Thirty-Four

Reading time ~3 minutes

It didn’t feel like anything had changed. Really, the only thing that felt any different at all was the distinct impression that things definitely should feel different, but definitely did not. He wondered with a sinking feeling whether anything had even happened. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d done nothing but cause a lot of noise and trash his own apartment. He looked around at the papers still floating lazily to the ground, the broken glass in a puddle where it had fallen from his desk, the black scorch marks in the wood floors beneath his feet, the subatomic particles shooting by in bright, crisscrossing streaks like a meteor shower.

Wait. What?

It’s true that his apartment was typically a mess, but it was rarely filled with neutrinos.

No, wait. Hold on.

How would he know that? He couldn’t see them before, of course. It was probably rife with the things and he’d had no idea. He wondered if that was potentially bad for his health and whether that might be something to take up with the landlord when he dropped off his rent check next month. He imagined that being bombarded with subatomic particles was probably not ideal, but it was hard to say for sure; he didn’t know much about neutrinos, like where they came from and what they did. He definitely knew what they looked like, though.

The floorboards creaked as he stepped away from the testing bay.

But, why did he know that? He hadn’t known that before, either.

The whole room smelled like burnt hair and was hot. Really hot. He was just realizing how uncomfortably hot he actually was. The tiny basement window was cracked open as wide as it could be, but there wasn’t enough air to solve either the problem of the smell or the heat. He wiped the sweat off his forehead with his left hand as he held out his right in a frozen, empty grasp. There was a metallic thunk from down the hall and suddenly a plastic bottle of water came flinging itself around the corner, bouncing off the wall and directly into his expectant hand.

Wait, now that’s definitely weird. He never went for water when he was thirsty. Soda was always his bad habit.

That feeling that something had changed after all started to creep into his mind. He twisted the cap off the bottle and drank the whole thing in one long gulping swig, crunching the empty bottle in his hand until it evaporated into a fine dust when he finished.

Yeah something was different for sure, but it was hard to pinpoint exactly what. He raised his arms and lifted himself off the ground about an inch, just enough to keep from causing that awful creaking noise, then hovered forward toward his desk. He turned both palms upwards and his slightly singed and torn clothes began to peel themselves off his body, each piece of fabric disentangling itself from the others at the seams. Once they had all unspooled into piles of threads on the floor below, the sweat and dust on his skin began to bead and collect, then float off, as if pulled by some magnet. The threads on the floor began rearranging their molecular structures to repair damaged parts and change their colors, eventually weaving themselves into a new pair of pants and t-shirt, that placed themselves delicately onto his body.

Okay, something was for sure different here. He rarely wore such colorful shirts before today.

He started feeling a bit nervous that something else had changed that he wasn’t noticing, too.

Thirty-Five

A man tries to earn his final payday.
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Thirty-Three

A failure can be an opportunity in a way.

Thirty-Two

A man is convinced to do something he's not interested in.