Charles Masterson

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Burning Questions
1/17/2022 10:50pm

Yes I have a philosophical question I want to figure out the answer to using my practical psychic powers, Ms. Gondola. I am a student trapped in one of the intermodal interior enlargers that was decoupled during @Prefect Alan's Year End Sock Hop and I want to know:

Where are we? And when is someone picking us up?

We've been trapped in this floating box for a couple of weeks, and it's getting pretty stale. There's one toilet, which is the size of WC on an airplane, but it smells like one on a bus. There's water and protein bars that come out of the dispenser in the wall and we all know how those get made. And it smells like sweat and corn chips in here and Blarzep snores like sawmill.

The emergency beacon says it's working just fine and it doesn't feel like we're moving or anything. But what gives? How much longer to we have to be stuck in this container drifting in some transdimensional void, huh?

Those are the questions I have.

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2/4/2022 9:42am

"Ok the Eight of Swords is definitely missing from the deck," I said. "And I'm not going to play till we have a complete deck."

We combined all the decks from the Emergency Games box into one big deck so we had enough cards for everyone to play at once. There was a tarot deck (major and minor arcana), a souvenir Psychic High School regular deck from 1977, another regular deck (Bicycle Fan Back), and an incomplete UNO deck. But the tarot deck had been complete when we put them all together.

"Oh come on, Charles. We're in the middle of a game. Just make your bid."

We were definitely getting on each other's nerves.


Something was on the roof.

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2/17/2022 2:02pm

There was some deliberation about opening the hatch to the roof.

"What if all the air escapes out of it? Won't we all freeze and die?"

"No, no, it's just Idea Space out there. Totally different from a vacuum."

"I read there's a force field or something so that even if a hatch is open or there's a hull breach of the intermodal enlarger, it keeps all our ideas inside."

"Yeah but what about some other idea coming in from outside?"

We were all looking up at the ceiling, where the KABAMB! BONK! noise came from.

"I don't think it's moved since it landed."

"Have you ever seen a bird after it hits a window? And then hits the ground? It sounded like that."

"Yeah and then those birds wake up, because they're just stunned. Once my brother--"

"Aw, can all this squawkin!" said Blarzep. And he got on the little coffee table, grabbed the handle on the hatch, and pulled.

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2/21/2022 8:10pm

There was a kid on the roof. 

“Oh, hey,” they said. “I wasn’t sure if there was anybody in there or not.”

They appeared to be dressed in rags, though on closer inspection it was a decidedly bohemian style, held together with scarves and embroidery, but no colors of any kind. All dusty grays and browns. The altogether effect was like a house moth. Their skin was gray too. 

“What you guys up to?” they asked. 

A couple others and I had followed Blarzep up to the roof. It was our first look at Idea Space. It looked a lot like regular space. It was black. But every so often there were little points of light. Stars?

“Yup, those are all intermodals. Just like yours!” They banged their foot on the roof of the container. It made just a dull thud on account of their soft moccasin boots. 

“Sometimes the get picked up, and you see ‘em plink out of space. Like that! Quick! Make a wish!”


We all looked out into Idea Space but didn’t see anything. 

“But if you get tired of waiting, you can always just take a leap—“

“You hold on there!” Blarzep hollered. “We want some answers!”  

Blarzep was a jerk. 

“Oh, yeah, sure. Well you see, Idea Space is infinite, right? So if you drop straight down, you’re bound to run into another one eventually. And since time doesn’t pass here, it’s like no time at all. See?”

We didn’t see. 

“There’s a bunch of us just ride the boxes. Run into each other on the way. It’s actually a whole civilization that’s like thousands of years old. Super chill.”

“Oh hey what’s that?” they cried, pointing over our shoulders. We all turned to look—

“Ha ha! Catch you on the flip side!” they called as they leapt off the container. 

We all leaned over the edge and watched their tiny dot till it disappeared.  

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3/21/2022 10:31pm

The intermodal enlarger unit has been roomy for awhile. I spend my days lounging on the crash couch, watching the VHS tape collection of James Bond movies and making a mess of crumbs munching on food recycler output.

Nobody complains, because there's nobody left but me.

Dylan. Kaylee. Sydney. Gavin. Zoe. Ruby. Niamh. Each of them took the leap.

"You've got to have faith!" I said. "There's no way they're not out looking for us. It's just a matter of time. And we don't even know how much time has passed back at Psyhigh. Maybe it's just been a few minutes."

Blarzep was the last to go.

"That's just it," Blarzep said. "Face it. We've been out here a long, long time already. If time is different here, then who knows how long it'll take? Subjective time, I mean."

"But there IS no time here! So it doesn't matter how long we stay," I said. "It's just a matter of being patient."

Patience was not one of Blarzep's strengths. Though he did outlast everybody else... before deciding to join the civilization of freefall refugees here in Idea Space.

So I bide my time, going through the somewhat limited VHS library, rereading the emergency manuals and old magazines. Sometimes I go up on the roof and watch the tiny points of light that are the other intermodal interior enlargers like us, stuck between the floors of reality. Sometimes I watch one get saved.


Did you see that? Make a wish!

Lately I just sleep. If I see a tape has ended, I put in the next. Just so there's background noise.

And when I sleep, I dream of Blarzep and the rest, suspended in free fall, occasionally landing on another intermodal with a thump. Sometimes there's somebody home, and they might make a friend, or get chased off by some stubborn occupant. More often they'll find the unit empty, and they'll let themselves in and scavenge whatever might be left. Something interesting like a polished rock, or a puzzle game. Maybe they'll take a nap or a shower, adjust their gear, and leap again.

But I just know Psyhigh is coming for me. Eventually.

Just gotta be patient.


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