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An Exchanged Man by Shawn Klimek

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An Exchanged Man
Shawn Klimek


Colin extended one palm face down and then laid another hand on top of the first. "Not only do parallel universes exist, but they communicate with each other, which is how they remain parallel." He wiggled his fingers as if to illustrate.

My date, Brenda, matched his gaze and nodded attentively, but at the same time, slowly moved her beer glass to her lips and then stole a quiet sip.

"So, going back to my house of mirrors analogy of the multiverse…"

Brenda raised a finger.

"I think I get it now. It's like every mirror is one of Alice's magical looking glasses and contains a different Wonderland."

"There you go," Colin said and reached for his own beer.

"But ours is the one true universe, and all the others are just reflected images, right?"

Colin frowned. "No."

From the adjacent bar stool, I tapped her gently on the elbow. "All parallel universes are equally real," I offered. "They all reflect each other—or rather, they constantly share information. It flows back and forth via the Weems frequency. That's how random variations seem to be minimized by entropy."

Brenda looked first skeptical, then confused and disappointed. I knew she was smart and would make a fine lawyer, one day, yet I grasped the hidden meaning in Colin's glance. She was certainly no physics prodigy. She was no Megan.

Consternation knotted his expression and he swallowed some beer. "Maybe a hall of mirrors was a poor analogy," he considered.

"This theoretical physics is fascinating stuff," Brenda declared, by way of closing the subject. She took a final sip of beer and then let the glass thud like an exclamation point, before shoving it away. "But I had better reserve a few brain cells for my classes tomorrow."

"Of course," said Colin and smiled apologetically. "It's difficult stuff even for many of my graduate students. But then, they must follow the math proofs, too." He laughed.

Brenda smiled back and shut her eyes as if repressing a laugh, but I could sense she secretly resented this comment. I helped her put on her coat.

While shaking Colin's hand goodbye, she concluded, "Maybe we can continue the lecture another time. I'll bring a note pad, and we can drink caffeine instead of alcohol. That way, I can keep a clearer head."

"Nothing wrong with that pretty head, I'm sure, Brenda" said Colin and patted her hand. "I'd love a second chance, although I'm sure any topic would be a pleasure in your company."

"Why, thank you, Colin," she said. But I knew that they were both just being polite for my sake.

"Rick, please do remember to give me a call as soon as you have the time," he said.

Walking Brenda back to her graduate apartment, she seemed distracted. So was I, for that matter, but I was certain our thoughts were far apart. As for me, my heart was almost breaking at unbidden memories of Megan, and I had just concluded that any further relationship with Brenda was pointless.

Tugging sharply on my arm, Brenda looked into my eyes and demanded. "What was that crack you made about the 'Weems frequency', Rick? Really? I realize theoretical physics isn't my forte, but no one likes to be made sport of."

"What do you mean by 'made sport of'?"

"Didn't you introduce your friend as 'Professor Colin Weems'? …'Weems frequency'? I caught that reference. Some sort of inside joke, I suppose?"

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About the Author

Shawn M. Klimek is an award-winning author and poet credited in more than 100 publications. He lives in Illinois with his Air Force nurse wife and their adorable Maltese.  Find a complete index of his published works (plus bonus reads) at https://jotinthedark.blogspot.com/ and follow his writing adventures at https://facebook.com/shawnmklimekauthor/.

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