They are calling it ‘spontaneous teleportation’. One moment you are sitting on a couch watching them talk about it on the news and the next moment you are three feet to your left melded into the wall. If you are lucky it will have disrupted a major organ and you will die instantly. If you are not so lucky it will just be your hips and pelvis and a leg as they try to separate you amidst the terrifying howling you emit while enduring the most awful pain ever known to man. Then, most likely, you will still die. If you ask me, they could have picked a more suitable name.
Nobody knows what the cause is. Or how to prevent it. It is completely random, or so it seems. The politicians say that they have ordered all of the top scientists to investigate but I bet at least half of them are still developing boner pills and exotic weapons of mass destruction. That is, the scientists, not the politicians. The politicians couldn’t develop a cold in an arctic daycare. I have just a bit more trust and enthusiasm for the scientists. I didn’t like the old gods and I sure as hell do not like the new ones.
I went to see my friend Jeff yesterday. He was standing in his backyard on stilts. I began to immediately laugh but he got upset and told me that I was the fool. I tossed him a beer and the poor sucker just about fell trying to catch it. I must admit he is getting pretty good at using those stilts. He says that he is hoping they become so second nature that he will be able to sleep on them shortly. I ask him what would happen if he were suddenly teleported three feet straight down. He says that it is unlikely but that he thinks this is his best chance. At least he is not a hanger, he tells me.
In order to avoid death by spontaneous teleportation many people have taken to spending most of their time hanging in harnesses. Since the furthest anyone has been relocated by this mysterious force is about five feet from where they started it is easy enough to find a large room or a tree that can put you five feet away from any other solid object. Except the harness itself. Only one person so far has managed to teleport a few inches directly into their harness. I asked Jeff if that was irony but he said the harnesses are usually made from nylon. Either he cannot hear me very well up there or all of this has not ruined his appalling sense of humor.
The religious folk have split into two camps. Some are calling this Gods retribution for the sins of man and the other half are blaming the scientists. Outside of the Hadron Collider facility on the news it looks like one of those old Frankenstein movies where an angry mob with weapons and torches has gathered. The scientists working there were the first people to speculate that their research had caused the phenomena. They shut down their massive gadget but it seems the angry villagers will not be pleased until there is blood. Then right there in front of the news camera one of the mob teleports right into another one. They are a nasty mangled mess of mixed flesh like something out of a Bill Plympton cartoon. I start to laugh but then I remember these are real people with people who love them and that what I have witnessed is tragedy. Then the mob react by accelerating their hatred tenfold and I decide it was probably okay to laugh.
My ex-girlfriend calls me to tell me that she teleported three feet up and to the right into empty space yesterday and was just fine after. I am not sure whether to believe her or to chalk this up to her constant need for attention. I tell her it is a shame she wasn’t teleported onto a running treadmill and she hangs up on me. If she was telling the truth her story would not be unique. Most of the spontaneous teleportations have been harmless relocation’s into empty space. The people who have experienced them were very vocal at first and some of them got paid quite handsomely to talk about it on television. However, once the word got around that the scientists investigating this were collecting these people to ‘examine’ them, most of them have kept shut about it.
First let me say that I am not a scientist. That should have been my first clue to leave things alone. What do you call somebody with an inordinate amount of curiosity but no skill set to engage it through? I am one of those. Mostly, though, I was just bored and lonely. I met a girl on the internet I really wanted to meet in person. I also had friends all over the country I would have liked to spend more time with. When I started having the dreams I disregarded them as just dreams. Before long they seemed to be more than just recurring dreams. They were persistent. I could not close my eyes without them immediately starting. Eventually I began to write down the bits that I could remember and little by little I had created myself a set of instructions.
It took me almost a year to build the contraption. I had to learn all kinds of skills I had not possessed before. I was about as adept with a soldering iron in the beginning as Stephen Hawking is with Jeff’s stilts. Little by little it came together, though. You would probably think that it would look like a phone booth designed by HR Geiger, but it was closer to a large bathroom scale attached to a much larger cube by tubes of wires. I did, however, take some time to paint racing flames on it before I was finished. Just because I am crazy enough to spend a year building a device I foresaw in my dreams doesn’t mean I have no sense of humor or style.
The hardest part about teleporting is calculating a set of coordinates much more difficult than compass readings. The movement of the earth as it rotates and spins around the sun means that everything is constantly in motion and must be accounted for. Remember how I said that I was not a scientist? Well I am even less of a mathematician and my first inclination was that it was my poor math that caused this whole debacle.
When I was certain that I had finished my teleportation device beyond all doubts, I decided to test it out. Knowing the number of ways it could go wrong I decided to first try teleporting a mouse I caught while it had been nibbling on one of the wire tubes. (Would the mouse have thought this was irony? I don’t know but I know he wouldn’t have had a dumb ass reply like Jeff.) I was going to teleport the mouse three feet to its left into a small empty aquarium. If he survived I would name him Goldblum and feed him only the finest American cheese. He did not, in fact survive. Instead a moment after flipping the activation switch the mouse reappeared with just his head sticking out of the bottom of the aquarium. I could see part of his body in the small gap below and the rest must have melded into the concrete floor. I immediately realized that I had not succeeded and that all of my life I had underestimated the vocal capacity of mice.
I shut the machine off and sat groaning with my head in my hands. Fucking math. I was so frustrated that I decided to give up for the day and headed over to Jeff’s with a six pack. We sat drinking all afternoon but decided that we needed to pick up the pace. Jeff and I had created a drinking game that could be played with the news so we tuned into the ten o’clock and put our drinking faces on. That is when we first heard of the phenomena. Already about a hundred cases worldwide had been reported since earlier today. You know how sometimes you just know you set off a global catastrophe that may have doomed your species to extinction? That’s exactly how I felt right then.
Pretending to be too drunk to drink anymore I excused myself with a few words and a belch/fart combo that left Jeff laughing so hard he vomited, although he would later claim it was the smell. As soon as I got home I began trying to sober up by eating a large meal and chasing coffee after coffee with glasses of water. I began to go over my math but I could find nothing wrong in it whatsoever, so I looked at the plans. That is when I noticed what I should have before my earlier mousecapades. The teleportation device was specifically programmed to transfer the information contained in human genetics. Because all mammals had nearly the same basic genetic code the mouse was able to be teleported, but not to the specifications. And besides that, something else had definitely gone wrong. I began to disassemble the device. What took me a full year to build took me only that one night to completely destroy. No two pieces were still connected and most of those had been smashed or thrashed into many smaller pieces themselves.
The next morning I turned on the news. The phenomena was still occurring and every government in the world had declared an emergency. Shit had connected hard with the proverbial fan. Rather than worrying about being teleported into a mailbox or my toilet I became extremely paranoid that I would get caught. I burned the plans and removed all evidence from my house carefully so as not to arouse suspicion. The one thing I had going for me was that I had not mentioned to anybody what I had been doing for the past year, less they thought I was crazy. Or crazier than usual. I sure as fuck was not going to say anything now.
I went inside to get Jeff and I another beer. Just to fuck with him I threw his three feet to his left so he wouldn’t be able to catch it because I can be kind of a dick when I am awake. At that very same moment Jeff reappeared three feet to his left and then fell to the ground with a thud and a can of Hamms embedded halfway in his skull. He must have died instantly. One time when we were drinking along with the news we saw a story about a man who had been cleaning up after hours at a brewery when a large vat burst open and the force of the fermenting liquid crushed him against a wall, killing him instantly. After downing the rest of our beers we both agreed that when it was our time to go we hoped our deaths would be beer-related.
Well, Jeff, do I chalk your death up to irony? Or would you have insisted that the can was, in fact, aluminum?