Parallel Man 4 – Alternate Plans

Parallel Man 4

By. Richard Rester

Copyright March 20, 2015

Alternate Plans


Kay spent several minutes looking through her phone for Dagle’s contact.  She was quite sure she cleared the area quickly enough that all she needed was a cleaner; that odd looking fellow you pay good money to show up and make that mistake you just made disappear.  What the hell?  Thought the redhead   I planned for this to go down in a field five miles out of the city, not in a fucking park.  That’s what retards do, rank amateurs with delusions of importance.  Professionals aren’t like that.  

In moments Dagle was on the phone.  “Yel-low?”  A chipper voice greeted.

Taking the man’s behaviour as far too cheerful, Kay got right to the point.  “It’s me… Kay.  I tried texting and you never replied… by the way, what the fuck?”  Before the guy could get a word in she continued.  “Doesn’t matter.  He’s dead and I got the flash drive.  It’s just a little too public so I need a cleaner pronto at the park in…”  the girl checked a sign as she walked by, “… Battlewood, things got a little messy.”  

There was a great silence, then he continued, confused, “… I have no idea what you’re talking about?”  Dagle said then added with concern.  “Did you say someone is dead?”

She wondered if this man was suddenly daft.  “Yeah, asshole… Anders… I shot him after he handed over the drive.”  

“… oh my… you…”  In her world Dagle was her client.  In the alternate world she now was Ernest Dagle was a department store manager, and one of Kaylyn’s close friends.  Stunned for a moment that Kaylyn would say such a thing, let alone kill her friend, he laughed.  “Kaylyn, you devil… you almost had me!”  He laughed heartily.

That was about when Kay lost all patience and spoke, forcefully, through tight lips.  “Look, you signed the contract, so you better pay up.  I don’t kill for free unless I get cheated.”  

“Okay, okay… the joke is over, it was funny, yadda yadda.  So, why did you really call?”  The man on the other end started sounding very annoyed.  This more than puzzled the girl.  In all the years she filled contracts with the man, he never behaved in any other way but professional.  Something was terribly wrong with reality.  The empty field becoming a park, a neighborhood that didn’t exist then did, people behaving way out of character, all was pointing her to the inescapable conclusion that she was dreaming.  

Kay had a little trick to confirm such a suspicion.  The young lady looked at a street sign, read it then looked away.  Union Street.  If this is a dream it will read something completely different when I look back.  When she looked back she was surprised, almost shocked that it still read Union Street.  “I’ll call you back.”  

After hanging up Kay swore a string of curses especially reserved for those moments where phenomenally, confusing shit went down.  Kay opened a browser on her phone and searched for Battlewood.  Battlewood, she learned, was the name of a confrontation between colonial British and American troops, a brief but bloody skirmish that ended with neither side victorious.  Yet, she definitely remembered that the Americans won that battle.  She knew she wasn’t going crazy, at some point you know what you know.  “What the fuck is going on?!”  She asked aloud, slapping her phone off.  

Kay wondered if she was lying in a coma in some hospital.  For a time she envisioned a crack team of experts working hard to bring her back, using every trick they could think of.  Of course it was an exquisitely short moment of comfort when she realized that she wasn’t in a coma, and that everything weird that had happened had really happened.  

She fished out the thumb drive tossing a couple stupid ideas around in her head before unwillingly settling on, alternate.  Well, of course, alternate, she thought.  Alternate realities, like that movie she saw a couple years ago.   But not the same flashy theatrics with opening holes between realities, she merely blinked and it was different.  

She admitted it, parallel worlds exist and she was currently inside one.  How she had come to be there the girl was still trying to figure out.  Kay recalled something from a book she read, something concerning conservation of something or other, she thought.  If I were in my own universe and then shifted to an alternate world, the alternate world would have a net gain of mass and… “Conservation of mass and energy!”  She called out, drawing suspicious looks from a couple across the street.  The amount of mass and/or energy in a closed system must be strictly maintained.  Therefore you cannot have more mass or energy in a system than what it started with.  Meaning where is my alternate self?  After a couple seconds the truth hit her like a bullet.  “Holy shit!”  All neurons fired in just the right way for the girl to finally understand the scope of what happened. 

Questions flooded into her head and Kay could barely keep up to the flow.  “That means I won’t get paid.”  Despair hit, then realization.  Unless I can get back to my own world.  But, surely I wasn’t the one who triggered whatever it was that sent me here.  So who did?  Anders!  Yes!  Shit, he’s dead!  I didn’t find a device during my search for the thumb drive either.  What if there is no device?  Then how did he do it?  By himself!  I’m fucked!  The girl stopped and her hands flew to her face at that moment. Anders was dead and he could not do whatever it was he did.  She stood there for a few seconds, stifling a cry, slowly dragging both hands down her face till they slid off and fell to her sides.