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A Partial List of Lists I Have Lost Over Time

To-Do List for July 18, 2039

  1. Kill my duplicate from another dimension.
  2. Get rid of all this stupid kale.

Top Five Reasons I Hate Kale

  1. Kale is like broccoli that wishes it were lettuce, or lettuce that wishes it were broccoli. Get your own identity, kale.
  2. It contains too much vitamin A. Just way too much.
  3. It tastes like sadness with an option for despair.
  4. Every time I have been forced to eat kale, I get a parking ticket the very next day. Coincidence??
  5. I can only think of four reasons I hate kale.

Essential Components of a Machine That Can Rip Through the Fabric of Reality and Reach into Another Dimension

  1. Cadmium-beryllium copper alloy
  2. Engine from 2019 Honda Civic
  3. Gears????? It should probably have gears.
  4. That weird thing from that shop at Branum and Montgomery that looks like a jack-in-the-box but the old man with one eye and a scar on his forehead said would be an essential component of a machine that can rip through the fabric of reality and reach into another dimension
  5. Kale
  6. A big red button

To-Do List for July 1, 2039

  1. Assemble machine.
  2. Don’t press the button.
  3. Make a list of things I love about myself, like my therapist said.

A List of Things I Love About Myself, as Advised by My Therapist

  1. I am the greatest scientific mind of my generation.
  2. I am super good at making lists.
  3. I thoroughly evaluate the potential consequences of my actions because I am looking out for the world.
  4. I care about the world. Mostly.
  5. I look really good in a lab coat. I should wear that thing outside of the basement.
  6. I am a distinct individual, a singular personage, with my own unique personality.

Favorite Television Shows, in Chronological Order

  1. Sliders
  2. Fringe
  3. Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Hyperpower Monkeystorm!!!
  4. Battlestar Galactica (2034 reboot)
  5. The Real Mad Scientists of Beverly Hills

How to Take Over Someone’s Life

  1. Observe their behavior and take notes.
  2. Clone their Government-Sponsored Personal Information Device (GSPID).
  3. Drug them heavily and attend all their social engagements for the day.
  4. Be extra charming and make references to the latest episode of The Real Mad Scientists of Beverly Hills.
  5. Joke about getting a parking ticket after eating kale because it gets a laugh every time.
  6. Don’t kill them immediately because it’s far more entertaining to watch their futile attempts to retake their own life.
  7. Kill them eventually, obviously. For best results, wait till they think they have the upper hand.
  8. I’ll bet you’re wondering how this list got into your pocket. If you think hard enough, I think you’ll figure it out! We are the greatest scientific minds of our generation, after all.

Ways Someone Could Tell My Duplicate from Another Dimension from Me

  1. …Oh shit.

Tattoo Options

  1. Albert Einstein riding a dinosaur
  2. The whole periodic table, like, the whole thing
  3. Maybe just beryllium
  4. “I am the real me; don’t trust the other one”

To-Do List for July 7, 2039

  1. Press the button.
  2. Figure out where to put my Nobel Prize. Is it a medal or a trophy? I should look that up.

The Fifth Reason I Hate Kale

  1. Under certain conditions, it has the power to rip through the fabric of reality and reach into another dimension, which is something I definitely should not have done.

How to Kill Your Duplicate from Another Dimension

  1. Gun
  2. Laser gun
  3. Rocket launcher
  4. A gun that shoots tigers
  5. I think that weird shop at Branum and Montgomery has one of those
  6. A mirror because irony
  7. An iron

To-Do List for July 18, 2039

  1. Press the button.
  2. Avoid being killed because that would be embarrassing.

Things I Am Allergic To

  1. Peanuts
  2. Bee stings
  3. Mango
  4. Commitment
  5. Penicillin

Things My Duplicate from Another Dimension Is Allergic To

  1. Peanuts
  2. Bee stings
  3. Mango
  4. Commitment probably
  5. Penicillin
  6. Kale

How to Retake Your Own Life

  1. Observe your duplicate’s behavior and take notes.
  2. Score one for the scientific method.
  3. I want to write a cool note here but I’m never going to get this into my duplicate’s pocket.

Pros

  1. Amazing scientific achievement, will win Nobel Prize
  2. Opportunity to see another dimension
  3. Already built the thing, might as well press the button

Cons

  1. Could rip apart reality itself, kill myself and the whole world
  2. Could explode, kill myself
  3. Could initiate phase shift of two dimensions so that we merge and I get lizard arms or something
  4. Could release duplicate of myself from another dimension who will take over my life
  5. Could make the whole basement smell like kale

Things the Old Man with One Eye and a Scar on His Forehead Will Make from My Duplicate’s Body

  1. Spices
  2. Love potion
  3. A gun that shoots lions
  4. Casserole

To-Do List for July 19, 2039

  1. Disassemble machine because it’s way too dangerous to have around.
  2. Discover a list in my pocket.
  3. Read a very familiar list in my pocket about taking over someone’s life.
  4. Oh shit.


Previously published in the March 2016 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction. Reprinted here by permission of the author.

Sunil Patel

Sunil Patel

Sunil Patel is a Bay Area fiction writer and playwright who has written about everything from ghostly cows to talking beer. His plays have been performed at San Francisco Theater Pub and San Francisco Olympians Festival, and his fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Saturday Night Reader, Fireside Magazine, The Book Smugglers, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, and Genius Loci: Tales of the Spirit of Place. Plus, he reviews books for Lightspeed. His favorite things to consume include nachos, milkshakes, and narrative. Find out more at ghostwritingcow.com, where you can watch his plays, or follow him @ghostwritingcow. His Twitter has been described as “engaging”, “exclamatory”, and “crispy, crunchy, peanut buttery.”

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