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Sleapers, Part 7

by Zeke

A manifestation of Alternate Universe Week

(The portal opens above a public park, dumping out Zeke, Kira, IJD, Marc, and Derek in no particular order. A few stray bullets from the Mirror Universe are also flung out and startle the local squirrels.)

Derek: Oof. This sleaping thing will take getting used to.

IJD: Too bad you weren't with us on the world where you could get used to things through instantaneous brain downloads.

Marc: Well, it doesn't take long anyway. Nowadays, I usually yawn after I sleap.

Kira: Hey! Everyone look around, quick!

Zeke: What is it? I don't see any policemen.

IJD: Or soldiers.

Marc: Or rhinoceri.

Derek: Or radioactive zebra stampedes.

Kira: Exactly! This world doesn't have any obvious quirks! Do you think we could be... home?

Zeke: We shouldn't assume anything. The world where cedar trees were extinct didn't have any obvious quirks either.

IJD: (shudder) Don't remind me.

Kira: Well, there must be a way to find out for certain. We need to look for some kind of clear, direct evidence that this is the world we came from.

(A paper boy bikes by, and one of his newspapers falls out of the bag as he passes. Marc picks it up.)

Marc: "Canadian dollar up to 14.7 cents American."

Kira: Woo hoo! We're home! We're finally home! (starts kissing the ground)

IJD: Are you sure that's safe? The ground is muddy -- there could be sharks.

Kira: Not on our world!

Zeke: You know, I think she's right.

Derek: Yes, but you're whipped.

Zeke: Seriously. It really does feel like home. There's something in the air....

Marc: Chlorofluorocarbons?

Zeke: Yes, exactly. Where else can you find those?

Marc: The chlorofluorocarbon dimension, ruled by chlorofluorocarbons.

Derek: Heheheheh. (long pause) He's not joking, is he?

(The Sleapers walk around town for a while, observing things and looking for signs that this is or isn't their world.)

Derek: You can't just say "their" world. I'm from a different one.

(Cry me a river.)

Zeke: Hey, I think I've found a difference. Look at this movie listing.

Marc: Movies? We've been gone long enough it's unlikely those will help us.

Zeke: Yes, but look... (points to a poster for "Pokémon 5: The Fifth Movie", where a small, mouselike water Pokémon is facing off against a large, angry-looking dog Pokémon)

IJD: What's your point?

Zeke: America gets the Pokémon movies later than Japan does, so we know there are only four.

Kira: IJD?

IJD: Yes?

Kira: Hammer.

(IJD hands Kira the Hammer of Smiting, with which she promptly smites Zeke)

Zeke: Ow....

Kira: That's quite enough of that. I'd rather be in the wrong dimension than be led to the right one because of Pokémon. Has anyone seen relevant clues?

Derek: Not yet. But I wouldn't really know, not being from your world and all. Right, narrator?

(See that river?)

Derek: Yeah.

(Cry me it.)

IJD: You know, we've been looking for hours now without turning up any differences... I think at this point we may as well assume we're home until we find out otherwise.

Marc: I agree. Zeke?

Zeke: Ow....

Kira: Then it's settled. We're home, and we need never sleap again!

(Three weeks pass. The Sleapers go their separate ways, relaxing and enjoying themselves now that their wild adventure is over. Then, one day, while Zeke and Kira are returning from a movie....)

Mysterious Hooded Man: Psst. Come into this dark alley.

Kira: Who are you?

Zeke: And what's wrong with that well-lit alley over there?

Mysterious Hooded Man: I have something important to tell you. Something that will change the way you think about the world.

Kira: Why do you have to tell us in an alley?

Mysterious Hooded Man: Because it's a secret, obviously.

Zeke: Then why are you telling us?

(The hooded man grabs them and pulls them into the shadows.)

Zeke: Ow! Watch it. I'm still sore from getting smitten.

Mysterious Hooded Man: Listen closely: you are not on your true Earth. I can get you there, but first you must gather the others.

Kira: Marc and IJD and Derek, you mean?

Mysterious Hooded Man: Yes. When you're all together, return here and I'll give you the coordinates.

Zeke: What do you think, Ki? Should we do it?

Kira: Meh. We've got nothing better to do.

(The pair travel to Montreal first to pick up Marc....)

Marc: Hello, you two. How've you been?

Zeke: Is that a tailored suit?

Marc: Yessir. Andy's a miracle worker.

Zeke: He'd have to be... that suit is made of $50 bills.

Kira: What? Marc, how did you get rich?

Marc: Didn't you hear? I wrote a screenplay about our adventures and sold it to Hollywood. They're going to make it a big summer blockbuster.

Zeke: Wow! That's amazing!

Marc: Well, sort of. It wasn't about our adventures so much as attractive young women with trite love lives played by teeny-boppers. But the point is, I sold out.

Kira: No, the point is someone sold out who wasn't me. The cliché is dying at last!

(Next stop: Florida.)

Marc: How are we going to find IJD? It's a big state.

Zeke: Really? It looked so small on the map. And purple. Why isn't it purple?

Kira: I think I know what to do here. (ahem) The original series had crappy special effects!

IJD: (popping apparently out of nowhere) It did not! Well, it did, but come on, it was the 1960s! Oh, hey guys. What's up?

Zeke: Nicely done, Ki. Lucky for us IJD lives in this area.

IJD: This area? I live 200 miles from here.

(Finally, the foursome track down Derek -- now using his sheriff skills for the FBI -- shooting it out with his quarry on a cliff edge.)

Derek: You'll never make it to the Belgian border, Kwon! Give yourself up!

Kwon: Never! (fires several shots at Derek)

Zeke: Hey Derek. We wanted to -- (a shot whizzes by Zeke's ear) -- who is that guy?

Derek: He's an insane killer named Obadiah "O" Kwon. The FBI sent 12 of us after him, and he's already killed 8. Stand back!

(Derek throws a grenade. It detonates near Kwon, knocking him down.)

Derek: The jig is up, "O". Surrender now and --

Kwon: You'll never take me alive!

(Several moments pass.)

Kira: Aren't you going to do something?

Kwon: Am I supposed to?

IJD: Well, yeah. Normally criminals say "you'll never take me alive" before committing suicide.

Kwon: Really?

Zeke: Yep. It's almost a cliché.

Kwon: Wow, I had no idea. Thanks. (hurls himself over the cliff)

Derek: Ouch. That's the end of him... no one's ever survived the canyon of Saar.

Kira: Are we quite through with the fanservice now, or is my next line going to find some contrived reason to allude to Catalina Marina?

Zeke: I doubt it. It would take a verbal wizard to make that plausible, and you're no Merlin, missy.

(At last the reunited Sleapers return to the dark alley, where the mysterious hooded man has been waiting for them.)

Mysterious Hooded Man: Welcome back. I've been waiting for you.

IJD: We know.

Mysterious Hooded Man: I have the coordinates to your true world. Did you bring the sleaping equipment?

Derek: (holding out a pillow) Check.

Mysterious Hooded Man: Must you pun?

Kira: Actually, that's a fake pillow. The toaster's inside it.

Mysterious Hooded Man: It's still a pun. Here are the coordinates.

(The hooded man holds out a yo-yo with dimensional coordinates written on it.)

Zeke: A yo-yo?

Mysterious Hooded Man: I'm mysterious.

(Shrugging, Zeke enters the coordinates into the device and activates it. A portal whirls open.)

Mysterious Hooded Man: Good luck, gentlemen.

Marc: Just a minute. Derek, may I borrow your FBI bazooka?

Derek: (whispering) Ixnay on the azookabay!

Marc: Please, this is important.

(Derek reluctantly takes the bazooka out of his shirt pocket and hands it over. Holding the six-foot weapon by the handle, Marc sticks the first five feet of it into the portal.)

Derek: Hey!

(Three seconds later, Marc pulls his arm back. The first half of the barrel of the bazooka has melted; the remaining half is riddled with bulletholes. A sign sticking out of the barrel reads "Gosh, that smarts.")

Derek: Hey!

Marc: Is there something you'd like to tell us, mysterious hooded man?

Mysterious Hooded Man: Um... well....

Derek: That was government issue! They'll take it out of my pay!

Kira: (advancing on the hooded man) IJD, hammer.

Mysterious Hooded Man: Wait! I can explain!

Zeke: We don't want excuses, we want the truth!

Mysterious Hooded Man: You can't handle the truth!

Kira: Oh, now I have to hit you....

Zeke: Ki, could you have resisted saying that in his place?

Kira: (reluctantly) No.

Derek: And the paperwork! Do you have any idea how many forms I'll have to fill out?

Mysterious Hooded Man: All right, the truth is that I'm from one of the worlds you sleapt to, a long time ago. Do you remember the world where horses were at war with cows?

IJD: Yes, we negotiated a peace between them.

Marc: It was one of our proudest moments.

Mysterious Hooded Man: Well, bully for you! But guess what they did after you left?

Zeke: They didn't start fighting again, did they?

Mysterious Hooded Man: They united against the humans and drove us into slavery! Only I escaped!

(A long and somber pause. Then....)

Kira: (snort) Hahahahahaha!

(The others are soon laughing as well, except for Derek, who stays off in the corner muttering about bazooka control lobbyists.)

Zeke: You've got to admit it's pretty funny.

Mysterious Hooded Man: I admit no such thing! And furthermore --

(Just then, a new portal opens, through which an angry cow emerges.)

Mysterious Hooded Man: Noooo! They've found me!

(The cow slowly advances on the hooded man, backing him into a wall.)

Cow: Moo.

Mysterious Hooded Man: (panicking) You'll never take me alive!

(The hooded man jumps over the cow and races out of the alley. Unfortunately, he trips over what's left of the bazooka and falls into the portal he had the Sleapers open. The bazooka's sign changes to "Serves him right!" as the portal closes.)

Zeke: Well, one problem solved, but... (gestures nervously at the cow)

Kira: (calmly) Moo. Moo moo.

Cow: Moo?

Kira: Mooooo.

(The cow nods curtly and goes back through its portal, which closes after it.)

Zeke: You never cease to amaze me.

Kira: It isn't hard.

IJD: Well, I for one am glad that's over with. Now we can get back to our lives without doubting whether we're in the right dimension.

Marc: Yes, that's a great relief.

Derek: Mm-hmm. (muttering) Bazooka-killer.

(As the Sleapers leave the alley, Zeke hangs back for a moment; something in the alley has caught his eye. It's the yo-yo the hooded man left. Finding himself getting an odd feeling about it, Zeke picks up the yo-yo, measures three diameters' worth of string, and cuts the rest off. He then wraps it around the yo-yo and finds that it covers the circumference exactly once.)

Zeke: Good God! Pi in this world is exactly three!

(Zeke's disturbed expression quickly changes to a look of anticipation.)

Zeke: Mmmmm... exactly three pies....

(Dropping the yo-yo, Zeke leaves the alley and goes to rejoin the others.)


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This was originally published on June 21, 2003.

DISCLAIMER: Yes, we're still breaking a few copyrights. Coincidentally, we're still insane. Now go fetch me my hunting rifle, it's cabbage season.

All material © 2003, Colin Hayman.