Event Zero

John knocks like only John knocks: as if there's a monster stalking him through the apartment building halls, and he's run up the stairs while it was in the elevator, and he's looking over his shoulder while knocking and dreading the ding of the elevator arriving. That's how John knocks. When he's stoned and half-asleep, he knocks the same.

He also, apparently, sometimes yells, "Let me the fuck in!" At least he did this time.

I opened the door and John brushed past me and pushed the door out of my hand and closed. He locked all three locks and then leaned in to listen at the door.

"John, what the—"


After a moment, he seemed to relax somewhat. Somewhat for John, everything being relative. He flopped onto the couch and started rooting through his bag. "Do you remember Rigoni's Second Theorem?"

"John, I didn't go to MIT with you, remember? I went to art school. What are you doing in New York?"

"Ugh. Okay. So, Rigoni." John squared his shoulders and took a breath and started the lecture. "He says you can exist in more than one place at a time, so long as those places are adjacent in the fourth dimension. So—"

"Sounds reasonable."

"Don't mock this." He stared at me, shook his finger. He seemed almost schoolmasterish, if that's a word. "It might be important later. I need you to do something for me. If I can find it."

"It's not drugs, is it?" I asked, half-hoping it was drugs. John hooked me up with a brick of hash once that had lasted all summer. "Is it drugs?"

"It's not." He pulled a small box from his bag. It was taped shut, and he held it like it was a ticking bomb. "It's the prototype."

"Of what?"

"Rigoni, Freddy, Rigoni. The prototype makes any two points adjacent, fourth-dimensionally speaking. You just tell it what two points. Right now it's set for my lab in California and Mom's place over in Park Slope."

"So you used this thing to come here from California?"

"No, no, I'm still in California, I'm just also here." He got up, listened at the door. "But they're coming, so I have to get rid of it."

"What do you mean, who's coming?"

"They're not coming here, they're coming to the lab. Freddy, if they get their hands on this, it'll be bad. They won't know how to handle it. Do you still work with metal? Do you have the smelter?"

"Sure. At the studio."

"Take it, drop it in. Do it now, today."

"What happens to you?"

"I don't know. Either there'll be one of me, in California, or two of me, one there and one here, or I'll get ripped apart, quantum-wise. Or the universe will. It'll be one of those." He sighed. "Probably the first one. Or the second."

"…Okay, I guess."

"And Freddy…" He put his hands on my shoulders, "Don't open the box. Really don't open the box."


  1. I think I'd behave a lot like John if I were being chased by a monster.
    I'm also pretty sure I'd open the box, like I'm pretty sure Freddy's going to open the box!
    Your style is like Rice Krispies with a lot of snap, crackle and pop. Only it's a lot tastier! I love Rice Krispies, but they really don't have much flavor.

    1. Thank you very much for reading and commenting! Rice Krispies! :-)

  2. Rice Krispies is the perfect way to describe this scene. And, I'd probably open the box as well... Love this. Well done!

  3. Freddy is totally going to open the box.

    1. I don't think so, I think Freddy is the responsible one.

  4. I love the concept of Quantum theory, dual existences.

  5. Call me a chicken because I sure wouldn't open the box! Though I might try to draw it first-art school for me too!

    Edgy, high energy story-I liked it!

  6. Oh man, this was amazing. I love that this response has brought so many great scary & creepy stories to me! This seems like it was part of a longer piece of work, the characters were well drawn, and the opening paragraph totally hooked me. I don't know if you are planning to do more with this, but I would enjoy reading it!

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words! :-)

  7. I like the tension and excitement throughout the scene. Would love to read more about these characters.