From Chapter Zero:
Meeting Sally, a Girl from a Properly Engineered Future
“Hi! What’s your name?” the young man asked a small, prim, and proper little girl. She was at play in a park, apart from a group of others who looked and sounded very much like her.
Blonde bumpy pigtails spun outward and whipped the air when she heard the voice, which seemed to pop out of nowhere.
“Sally,” she answered, looking at the man’s face. It looked familiar, as if he was famous somehow. A woman was with him; she didn’t speak.
“No—your full name,” the young man requested curtly.
“Sally November Thirtieth Two Thousand Five Hundred And Nine.”
“Thanks, kid. Gotta go.”
“Where?” the little girl asked, quite innocently, even fondly—the man seemed like an old friend. She trusted him, as if his face was the very one on the statue in front of her school.
The man answered. “Back to my dorm room…uhhh…keep up the good work…” while wondering why he bothered to answer at all, notwithstanding polite habit. This girl and all those in this world meant nothing to him, and, he believed, most likely didn’t even really exist in the way, say, his dorm room existed. He would ask a physicist when he got the chance.
From Chapter Eight:
Instead of Sleeping: Some Time Travel
It seemed to Plunkett that Woby had just left when he burst back in through the dorm room door. This time there was nothing unnatural or inexplicable: through normal everyday cause and effect, and time passing at one-second-per-second, Woby had returned. It was early Saturday morning; Plunkett had fallen asleep on the couch with his notebook on his chest and his pen still wedged between his fingers.
Plunkett jumped up at the surprise and the noise and saw a tall but doughy figure come through the door.
It was Woby.
It was Woby.
His younger brother’s normal blobby and R-shaped outline was there in the door frame, and now moving toward the couch. The form in motion jiggled in a familiar way, and still looked ready for someone to keep long-stemmed flowers in; and it all still swished as if carrying more than enough water for any emergency.
But this person had short hair, and it was neatly parted to the side. And this person was dressed in pleated khaki pants and a golf shirt and had been carrying a suitcase, which now remained near the door. He had papers under his arm, an umbrella in hand. And this person’s face was mature, creased, and with fewer blemishes, and these in brown and not jelly-pink. He looked the age of a young college professor.
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