The Fractal Universe.
You know. You know. You know. And you know, but you really don't know. And you thought you did.
A caveat of being able to go anywhere, anytime and pretty much anyplace is that you have so many choices that you get fried by it. Not chicken fried. Not grease or turkey fried, but just plain burned out.
I remember the first time after I discovered my ability to side step our world that I got so damn slap happy about it, like a drunk drunk on being drunk. Does that make sense?
I was so lost to the possibilities that my new found toy had created for me that I spent the next month zippy do dah-ing here there and everywhere. I was kind of the Tinker Bell of exploration, magic dust, time and space and fractal swerves and curves of dimensional extra reality. I know that sounds kind of heady, maybe even a bit intellectual...but the damned truth of it all was that I was so giddy about no longer being frozen in time and space that I pretty much almost become unstuck from it.
Had that happened. ...well, I guess you might not know about me now, or be reading these journal entries I've put together to explain my kind of rowdy existence to this point in time
The hardest part of all of this has not been the side stepping into the Fractal Universe and back here, but deciding where to go next pretty much. You just don't realize how bigggggggg that place is. Even Neil deGrasse Tyson would have heartburn trying to explain it, let alone make all the digits of its wide open spaces come to any kind of sense he or pretty much anyone else could explain in any kind of terms that were recognizable without actually side stepping yourself.
I'm not bragging here. I'm not really a braggart.
Well, maybe a wee bit.
Sometimes a lot.
But I always have a B exit. Meaning, a way out of my own nonsense.
If I don't keep humble, Patti manages to derail my ego pretty good. Another reason it's great that I didn't get lost all those times, because without her to anchor my life, I'd be a rudderless ship on a typhoon tossed sea. A cork going down the drain of life.
I have to smile here, because corks sure can have a lot of fun as they make that last Wahoo spiral of the drain tumble.
"Good morning, Vietnam!" I greeted the kiddies as they marched dutifully into my science class, ear buds bristling from their cute pink ears, nuzzling Cheetoes beneath their nostrils and lolly pops stuck squarely beneath the brow of their mouths.
The bell rang.
I waited about twenty seconds. The dark intercom would usually blast about twenty five seconds into the class and I would get interrupted by the Pledge of Allegiance...which not so many take seriously anymore, not even the adults who do it...and countless, long winded descriptions of class projects that had won this or that prize and kids who had made the honor roll of Chief Whatamucka's Tribal Ceremonies.
Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the need to show achievement. We all have within ourselves the capacity to achieve great things, I just get a bit frazzled on all the corny bits of molasses that the kids have to suck down on their way to liberating their minds...if they do that is.
My experience is that most of them are no more than cogs in a great corporate wheel of exploitation that cares little for the individual spirits that turn the cogs, and even less care for what becomes of them.
Am I a fighter against corporations?
You be the judge.
"I gotta pee, Mister K." Morris said in his usual dry manner, squeezing his legs together to mime being urgent.
"I just saw you exiting the girl's bathroom, Morris, ten minutes ago. I'm assuming that was to relieve you then, or do I need to go to the Dean and report this little error?"
Morris suddenly straightened and sat back down.
The class broke into laughter.
He wasn't a bad kid, just an over privileged one that thought the whole universe ran by his clock. Wrong! It doesn't do that for anybody or anyone. Here, there or anywhere. The universe is our friend as much as we befriend it, but sometimes it can nip us in the butt when we're least prepared and it's best to be flexible enough to whip our asses back out of the way as fast as possible, so we lose as little tail feather as possible.
"Today, class I'd like to take you on a small detour of reality."
Shandel raised her hand, which held the usual lolly pop in it.
I glared at her.
She quickly dunked it out of sight in her lap.
The kids laughed again. "Gotchu!" They hollered.
She blushed, but kept her other hand up.
"Last one you took us on caused a few odd things to happen."
"You nervous or scared?"
She looked around. Everyone was watching her intently and waiting for her next words. She took a deep breath and made the plunge. "Hell yes!
I pressed the button on my desk and a foghorn blew, then a chicken cackled and cannon went off.
When the dust settled...I had rigged some fine dust to powder the room with sparkly things when the sounds erupted...the kids were smiling, admiring each other's head which was properly decorated with glowing bits.
Not as cool as mine. Mine are deftly combed and glued to the top of my head. Today was mustard day and I had yellow swirls mixed with globs of green. Kind of a polka dot chicken color, or a toad with smallpox.
"But seriously." I went on. "Shandel has a point. A lot of adventures...and I consider science to be one of the greatest adventures bar none...except maybe figuring out who God is, but who alive can do that...a lot of adventures are dead ends that lead to dull lives and little or no true progress for humanity, let alone the individual."
"Uh. I disagree." Morris said without raising his hand.
Everyone looked at him. It was a rare thing for him to get it right when Mister K spoke, so they were making quick bets among themselves as to whether he would get it this time.
I held my hands up and the class settled down. "Yes, Morris?"
"The invention of corporations has made our world a safer place."
I pressed another button on my desk. It made a dull sound like Eeyore of Winnie the Pooh all sad in a thousand different ways at the same time.
The class laughed. Even Morris, until he realized it was about his words.
I leaned forward, my face straight, and my lips firm. "Morris, the world is on the brink of total economic collapse again, the majority of people on the planet are seeing all their wealth vanish into the hands of a few, the oceans are rising, the poles are vanishing, it rains where it's wet now and dries where it's dry. All of that is because corporations are more interested in accumulating profits than helping the masses or the planet."
"I don't agree."
I didn't press the button again. I waited.
Morris stood up. "Without corporations we'd have no Big Macs, no KFC, no Big Size 'Ems, and no Christmas in July."
He sat down, proud of his display of uncanny insight.
I sighed and sat down on the edge of my desk.
I didn't speak to Morris. More like to myself as I knew the majority of the kids in the room felt the same as Morris. None of them would want to give up their Big Macs, their KFC or their endless games that made tons of plastic heaps in the ocean and landfills around the world.
"It's a wise man who is able to admit it when he smashes his nose into a wall, and realizes it's so solid he can't make it through, rather than keeps butting it over and over until he blood well kills himself."
The room fell into a deathly silence.
Had I made my point?
Then Morris farted.
The room became a chaos of laughter and lesson was over.
I flicked off the overhead lights and turned on the projector. I let its beam play out on the screen behind my desk and stepped aside, as if about to show a movie. It wasn't going to be a movie. I was going to side step a part of myself and use my Smartphone to catch glimpses of the inside of one of the many Fractal Universes I had seen.
As the first images began to roll on the screen, the laugher in the room subsided and students leaned forward. Some looked like they were horrified. Some looked titillated. Some looked fascinated, but all were definitely caught up.
I set the camera to automatic, and then carefully orchestrated a move to t he side of the room in the shadows. As I did so I noticed that two men had slipped into the room through the hallway door when my back had been turned.
I pretended not to notice them. But I had. Very much so.
Before the kids could realize what those two men were doing there, or even that they were there at all, I had sidestepped between them, seized them both by an arm and sidestepped to the top of my favorite peak.
As the men struggled I said to them. "I wouldn't do anything too demanding or you might have guests soon."
The two men shook me off.
I stepped off the edge, but didn't fall.
That's when they realized I wasn't in the same world as before. Neither were they.
They both reached for weapons holstered in their suits.
I sidestepped and slipped the weapons easily from their hands and tossed them over the edge. I stepped back, took a quick peek as my favorite fractal critter carnivores gobbled up the weapons as they plunged headfirst and lots of teeth first upwards towards where the three of us stood.
I sat down and patted the fractal flower moss and flowers nearby.
"Have a seat, gentlemen."
They glared at me.
I smiled. "Have it your way then. So what is your B plan?"
They gave me blank looks.
I shook a finger over my neck. "In about thirty seconds the top of this peak is going to be overrun by about a billion or two fractal critters with teeth too large and appetites even larger. I would suggest opening up a line of communication before I get bored and side step out of here."
Their eyes grew round as moons.
I sighed and stood up.
"He sent you two to stop me and didn't even tell you what you were going to be facing?"
They shook their heads.
I sighed again and side stepped them to the Antartic near a United Nations post. They would get really cold, but not freeze to death if t hey hustled their butts to the post ASAP.
I side stepped back into my classroom and flicked off the Smartphone and withdrew it from the Fractal Universe I had stashed it.
I flicked on the lights.
Morris was sitting there with his mouth open so wide that a swarm of flies could have landed safely there.
"That's just incredible!" He said.
"Anyone able to tell me or describe what they saw?"
Shandel raised her hand.
"Yes, Shandel. Can we draw w hat we saw?"
I glanced at the clock. I had been gone almost the entire class period and they hadn't even noticed. I wondered how much bubble gum I would find under the tables this time.
I nodded. "Homework. Each of you draw best as you can what you saw."
The bell rang.
The class funneled out of the room, back to lollypops, Smart phones, ear buds spouting music into their brains, nudging each other, elbowing each other and generally having a great time. It was the end of the school day too and the week.
Patti appeared in the doorway like clockwork.
"I couldn't refuse them entrance. Are you okay?"
"The real question is...are they?"
"What did you do, Chess?"
I grinned. "Let's just say I put a little Popsicle up their butt!"
She gave me a blank look.
The two men that Chesterton had sent to the Antarctic stood in snow parkas outside the UN Post, with Marines guarding them as a huge helicopter swooped in. It landed amidst a swirl of furious white snow and then the Tall Man stepped out.
He saluted the Marines, who saluted back.
"Gentlemen." He told the two men. "I think I owe you a little ride."
The first man grinned. "They couldn't keep us here even if hell froze over."
Their faces looked relieved as he led them to the chopper. As they climbed inside their friendly banter vanished. A squad of armed men in white sat inside, their weapons trained on them.
"Inside please." The Tall Man urged.
The two men stepped inside.
The Tall Man sat opposite them as the door slammed shut and the chopper lifted. He gave them his best smile. "I hear you made a little mistake."
The two men looked at each other. Hell had just frozen over.