always seemed to relax me. I was sitting on the bench snoozing with my coffee cooling when I heard a horse whiny. I looked up and there was a mounted police man and a German Sheppard, straight out of ‘Sgt. Preston of The North West Mounted’.
“Yes?” I asked.
“Should you not be somewhere else?” he replied.
“Nope, I am where I am supposed to be and right where I want to be.” I said.
“Well we think that you are being difficult and not very accommodating to yourselves. You should go back and do as you have been asked.”
“Who are the we that you are talking about? Should I call a cruiser to investigate your authenticity as a police officer?”
With that he and his dog left me to my cold drink and warm sunshine.
I sat for a while when a young girl came over to me and asked why I was in the park alone. I told her that I was thinking about things and enjoying the day and listening to her and her friends playing. I also asked her didn’t her mommy ever tell her not to talk to strangers? As she skipped away I could swear that she said something like “I won’t have a mommy if you don’t go to her daddy.” I looked up and it looked like she had small wings on her dress.
Now this was getting annoying. What the fuck was wrong with the universe, hadn’t it ever been refused before? Well it was now and as far as I was concerned the next living being that went on about this I would shoot dead. Damn it to Hell.
So have you ever had one of those days where you regret saying or thinking things? This it seemed was mine. I got up and started for home and stopped in the take-out restaurant for a doctor non approved meal with whatever it is that they pass off as a milkshake. You know the ones I mean; they are so thick that you can feel you sphincter pucker up, your scrotum pull up into your body and your eyes bulging out of your head from trying to drink it. I am sure that they are not made from milk, probably petroleum by-products made to thin out the herd. The entire planet should only have about two billion people and we are quickly closing in on ten billion, am I right?
Well I get home and I am setting out my meal with great anticipation, not. When I notice smoke coming under my door, just great now they’re trying to burn me out I think. As I get up to check the door for heat, the smoke starts to swirl into the form of a man.
A Vampire? They send a fucking blood sucker after me? Well I did say I’d shoot the next living being dead and if he is already dead then I guess I cannot do that eh.
“What the hell do you want?” I ask, not too graciously.
“I have come to talk to you about what has been going on with you.”
“Just talk? And if I still won’t co-operate then I’ll join the undead, right? Oh and what happened to knocking? You die and lose your manners do you?”
“I do apologize but I did not expect to be a welcomed guest, so to speak. I am surprised that you accept that I can enter without being invited. Most people think that is a given and become angry as well as frightened when they realise that is not true.”
“Naw, I realise that is from Hollywood Land. What I do find amazing is that you came at all, I mean I did make my decision well known did I not?”
“Yes, but I hope you realise that we all must play our parts to keep things running smoothly like they are suppose to.”
“Okay, what is your pitch and if I listen to your spiel will you answer some questions for me? Honestly?”
“But of course, if I am able to. Just let me start off that if you are trying to hold me until sunrise, it will not affect me.”
“Naturally that too is Hollywood Land. Would you like something to eat I bought a couple of burgers and fries plus a Maxsize Milkshake. I would be willing to share if you can partake of it.”
“Thank-you, I can eat and drink human food and would like to try your local cuisine.”
With that I got up and got a plastic glass to pour half of my shake for him. I passed him one of the burgers and shook some fries into the box’s lid. I sat down and nodded my head for him to start his exercise in futility.
“You understand much readily.” He started off. “Well as you might have surmised you are the current you to be exchanged with yourself. When you arrive the ‘you’ there will be moved to another existence where he will prove to be well fitted to solve its problems. Now seeing as you have not been set up to exchange with your replacement it seems that your world might go for years until you are forgotten or a need for you to be here arises. Am I making sense?”
“Yes and you have answered one question that I had.” I replied.
“Good. Now I want you to know that you will adapt easily to your new world. There are many friends that you will make as well as allies in your battles. You will even probably find love.”
“Okay, are you a friend or an ally?” I inquired of him. “What do you mean by battles? There is nothing in my life that qualifies me for battles in any form.”
“Contrary to what you believe, you are qualified. As for us being friends and allies at first we were not to be but your refusal to co-operate has forced TPTB to move up certain things to adapt for your tardiness. In fact I didn’t know about this alternate world thingy until Gillian came to me and explained what was wrong. I didn’t believe her at first, I mean one of you was bad enough but multiples? Give me a break, you know. She then pointed out that the you I was planning to attack is much younger than the you I previously had run-ins with. She told me how You had not been enticed by her; how I will never understand as she is the sexiest pixie I have ever known. Hell, she can even make my blood run hot. She also told me that you had threatened an Imperial Guardian causing him to run off frightened.”
Okay, if TPTB are all that powerful why not just either find another me or wait to see if I go there and let things unfold as they should. I mean letting everyone know about this alternate crap cannot be very good for business, know what I mean?”
“Normally they do adapt easier but you are actually the first you that has ever been this damn headstrong about not moving. This burger and fries, as you call them, are good what are they made of? This shake thing though, I have had congealed blood that was easier to drink.”
Now that last bit was little more info than I needed to hear. Unfortunately for Drac, I still was not convinced to leave my life behind. I told him so and offered my hand to shake good-bye; he of course had to be told what I was doing. Just before escorting him to the door I asked him how could he be sure that when he got back home that he wouldn’t forget all of what had just happened? He looked at me like I was kidding, shook his head and said it would have been fun and left.
That night I didn’t fall asleep as readily as I normally do. I thought about how all these peeps seemed to be so concerned with my decision. I suddenly knew what that woman, in the adverts, who needs the sleep inducing liquid must feel like. I tossed and turned, I couldn’t get the thoughts of Vampires and pixies out of my head. Finally I made my decision and a great light brightened my room, it was the sunrise. There was no way that I was going and nothing would change my mind. I heard my neighbour say good morning to me, I went to the door and opened it to reply and there I was.
“Get in here!” I told myself as I pulled me into the apartment. “What the hell do you think you are doing?” I asked. “Well seeing as Mohammed would not come to the mountain, I came to you.” was my reply.
I never knew how insufferable I could be until now. Why I was a central point in the Multiverse I would never figure out. I guess we all must be something but why a main jackass?
Now why I was surprised to see myself is actually amazing. It’s not like anything out of the ordinary had not been happening these past few days. I chopped it up to the meeting yourself time travelling paradox, I expected to create an alternate universe or destroy this one. Then it dawned on me, I was an alternate universe that already existed. I was not time travel meeting myself, I was alternateverse meeting myself. I was safe or was I? I now wondered what I was up to. Knowing myself it had to be something sneaky. Very sneaky, at that.
It was then that I noticed myself reaching to grab me; I quickly moved away from myself and thus missed me. I saw a twig appear from his/my sleeve and he started muttering under his breath. He had a genuine look of shock on his face when nothing happened. Uhuh, he had tried magic. Only to find that it doesn’t exist in this my world.
Now generally I am a calm and gentle person but this dickhead was trying my patience. So I grabbed him and smacked his head against the wall. He was out like a light and while he was I tied him up to a chair. I then threw ice water on his face and when he came to I showed him a butcher knife.
“Well boyo”, I say “I guess you are not as smart as me. I would have tried the wand trick before I got to you, to see if it worked first.”
“Maybe that is why they want you to take over.” He replies giving me the evil eye.
“Look mate, I don’t give a rats arse why they want me. I don’t want anything to do with them. Once they get that understood we can all get on with living.” I tell him.
“Now let me ask you what would happen if I kill you here and now. Leaving your world with no me?” I can see him thinking this over and finally he says, “I really don’t know. It has never happen to my knowledge.”
“Well if you give me your word I will untie you and you can go back home. Maybe they have started a talent search and Simon has put some unlucky bastard through.” I say.
He does and I do. As he is heading towards the door he asks me why I am so much against this.
“Simple, I wasn’t asked. They didn’t buy me dinner and a drink. Nor did they kiss me first; you know I like to be kissed when I get screwed. All of those reasons apply but mainly They did not ask.” With that I opened the door and saw him out. I knew he would not return, after all I am a man of my word. So I got dressed, oh did I forget to tell you I was still in my boxers? I got dressed and went for my morning walk.
I decided to walk pass the house to see if they finally got the message. It was still there so I went in to sort of say good bye. I admit once again I was surprised, for there sitting in the chair was me reading a book. This was not the me that had just left but a much younger me about ten or eleven years old. I coughed and he looked up and I am sorry but I could not resist it and said, “Hi mini me.”
He looked at me and smiled and said hi back. Then he began to shine and this time it had nothing to do with the sun. It was as those kids had described what happened at Lourdes. I looked about for the dimmer that the Ghost of Christmas Past had carried with it. He must have realised that I was willing to snuff him out because he dimmed it down a few notches.
“Okay, let’s have it what do you want to say; other than you must do it for the sake of The Multiverse. If all those superheroes in comics can survive so many changes why can’t you or it or whatever?”
“First we apologise for not asking you. In all the millennia that we have been doing this we have never had you refuse.”
“Maybe that is because you never had Me before. Do you actually think that coming and giving a half hearted request will change my mind?” I asked.
“Actually we are sorry and not because we did a more intense look into you either. It seems that you are the real you. That is why when we tried to move you on our own it didn’t work.”
“I find that hard to believe.” I replied. “How can that be? I have no special powers or abilities, I’m just average.”
“That is why all your other selves can adapt and have various special abilities . Most others of your ilk all have the same abilities and/or powers as their other selves. Now let’s talk about how we get you into this adventure, with little or nothing down.”
“Why would I want to get involved? I am happy where I am in my life and with who I am. I accepted long ago my abilities or rather my lack thereof. Knowing that you could come back at any time, wanting me to move again, to the next branch office at any time. I will have made friends and lovers and then you will expect me to leave them behind. No way José is my reply.”
He sat for a moment in deep thought, “What if we stipulate that if you move you can take certain people with you providing that they agree?”
“You must allow that anyone who now knows about me will remember all of this. Also Drac and Gillian must be friends and allies with me; I find them both interesting and fun.” I stipulated.
“His name is Varney not Drac. Those that want to be friends and/or allies will make that decision on their own. Does this mean that you agree to go?”
“No, I just wanted to see how far you are willing to pervert your standards.” Suddenly there was a bright light and I was in the field, which had previously held the house, alone. I looked about and noticed that the area looked as I remembered it before all of this had started. I continued my walk and headed home.
In my apartment I sat and thought about the past few days, had I made the right decision? Did I make it because I enjoyed my life or was I just being pigheaded? It was then that I heard my name in a Regal commanding voice. I looked about and there in the corner was a wisp of purple-gold light. The voice said, “I am glad that you are finally thinking this out and I understand your reluctance. I do need you to accept this position and to travel to the world that will soon need your abilities.”
“What abilities?” I asked.
“Being average. That is what is needed now. Don’t worry you will gain knowledge and be given allies to do the things that you currently cannot.” The light seemed subdued and the voice was pleasing but still I had concerns.
“If I do go the things I asked for will be as I meant. I don’t want to have to worry about having to count my fingers.”
“That’s Luke not me.”
“No, that is all of you. You play with mortals as if we are Kens and Barbies. You take us apart and you put us back together in twisted forms for your amusement. I have learnt something through this and believe me you don’t want to make me mad.”
“Will you go?” HE asked.
“Yes but I want it to be dignified, not through some whiskey marketing bag. I want my exits and entrances to be as follows. I want the book shelf to slide aside and behind it a pole that I can slide down into the next world. I want my house in any world that I reside in to always be the turreted one that started all of this. I want it protected against violence and evil and that it can never be destroyed. I want my clothes to be what I find to be comfortable but neither shabby nor highfalutin. I want my jeans, ranch style shirts, good hiking boots, sneakers and comfortable slippers. I want my FNS-40 and enough ammo to last my lifetime. I want to be able to have my favourite foods from here and share them with Varney and others. I also want to be able to make my own decisions without interference from you or anyone with authority from you. They can advise, suggest, etc. but they can not unduly influence me. If this is acceptable let me know. Oh, if I talk to you I want to know that you are listening.”
Suddenly my knapsack appeared beside me. I looked at it and noticed all my required things were neatly packed inside and it looked bigger on the inside than it did on the outside. I slung it on my shoulder and walked out the apartment door for what might be the last time. I went to my home and as I approached it I knew that is exactly what it was. I opened the door and went inside to the library. I slid the book shelf aside and sure enough there was the pole. I could hear sounds rising up as if a party was in progress and then I heard my voice yell “Hey get your arse down here, I can only stay a little while seeing you took so long.” I looked out the window and as I grabbed the pole I started to have second thoughts, again. I grabbed the pole and started the slide.
“Here goes nothing.” I thought. “I just hope that I don’t show up in spandex.”