(part 2/3) (I was overly optimistic)
The camera reset to a shot of the night sky, unimpeded by any traces of human development. “These universes normally do not come into contact with each other, hence the term ‘parallel universes’. They are, however, not completely parallel. Scientists now believe that these universes are on a slow, almost imperceptible collision course with each other. This new understanding has totally upset the field of astronomy. What we believed to be natural phenomena of our universe: comets, meteor showers, and supernovas, are actually omens of an impending dimensional collision” As the narrator said that, shooting stars began to streak across the sky. “These are the earliest warning signs of a potential dimensional collision. A diligent citizen doing their duty should keep a watch on the night sky for these kinds of phenomena, as that is the first level of protection one can take to protect their family and themselves.”
The film went back to the diagram. “Dimensional collisions are not a violent crash of objects within dimensions, if they were none would survive such an incident. Instead, they force rectification between our universe and the universe that it is interacting with. This causes planets in space to change their direction, suns to “change” their age, and all kinds of other changes. These changes are much more likely to affect some other part of space than Earth, so changes that are visible from our atmosphere are the clearest indicators of a collision. The exact mechanics of the collision are a subject of intensive research and debate in academia, but the point is they can happen almost anywhere at almost any time without any apparent cause.” I continued watching, somewhat intrigued by these unproven theories that the PSA was presenting as facts. What could have compelled the makers of this movie to put out this film? Was it some early experiment into fake documentaries? If so, why does it conform so well in form to a typical PSA without any particular entertainment value?
“There can be changes on Earth too. They are usually minor, a number on a house might change or the date of an event might be altered. Usually these changes have no effect on anything meaningful, but they may account for dramatic personality changes in people you know. Psychology and medicine have been similarly upset by these findings, many maladies that afflict the mind and body are now understood to be potential side effects of a dimensional collision. There is nothing one can do to prevent these kinds of changes except to try to stay in sound mind and body, so that will not be the subject of the human drama before us. Instead, our story focuses on a more insidious dangerous type of collision.”
The film’s point of view returned to following Jimmy Brown as he stood waiting, by himself for the school bus. “Oooh, what’s that?”, he said to no one in particular as he picked up an object that looked like a frisbee that was resting in a street gutter. The narrator’s voice returned, “This unknown widget is an example of an other-dimensional artifact, an object that appears within our world that should not be here. The existence of such a totem cannot be attributed to any known cause in our universe and, unlike most things in it, it cannot be destroyed. Scientists believe this is because what we are interacting with is not an object existing within our world, but is an inter-dimensional anchor, which has a counterpart in its host universe. The attempted destruction of such an object will be negated because it inevitably remanifests in its original condition. If you see such an artifact, the responsible thing to do is to stop, to report it to the authorities, and to diligently monitor your surroundings for inter-dimensional rectifications.”
“Jimmy here, diligent of a student as he is, has not learned in school about dimensional objects yet. So he could hardly be faulted for what is about to happen…” the narrator says as Jimmy tucks the frisbee under his arm. The scene cuts to the kitchen from the first shot with the frisbee resting in the windowsill with darkness outside the window. Mr. and Mrs. Brown appear oblivious to the object’s presence as they eat their dinner. The narrator continues, “What Jimmy has accidently done is the most dangerous thing you could do with an inter-dimensional artifact. What once the world thought of as cursed items, we now understand to be the influence of inter-dimensional artifacts. By exposure to it, he and his family will almost certainly be subject to alteration in conformity with whatever their other-dimensional counterparts are like. This process is gradual, but mild results may include a corruption of the moral character, the development of health complications, and erratic behavior. In exceptionally rare circumstances, death or transformation into some other manner of creature may occur.” The next scene showed Mr. Brown recast as a fat, uncaring slob, Jimmy wearing a dunce hat, and Mrs. Brown dressed in a risqué fashion for the era and gussying herself up.
“While things could only go down for a family like the Browns, it is thoroughly irresponsible to assume that your life could be improved by such an artifact. Remember at the other end of this process are other versions of yourself. What you are exposed to, they are exposed to. Your responsibility is thus to be a guardian of not just the well-being of your own family, but also of your inter-dimensional neighbors. After all, you wouldn’t want them to take needless risks that bring harm to you.”
The reel stopped rolling. I thought to myself that I could kind of see it functioning as a parody, but it was much too dull to pass for one. I began to feel that Uncle Dan really was a bit unhinged, that he had seen this movie then had taken it as true. Given the headline of the newspaper, it could only be that he would assume that this is, itself, an inter-dimensional artifact. I began to blame the reel for what happened, so I decided to take it upon myself to destroy it. I ejected the film reel and tried to rip the strip apart but found that it couldn’t break no matter how hard I tried to tear it. That defied my expectations, but I had never tried destroying a film reel before, so I could not say how unusual that was.
I decided I would go burn it, so I exited the house and drove to the nearest convenience store, where I purchased a cheap lighter. In retrospect, it occurred to me that I could have taken the reel with me, but I felt uneasy being around it while knowing it played a part in my uncle’s suicide. On my return trip I was surprised by the sound of a fire engine rushing by on the street ahead of me. I was more surprised when I saw clouds of smoke in the sky billowing out of the house I was in only moments ago. Somehow, following my viewing of the reel, the house had burst into flames that consumed it in minutes. My arm began to sear in pain and blisters started to appear up and down it. I screamed out, but the fire men on the scene took it to be the usual anguish a homeowner has when their life’s work goes up in flames. The blisters began to burst, puss oozed out and hand became charred and black. I demanded the attention of a fireman, who immediately called an ambulance which took me to the hospital where my wounds were treated.