A while ago I read Alice in Wonderland. It inspired me with a question. How far down the rabbit hole can a book really go? Years later I devised an extra-dimensional, multiple-reality story that went so far askew that I had to invent a system of keywords, colored text, and varied fonts to help keep the reader anchored. It seemed pretty far fetched, despite being a great mind bender. But now they have proven the Higgs Boson exists… And its all much more likely. I have a short summary in my resume. If you want to read it, just ask!
“Who are you?” Doug insisted.
“I’m you, of course,” the other person said. “I guess since you have a twin you’re used to seeing people with your same face talk to you. Everybody else kind of freaked out.” He pulled the chair out from Doug’s computer desk and sat down on it comfortably as if this was really his own home.
“Me? How can you be me? I’m me!” Doug’s voice suddenly went loud and he recoiled, hoping he hadn’t awakened his parents.
“I’m not you in the strict sense,” he explained with dramatic hand gestures. “I’m you from a different reality.”
“I must be dreaming,” Doug muttered.
“Even if you are, it doesn’t make any difference. Dreams are no less real than anything else in our lives.”
“How did you get here?”
“I just swapped realities. Actually, I’ve been looking through a lot of different realities trying to find the others like me and, of course, you.”
“Because you’re me! Now stop asking stupid questions until I’m finished explaining or I’ll just leave you here on your own to think you’re crazy or some other nonsense.”
“Okay,” Doug said, wondering why he had agreed. In the dimly lit room with stark shadows from the moon, this all seemed less real than any of the other recent events. He was starting to think he might actually hate himself or whatever self-portrait figment of a self this was.
“Have you ever heard of M theory? Or maybe string theory?”
“Yes, but I don’t really know what it is.”
“Forget it. I’ll give you the simple version. Every time somebody makes a choice, reality splits and both of the results of that choice are played out separately.”
“Jessica said something about this earlier.”
“So you’re one of the Jessica Dougs?” His eyes squinted and jaw clenched so he exaggerated the name ‘Jessica’. He pulled a small spiral notebook with a light blue cover out of one pocket, flipped it open and began writing notes with a short pencil from the same pocket.
Eventually Doug interrupted him, “Why, what’s wrong with Jessica?”
“You are a distractible Doug, for sure. I was going to call you Doppledoug, but now I think I’ll call you Distractedoug. Just listen, okay. No interruptions.
“Anyway, there are many decisions we all make every day that don’t really change anything in the future. So, whether you eat wheat-biscuits or corn-rings for breakfast doesn’t make much difference down the line. In those cases, the different realities merge back together.”
He put his wrists together and splayed his fingers. “These many different realities continue to co-exist until eventually they either all converge or become permanently separate. Some people are so insignificant in the world that when the last one of them dies, all their realities disappear. Isn’t it sad? That’s not going to happen to me.
“As you can guess there are innumerably many different realities all happening at the same time. There are infinitely many. Are you following me?”
Doug said. “I have a question. What’s your name?”
“Doug. Same as you. Didn’t you just hear me say it seems to have something to do with the name?” This last part came with an irritated huff.
Doug couldn’t imagine two of himself. But apparently there were not just two. “How many Dougs are there?”
“Who knows? I’ve found a few dozen so far. If there are an infinite number of realities, than logic would imply there may be infinitely many of us that can do these things.”
“There are infinitely many realities?” Doug repeated. “Does that mean every possible reality exists? Is there some place where dragons really exist or fish talk?”
“But if there are infinitely many …”
“Don’t be stupid! There are many different realities, but they are all real! No unicorns or whatever. They are all just the varied consequences of different choices. Nobody ever made a choice which determined if fish would or would not talk. So even though there are many discreet realities, and some are pretty bizarre, they are in fact real realities, not imaginary. For the fancy stuff you have different dimensions.”
Doug knew this information was important somehow. He wasn’t listening because he had already thought of another question. He asked, “So, if all these realities are separate, how do you just switch over to a different one?”