The Carbon Footprint Challenge

Laura sits down in front of her computer and activates her webcam. She checks her makeup in the image on her computer and makes a slight adjustment to blush and primps her eyelashes. There’s a little too much back light coming from the window of her second story bedroom, so she gets up and draws the curtains in slightly while checking to see the adjustment to the lighting on her webcam. Perfect!

She sits back down in front of her computer, looks down, and let’s out a big sigh. She opens her social streaming application to get ready to broadcast her message through all of her social media accounts at the same time. She smiles. 80K followers!

“This is going to be the most important live stream I have ever delivered,” she thinks as she pauses for a moment to reflect on the profundity of her upcoming address. She opens her notes she’s been writing in preparation for her important address and reviews them, sometimes mumbling a word here and there allowed. She reads a few lines several times, practicing her intonation. She looks at her social media follower count… She smiles. 320K followers!

She looks at the time on her computer: 9:50 AM. There’s a knock on her bedroom door, and she hears her mother and father ask if they can come in. She gets up and opens the door and gives them both a big hug.

“I’m so proud of you,” her father says cheerfully, while simultaneously holding back tears.

“I love you, Laura.” Her mother steps back from Laura to look her in her tear filled eyes. “You are so courageous!” she says, holding Laura’s shoulders and smiling the biggest smile Laura has ever seen before.

The three of them talk a bit more about her speech, and her mother shares some tips with her on what words to emphasize more than Laura had planned. “Thank you for the advice, mom. I love you so much!”

Laura looks passed her parents and at her much younger brother standing at the other end of the hallway. “I love you Phillip.”

Her brother stands with his arms folded and a scowl on his face and says nothing at first. Their parents both turn to him, and he quickly unfolds his arms, adjusts his posture and smiles. “I love you too, butthead.”

#

Laura sits down in front of her computer, checks her makeup again, and primps her eyelashes. The back light has changed a little, so she gets up and opens the curtains slightly while checking to see the adjustment to the lighting on her webcam. Perfect!

She sits backs down and opens the top drawer in her desk and pulls out a box with a label of Xavier Environmental Technology and places it on the desk directly in front of her. Her heart is racing. She holds her hands around the box and closes her eyes for a couple of minutes to meditate and relax.

She sits back in her chair, takes a deep breath, holds it for a count of seven and then let’s her body completely relax as she exhales. She looks at her social media follower count… She smiles. 480K followers!

Her phone rings. It’s a video chat from Rebecca! “Right on time, Becks!” Laura says as she accepts the call and holds her phone up so that her friend can see her.

“Oh my God, Laura! I’m so excited for you! Have you seen your follower count?”

“Yes! This is going to be so amazing! So, tell me everything!”

“Laura! I’m really at a loss for words for how amazing this place is! Remember that time we went to Belize and got lost in the rain forest and saw that family of sloths? I went back there as soon as I arrived! It was just as magical as it was when we went. So green! No pollution! No logging destroying the rain forest anymore!”

“That sounds so amazing! I can’t wait to be there with you!”

“Oh, and all the other people here are just awesome! Completely helpful, beautiful souls! There’s beauty all around, and it’s going to be even more beautiful once you’re here!”

They both let out glee as they smile at each other. “I love you so much, Becks!”

“I love you too, rawr-bear! Now get your butt here! We’re going to Europe as soon as you arrive.”

#

Laura’s eyes begin to water as she looks at her social media follower count… 800K followers! She holds back her tears and looks at the time on her computer: 10:30AM.

“Time to go viral!” She starts her live stream.

“I’m here to save the world, and I’m not going to apologize for it!” Heart and thumbs up emojis go flying across her screen, and Laura smiles.

“When my friend Becky called me out on the Carbon Footprint Challenge a month ago, I initially didn’t know what to think or do. I have to admit…” She pauses as tears fill her bright blue eyes. “I was a little angry! But I realized that I shouldn’t be angry with Becky. I should be angry with the excessive deforestation that she’s calling attention to. I should be angry with the excessive pollution that she’s calling attention to. I should be angry that I haven’t used my position of economic and social privilege to do more about the exploits and destruction of our environment and the environment of the underprivileged.”

A tear rolls down her right cheek. She looks at her social media follower count… She smiles. 1.5M followers! Heart and sad emojis go flying across her screen.

“I’m taking a stand for our planet! I’m staking a stand for the oppressed! I’m taking a stand for those who don’t have the privilege I do, for those whose lives and families are effected by my excessive carbon foot print!”

Heart emojis go flying across her screen. Laura smiles and lifts up the box in front of her. “I’m going to read you these beautiful words from this great company that’s going to help save our planet.”

Congratulations on making an important contribution to help save our planet. Enclosed is your pathway to a reduced carbon footprint and a better world. This will reduce your carbon footprint to 1/100th of the expected carbon footprint based upon your DNA testing and social privilege scoring. The nanotechnology enclosed can ONLY be administered by Laura Elizabeth Harris. To activate the nanotechnology, first place your finger on the fingerprint scanner. This will allow you to then enter the 5 digit PIN you selected when you ordered your Global Climate Administration approved Carbon Output Reduction & Utopian Technology system. Upon entry of your PIN, you will then be prompted to state your full name. Only YOUR voice under no duress can activate your uniquely created nanotechnology and unlock the box. Remove the pill inside and swallow with 4-6 oz. of water. Lay down in a safe space with the box on your chest. Relax. Thank you for being a world saver! You will be greeted by an on-boarding specialist upon arrival. See you soon.

Laura follows the instructions. The box opens and reveals a fingernail-sized light blue pill. She swallows it with a cup of water lies down on her bed, which is in-frame of her webcam. She gets comfortable. Then she jumps up and walks over to her computer.

She looks at her social media follower count… She smiles. 5.1M followers! Heart and sad emojis go flying across her screen. She looks into her webcam “I love you all, and I challenge each and every one of you to the Carbon Footprint Challenge. I hope to see all you fellow planet savers soon!” She turns to go back to her bed, pauses, and turns to face her computer. “I’ll see you soon, Becky!”

#

Laura lies down on her bed, places the box on her chest, places her hands by her side, and closes her eyes. A green light on the box begins to flash faster and faster until it turns to a solid green. Laura opens her blue eyes and her pupils widen. She smiles. The green light turns to blue and Laura’s eyes close as her body goes limp.

The Observers

Fredrick opens the door to a room that looks like a spherical medical observation deck. Four observers are floating in all directions around a central point in the middle of the room. Jennifer enters the room with Fredrick, and three of the observers fly passed them and out the open door into the hallway. The door closes and Jennifer enters a vortex that has her floating around the center point just like the observers.

Fredrick smiles and laughs as Jennifer is tumbling in all sorts of directions. “You need to stabilize your thoughts and focus on the observation point.” Fredrick tell Jennifer as she continues to swirl and spin in all directions.

Fredrick floats over to the remaining observer as Jennifer begins to slow down as she concentrates on the observation point in the center of the room. At first, it was just a white light, but as she focuses she’s able to see slight changes in color and eventually figures moving around within the observation point.

She hears her grandmother’s voice and loses concentration and begins to fly out of control again. Fredrick reaches out and grabs her by her leg and brings her spiraling down next to him. He holds her steady next to him and continues speaking to the observer.

As Jennifer steadies herself next to Fredrick, she has this eerie sense that she’s being watched. “Fred, something doesn’t seem right. I feel like I’m being watched.”

“Great, Jennifer! Now, look into the observation point and focus on that feeling of being watched.”

Jennifer looks into the observation point and can see herself laying in the spaceship her and Fredrick have been traveling on. “Fred, I see myself on our spaceship, but I don’t see you.”

“Focus more on being observed, Jennifer. Focus on that feeling of being watched.”

Jennifer focuses and sees herself now lying in the spaceship but being observed by one of the observers in another observation deck. “It’s one of the observers on this ship, Fred!”

“Look for the deck number near the door.”

Jennifer sees herself open her eyes on the spaceship and then sees herself observing herself through the observation deck. “Deck 37!”

Fredrick and the observer fly out the door as Jennifer is suddenly whisked back into her body on the spaceship. She takes one last look at the observation deck and noticed the deck number is 23.

#

Waking from what seemed like a vivid dream, Jennifer blinks her eyes a few times and then sits up from her reclined chair. Fredrick is not in his chair that was just across the room from her. She frantically logs back into the computer sitting in front of her to check the status of the ship and the logs of all the activity on the ship.

The familiar smell of coffee begins to fill the room, and the computer logs confirm that Fredrick had entered the mess room and made two cups of coffee just a few minutes earlier. Jennifer is startled as Fredrick placed the coffee in front of her.

“I had the craziest dream, Fred.”

“Tell me about it.”

She takes a sip of coffee and savours the flavor and aroma.

“We were on some kind of ship that had a bunch of rooms where these angels would be flying around and observing people.”

“Interesting. Anyone you know?”

“Well, my grandmother but when she was younger. And then at one point I was observing me observing them observing me. If that even makes any sense.”

“Sure, dreams can be weird. But those weren’t angels. They are the observers.”

Jennifer was curious. “Who are the observers?”

“The observers are more of a what than a who. They are entities that exist in the dimension above yours, and they are mostly benign…” Fred pauses. “With the exception of a few. Were there any numbers you remember from your dream?”

“I remember the numbers 23 and 37.”

“Which one was associated with your grandmother?”

“Both. Well, I was in a room 23 where I saw and heard my grandma, and I was being observed from room 37.”

Fredrick’s face shifts to one of worry. “Jennifer, your grandmother is in grave danger!”

#

The doors open to a massive long, dark metal hallway. Jennifer and Fredrick are like ants floating along the hallway with observers passing overhead and entering observation decks along the way. They are standing on a platform that is surrounded by a transparent shield that Fredrick has explained to Jennifer allows them to be invisible to the observers.

Jennifer is wearing a bright yellow armored suit with two small black goggles that allow her to see. She’s holding a large glowing white ball. Fredrick is wearing his usual tattered clothing. Their platform comes to a stop in front of the door for observation deck 23.

“Jennifer, make sure you remember to do exactly what I told you. This door will open. This shield will drop, and you will immediately fly into the room and push the white ball into the chest plate in your suit. You will then be able to see everything inside the room as if you are observing the room from above. The observers will appear as blue objects on your screen. You want to capture all but one of them before the power boost runs out, but you may not be able to distinguish between them. If you capture all of them it’s going to be a lot of work to separate out the one we want to save.”

“I’ve got this, Fred. Remember, my grandma is at stake here!”

“I know Jennifer, but there’s not a second chance for you in this scenario. If you don’t capture each of the observers, it’s game over for you.” Fredrick looks Jennifer in her eyes as if he can see through her armored goggles and straight into her soul. “And it’s game over for your grandmother.”

Jennifer lets out a deep, relaxing breath and gives Fredrick the thumbs up. Nothing happens. Jennifer looks back at Fredrick.

“I believe in you, Jennifer.” He says as he opens the door, drops the shield, and presses the launch button that jolts her into the observation deck!

The four observers instantly head towards Jennifer as she pushes the white orb into her suit’s chest plate. The suit begins to emanate a light yellow glow, and Jennifer is suddenly able to observer the spherical observation deck as if she were at the highest point in the room. The observers heading towards her try changing course, but it’s too late for one of them as it is absorbed into the suit.

“I sure hope that wasn’t the one!” Jennifer screams as she goes flying after the other observers and catches one of them immediately. The other two observers are making quick moves and able to avoid capture.

Jennifer tries to anticipate the observers’ moves but is off the mark and one observer is able to get farther way from her. She’s hot on the trail of the other!

Knowing that she has limited time, she goes to the top of the spherical room and the observer she was chasing begins to slow as it no longer has a bearing on her location. Jennifer descends from atop the sphere directly onto the path of the slowing observer.  Captured!

She then notices that the one remaining observer is on the other side of the sphere. Her suit begins to flash, and the observer begins speeding directly towards her!

“I guess I already got the good one!” She yells as she goes full speed towards the observer!

Right as Jennifer reaches the observer, her suit’s power runs out and she passes directly through the observer.

Jennifer feels like she’s floating slowly through outer space. Her suit is completely unable to move as she struggles to get it to do anything. She wishes she could bang on a wall to let out her frustration for having failed her mission, failed her grandma, failed her husband, failed Fredrick, failed herself. She let’s out a long, loud yell of rage and frustration that doesn’t even escape her suit into the vast observation sphere.

“My name is Gabriel. I mean you no harm, nor your grandmother.”

Her utter frustration turns to peace as she hears Gabriel’s peaceful voice. She feels a surreal sense of love and peace as she floats aimlessly within the vast observation deck with tears welling up in her eyes.

K-9 Forensics

Detective Katie Williams stands outside the house with her partner by her side as the final investigator leaves through the front door and walks down the rain slicked porch steps towards her. She smiles at her colleague as he gives her a nod to acknowledge the crime scene has been cleared for her arrival. He then goes and stands under the large tree next to the sidewalk with the rest of the police officers who had just finished up their work in the house.

“Let’s go.” Detective Williams and her partner walk up the porch steps. She stops at the top of the steps and turns to her partner who sits on the porch, eagerly awaiting her next move. Detective Williams places her suitcase down on the porch, unlatches the case, and opens a virtual super computer center with a small cap with an antenna on the top of it.

The other police officers look on with tremendous anticipation as she reaches down and pulls the cap out of the suitcase and places it on her partner’s head. Panting, with practically a smile on his face, Detective William’s K-9 partner waits for her to strap the cap onto his head. Detective Williams turns on the cap and looks back at the computer in the suitcase. She hands her partner a treat, and the computer displays vital information about the chemical composition of the treat. She hands her partner a different treat, and the computer displays different information about the chemical composition of that treat.

“Obi unit to base, please confirm the correct information regarding the randomly selected treats for baseline.” She turns on the 360 degree camera on Obi’s cap and presses a green button in her suitcase. She can see all of the high-resolution images from Obi’s cameras along a panoramic imaging screen in her suitcase.

“Obi unit, treats accurately identified. You have an all clear for case 26439367.”

A picture of the box of treats is displayed on one of the other screens in front of Detective Williams. It’s the first treat that she gave to Obi. The address of the store selling the treats is displayed along with the address of the factory where the treats were processed and a handful of farms where the ingredients came from. Same happens for the second treat

Detective Williams motions to Obi to enter the home. Within seconds, the computer is displaying readouts of information that she’s scrambling to make notes of. This is the most amount of data Obi’s readings have ever returned. This was a very active crime scene.

The cap on Obi’s head reads Obi’s brain activity and has been programmed to instantly take recognized brain patterns and submit them to police headquarters for analysis to confirm the recognized brain activity. Brain patterns that are not recognized go through a different process where the imaging from the 360 degree camera are included with the submission of the data. That data is then going to be used by Obi’s handlers back at the headquarters to try to identify the substance that created the brain pattern for Obi.

This crime scene is a slam dunk! The scent of the victim is easily identified as are the scents of the two assailants. They are both past offenders, so their K-9 odor pattern is already registered in the criminal justice database.

“Got ’em, sir!” Detective Williams shouts over to the police officers who have been waiting for her. She relays the information to the police, and they hurry on their way to the last known location of these two criminals.

#

Detective Williams sits down on her sofa with Obi and turns on the evening news. “A K-9 forensics unit has led to yet another quick resolution to a murder in the Clarion suburb of Los Angeles today.” She smiles as she changes the channel to Animal Planet.

There’s a knock at the door. Detective Williams is expecting her fiance, so she jumps up eagerly to get to the door. There’s a police officer at the door, and he informs her that the mayor was in an accident on the way home. The mayor and the other driver died at the scene, and they want to inspect for foul play.

She grabs her suitcase and loads it up with Obi in her car and heads for the accident location. Along the drive, it begins to rain. It’s a rarity in Los Angeles, but her shot at getting evidence with Obi is quickly getting flushed away. By the time she reaches the scene, there’s no chance of being able to find evidence as the road is covered in rain, and the gutters are flowing with water.

“This couldn’t be an accident, Obi.” Detective Williams looks at Obi as she pulls to the side of the road to take in the scene. She runs through the scenario played out by the police officer who stopped by her house earlier. She’s picturing the sequence of events in her head as she stares at the rain falling on the road in front of her.

#

The junkyard foreman walks Detective Williams and Obi over to the intake where there are two cars. She recognizes one as the mayor’s and thanks the foreman for showing her the cars. She finds a location sheltered from the rain and unpacks Obi’s cap. She goes through the usual setup procedure, starting with the treat baseline steps.

Obi walks over to the mayor’s car first and begins his inspection. Katie doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary in Obi’s findings. The expected higher than normal bodily fluids in the car from the mayor’s injuries and scents of high stress in his blood found in the car. She directs Obi to the other car.

The driver’s information comes up on one of the screens along with a list of several chemicals found in trace amounts in the car. Katie notices something peculiar about him and the chemicals found in the car. The chemicals trace back to a distribution warehouse in downtown Los Angeles, and it’s not a warehouse where the other driver worked.

“I knew it, Obi!” Obi is almost smiling back at Detective Williams as he comes walking over, tongue halfway out of his mouth.

#

Half a dozen unmarked police vehicles arrive outside the warehouse and a slew of detectives head towards the entrance of the building. Detective Williams and Obi are sitting in the back of a vehicle talking with another two detectives who are remaining in their vehicle to keep watch on the outside of the building.

Obi starts barking aggressively as the detectives head into the building.

“Get them out of there!” Detective Williams screams at her colleagues in the front seat.

It’s too late! An explosion blows the building apart and pushes the car back a couple of feet. Shrapnel from the building lands on top of the car, pinning both of the detectives in the front. Detective Williams’ vision is dazed by the sudden shock and sees a man wearing all black and a hoodie walking towards their car.

Obi is cowering in the foot well of the back seat as the man forcefully breaks open the trunk of the police car with a crowbar and removes the suitcase containing Obi’s cap and machine. Detective Williams reaches for her gun and sees the man raise his glove covered hand with a gun she’s never seen before. “You don’t want to do that, Katie” he says.

Detective Williams stops in her tracks as her eyes widen and her breathing pauses in shock. She’s never heard his voice before. How does he know her name? As quickly as she can think those thoughts, the man pulls out a gun and shoots the detective in the driver’s seat. She’s startled and closes her eyes, fearing she’s next. After a few seconds, she opens her eyes, and the man is nowhere to be seen. Detective Williams looks at Obi as he lifts his muzzle towards her and starts licking the tears from her face. She can hear fire, ambulance, and police sirens in the distance as she closes her eyes and lets out a sigh of relief that at least her and Obi are still alive.

Comedy Sci-fi idea: Parallel Universe Exporting Idiots

Sci-fi doesn’t always have to be action and excitement. An idea I’m kicking around is writing a piece where a parallel universe has discovered how to send people to our universe, so they decided that the best thing for their society is to export all of the people incapable of reasoning and rational thought to our universe. Hence, our humanity’s seemingly downward trajectory in terms of intelligence over the last couple of decades.

The Real Donald Trump (comedy movie idea)

A movie where Quentin Tarantino is making a movie starring George Clooney as the director of a movie about a group of guys (starring Brad Pitt) planning to abduct the President of the United States of America. They get the real Donald Trump to consult an actor playing President Donald Trump for the film. While on set, the real Donald Trump jokes about how it would be funny if they replaced him with the actor because he’s so good at playing Donald Trump. “He’s the only one who can play Donald Trump as well as, me, the real Donald Trump!”

Brad Pitt convinces Tarantino and Clooney that they should keep the real Donald Trump in a Star Waggon for the remainder of his term while the actor replaces him as President and acts completely bizarre the whole time. Once Trump’s term is up, Tarantino and Clooney will release the real Donald Trump without concern of anyone believing him about being abducted because the actor Donald Trump will be playing a complete nut and everyone will think Trump is crazy. Trump overhears the plan and decides to go along with it because he likes the Star Waggon and craft services more than the White House and White House food.

Throughout the remainder of his term, the real Donald Trump gives the actor tips on how to be Donald Trump, and, in essence, keeps running the country while in the Star Waggon. The real Donald Trump loves watching the actor Donald Trump on the TV screens in the Star Waggon, and thinks he’s doing a great job. The American public loves the caricature Donald Trump so much because he’s “so real” that Trump easily wins reelection in 2020 by the biggest landslide since George Washington! Tarantino and Clooney are now stuck with the real Donald Trump for 4 more years.

Meanwhile, the actor Donald Trump starts getting a big head and thinking he’s the one making America great again, and the real Donald Trump realizes he’s created a monster. The real Donald Trump builds a friendship with Tarantino and Clooney, and they grow to love the real Donald Trump and decide to help him realize his dream of making America great again by returning him to office and getting rid of the actor.

The Blue Light

The front door creaks open as Aunt Bethany welcomes Jessica and Gerald home to Grandma’s house. The living room is abuzz with nieces and nephews running to greet them at the front door. The anticipation has been building all day for their arrival, and everyone is joyous as they come through the small foyer of Grandma’s house. They can barely enter with so many nieces and nephews lined up for hugs.

The 20 hours of driving has left them both yearning for the comfort of a soft, warm bed, but they are here for a purpose. As they round the corner of the sofa, there she is: Grandma! The scene is far from their visit just a few months back. Grandma’s body is frail and the signs of Stage 5 Parkinson’s along with arthritis are more evident than ever.

Grandma’s weak body lies as comfortably as possible on one branch of the L-shaped sofa that has cushions replaced with aerated memory foam support pillows and throw pillows replaced with support foam. Her oxygen tank is in easy reach next to a table that holds her oximeter, blood pressure monitor, water cup, treatment log book, and (most importantly) fresh flowers from her daughter’s best friend’s award winning flower garden.

“Jessica and Gerald are here, ma” Bethany says to Grandma.

Grandma tilts her head as far as she is able to her right, which is barely more than a couple of degrees. A big smile arises on Grandma’s face as Jessica kneels down next to her Grandma and holds her right hand. Grandma lifts her left arm over to Jessica and places her clutched hand with shaking thumb and index finger against Jessica’s cheek. Jessica’s eyes begin to well up with tears of love for her grandma as she holds her grandma’s hand against her cheek.

“I love you so much, Grandma.”

“Same here,” Grandma whispers.

“She’s pretty hard to understand with losing her voice a couple of weeks ago.” Bethany catches Jessica and Gerald up on grandma’s condition, which has continued to deteriorate rapidly from day-to-day over the last couple days that they have been on the road. Uncle Gene enters the room and asks Bethany to discuss a few things in the other room.

Jessica continues holding Grandma’s right hand as she lifts her left hand and struggles to point forward. “Blue light.” Grandma utters. Everyone looks around for a blue light in the room, but there is no light. Just the television, which is showing the Chicago Cubs game.

#

Nurse Madison arrives for the routine check on Grandma. She performs the regular vital checks. Grandma’s blood pressure is on the low side, but she’s doing well for Stage 5 Parkinson’s disease. Madison reminds Bethany, Jessica, and Gerald about what to expect for this late stage of Parkinson’s.

“Grandma’s body will continue to fail. The oxygen will help her body, and remember to make sure she is also drinking plenty of water. Just remember that she will have increased difficulty with swallowing as her Parkinson’s progresses further. It will help to sit her as upright as possible while she’s drinking as well as for at least a minute after. Let gravity help.” Madison gives them some additional tips on what will make Grandma as comfortable as possible and then goes on her way.

Gerald walks over to Grandma and sits down at her feet. “You want a foot massage, Grandma?” Grandma nods.

As Gerald begins to massage Grandma’s feet, she utters, “Blue light”. Gerald looks around the room for a blue light or even something with the color blue. The front window curtains are open, and the sky is bright blue. Perhaps that’s the blue light that she’s talking about.

Jessica comes back into the room and sees Gerald massaging Grandma’s feet. Tears well up in her eyes. Over the last couple of days that they’ve been at Grandma’s, Gerald has become Grandma’s favorite caretaker when it comes to moving her. Gerald’s physical strength and love of Grandma makes him the ideal candidate to pick her up and move her when Grandma’s getting sore.

“Move, me.”

Gerald stands up beside the sofa. “Okay, Grandma. Which direction do you want to go?”

Grandma moves her left hand in the direction of the sofa. Gerald reaches behind Grandma’s back and under her legs and gently scoops her up. He slowly places her back down.

“How’s that?”

Grandma shakes her head, and Gerald gently scopes her up and asks Jessica to help adjust the pillow under Grandma’s tailbone. He slowly puts Grandma back down on the sofa.

“How’s that?”

Grandma doesn’t say anything, but Gerald can tell by the look on her face that she’s still not comfortable.

“Grandma, are you lying to me?”

Grandma nods, and Gerald gently scoops her up and tells her, “I’m gonna do this until you’re comfortable, and I don’t want you to lie to me either.”

Jessica adjusts the pillow again, and Gerald places Grandma down in just the right spot. “Now, I’m going to slowly pull my hands away from underneath you. If anything changes and you feel like you’re not in the right position, just let me know. I’ll do this all day if I have to.”

As Gerald starts to stand back up, Grandma reaches for his hand. Gerald pauses and kneels next to Grandma as Aunt Bethany enters the room and starts talking to Jessica. Grandma lifts Gerald’s hand to her mouth with her cold hand and kisses his hand over and over. Gerald’s eyes begin to tear.

He leans over and kisses Grandma on her head. “I love you Grandma.” She slowly lowers her hand holding Gerald’s hand, and he reaches over with his other hand to wrap it around Grandma’s cold hand. “Your hands are very cold, Grandma.”

He sits with Grandma, holding her hand, thinking of all the fun times they’ve had since he met Jessica. Grandma’s body softens as she starts to relax, and Gerald smiles at her. She lets out a deep breath, and her entire body sinks as it relaxes completely. Gerald feels her hand loosen its grip. He looks at Grandma’s face, and something seems different. Her face is completely relaxed; complete peace.

Gerald is eagerly awaiting Grandma’s next breath. He’s carefully watching her torso, waiting for her chest to rise. He leans closer to Grandma’s face, trying to hear her breathing. There’s a quiet noise from Grandma’s torso, and Gerald feels her hips sink slightly underneath his hands that are resting on her lap.

He looks back at Aunt Bethany and Jessica having their conversation and then back to Grandma. Still no movement by Grandma. “Did Grandma just evacuate her bowels? Isn’t that what happens when someone dies?” Gerald thinks to himself as his mind begins to panic.

He rubs Grandma’s hand as a tear falls down his cheek. “It’s okay, Grandma.”

#

Grandma’s mouth starts moving, but she’s not making any noise. Gerald is elated! “Would you like some water, Grandma?”

Grandma shakes her head while she continues to mouth something without making any noise.

Jessica comes over and Aunt Bethany leaves the room. “Can you spell it, Grandma?”

“F”

Gerald is so elated that Grandma isn’t dead! He’s focused on every breath coming out of Grandma’s mouth at the moment.

“A”

Jessica is a bit bewildered by Gerald’s excitement in Grandma spelling something, and she smiles at him, thinking he looks like a kid in a candy store.

“R” Grandma pauses for a couple of breaths.

Jessica leans in towards Grandma. “Are we too far away from you, Grandma?”

Grandma shakes her head. “T!” she says with excitement!

Gerald and Jessica look at each other with a question mark and then back at Grandma. “Do you need to fart, Grandma?”

“I just did.”

Gerald and Jessica’s nostrils start to flare as the both quickly stand up. Gerald starts laughing and tells Jessica the story about watching Grandma’s body relax and stop breathing.

“I really thought she had died in my arms.”

Jessica laughs, “She probably stopped breathing because she knew how bad it smelled!”

Grandma starts to laugh, and the two of them look at Grandma with love in their eyes and smile. She’s still a practical joker!

“Blue light!” Grandma points to her feet.

Jessica tells them that she thinks Grandma is seeing Grandpa as a blue light. Gerald has his own theories about the blue light.

“Blue light!” Grandma points to her feet, and everyone can tell she’s getting a bit frustrated.

Aunt Diana comes around the corner and starts giving her two cents on the blue light, and the three of them are walking around the room looking for anything that has the color blue. One by one, each item is rejected by Grandma.

Aunt Bethany walks into the room and asks what the commotion is all about. Everyone shared their theories about the blue light: it’s grandpa, it’s the sky reflecting on the mirror, it’s the angel of death welcoming her.

Aunt Bethany solves the puzzle, “The humidifier has a light on it, and Grandma likes the blue light the best.” She reaches down by the end table at the side of the sofa where Grandma’s feet are closest and turns on the humidifier. Everyone starts laughing.

“So much significance about the blue light that we all made up, and it’s just a humidifier?” Gerald can barely get the words out as he’s laughing.

Everyone looks over at Grandma who is smiling. “Blue light.”

Computer Entanglement

“I feel like this is exactly where you wanted me to be.” Jennifer looks at the old man standing in front of her.

“But of course you would.” The mad scientist looking old man paces in front of her, slightly hunching as he walks and then upright as he turns to pace back three paces the opposite direction. “You have to help me with a particular opportunity.”

“Sounds to me like you have a problem that you’re trying to spin to me as an opportunity.” Jennifer smiles at the old man. “What should I call you?”

“My name is Fredrick, but you will call me Fred.”

“I’m glad you’re making decisions for me, Fred. Since I was in the neighborhood, I figured I’d stop by and see if you needed any help.” Jennifer sarcastically smirks at Fredrick.

“You find my computer chip, and then I help you. That’s what happens.” Fredrick is speaking in a tone of certainty that Jennifer is familiar with and feeling confident about already about finding his computer chip.

“I’ll assume you already checked your computer, so I’ll need a little more information about the chip to play detective, Fred.”

“Before we begin, I just have one question for you. How did you get into this room?”

Jennifer pauses. A sudden and long sequence of events flashes in her memory. It seems as if she has more than a century of memories running through her mind. Entire events that she feels like she’s living for the first time in that very moment thinking about Fredrick’s question. She shakes her head.

“You don’t know, do you?” Fredrick drops his head with slight disappointment.

“Give me a second. There’s something playing with my mind.” Jennifer becomes engulfed in her memories.

#

Jennifer is watching herself standing in a room with Fredrick on a monitor inside a large, dimly lit spaceship hanger. Her heart is racing as she types ferociously on the screen in front of her. She receives a message via her optical messaging system from the computer in front of her. She has the location, but she knows she’s taken too much time. She hears voices coming down the hallway getting closer.

Jennifer closes her eyes for a blink and suddenly can observe the building she’s located in from a higher dimension. She can see that there is a possible escape route through the ventilation system under the computer terminal on the other side of the hanger. Jennifer opens her eyes and begins running towards the opposite side of the hanger.

She can hear the door open as she pulls the filter and vent cover inward to make it appear as if the vent cover was in proper condition. She slowly eases her way through the ventilation system until she finds the spot she remembers from her higher dimensional blink experience.

She makes her way through a series of hallways as quickly as possible wearing her advanced body suit that makes her invisible to the cameras and scanners along the way. She opens a door and walks into the room with Fredrick.

As she walks into the room, she suddenly opens her eyes and explains to Fredrick how she got to the room.

Fredrick smiles. “Then this is good news! Now we just need to find my optical lenses.”

Jennifer blinks for a split second that suddenly transports her back into the higher dimension where she can see exactly where Fredrick’s optical lenses are and knows how to get to them and four possible escape routes. This time she runs through all four escape routes to find the best option. Only one route will work. Her eyes open and she grabs Fredrick’s arm and walks out the door.

#

They make their way strategically through the service access system that runs along the hallways but isn’t monitored by scanners and cameras. Jennifer is receiving signals through her optical lenses with instructions on the direction to take the service access system and entry codes to enter into the doorways along the way.

The only surveillance they have to worry about is when they leave the room that has Fredrick’s optical lenses, and Jennifer already has that planned out.

They enter the room with Fredrick’s optical lenses. The lenses are sitting in their case on a beautiful mahogany wood desk in the middle of the room with several lights pointing directly onto the center of the desk. Jennifer notices that the lens case appears to have been positioned in just off-center, to the left of middle on the desk and pointing towards the door.

She grabs Fredrick before he can get too far away from her and there is a sudden cling of metal against the floor as a silent bullet whizzes just passed Fredrick’s head. Jennifer fires a single shot with her own pistol in the direction from where the silent bullet came from. A drone bounces off the wall and crashes down to the floor. Jennifer’s aim was perfect!

She reaches down to pickup Fredrick off the floor. “Grab ’em, and let’s get out of here.”

Fredrick grabs his case and puts his lenses on. As Jennifer and Fredrick walk through the threshold of the door, they are suddenly surrounded by a contingent of soldiers pointing their guns at them. Jennifer hears foot steps and then sees the familiar face of General Z as she walks towards her.

“Looks like this isn’t your dimension after all.” General Z says as she stops one step away from Jennifer. Jennifer clenches her jaw as she stands tall in front of General Z. “I should kill you right now, but we need you alive so that the good Fredrick can examine your suit with you ALIVE in it.”

General Z motions to the guards and they escort Jennifer and Fredrick through the hallway.

#

The guards open the door to a solitary confinement prison cell with no opening except very smell vents heavily bolted to the walls. They shove Jennifer into the room and close the door. The room is well-lit but would barely fit more than two people standing up. She turns around and anticipates the door opening. She pauses.

The door opens and Fredrick is standing in front of her,

“What took you so long, Fredrick?”

“Just one unexpected glitch. Let’s go.”

Fredrick leads Jennifer through a couple of hallways and then signals her to come into one of the rooms with her. “This will give us a shortcut to the active hanger.”

Jennifer enters a room with a scanner in the middle of an observation deck and immediately tackles Fredrick and places him into an arm bar and dislocated his elbow and shoulder in one powerful move! Fredrick screams in agony as Jennifer stands up and stands over Fredrick. The door opens again and the Fredrick Jennifer had saved from the prison enters.

“Remind me not to ever choose to be that Fred.” Fredrick says to Jennifer as he runs to the computer console in the observation deck. “Go ahead and stand in the scanner.”

Jennifer stands in the scanner, and there’s a slight hum as the scanner begins slowly making its way from head to toe over Jennifer’s body suit. A series of different colored lights flash so quickly against Jennifer’s body that it almost appears to be solid white light scanning down her body.

As the scanner is going, Fredrick is connecting a computer device to the observation deck computer. His device begins downloading the scanner information and the scan of Jennifer and her body suit. The scan seems to be taking forever as the other Fredrick is no longer screaming in pain.

He looks up at Jennifer and scowls, “We make such a great team, don’t we?”

Jennifer ignores him.

“The universe is unfolding exactly as it should, Jennifer. In order for you to get the information about my scanner, you have to give me all the information about your suit. You picked the wrong side in this dimension.” He pauses for a second and then yells, “You picked that freak!”

The scanner finishes scanning Jennifer, and Fredrick unplugs his device from the scanner and walks over to the Fredrick on the ground and kicks him hard enough in the face to knock him out.

“That doesn’t hurt you?” Jennifer stares at the two Fredricks.

“He’s quite the asshole, so I really don’t feel any connection with him.”

Fredrick grabs Jennifer’s arm and pulls her towards the door. “Let’s get to the hanger and get out of this ship. If the data is accurate, then there should be a freighter we can piggyback on to get you to where you need to be.”

Jennifer pulls her arm away from Fredrick and looks at the Fredrick passed out on the ground. She looks over at the scanner terminal and then back at the Fredrick on the ground and then at the device Fredrick is holding in his other hand.

“Wait…” Jennifer runs over to the scanner terminal and begins prying the keyboard panel off the terminal to review a bright glowing light with a large bell-shaped object sitting on an optics channel motherboard. Fredrick watches closely as Jennifer pulls the bell-shaped object from the scanner terminal.

#

The bell-shaped object has a light green glow to it as Jennifer lifts the bell-shaped object out of the scanner terminal. As Jennifer lifts the bell-shaped object towards Fredrick’s face she is suddenly watching herself from a higher dimension. There is a cable that is connecting a series of wires leading from the monitor to her head.

Fredrick taps her on the shoulder and startles her.

“Quite the experience, no?” Fredrick lifts the brain connector from Jennifer’s head.

“It all seems so real.”

“That’s because it is, my dear.”

Fredrick explains to Jennifer that he made a very unique pair of quantum computer chips. The quantum chips are quantum entangled. “This means that everything taking place on one chip is also always taking place at the exact same time on the other chip. No matter how far apart in this universe they are from each other.”

He continues to explain how the quantum entanglement allowed him to build a computer that enabled him to jump to a higher dimension and eventually build another computer chip that was entangled at that dimension. The current dimension that they are in.

“In doing so, I can jump from observer of a lower dimension to experiencing the lower dimension whenever I want. My quantum entangled computers are even entangled within each other. I already know that at some point in this dimension I will create another entangled computer to take me to the next dimension.”

“How do you know that?” Jennifer is looking at Fredrick’s invention in awe.

“I am becoming entangled with every version of myself I choose to already. Thoughts, ideas, even memories and premonitions just come to me from nowhere.”

“The possibilities are endless, Fred!”

“Ya, well, you’d think that might be the case, right? Yet her you are in this very moment, experiencing what you are rather than being with your husband on Earth.”

Jennifer reflects on Fredrick’s statement and her eyes begin to well up with tears. “Why am I here instead of there? Why can’t you take me there?”

“What’s the fun in that?”

“Well, I love my husband, and I love everything we had together on Earth.”

“And still, you are here. Hanging out with a crazy old man.” Fredrick pokes Jennifer in the arm to remind her where she is.

“You can’t make it out of this dimension without me, can you, Fred?”

“Can’t…” Fredrick pauses. “Or I choose not to.” Fredrick walks away from Jennifer towards the cockpit of their spacecraft and looks out at the solar system they have just entered. There’s a massive star in the middle with a smaller, much dimmer star orbiting around it with several planets orbiting the smaller star.

“This is one of your favorite adventures, Jennifer! Buckle up, we’re heading to Cheebs!”