Sheldon, part 22

November 22nd, 2014

“Wait,” Charlotte said, “my parents aren’t ghosts.”

“Apparently they are,” Sheldon said. “I’m surprised you didn’t know.”

“No, really.” Charlotte walked up to the desk and started reading. “Oh my, we seem to have come back to a different reality. This is not good.”

“What’s wrong with being a ghost?” Sheldon said, looking offended. “Are you saying you have an issue with ghosts?”

“Well no, being a ghost is ok. I mean, if you’re really a ghost. I believe in diversity.”

“So what’s the problem?”

Charlotte thought about this. “I’m saying that it’s not ok to suddenly turn into a ghost just because you’ve somehow moved sideways within some kind of fictional five dimensional parallel space-time continuum.”

“Oh great,” Sheldon said. “We’ve gone from Ashton Kutcher to Christopher Nolan. I’m not sure that’s any better.”

“Sorry, I got carried away.”

“No worries. So does Christopher Nolan.”

“Right. Anyway, what are we going to do about it?”

“I suggest,” Sheldon said, “that we follow them to where they’ve gone.”

“But how do we know where two ghosts would go?”

“You realize, I hope, that you’re talking to an expert.”

“Oh … good point.”

“Thanks Charlotte. Glad you’ve been paying attention. Anyway, I can take you to them. Are you ready?”

Sheldon, part 21

November 21st, 2014

“No, you can’t do that, dear,” said Charlotte’s mom. “Schrödinger’s a boy’s name, and this is a girl cat.”

“I was being conceptual,” said Charlotte’s dad, clearly hurt.

“Can you two please concentrate?” Charlotte said impatiently. “This is important.”

She waited a few moments, until she was sure she had everyone’s undivided attention. “Ok, now watch.”

“Watch what?” Sheldon asked.

Charlotte looked toward Sheldon, but as though she were looking right through him. “OK, let’s do this.” And she held out her arms.

“Do what?” Sheldon said, clearly perplexed.

But Charlotte had not been talking to Sheldon. She had been talking to the cat, who at that exact moment was standing directly behind Sheldon. With a graceful leap the cat jumped into Charlotte’s arms, passing cleanly through Sheldon’s body.

Sheldon looked startled for a moment at the sight of a cat jumping out of his chest and into Charlotte’s arms. Then a look of understanding dawned on his face. “I remember now!”

“Tell me what you remember,” Charlotte said, observing him carefully.

“That I’m a ghost, of course. I mean, isn’t that obvious? After all, cats don’t go jumping clean through people who aren’t ghosts, now do they?”

“No they don’t,” Charlotte said triumphantly. “That’s the sort of thing that can only happen in a fantasy universe. And look!” She pointed at the desk.

“The writing,” Sheldon said, “it’s all there. You did it!”

“Did what?” Charlotte’s mother looked confused. “What are you two going on about?”

“Don’t you see?” Charlotte said excitedly. “Once Sheldon realized that he’s a ghost, he remembered that we are all in a fantasy world — characters in a book. And then everything returned to normal.”

“Of course he’s a ghost,” Charlotte’s dad said, taking his wife’s hand. “What’s so special about that? After all, we’re ghosts too.”

And with that, Charlotte’s parents vanished.

Sheldon, part 20

November 20th, 2014

“OK,” said Charlotte’s dad, “we’re listening. How are you going to prove we are in a book. Apparently a book that hasn’t been written yet.”

“That part is temporary,” Charlotte said. “Anyway, you all agree that there is a difference between reality and fantasy, right?”

“Of course,” Sheldon said, “in reality, only possible things can happen. In fantasy, anything can happen. What does this have to do with us?”

“Suppose, just suppose, that I could convince you that we — those of us right here in this room — are living in a fantasy world. Then you’d have to agree that this isn’t the real world, right?”

All three looked dubious. “OK,” Sheldon said, “I think I see where you’re coming from here. But if we were living in a fantasy world, why wouldn’t we know it?”

Charlotte looked toward the desk. “I think the not knowing part has something to do with that book. When we started to rewrite the book, we created a kind of schism, like we were suddenly between two worlds, but not quite in either of them. The book is going to come back, and then you’ll be able to remember it, but first we need to land in some actual plot line. Until then, there sort of isn’t a book. There’s just …” she shrugged “… the possibility of a book.”

“Wait,” said Charlotte’s dad, “What if we land in a different plot line?”

“I’m willing to take that chance,” Charlotte said. “I mean, right now we’re not anywhere.”

“We’re in this house,” Charlotte’s mom pointed out. “Then again, I have no idea who’s house this is, or how we got here.”

“Exactly!”

“But how are you going to do that?” Sheldon said.

“The cat!” Charlotte replied. “I can use the cat to prove to you that we are in a fictional universe. If I can do that, then we’ll actually be in that universe.”

“Hmm,” Charlotte’s dad said, “maybe we should name the cat Schrödinger.”

Sheldon, part 19

November 19th, 2014

“What was written on them?” Sheldon asked.

“The book we’re in, of course,” Charlotte said.

“Wait, are you saying we are in a book? That’s crazy!”

“Wow, you don’t remember anything, do you?”

Sheldon snorted. “That’s not very fair is it?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I can’t very well answer a question about whether I don’t remember anything. I mean, how would I know?”

“He has a point pumpkin,” said Charlotte’s mother. “What are we doing here anyway? What is this place?”

“I suppose it wouldn’t help to tell you that it belongs to the author of the book we’re in.”

“There she goes again!” Sheldon said, and both of Charlotte’s parents gave him a sympathetic look.

“Let’s go home dear,” said Charlotte’s mom to Charlotte’s dad. They started to head for the door, with Sheldon following.

“Wait,” Charlotte said, “I can prove it. I can prove we’re in a book!”

Sheldon, part 18

November 18th, 2014

“Why would I want to know why I am here?” Sheldon asked, looking confused.

“Wait, you really don’t remember why we came to this house?” Charlotte stared at him. “That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Yes, why did we come to this house?” Charlotte’s mother asked. “I’ve been wondering that.”

“Me too,” chimed in Charlotte’s dad.

“Wow, none of you remember.” Charlotte looked confused.

“I remember,” said that cat, “but then again, I’m the cat.”

“True,” Charlotte said. “Wait, I’ll show you. It’s right here in the book.” She walked up to the author’s desk, and started looking through the pages.

“Pumpkin, I don’t think you should be looking through that. It could be…”

“Blank.” said Charlotte.

“Excuse me?”

“They’re all blank.” Charlotte was staring down at the desk. “All the pages are blank. And they weren’t when we got here.”

Sheldon, part 17

November 17th, 2014

“I’m sorry Charlotte,” Sheldon said.

“Oh, it’s ok. I suppose it’s a good sign when you meet a boy and he changes your whole world. I just didn’t expect it to be so, um, literal.”

“Thanks,” he said. “I prefer the word ‘literary’.”

“I’d quit when I was ahead if I were you, young man,” Charlotte’s mom said.

“It’s true,” Charlotte’s dad chimed in, “she’s still holding the pen.”

Charlotte smiled. “It’s amazing, isn’t it? I could write anything here. That’s a cool thought.”

“That’s a dangerous thought,” said the cat.

“Yes,” she said, nodding slowly. “Changing the story in the middle isn’t always a good idea. Unexpected things could happen.”

“True,” her father said, “You could end up in an Ashton Kutcher movie.”

Charlotte shuddered at that last thought. She gave the paper in her hands a last regretful look, and then folded it up and put it in her pocket. “We have other things to think about.”

“Like what?” Sheldon asked.

“Don’t you remember? Like why you are here.”

Sheldon, part 16

November 16th, 2014

Charlotte turned to Brandon. “What is he talking about?”

Brandon looked sheepish. “There are things about me that I haven’t told you. It’s part of my, you know, mystery.”

Charlotte looked angry. “Well that’s great. Just when we were getting to know each other. So now they’re just going to take you away from me? Lock you up somewhere?”

The captain jumped in. “I sorry ma’am, but we’re on a schedule. This isn’t the only literary violation we need to deal with today. I think it might be best if you two say your goodbyes, and then we’ll be on our way with your friend here.”

“Sorry sir, but maybe it would be better if we knew the nature of Brandon’s offense. An informed citizenry is a safe citizenry, right?”

The captain considered this. “You’re right, of course. Here, let me show you.” He pointed to a piece of paper on the desk.

Charlotte started reading, and her eyes widened. She looked at her ghost friend. “Sheldon?” she said, “your name is Sheldon?”

“I’m sorry Charlotte. Not that it matters now. I guess they’re going to take me in.”

Charlotte turned to captain Rosnkranz. “It’s ok. We can fix this.” She picked up a pen from the desk. “Sheldon isn’t such a bad name,” she said to herself, more than to anybody else.

“Hey,” the captain said, “you’re not not really supposed to touch that. We are in the middle of an investigation and that’s government prop….”

The room shimmered for a moment, and captain Rosenkranz and all of his soldiers vanished.

“I don’t think you were supposed to do that,” said the cat.

Charlotte gave the cat a hard look. “Are you sure you want to discuss this? I’m still holding the pen, you know.”

Brandon, part 15

November 15th, 2014

Charlotte’s mother was incensed. “Whoever you are, I don’t think you have the right to just barge in and start arresting people.”

“Ma’am,” Captain Rosenkranz said, “I’m going to have to ask you to back away.”

“Mom!” Charlotte said, “Don’t you know who these soldiers are?”

“Who are they?”

“They’re from the Literary Violations Bureau.” Charlotte looked at Captain Rosenkranz with a mixture of awe and dread.

“Wow,” said Charlotte’s dad, “I’d heard about these people, but I didn’t think they were real.”

“Real is relative,” said the cat.

Pointedly ignoring this last comment, Charlotte turned to the captain. “But why are you coming after us? We haven’t done anything.”

“He has,” Captain Rosenkranz said, pointing at Brandon, who was starting to look very pale, even for a ghost.

“Brandon? Whatever you think he did, I’m sure he’s innocent.”

“Oh, is that what you call him? Why don’t you ask him his real name.”

Brandon, part 14

November 14th, 2014

“You are so brave,” Charlotte said admiringly, “I don’t know many ghosts who would dare to seek out their creator the way you do.”

“Oh it was nothing,” Brandon said, taking off his glasses and cleaning them in one graceful movement, a gesture Charlotte found strangely attractive.

“Do you have a girlfriend?” she asked shyly.

Charlotte’s dad regarded his daughter with a bemused look. “You do know he’s a ghost, right?”

“Of course I know Brandon’s a ghost, dad. I’m not stupid. I am simply being polite. It’s clear that he’s all alone.”

“He has a cat,” said the cat.

Charlotte did her best to ignore this. “Young people tend to have a more open mind about these things. Humans and ghosts have loads in common. And I, for one, think we should do our best to get close to each other. I mean, from a cultural perspective,” she added hastily.

“Oh how adorable, dear,” Charlotte’s mom said to Charlotte’s dad. “Our daughter is having her very first crush.”

“Well,” her husband smiled in response, “at least we know it’s safe to date the, um, formerly living.”

“It’s ok, Charlotte,” Brandon said, “Your parents just don’t get it. It’s not their fault that they’re too old to understand young people.”

Charlotte’s dad was about to deliver a snappy retort, when suddenly there was a loud crash.

“Everybody stay where you are!” came an amplified voice. “The house is surrounded.”

“What the…” Brandon didn’t have time to finish the sentence before the door slammed open with a loud bang, and a full complement of uniformed soldiers came pouring through, brandishing large and very dangerous looking weapons.

One of the company, clearly its commanding officer, reached toward the walkie-talkie at his shoulder. “Reports of violation confirmed. Perpetrators have been apprehended and will be taken into custody.”

He stepped forward. “I’m Captain Rosenkranz of the LVB, and I am here to officially inform you that you are in violation of section III.A.7 of the literary code. We’re here to take you in.”

Sheldon, part 13

November 13th, 2014

Charlotte’s father looked pale. “I think you’d better put that piece of paper down.”

“I don’t see why,” Sheldon said, looking very pleased with himself. “After all, it’s my novel.”

“Yes, but those are not your words.”

Sheldon looked annoyed. “You know, I never liked the name ‘Sheldon’. So why should I be Sheldon just because somebody wrote it down on a piece of paper? I have the right to determine my own identity.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that,” Charlotte said, looking thoughtful. “A novel really belongs to the person who wrote it, not to the person they’re writing about.”

“But I’m not a person, remember? I’m a ghost. The rules are different.”

“You’re playing with fire young man.” Sheldon’t mother looked more worried than angry. “You wouldn’t change the architecture plan of a building after people have moved in, would you?”

“But don’t you see?” Sheldon said excitedly. “That’s because you can’t change the plan after the building’s already built. But this is different. Think of the possibilities. Words can do anything!”

“Yes, words can hurt you,” the cat said.

Sheldon stared at the cat, as though seeing it for the first time, then slowly shook his head. “None of you has any imagination, that’s your problem. I’m right about this, I know I am. Wait, I’ll prove it.”

And before anybody could stop him, he had picked up a pen and was crossing out the word ‘Sheldon’, writing something else in its place.