Greetings, ladies and gentlemen. This episode of THE GAMESMAN is brought to you by OMZIG – When something seems too weird for your world…
And we have a special guest. Please welcome power-giver Bijaksana Lama Satu!
There is a massive round of whooping and applause. Doctor Bijaksana walks in, is taken aback by the generous audience response, waves to them and sits down at my talk show desk. Good! I was hoping to meet up with him again. No one was more shocked than myself to find out I was hosting a talk show. No one else was shocked at all, in fact, because on this Earth that’s what I do. I’ll wing it.
“What do you want?” asks Bijaksana rather rudely.
“Well,” I ponder, “why can’t you give me a power that will help me stay in my own reality?”
“Do you think I am a genie who grants wishes?”
“Tell me,” asks the mystical oneirologist, looking around curiously at the set, lights and cameras, “what’s with all this?”
“Not sure, sir,” I reply, “but…since this is my dream and we seem to be on TV, it could be my imaginary TV show. See, long before reality TV followed duck hunters and celebrity wives around, back when I was a very young boy, I would pretend that I had my own TV show, all about my life, where a camera followed me all the time. I suppose that was my version of an invisible friend. My invisible friend was an audience of millions who loved watching my antics…”
“Okay, okay,” interrupts a bored Bijaksana, “so what do you want?” For some reason the audience laughs. When it dies down I respond.
“The power to stay in one reality. Otherwise I might go insane. It’s been two months now…”
“Any powers one achieves are brought forth from their own constitution,” Bijaksana explains patiently. “But let me ask you. What kind of power do you think would help you stay in one reality?”
“I don’t…I’m not sure. I guess some kind of reality-tracking power?”
“Considering that you probably end up back in your own reality once your brain damage is repaired anyway,” Bijaksana speculates, “and myself having the ability to grant you one power once and that is all; what power would you have me grant you then?”
“Hmm. Well, invisibility would be cool. Or x-ray vision.”
“You would descend into perversion,” conjectures Bijaksana. I won’t argue with him.
“Super strength would be impressive..”
Bijaksana frowns, “But some resentful prick could cap you from a distance – and what could you do about it?”
“Okay – indestructibility!”
“You could be trapped,” Bijaksana points out, “incarcerated forever and entombed for eternity.” Well, that wouldn’t be good.
“No matter how fast you move, you can never stay anywhere long enough to anticipate everything coming up. Surprise will strike catastrophically.” Ah, he’s just throwing water on my fires. Okay, what could be wrong with…
“Flying? For the longest time I’ve thought that flying was the super power I’d choose if I could only have one. I’d had some terrific flying dreams, including one where I was soaring over snow capped mountains in a perfectly blue sky as though sitting on a transparent motorcycle. Since flying is a super power that can be simulated, I went skydiving and enjoyed a 45-second free fall where the world stretched out before me and there was no sensation of plunging, only the experience of gradually descending at Superman-like speed, able to change direction with a twist of the arms.”
Bijaksana smiles knowingly. “As exciting as that is, you must realize that even flying would become routine after awhile. And even the eagle is shot out of the sky.”
I can’t think any more so I toss the dilemma back to the guru. “I would have you grant me the best super power of all, as known by you.”
“The best power of all is not mine to grant,” says Bijaksana. “Come, I will show you what it is, and who has it.”
Hey! He takes over my dream! The TV studio dissipates. A kaleidoscope of worlds flourishes in the new scenario, gently passing through each other in random patterns.
“In many realities there is one being who will not -does not -and cannot die, be killed or otherwise seriously debilitated nor permanently detained,” explains the lofty dream snatcher. “In these realities, probability lies within the influence of this single individual. So long as this individual lives its entire lifespan within its universe, its entire universe will exist for its entire span of possibilities. The preexistence of the universe that manifests this individual suggests the post-existence of the universe beyond this individual. Though living in a finite space and time amid the universe, this single individuon maintains the core of that reality but doesn’t know it.”
The swirl of worlds ends as we settle quietly upon one as if ghosts from Christmas Past.
“Can we bring up that visual, Dave?” Bijaksana implores the director.
“The individual keeper of a world has been a fly in one reality, has been a shark in another reality, has been an Epsilon Eridanin flomoeba in yet another reality. Sometimes the keeper of consensus reality for a world is a humanoid, like ourselves, as in this case I’m about to unveil. His ‘luck’ is so extraordinary that his nickname is The Gamesman. In this reality, the unique possession of quantum immortality by this Gamesman means that Russian roulette will never be fatal; assassination attempts will fail; diseases will not ravage him nor criminal assaults be terminal. If only he knew so he could enjoy it…”
It occurs to me that The Gamesman is not unlike myself. How many times should I have died? But while he escapes death and stays on in one reality, I survive death by switching to new ones…
Stay tuned, we’re back after a word from our sponsors…!