Something Fundamental

His head was down against the silvery sunshine heat. Walking along, he looked up to orient his course and spotted Doctor Frank further up the white cement sidewalk.

He literally froze where he was. His heart beat – he felt it – but a shocked stupor held him stiff. Doctor Frank had died two months before. This had to be a doppelganger. He’d heard or read that everyone has an exact replica of themselves elsewhere on the world. This was the most perfect one he’d ever seen. The man was just like Doctor Frank, the biologist, in every aspect from his impish, good-natured expression, gray and white beard, and slender-as-a-broom frame to the outdoor pants, boots, and vest that were Doctor Frank’s regular attire, including the forest green bush hat.

He snapped out of it. The result put him up the sidewalk past where he’d spotted Doctor Frank, as if he’d never stopped. His head swooned. Pausing to regain control of his senses, he saw Q across the street, waiting to cross.

Now that was fucking impossible. Q’d died four years ago. Like Doctor Frank, doppelganger Q was an eerie ghost of his deceased friend. As he wondered what the what, he saw his mother-in-law, Jean, dead for the last two years, off to the left, with her husband, Carl, who’d been dead since 1992. 

“Holy shit,” reverberated through his mind and came out his mouth. “What’s going on?”

In a blink, he realized all the color had deserted the world, as though he was watching a movie on an old black-and-white television. Closing his eyes to recover, he gasped; with his eyes closed, he could see everything taking place in color, except the dead folk that he saw weren’t there.

Slowly, he cracked his eyes open and took in the monochrome world. The sound differed from before. Swiveling his head, he saw more dead friends and relatives. It wasn’t his beloved hometown any longer, until he closed his eyes. With eyes closed, color was restored, and he was in the town where he’d been living and walking.

Keeping them closed, he resumed his walk. That seemed to work, but it was a temporary solution. Something fundamental had changed in his world.

He was going to have to open his eyes again sometime. And then…

He shook his head. He was going to keep his eyes closed until he was home. And then —

Well, he’d see.

Getting Weird

Rounding the corner, pushing himself to walk hard and fast, he almost ran into another person. The other guy seemed to be doing the same thing as him. As both jerked back in reaction, they looked at one another in the face.

Blue eyes rested a in tanned and lean, craggy face under short, sandy-blonde hair.

He almost gasped aloud. He almost said, “Steve McQueen.”

Quickly, the other man turned and strode away. As he gaped at the man’s receding back, he thought, that can’t be Steve McQueen. Steve McQueen died a long time ago, like decades ago, or something, from a heart attack. He remembered it because McQueen and his father had been born in the same age. McQueen’s death, when he was just fifty, scared his father.

He wished he could call his father and talk about it, but his father had died the year before. As he mused on that, wondering if it was McQueen’s doppelganger or maybe a son, he almost ran into another man.

“Excuse me,” the other man said with a smile.

He jerked back in shock. “Johnny Carson?”

The man put a finger to his lips with a furtive grin. “Shh. Mum’s the word.” Then he turned and hurried away into the brightening day.

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