The I-Bubble – My Ultimate Connection To You…
Apparently the me of this Earth is taking a nap on his break here at G.I.T. when I transcarnate into his reality.
Seeing the poster on the wall makes me wonder: what does G.I.T. stand for?
Waking up on the job in the utility room on a hammock in a gray uniform with my actual name on the tag throws me at first. I’ve never been a janitor. What should I do?
I know I’m supposed to clean stuff, but what and to what extent? And what with? I can’t go asking one of the bubble heads around here. They’d think I had a stroke.
Bubble heads. What is with these opaque fishbowls everyone’s wearing?
I take a broom and start sweeping the hall. I come upon a display case lauding the accomplishments of G.I.T. staff. I see that the acronym means Globe Institute of Technology. I want to get out of here and spend a quiet day in a park if they have such things on this Earth. I don’t get enough boredom these days. I hope my other self isn’t in trouble after I’m gone.
But as I go around the building many of the displays intrigue me. There’s some fantastic technology produced here. A one-wheeled car. An elevator transportable in a briefcase. A programmable mask that reproduces any features or any face realistically. Amazing shit.
Hey, I’m the janitor, right? The night janitor, and I have a huge ring of key cards hanging around my neck. I can get in these locked doors and see what other cool developments have taken place here.
Then depression strikes. I realize once again that I never get to stay anywhere long enough to make use of what I’ve learned. I’m on a relentless, unpredictable schedule. Every night I must leave everything behind and every day I must learn everything anew. Time is sand slipping through my fingers.
“I thought you was gonna try an’ open that doh,” says the lady mopping outside the bathroom door. “Damned good thing you dint.”
Okay, must be off limits. I should know that. What was I doing? “All right then” I say, sweeping away, “but I smell something and I think that door needs a cleaning.”
“You even touch that doh o’ dat alarm go off and I’m sent home foh the night,” complains the women, “lose my damn hours! Don’t touch dat!”
I coax some info out of Ethel, the lady now mopping the bathrooms, before she leaves for the night. She’s the only person I’ve seen in this building who doesn’t have a globe on her head besides me. She knows me as a regular, though this is the first Earth where I’ve encountered her.
My predecessor is known as “The Cockroach.” He preceded me as the night shift janitor at the Globe Institute of Technology. He’s why I had to undergo the highest level of background check. His name was Damon.
“Dey say Damon took the janitor job to case the place foh a gang heist,” Ethel explains.
“Did he pull it off?” I ask. But as a bubble head comes down the hall Ethel springs back to work, and shoots me a look that says I should do the same. I sweep.
When the bubble head turns the corner I have to ask. Ethel seems nice enough. “Ethel, why is everybody wearing a bowl on their head?”
“Lord if I know!” Ethel tells me sincerely. “I don’t want no part of it.”
“But I mean – what is it like? How can they see their way around?”
“See?” she repeats incredulously. “You never hear news? Everybody wants these things when dey get to market someday. Records everything. Interprets everything. Enlarges anything. Hears everything. Reviews everything. Reports anything. Blocks anything. Talks to everywhere. Watches everything. Analyze anything. Tell you what to do, where everyone is, how to wipe butt. Our kids gonna be wearing dem when dey grown up. Nobody ever gonna see a face to face again. Glad I’ll be dead.”
So the head bubbles haven’t been rolled out yet. But why the popularity? What are the specs? Ethel takes this knowledge for granted as public gossip. She can’t grasp that I’ve never heard of this before. She’s nervous that we’re talking too much. I leave her be.
Once she’s gone so are the last bubble heads. The facility is left to me and a handful of bubbled security guards. And – probably – a robot brain monitoring the building.
I want to sneak out and go explore this new Earth. If I stay here I’ll get my other self in serious trouble. I won’t be able to resist peeking off limits. I want to leave yet something is bugging me, compelling me to stay at G.I.T. This is weird.
I think about what I’ve learned about transcarnations and memory. This is still the same brain that’s been on this Earth all along. I’m only subcontracting. If I reach a certain meditative state I can access the present day awareness of what’s going on around me, even never having been here before. So I sweep.
I sweep a rhythm and breathe to it. I stop thinking. There is only a hum as I sweep, breathe, hum…sweep, breathe, hum. Sweep…breathe…
…Holy shit. I’m him! I’m Damon! And I’m here to steal a head bubble! I’ve got an implant that completely foils the ID systems G.I.T. employs. I was able to re-apply for the same position as another person – after I stole their tech! The last thing anyone would expect me to do. And I did it with tech stolen from another company called RAMSCI using the tech I stole from G.I.T.! Full circle.
So now I know what happened to “Damon.” I was casing the place for a heist by a shady bunch that was paying big money. I began to suspect they were spies. At first I didn’t care. The money was too good.
As I got to know G.I.T. and the people I understood the nature of many of the tools being developed. I realized I had access to the greatest burglary arsenal ever assembled. Why should I stick around being used by foreign agents when I had a chance to break out on my own in a big way?
After six months I disappeared along with a host of technical gems, such as the only blueprints for the creation of programmable, super tenuous prehensile rope that rested in the inventor’s hard drive and on a flash drive –before I destroyed one and stole the other.
Now G.I.T. is plagued once again, but by a sneaky menace called La Cucaracha.
And I know where I hid the suit…