2019-02-28 13:02 fiction flash-fiction Benjamin Brood

Side Effects

She was in both places at the same time, he double checked. Was it a trick of the light? But then one of her waved at him. He waved back, acknowledging. The other her appeared confused — who was he waving to? He felt guilty. The first her observed his reaction and responded with bewilderment. A celestial condition, he wondered, something quantum. He'd read a book about it, once, about the fickle guts of the universe. We might be gone in an instant, he remembered thinking. Maybe, he supposed, instead of disappearing we repeatedly reappear. Just as likely. How many more of her will there be? There would have to be changes. Two, fine, but three or more? The grocery bill. The small car. What about sleeping arrangements? It could become awkward quickly. And what about more than four? What if this were a kind of exponential situation? Two, then four, then eight, sixteen, and so on. Soon the world would be populated by her. The resources of civilization would be strained then buckle. He glared, squinting, as if trying to ascertain the potential for splitting the divisional substrate, powered by fuel of some random snag in quantum fabric. He looked out across the courtyard, a chorus of instantiation, looking to his left he saw an epoch of himself, arranged like a corner of mirrors, self-reflecting. Nothing could be done. He took her by the hand and then the other, he introduced them. They would muddle through these new conditions as best they could.