From the Vault-Short Fiction (Installment 4 of 5)

Today’s blast from the past was wtitten in 1991 while I was living in Los Angeles. Apparently, LA had an effect upon me because some of the things I wrote out there were kind of weird. This story, entitled Walter Judd’s Vactaion was an attempt at a bit of science fiction. It’s “out there”..

Walter Judd’s Vacation

By: Shane Phipps (4/16/91)


“Hey, there’s something swimming in my drink!”, announced a startled Walter Judd. At first he thought it was just a piece of paper but, as he continued to observe the unidentified floating object, he began to think he could make out tiny arms and legs flailing about in a frantic effort to swim. Walter’s first instinct was to try and fish it out and complain to the management but something made him stop. The little thing suddenly had him mezmerized. The others sitting around the table had looked up when Walter announced the presence of the thing in his drink but were now continuing their conversations. But Walter sat transfixed as he watched the thing struggle to climb up onto an ice cube. “Man, I thought I would drown for sure…and it is freezing down here!”, said the thing. “Huh?…Drown?…What?”, replied a confused Walter, turning to look at Dave, sitting beside him. “I didn’t say a word,” Dave answered. “Didn’t you say something about drowning?”, asked Walter. “Dude, what are they putting in your drink?” laughed Dave. Walter shrugged. That’s just what I’d like to know, he thought to himself.

“It was me,” said the thing in the glass, “down here on the ice cube.” Walter slowly looked down into his glass and saw a tiny speck of a thing, waving its tiny arms at him. “Hey, buddy, could you maybe get me the heck off this frozen tundra? I am going to freeze my microscopic butt off down here!” Walter had to stop himself from answering out loud again and and looking like a fool to his friends. He decided it was best to discretely excuse himself and announced that he was tired and had to get up early in the morning. As he arose to leave, he quickly stuck his finger down into the glass and the thing hopped aboard.

Walter walked quickly to his car and got in. When he started to set the thing down upon the dashboard he saw that it had vanished. He looked all around on the floor and in the seats but found no sign of the thing. “Looking for me?”, came a voice from the back seat. Startled, Walter glanced in the rear  view mirror and the image he saw there nearly made him leap out of his own skin. He saw what appeared to be his own reflection, only it wasn’t his reflection…it was a man sitting in the back seat. “Wh..who are you?”, Walter stuttered nervously. “I am Walter Judd,” came the reply. Walter could hardly argue the point since this strange vision was his very own spitting image. “I know you must be confused,” said Walter 2, “you see, I come from the parallel universe where everything is exactly as it is here, except we are much better at parking. I came here on vacation and just thought I would look myself up. Sort of see how the othere half lives, so to speak.” Walter 1, quite literally beside himself, asked, “Can anyone else see you?” “They can now. That is why I arrived in my tiny form so as not to cause a scene. It is a pretty good way to travel, actually, except I am always losing my luggage,” Walter 2 mused. “Why didn’t I know about this parallel universe thing?”, Walter 1 inquired. “I’m not sure,” 2 answered, “everyone on my side knows. We come and go as we please. We know everything there is to know about your lives here on your side. We all just assumed that it worked that way in both directions.”

Walter 1 could not believe his own eyes and ears. “I don’t like it,” he exclaimed, “no sir, I don’t like it one bit! We have no privacy if what you say is true. You could be a spectator at my most intimate…” “No,” Walter 2 interupted, “It’s not as if we are spying on you. I mean, come on man, we aren’t a bunch of desperate voyeurs. We have our own lives…don’t flatter yourself. Although, I must admit, some of the less desireables on my side have been caught abusing the system.” “What does THAT mean?”, an agitated Walter 1 asked in an accusatory tone. Walter 2 shifted uneasily and replied, “Well, let’s just say that some have come here and had a little fun at the expense of their look-alikes on your side.”

Walter 1 was getting pretty angry now and pressed for specifics, “Such as…” Walter 2, now squirming, replied sheepishly, “Well, you know some of those court cases where the accused seems to be caught dead-to-rights but swears he didn’t do it?…Well, ummm, sometimes he didn’t do it.”

“That’s SICK!” screamed an incensed Walter 1, “I want you out of here…out of my life…OUT OF MY UNIVERSE! And I don’t ever want to see you or hear from you again! Oh, and I better not end up an any sort of mysterious trouble anytime soon!” “OK, OK, sorehead, I’m leaving,” said Walter 2, “they told me this was a bad idea…never meet your look-alike, they told me…but did I have the sense to listen? Geesh, some vacation!” And with that, Walter 2 was gone.

A groggy Walter Judd awoke the next morning and got ready for work. As he slipped his shoes on , something was poking his foot. He tipped the shoe upside down and out fell two tiny suitcases.


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