Thought Experiment

[Note: Today enjoy a free excerpt from NOT SO DONE that both stands on its own and gives you a flavor for the bigger journey that I hope you will take. You can either read it below or listen to a chapter from the soon-to-be-released Audiobook, featuring acclaimed narrator Daniel Greenberg.]
– Listen to the Audio Version HERE

Something’s Wrong

“I need a minute,” I say as we head up 3rd Avenue. Something’s wrong. I can feel it. “There’s a Starbucks right up there on 23rd Street, quick stop.”

Renata swings in front and I jump out. “Don’t worry. I’ll be right back”. I beeline for the restroom. There’re a young woman and a basketball-tall, bearded man on line in front of me. I’ve had bathroom emergencies a few times in my life, but this is different, way different. I am waiting, bouncing on my toes. The restroom door opens and the young woman goes in. This feels interminable. I look back through the window at Renata in the waiting car. I wonder what she’s thinking. I look down at my hands. What? They’re blurry. Is it my eyes? Can’t be. The walls and floor are in focus. What’s happening? Will anyone else notice? I put my hands in my pockets. Finally, it’s my turn. I lock the door and look in the mirror. My face is fading in and out, blinking like an old black-and-white TV. I’m feeling nausea like I’ve never felt before. Sweat soaks through my shirt.

My hand shakes as I grip the phone to call Frank. He answers on the first ring. “Sam, how are you? I see you’re at Starbucks. Enjoying the coffee?”

Frank has a tracker on me and loves to let me know it. “Trouble…” I try to stay calm and describe the problem to him.

“You’re having a Time phase synchronization issue,” Frank says.

“English, please.”

“You are disappearing.”

“What? Can you fix it?”

“I may be able to tweak the quantum entanglement sequence, but it’s really going to be more up to you.”

“What have I got to do with this? You and your science brought me back. What’s up to me?”

“Sam, we’re in unique territory here. Nobody’s ever done this before. But what we’re doing is quantum time phasing combined with a force of will, your will.”

“I don’t get it. What does that mean?”

“It means you have to will yourself into existence. Just like normal physical people have to force themselves to ‘be present.’ You have to take what I’ve given you and will yourself to be here, now. Did something happen that particularly stressed you recently?”

“You mean the fact that the Leopard is back and probably about to launch a catastrophic attack and Monica wants to leave me? Nope, besides that, no stress.”

“I get it. Stress can weaken the will, the will to live. But you wanted to return to the physical world. Has that changed?”

“No, it hasn’t.”

“Then exert your will. Make yourself present.”

“I’m not sure how to do that.” 


Thought Experiment Charles Levin Author

The Most Important Thing

“What’s the most important thing to you in the physical world?” 

“Evan, my son.”

“Then whenever you experience this slippage coming on, focus on Evan. It should bring you back.”

“Frank, are you serious? My wife and son are not a thought experiment. I can’t be here and afford to be in and out. That just won’t do.” 

“Sam, look at it this way. Everybody’s life is a thought experiment. We choose to be present and in the moment, listening and interacting with others, sucking up the beauty and wonder of every moment or we choose to be distracted and elsewhere, unfocused, mind in the future or past, locked in the world of worry. The only difference is the average human’s body can be visible and 100% present, while their mind and attention are a million miles away. In your case, your physical appearance or lack thereof reflects your mental presence. So you’re right. You can’t afford a thought experiment. You need to be right here, right now…”

“At every moment or I’ll fade or flicker or disappear?”

“That’s right. It’s going to require a huge effort at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. Then it will become a habit. You’ll be the way you are all the time.”

I look again in the mirror and my face and body gradually come into focus. I am clear, distinct, seemingly normal. I look down at my hands. They are steady and not flickering. “I understand now. Thank you, Frank, I think.”

“You can do this, Sam. Go on. Renata’s waiting.”

I return to the car. Renata gives me a furrowed brow. “Are you OK? I was getting worried.”

“I’m fine now. I just wasn’t feeling myself.”  ————— END

Read the rest of the story:
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Read for FREE some of my recent short stories:
Missing the Ghost in the Palace Theater
The Gift
The Science of Regret
Nirvana Soda
Moon Landing Memories
Zombie Phone
Word Drunk

P.S. My original fast-paced thriller NOT SO DEAD and the new techno-thriller, NOT SO GONE, are now available on Amazon. Read more about it. Better yet, buy a copy?
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