Home for Lost Zeros

“Here’s the master bedroom.” Jesse heard a woman’s voice coming from the hall. He glanced around the empty room and realized he had nowhere to hide in the empty room. He moved toward the master bath, but the voice echoed into the room.  “It’s a cozy 100 square feet, with an attached master bath–” Jesse froze. “… and the occasional intruder.” Jesse lifted his arms to show he meant no harm and turned around slowly.

“I don’t know where I am or how I got here,” Jesse explained as he turned. He found an older, well-dressed, silver-haired real estate agent showing the house to a tall, bearded man in t-shirt and jeans. The man looked exactly like Jesse, with a different t-shirt and jeans.

“Hey, you look like me!” The Jesse next to the real estate agent pointed out their similarities first. “Why does he look like me?” He asked the woman. She sighed and lifted her black leather portfolio to dig through it.

“The walls between universes are weak here,” she explained while searching each pocket in the portfolio. Finally, she pulled out a solid black business card. “As a result,” she nodded at the misplaced Jesse. “Anyone can just walk in.”

“Whhooaa! Really?” Both Jesses asked in unison; they seemed surprised despite looking right at each other.

“Don’t worry, you’ll get home,” the agent said. She threw the black card against a wall and it formed a large, black, empty hole. After a moment a short, round man in a dark suit and flowing golden curls stepped out of the hole. He looked at the real estate agent and the two Jesses.

“Taxi?” he asked. The woman nodded and pointed to the Jesse that was out of place.

“He needs a ride home.” The short man nodded, then reached into the black hole. The hole shrunk and flowed toward his hand until it was all compressed in his hand in the shape of a business card. He gave the black card to the woman, then moved toward Jesse with an outstretched hand.

“I’m Roscoe,” he smiled. Jesse shook his hand.

“I’m Jesse. Thanks for the ride,” he said. When their hands touched he felt a tingling pulse in the palm of his hand. Roscoe lifted his hand and wiggled his fingers at the air. A black portal opened next to Jesse in the center of the room.

“Good luck, me!” the other Jesse shouted from behind the real estate agent. Jesse waved at them, gave his doppelganger a thumbs up gesture, then stepped into the black hole. He found himself in his familiar messy room with paint-faded walls. The portal closed behind him.

“Anything else?” Roscoe asked.

“No, thank you,” the agent replied. Roscoe nodded and left through a new portal.

“Wow,” Jesse said. “So.. that happens often enough that you have a taxi?” She nodded.

“It’s not very often,” she shrugged. “But often enough that my agency has them on retainer for this and other properties.  Of course, I understand if you’d like to see some other houses. This one is kind of-“

“Does it happen more frequently at other properties?” He asked with wide eyes. “Can you show me those?”

“You want it to happen often?” She asked. Jesse nodded vigorously.

“YEAH! There’re other universes! That’s awesome, aren’t you excited?”

“I guess anything gets boring after a while,” she shrugged. “Honestly, I was trying to play it down. It happens a lot in this house.” Her comment was punctuated by the sound of someone stepping out of the master bathroom.

“Where am I?” A bald, mustached Jesse asked.

“I’ll take it,” homeowner Jesse said.