The time loop seems to repeat about every five minutes these days. It’s only a matter of time before the office reaches mass capacity. I’m glad the fire marshall hasn’t paid us a visit. We’d be eternally screwed.
About every five minutes, a new “me” arrives at the office door, coffee in hand, shouldering a red backpack. Since space has grown sparse, I’ve begun asking me to check my bag at the door.
“For fuck’s sake!” I said (about ten days ago). “Leave the bag! No room!”
I left my bag at the door. For a while, each new arrival was marked by a chorus of ‘for fuck’s sake,’ ‘leave the bag,’ and ‘no room.’ As more arrived, more yelled.
That didn’t seem to work.
Bewildered by the chaos, the new “me” would often shuffle through the office door without dropping his bag. His entrance was then met with volleys of ‘goddamn it,’ ‘are you kidding me,’ and ‘I said leave the bag, moron.’
So we formed a committee of sorts to determine a final solution–but that quickly fell flat, too. I’m not much of a leader, and I hate group projects. The committee (all of whom volunteered in order to end the awkwardness from no one volunteering) did manage to appoint a designated ‘leave the bag’ guy–but only because he was closest to the door at the time and didn’t mind whispering in new arrivals’ ears.
That was a few days ago. That “me” has since been pushed to the northwest corner of the room, and all ‘new arrival instruction’ gets issued through an ever-growing daisy chain. Someone inevitably messes up, and new “me”s often end up keeping their bags. They usually drop their Thermoses instead.
Now there’s a coffee shortage.
There are a couple silver linings to our current space-time pickle. For starters, we haven’t run out of air yet. The oxygen seems to reset every time the room completes a loop–which means each new arrival literally brings us a breath of fresh air. And when we do eventually run out (since the body to O2 ratio will inevitably tip), all we have to do is hold our breaths and wait a few minutes.
We’ve also learned that we can stack atop each other without worrying about crushing. Even if the bottom layer of “me”s dies, they revive at the beginning of each new loop. No harm, no foul. And they don’t seem to mind anyway.
But I do tend to wonder–with all these versions of myself walking, talking, standing, and stacking, what makes “me” me? It’s easy to rationalize the others as others, but they really aren’t, are they? This isn’t some high-sci-fi interdimensional goblety gook. These are the same me: the one who started this job a few months ago and decided to write a blog. All these other versions of myself may speak or act differently–but who’s to say I wouldn’t do the same? I would, actually. I’m certain of it. And to think that something as simple as changing where I’m standing or sitting could so dramatically affect how I act–it unsettles me. What else am I capable of?
It’s incredible how lonely a crowded room feels.
I need to get to that door.
October 9th is almost over. Stay tuned to find out what happens next.
“Morning coffee” is a serial fiction series. So far, we’ve covered rubberneckers, co-workers, cubicle stains, office plants, desk trophies, conspiracies, secret organizations, pocket dimensions, black holes, and impending, inevitable doom. And that’s just the beginning.
Where should we go next? Let me know in the comment section below.
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