“Ladies and gentlemen this is a truly historic event. This is humanity’s first manned mission through a black hole. Who knows what our brave astronauts will find on the other side? We’ll keep you updated with reports throughout the day.” The female news reporter said with a broad smile. Frankie yawned and turned off the TV.
“It’s the last thing you’d expect,” Frankie mumbled to himself with a chuckle while he considered his day. It was 6:30 a.m. He was supposed to be at work by 8, but he didn’t see the point in going to work anymore. He managed logistics for a local warehouse but he knew he was out of a job when the astronauts returned from their mission; his day was now free. He glanced around his small apartment from the couch. The living room was the size of a standard bedroom and the single bedroom slightly larger. The galley style kitchen consisted of a refrigerator, sink, and stove all lined up against one wall. He could have afforded a larger apartment but in his mind, the smaller one was easier to keep clean; not that he managed that very well. His eyes fell on the recycling bin overflowing with beer and soda cans and he briefly considered spending the day cleaning. Luckily his phone buzzed with a text to distract him.
“OMG! Did you hear!?” a text from Sarah came with a link attached. The link preview showed a picture of the reporter from the TV talking to an astronaut and Frankie grinned to himself. Sarah was his closest friend and she helped him decide how to spend his day.
“Off today?” he texted a reply then stood from the couch. She replied quickly; his phone buzzed as he walked into the bathroom.
“Yeah, what’s up?” Sarah’s text asked.
“Breakfast in an hour at the cafe,” he sent the message then hopped in the shower.
An hour later Frankie walked into his regular cafe and caught sight of Sarah already there. Her shoulder-length copper-red hair was tied back in a ponytail and she wore black and pink sweats; Frankie assumed she just came from the gym.
“Why aren’t you at work?” she asked as he sat down across from her. Frankie shrugged.
“Once the team gets back things will be completely different,” he said. “My job probably won’t exist anymore.” Sarah narrowed her eyes at Frankie.
“Huh? Where’d you get that idea?” she asked. “I mean, it’s kind of cool we’re exploring a black hole. I’m sure there are things that’ll benefit us, but how’d jump to being unemployed?” Frankie smiled.
“You’ve been my best friend since we met,” he said. “But, there’s a lot I haven’t told you about before we met. One of those things is: I know what’s out there.”
“No you don’t,” Sarah said with a mocking tone. Before Frankie could reply the waitress appeared next to their table to take their orders.
“Morning guys,” she smiled. “Usual?” Sarah nodded her agreement.
“Chocolate pancakes instead of French toast today,” Frankie said. “And Vanilla shake instead of coffee.”
“Got it,” the waitress walked away and Frankie picked up the conversation where they left off.
“I do and I can prove it,” he said. “Give me some paper and something to write with,” he nodded at her purse.
“Shake for breakfast?” she asked with a raised eyebrow as she dug through her bag.
“It’s a day worth celebrating,” he replied. “Thank you,” he added when she handed him a blue pen and a notepad. He scribbled a note, then handed the items back to her.
“Don’t look at -” Sarah interrupted his warning with a question.
“What’s Sharp Development?” She asked. Frankie sighed.
“You weren’t supposed to look at it until after they came back,” he said. “It was going to be all mysterious and stuff. “
“You should have told me before handing it back,” she said and added an exaggerated eyeroll for good measure. “What does Sharp Development have to do with the astronauts?”
“That’s what they’re going to find on the other side. More likely, that’s what’s going to find them.”
“It sounds like the name of a corporation,” Sarah said. Frankie nodded.
“Sharp Development is the biggest corporation in the multiverse.”
“Multi verse?” Sarah asked. “You’re saying not only are there alternate universes out there. A single company has spread out over more than one?” Frankie chuckled.
“Try more than one thousand; a lot more.”
“There’s over 1000 universes?” Sarah asked. Frankie nodded. “And the same, single company has a presence in at least those thousand?”
“That sounds like a logistics nightmare,” Sarah giggled. Frankie nodded.
“It was,” he said wistfully. “More than I could handle anyway.”
“You?” Sarah asked with wide eyes. “You used to work in another universe? Why didn’t you ever tell me?”
“They fired me for underperforming and confiscated my node. I didn’t have any proof,” he said then tapped the notepad. “Now I will.”