Multiverse Meetup

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“One of me got elected senator!” Lydia entered the kitchen.
“That’s nice.” I read the news over coffee. Kyle ignored both his waffles and his mother, playing a game on his tablet.
“I always wondered what would have happened if I took that internship in Washington instead of the law firm in Manhattan.” Lydia sighed wistfully.
“Does Senator Terry have a Kyle?” I asked.
“Huh?” Our son looked up from his tablet.
“What did I tell you about games at the table?” Lydia took Kyle’s tablet and placed it atop the refrigerator.
“Mom!” He reached for the device.
“Go get dressed,” she said. “You’ll be late for school.”
He groaned then ran up the stairs.
“No, she doesn’t have a Kyle.” Lydia poured herself a coffee. “She’s not even Senator Terry—she’s Senator Cotes.”
“You didn’t marry me?”
“We met in New York, and she stayed in D.C., so…”
“So I was clearly a mistake.”
“Of course not.” Lydia hugged and kissed me. “I wouldn’t give up my life with you and Kyle for the world. It’s just fun to see how different things would be if I took another path. You should contact your alt selves on the multinet.”
The multinet, or multiverse internet, was discovered fifteen years ago when quantum computers proved our universe was one of an infinite number of parallel universes within a multiverse. For everything that happens in life, there are only two possibilities: yes or no. Any event can be reduced to that binary choice, creating a superposition where both options are chosen, and the universe splits in two. Meaning every possible universe exists.
Quantum computers illuminated the existence of parallel worlds, but they didn’t provide a way of traveling to them. However, we could communicate with them. Data could be sent as qubits across any universe connected to the multinet.
The implications were enormous. It was first only used by governments and corporations, but like all technology, the price gradually decreased until everybody and their grandmother was on the multinet. I avoided it altogether. One universe’s internet was enough of a time drain.
“Aren’t you curious to see what the other you’s are like?” Lydia asked.
“I’d rather not know. Spend too much time wondering about all the what ifs in life and it’ll drive you mad.”
“You won’t have to wonder. The alt you’s will tell you what they did.”
“And find out another version of me is more successful, making me feel like even more of a failure than I already am?”
“You’re not a failure,” Lydia said. “I love your music.”
“Me too!” Kyle came running down the stairs.
“Thanks, but you and Kyle aren’t enough to support a career.”
“You don’t need to worry about money. I make more than enough to support us.”
“Can I have it back now?” Kyle reached up the fridge.
“Besides, you have a more important job.” Lydia handed Kyle his tablet with a hug and kiss. “Love you guys, see you later.”

After dropping Kyle off at school, I returned home and tried working on a song, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the multiverse. If every possible version of me existed, at least one must be a famous musician. I could ask him for tips and ideas. Can you steal from yourself? Do copyright laws apply across parallel universes?
I logged onto the multinet and went to the “Craig Terry” meetup site. Every person had a private page only accessible with fingerprint identification. My video chatroom was empty, but there were thousands of message board posts. Most me’s were musicians, which made sense because that was always my dream. They achieved various levels of success, some working full-time and others playing as a hobby. Many me’s married Lydia, some married other women I’d never met, and others remained single. Some me’s died young from freak accidents while another won the lottery.
I received a notification that someone had entered the chatroom and wanted to Skype. I accepted, and his—my—face appeared on the screen. He looked just like me but with longer hair and hipper clothes.
“Hey, Craig,” he said. “Have we met before?”
“No, first time here. What about you? Spend a lot of time on the multinet?”
“Just when I’m bored…and feeling lonely.”
“You never married?”
“No,” he said. “You?”
“Married with a son.”
“Are you happy?”
“My music career never took off,” I said. “I was hoping to find a Craig who made it.”
“I’ve got a decent following—for an indie electronic artist, at least. Some of us have hit singles, but their songs are too poppy for my taste.”
“I’d kill for a pop hit right now. You think it’d be okay if I brought their songs to my universe?”
“You’d have to ask them—or their record companies. I own all my music, though. Feel free to take any song you like.”
“Thanks. Do you mind playing one for me?”
He played a song, an electronic track similar in style to mine, but it was different—better. The tone was sadder and more emotive.
“What do you think?” he asked when finished.
“Amazing,” I said, tearing up.
“It’s yours. Maybe your universe will like it more than mine.”
“No, I can’t take it.”
“Sure you can. You’re me.”
The power of music is that it can say, without any words, “This is how I feel.” And by listening, you’ll feel the same way too. I could never have written that song, though. The pain and loneliness seeping from every note. The longing for human connection. I had Lydia and Kyle, so I didn’t write songs from that same state of desperation.
“I’ll take the song to my universe,” I said, “but all credit and proceeds come back to you.”
“Really?” He looked pleasantly surprised. “Thanks.”
I logged off the multinet and wrote a new song, conveying the love and gratitude I felt for Lydia and Kyle. It was my biggest hit yet.

About the Author: 
I am an author and screenwriter from New York, currently living in Los Angeles.