Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Leap into the Unknown

Thought for the day: Time is but a stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it, but while I drink, I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slips away, but eternity remains. [Henry David Thoreau]

In honor of Einstein's birthday, participants in today's bloghop have a free round-trip ticket through a wormhole. To anyplace. Any time. All we had to do is figure out where (and when) we wanted to go. Into the past to observe, or perhaps alter history... somewhere into the future... or maybe somewhere... in between? Oh so many possibilities to consider.

What I came up with is probably gonna be a little different from most. And as for the 100 words, more or less, I picked more. (Sorry.)  First, a little background filler: this story takes place on the Georgia Tech campus, shortly before the monthly amateur radio testing session. Volunteer Examiners, such as my hubby Smarticus and I, administer and grade these tests so applicants can (hopefully) earn their FCC-issued amateur radio licenses. When the story opens, Smarticus and I have arrived early for the test session, and so far, are the only ones there. OK, get the picture? Here goes:


[Wikipedia]
"You can go on in if you'd like," Smarticus said. "I'm gonna stay out here until I finish this smoke."

Yeah, right. The way I figured, it'd be more like two or three smokes, so I gave him a peck on the cheek and a pat on the butt, and headed for the classroom by myself. As usual, the room felt like an airless sauna, so as soon as I got there, I cranked the super-duper-sized turbo-prop floor fan all the way up to what we liked to call the wind tunnel setting.

The fan roared to life, and created an instant gale force blast that whipped the cover up and away from a never-before-seen whatchamacallit (Please forgive the technical jargon.) sitting in the corner of the room. I, never one to stick my nose where it doesn't belong, immediately walked over to the behemoth to investigate.

The industrial gray contraption... rather generic-looking, if you asked me...  boasted knobs, buttons, and dials galore, and a metal plate that said, BEWARE: Wormhole Generator.  I, never one to fiddle with unknown knobs and dials, immediately  fingered the Cosmic Positioning System doohicky with one hand, while leafing through the latitude and longitude guidebook lying beside it with the other.

I took a quick peek at my watch. Oh good, I had at least five minutes. Plenty of time to change the world. Phooey on the Butterfly Theory. Nerts to worrying about a paradox. I was gonna go kill Hitler with my — my — never mind; I'd worry about that when I got there.

I punched my destination date, latitude and longitude into the CPS keyboard, took a deep breath, and then used both hands to pull the giant knife switch down. The air shimmered like a heat mirage, and then settled into place, forming what looked like the gaping undulating mouth of a dark tunnel. I, never one to venture half-cocked into any kind of adventure, immediately took a flying leap into it.

I'm so dizzy, my head is spinning...

Before my stomach had the opportunity to purge its contents, the spinning slowed, and came to a gradual stop. On wobbly legs, I emerged into a vaguely familiar room.

I looked around, noting the familiar arrangement of desks and computers, and the roar of the turbo-prop fan. A picture of Governor Max Cleland on the wall, next to another of President Hillary Clinton. And a calendar, telling me the year was 2013, and the day, the same as when I'd stepped into the tunnel. The generator that delivered me to this parallel universe was no longer there, but a different machine — a cute one —  stood in its place. It looked like a big red apple, detailed with an adorable smiley-faced worm emerging from a hole, and fanciful lettering that identified it as Einstein's Bridge to Everywhere. On the wall beside it hung a portrait... a portrait of me, identified as Susan Flett...  oh my God!... the bridge's inventor!? Oh, crap. Well, if I invented this thing, maybe I could figure out to get back home. To the right home, the place where I belonged...

"Anybody here to take the test yet?" Smarticus asked, as he entered the room.

I stared at him. Clearly, it was him. Same voice, same grin, same scent of cigarette smoke and sunshine emanating from him. But aside from an obvious upgrade in clothing, there was something else different about him, too. Something — intriguing. Time seemed to stand still as I continued to gawk.

"Um, no," I said, unsure of who we were to each other in this new reality. For all I knew, we could be nothing more than passing acquaintances.

"Tell you what, hot rod," he said, stroking my cheek, and making my toes tingle in the process. "After we get done here, let's stop at The Italian Stallion on the way home. I'll get you some chianti and something to eat that has all the garlic and mushrooms your little heart desires. With the grandkids all coming in tomorrow, you deserve some relaxation and a special treat today. Maybe a foot rub when we get home?"

I, never one to act without considering the consequences of my decisions, immediately smiled.  "Sounds good to me, babe. There's no place like home."

++++++

[source]
Isn't the idea of parallel universes intriguing?

Anyhow, thanks so much to the brains behind this bloghop, our delightful hosts LuanneLaura, and Stephen. It's been fun. If you'd like to check out the other entries for this bloghop, just click on the badge in the sidebar, and it'll whisk you away...

Speaking of whisking away, if you aren't participating in this bloghop already, where would you want to go through that wormhole?

In honor of Einstein's birthday, I'm thinking instead of a birthday cake, we should all have ... pi. After all, tomorrow is 3-14, ya know. Make mine lemon meringue.

Woo-HOO! LATE BREAKING NEWS:  Carol Kilgore has completed her random drawing for the winner of a signed copy of her book In Name Only, and the lucky winner is (Insert drum roll here.) Keith, AKA the Optimistic Existentialist. Congratulations, Keith!

                                 Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


Perhaps home is not a place, but an irrevocable condition.  [James Baldwin]


97 comments:

  1. Lovely, whimsical and relativistically perfect.

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    1. Relatively speaking. Thanks. Glad ya liked it.

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  2. Einstein. 3.14. Lemon Meringue Pi. Yup; sounds right.

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  3. Oh my! Susan, I'd visit every place in my guts, every temporal convolution marked by a parenting error, a thoughtless remark that hurt somebody, every lapse into insensitivity that gave pain. I hope there is such a device for such corrections but, if not, I hope I've made good use of apologies that opened the future to repair. What delights me: in the alternate 2013 you call your own invention "Einstein's Bridge to Everywhere" --a most generous homage. My compliments.

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    1. Ah, but you're changing the parameters. There's only to be ONE round-trip ticket to ONE place. (I'm reserving my option to return to my place of origin at a later time, if need be.) But I like your idea of going back to make amends. Maybe we need a different invention just for that, though: something like "Geo's Bridge to Atonement."

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  4. Susan, I thoroughly enjoyed accompanying you on your delightful (and skillfully told) journey - - even though I am hopelessly unscientific. Space-time continuums confuse me almost as much as algorithmic musical compositions.....

    As for being whisked away through a worm hole - - I would probably be content to follow the path of Geo. and focus on righting my past wrongs (which would take an infinite amount of time).

    Congratuations to Keith for being the recipient of Carol's book!

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    1. Thanks. Glad you enjoyed our "trip". One of the cool things about writing is you can alter reality as much as you'd like, so ya don't have to BE an Einstein to pretend you understand the space-time continuum. You can simply bend it to suit your fancy.

      It would be tempting to go back to right past wrongs, but I'm afraid I'd spend so much time trying to make things better back there, I'd be blowing off the right here.

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  5. Hi Susan .. for now I'd be not touching no knobs - or turning nuffin ... especially as I have no Smarticus in the background to ensure I recovered sufficiently for a chianti or magical spaghetti ... I loved the pi connotation ... and then your invention Einstein's Bridge to Everywhere ... that would be fun - as long as I can get back ...

    And as Jon mentions lucky Keith to be the winner of Carol's book ... cheers Hilary

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    1. HA! In real life, I wouldn't be messing with any knobs or dials, either. I'm one of those people who has to read and understand the manual before I'll start using a new gadget or gizmo.

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  6. Wonderful trip! And I hope you make an extra 'pi' 'cause I might just stop by for a peice in my wormhole ;)

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    1. Sure, come on by. There's always enough to share with friends. Pi can never run out, because it goes on and on and on and on...

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  7. Isn't the idea of parallel universes intriguing?

    Absolutely, my only problem would be that given my luck if I could travel to one I'd end up in a different universe where Hitler won, US and the Soviet Union had a nuclear war, or giant crabs from another star system invaded carrying cookbooks on "How to Serve Man."

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    1. Oh, too funny! You'd have to be extra careful how ya program that CPS unit.

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  8. Whoa, freaky picture. Thanks for reminding me of 3-14 tomorrow. Hubby always likes to celebrate.

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    1. Yeah, that picture really caught my eye. Your hubby likes to celebrate pi day, huh? He sounds like a cool dude.

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  9. Hmm, I can't think of a downside in an alternate universe where your husband has gotten just a little hotter than he already is ... (I am referring to all of our respective husbands, not specifically yours, Sue. Don't worry!)

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    1. Yeah, but you know how the cosmos works... there's always gotta be a downside to even things out. Or a more technical way to put it: better the reality's crap I know than the reality's crap I don't know.

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  10. A Wormhole Generator!!
    Lead me to it!
    I'm going to the future so I can learn how to make Stargates and Ring Transporters.
    Then I'll come back and install them in all cities of the world and solve public transport problems forever.
    I know this isn't a hundred words, but it might be if you read it two or three times.

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  11. Oh, Susan, you really ran with this! And how great that not even time or space could keep you away from Smarticus. Perfect. :D

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    1. Yeah, I know. I got a little carried away. (But 100 words was just a "suggestion", right?)

      Thanks so much for hosting such a cool bloghop.

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  12. I would hop on in
    Go get the lottey number sat my bin
    And check things along the way
    Plus go to the past and find out if humans were really here before on display
    And alternate realities are interesting indeed
    Be interesting to turn them like a tv dial and watch each feed
    Seeing what you do in another life
    Could be 50 feet tall with a 50000 pound wife lol

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    1. It makes me grin
      To think you'd hop right in.
      You could get real rich
      And dump that 50K witch.
      But reaching 50-feet high?
      It'd take lots of pi
      And even more money
      To fill that tummy.

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  13. I love the idea of parallel universes! I have always been intrigued by the thought. If I had to choose where to travel though, I would travel back into the 60s to be a part of the civil rights era and witness that change and become a part of it.

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    1. My daughter would like to go back to the '60s, too. She's an activist hippy at heart.

      Congrats on winning Carol's book!

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  14. I would go in to the future where time travel was an accepted and well used reality and I would then be able to revisit any place in the past I wanted to as often as I wanted to. So there.

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    1. Love the Pi insight! Very clever. Ill have to remember that one.

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    2. Oh, aren't you the smart one, Delores? Coloring outside the box... I like that!

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    3. Thanks. Stephen. And thanks for coming up with the idea for this cool bloghop.

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  15. Hi there! I'm a new follower. I love your blog! my blog: morgankatz505.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi-ya. Thanks so much for stopping by and for signing on as a new follower. Welcome aboard!

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  16. LOL! I love it. Me? I'd go to the parallel universe where I'm a bestselling author who lives in Chocolate Land, of course. ;)

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    1. Hey, aren't you already living in that universe? (Okay, so maybe you have to buy a few more boxes of chocolate...)

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    1. Thanks. For some reason, your comment got dumped into the "spam" folder. Sorry 'bout that. Blogger has SOME noive.

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  18. Gee, how did I know your entry would be a little different? ;)

    Love it, you always tell such great stories. And I'd like some of the lemon meringue too, even if the pi reference made me cringe a bit. I hate math and still have nightmares about sitting in math class in school LOL.

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    1. Hey, conformity is overrated, right?

      Thanks. Not a math lover, huh? So it's safe to say you won't be sliding through the wormhole to visit your old sixth period calculus class, eh? (I'll skip P.E.)

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  19. Cool story! Love the Apple ... would that be iTime?

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  20. Hehe, fun story - I think I giggled most at the flying leap. Wise choice you made at the end there. ;)

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Hey, if that "wise choice" didn't work out, I'd still have the option to use that return ticket.

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  21. Haha! Great story Susan. I'd go back in time and write 50 Shades of Grey, before it even became a concept in the mind of E.L. James. This time though, I will omit the spelling mistakes, tendency to repeat whole sentences/words, make the female character not so insipid and do some proper research on the subject matter. Then I shall sit back and wait, as fame and fortune beckons. :)

    ♪To dream the impossible dream...♪

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    1. There ya go. In other words, you'd write a GOOD book. (At least from what I've heard; I haven't read any of her books, but I understand her writing is less than stellar.)

      I love how you sometimes include the musical notes. Not sure how you do it, but I really like it.

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  22. Your picture reminds me of the cover of a Utopia album (Todd Rundgren's band...here's a link to a blog post with it...

    http://bigdanblogger.blogspot.com/2010/04/big-dans-big-news-april-26-2010.html

    I did not read the post-have no idea what it's even about...I just did a search for a decent size image of the album cover and this came back.

    Larry

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    1. Cool. The pic is supposed to be an artist's rendition of travel through a wormhole.

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  23. What a wonderful sci-fi, adventure, action, love story romp through time! Great job Susan!

    Julie

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    1. Thanks, Julie. I think the story's having an identity crisis.

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  24. Great wormhole picture, and what an idea and trip - one for the history books, or at least your memoir in this life.

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    1. Thanks, Nancy. Thanks for stopping by and for signing on as a new follower, too. I do appreciate it. Welcome aboard!

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  25. Fascinating story and yes, parallel universes sound exciting!

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    1. The idea of parallel universes and alternate realities seems more plausible to me than time travel, but both are a lot of fun to think about.

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  26. I, never one to unnecessarily read a blog, read the entire thing without thinking! Great story and I love the thought of time travel - must be all my son's Doctor Who paraphernalia getting to me!

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    1. HA! Thanks for hanging in there until the bitter end. Yeah, I think nerdiness is contagious. At least in our family it is. Not sure if our kids and grandkids caught it from us, or if we caught it from them, but definitely we've all got it!

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  27. That was a fun trip for sure!

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  28. A great story, and inventive too. I like the flair with which you accepted the future. Perhaps that whatchamakallit was sent there by YOU from the future. Hmmm. I liked this!

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  29. Love your humor and storytelling! :)

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  30. I love your imagination and skill at coming up with a story like this!

    On my previous job, I always got a pie on March 14 for the people on my team. Now it's just me and my boss in the office - we'd have to eat half a pie each.

    Oh heck, we could do it.

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    1. Thank you. I'm glad you liked it.

      Hey, you could always finish the pie the next day. Gotta have pie on pi day...

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  31. Great story. Parallel universes are so fun to play with. Your version of reality is awesome. This kind of reminds me of Ray Bradbury's story "The Sound of Thunder". I love your blog name, too.

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    1. Thanks; I had fun with it. I'm not familiar with Bradbury's story, but am honored at the comparison.

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  32. Huge, face-hurting loud smiles here. Thank you.

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  33. Ooooh, LOVE it! I don't think I'm come home :) Can we all have that kind of parallel universe, pretty please? (reminds me of a book I picked up earlier this week at the library actually, Familiars--I think this kind of thing has been on my mind lately!).

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. Heck, if we write it, we can all create whatever kinda parallel universe we'd like, and explore all the "might have beens".

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  34. You are the first I have visited to write a story for this hop, so pat yourself on the back for the effort. Well done.

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    1. Thanks, but I'm not sure if I deserve a pat on the back. (But I'll take it, anyway.) I should've probably kept the post short and sweet like everybody else did. Oh, well. It was fun.

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    2. Oh, yeah! Thanks for signing on as a new follower! I do appreciate it, and will happily follow suit. Welcome aboard!

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  35. Smarticus? That's super cool... and cute too!
    I love your terminology and your brand of humour Susan!
    Fascinating and fun!

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    1. Thanks. Glad ya like it. I've been calling my better half Smarticus for quite a while. He even suggested that I call him Dumbicus in the parallel universe, but I think he'd be a smartie in any universe.

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  36. That picture is ever so slightly doing my head in! hehe

    Nice post for the bloghop :)

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    1. Yeah, that's an insane picture, isn't it? Thanks. Glad ya liked it.

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  37. Love the alternate dimension idea!!!

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  38. Smarticus! Now that's what I call a term of endearment. Great story!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. Thanks. Beats calling him Farticus, which I've also been known to do upon occasion. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

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  39. That was really fun to read. And I love the photo you added. Smarticus. lol Are you a Sparticus fan?

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I liked Spartucus, but I'm a sucker for wordplay and simply couldn't resist the name when it popped into my head.

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  40. Nice written, funny story. President Hilary, eh?
    You are getting a brownie point as I joined the blog hop after reading your post :)
    Evalina, This and that...

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    1. Thanks, Evalina; I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for the brownie point, too. I can use all of them I can get. (Um, could I have it with walnuts?)

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  41. What fun to see where everyone is going on the blog hop. I love the endearment of Smarticus.

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    1. You're right; this has really been a fun blog hop. I'm glad you like the Smarticus moniker. It's different, anyway.

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  42. THAT. Was the best one I've read yet. Totally cool. Loved your sense of humor as you hurtled your way into adventure. Yes, parallel universes intrigue the hell out of me, as does most sci-fi...
    Yeah, not sure I'd listen to myself so perhaps if the inventor of the wormhole device were to come with me...

    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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    1. Well, thank ye kindly. I do appreciate it.

      Yeah, taking the device's inventor might be helpful, as long as you don't venture to a point way earlier than when he invented it.

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  43. I love the idea of parallel universes. Great story. Trippy picture. :)

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  44. I love the idea of parallel universes. Great story

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    1. Thinking about the possibilities of parallel universes really gives the gray matter a good work-out, doesn't it? Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  45. Loved this- great use of the wormhole!
    Happy Pi day (make mine Key Lime!) :)

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    1. Thanks! It was a fun "trip". Oops! Smarticus and I just ate the last two pieces of pie.. and yep, it was key lime. (Sorry!) Happy pi day!

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    1. Thanks. Yeah, I'm really glad I found that pic. It kinda fits the subject.

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  47. Awesome pictures, and I loved the story (totally okay to go over 100 words!)

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    1. Thanks, Lynne. I was kinda surprised more people didn't write longer pieces, to tell the truth. I mean, more or less, right? Anyhow, thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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