MVC Podcast 13:
Jerome, The Quarter, The Dice
& The Dice 2
[00:50:17] March 26th, 2023
Charles Reuben rolls the dice, and the results are unexpected.
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By the way, if you’re wondering, yes I did notice that my universe is kind of in flux at the moment. Things are sort of disappearing here. My hair, for instance, and the kakejiku that used to be there on the right, and a few other things. Not to worry, Priyal and I will be transitioning into an alternate timeline before this one disappears completely. Everything will be coming back together in the relatively near future, but the walls will be magenta, from what I understand.
Anyway, this is the 13th video in “The Multiverse Cartographer” series, in which I’ll be reciting “Jerome” from “The Multiverse Cartographer,” “The Quarter,” and “The Dice” from “The Small Grey Mouse,” and “The Dice 2” from “The Multiverse Cartographer.”
The chapter called “Jerome” picks up right where “Green Eyes” left off. As in most other cases in these books when one chapter picks up where another leaves off, if not all, the beginning of “Jerome” will sound a bit familiar, as it is the same as the ending of “Green Eyes.” This helps to orient us to where we are in the timeline, if you can call it that in The Coffeehouse. By the way, before I start I wanted to mention that the image associated with this video depicts many Coffeehouse islands all very close together, but in the story they’re actually much further apart.
Without further ado: JEROME
“When I decide to come back, do I need to come through the same door?”
“No. Here, put your hand up.” He did, and Clara placed her hand against his. He felt a sparkling magnetic energy.
“Now you can open a door from anywhere.”
Charles Reuben said, “Thank you,” and left through the pyramid door.
Charles Reuben was glad to be back in that familiar world, the Arcadia California of Larry’s 36-23-16-12 by 3-8-1-4-2, the universe where he was born, or at least where he had lived since the age of seven.
It was night there, in the empty Open House and, as he left, he triggered an alarm. His car was there waiting for him, and he seemed to get away with the brief trespass, though there was a parking ticket on his windshield. He threw it into the glove box with the others.
He took the three freeways back to his apartment in Los Angeles proper. He was lucky enough to have inherited a sweet fixed-rent situation from an older brother who’d moved to Beijing, so he was able to make ends meet working part-time at minimum wage, while still enjoying the free cheese and wine of the local art walks, and watching the fireworks over Dodger Stadium from his balcony.
I say ‘older brother’, Charles had lived with three families while he was growing up. Jeremy was the biological son of the ones he lived with from the age of 12 until 18. It’s not really important to the story, though.
He checked his messages, and sat on his bed to get his bearings. Then, he sat at his desk and took out his journal. He re-read the four pages he’d filled in, and wondered whether or not he had lost his mind.
Then, he realized he was still wearing the silver spacesuit from Venus, and carrying around a large goldfish bowl helmet, so he figured he must be sane.
He looked at the wall in front of him where he’d pinned up a few of his old sketches from school, based on his early childhood memories of The Coffeehouse. He laughed to himself noticing where he’d embellished parts, or misremembered it.
He noticed a letter in his own handwriting there on his desk.
It read, “Dear Charles, go back two days and go to work. Just an idea. Sincerely, Charles.”
He laughed and nodded to himself. He walked to one of his walls to put his right hand up, but then thought to himself… ‘which island?’
He was too embarrassed to face goth-Clara (formerly green-dress Clara, before that white-T-shirt-and-jeans Clara) after having left her like that, but he wasn’t ready to see roller-skating-waitress Clara (formerly with the Ramones shirt) either.
He decided to leave it to chance.
He rolled two six-sided dice sixteen times, with the first dice determining which group of six in thirty-six, and the second determining which of the six in that group. He drew the sixteen randomly selected Trigintasex numerals on page five of his notebook, in four rows of four.
He grabbed his things, walked up to the wall, put his right hand up in the usual manner, looked at the randomly selected address on page five of his notebook, and the door faded into view.
“That's such a rush” he thought to himself, remembering the first time he’d seen his dad do the same thing.
He walked through, and felt the shimmering portal pass around him like a vertical water surface. As soon as he was through, he turned around to put his hand on the pyramid beside the doorway.
He looked at his apartment on the other side and, remembering how Isaac had opened the door to the bathroom, looked up at the top of the pyramid and said, “Same place, two days earlier.”
He looked through and saw the same room. He wasn’t sure it had worked, until he saw there was no longer any note on the desk. He started to walk through, and was paralyzed in his tracks by the voice of Clara.
“Leaving so soon?”
He turned around to see what she was wearing. It was a long paisley-patterned dress, and her hair was up.
“I like your outfit,” he said.
She blushed and said, “You know… I remember everything that happened between you and my sister last night like it was my own memory.”
“I know,” he said unembarrassed. “Your sister. I’ve never heard you refer to another Clara that way.”
“Of course not. You’ve only just met me,” she said. “If you aren’t busy, I was thinking you might like to meet Charles the Grey.”
Charles thought for a moment, and realized it was still the same day for her. “I already did that, but thank you.”
He remembered his resolve to keep his life going in the real world and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but, when you wake up tomorrow, you’ll remember two conversations I’ve had with you… with two of your sisters, I mean. I’ve got to go for now though, but I think you’re very nice.”
She howled with laughter, “You think I’m ‘very nice’? Oh no… what did they do to you?! Never mind, you’re right, I’ll find out when I wake up tomorrow. Please accept my sincerest apologies on their behalf. I can get a little crazy sometimes, but I do hope you’ll come visit me again.”
Charles Reuben said, “I will.” he was tempted to fall in love with her again, but he snapped himself out of it.
He returned to his apartment, immediately closing the shimmering doorway behind him.
He grabbed a piece of paper and wrote the note to himself, worried that he would forget the wording and create some kind of paradox or new universe if he wrote it differently.
He laid down and got some much-needed sleep.
The sun rose. He put on something work-appropriate, and walked out into an empty parking space with his number on it.
“Damn!” he said, as he realized his car was still in Arcadia, it being two days before he drove it home to his apartment just now.
His first thought was, ‘I should go get it’. His follow-up thought was, ‘no, I should leave it for myself when I got there two days from now’. Then, ‘but the parking ticket! Oh, well, I guess I can’t avoid it’.
He reasoned that he should avoid himself the night he gets back, and then come back the next morning, and the car would be back in its spot.
For now, he’d take the bus.
He arrived a few minutes late at the appropriate skyscraper, took the elevator to the 19th floor, opened the door with the key-card in his wallet, and walked through the maze of partitions to his cubicle. He poured his coffee, checked his social media, and answered a few emails.
He grew tense when he noticed Jerome, the manager, looking at him from across the room with a bewildered expression.
He began running through a checklist of things he might have done, or not done, when he saw Jerome was walking toward him.
Jerome said, “Decided to come in after all, eh?”
Charles replied, “I don’t understand… after all?”
Jerome said, “You called in sick!”
Charles’s heart sank. He began working out the possibilities. He was fairly certain that, being himself, he would not in the future come back to that morning and call in sick. He knew that, given that he was playing with time travel and multiple realities and whatnot, there might be something going on that he couldn’t foresee.
So, he decided to cover for himself, “Oh right, yeah. I feel alright now. I just forgot to tell you I was, you know… coming in… after all.”
Okay, I’ll go over some the details which might have been too subtle, and some of the background behind some of this.
“Larry’s 36-23-16-12 by 3-8-1-4-2,” this won’t make a whole lot of sense just yet as we haven’t been introduced to Larry the Librarian, really. He’s the librarian at The Coffeehouse. You remember how Clara’s bedroom was inside The Coffeehouse? Well, there’s also a vast Library, if you make a different turn and go through a different door. Larry is the caretaker there and, rest assured, you’ll not only get to meet Larry later on, but you’ll get to witness his birth as well. You’ve already met his parents, sort of. Spoilers! I’ve said too much, or perhaps just enough.
So, ever since we met Arthur Fathom who, you might remember, was very amused by the idea of the Gregorian Calendar. Arthur began referring to it after that point as “Greg’s” this year or that year. Then, the Multiverse Cartographer’s textbook narrator picked up the habit. For example, today, as I am speaking, recording this, it is currently “Greg’s 2023.” I was born in “Greg’s 1978.” Feel free to start using that in your daily life, I would love for that to catch on.
Anyway, implied here is the idea that Larry the Librarian has a way of referring to the various universes he has records of in The Coffeehouse Library. Charles Reuben’s home universe, Larry the Librarian identifies by these numbers, hence “Larry’s 36-23-16-12 by 3-8-1-4-2.” Obviously, categorizing universes in this way is limited but, depending on how high those individual numbers go, you could definitely give labels to a lot of them.
Alright, for those who aren’t from California, “freeway” means basically highway. It’s a reference to the fact that there are no toll roads on these highways, so they are free. They’re usually referred to by the numbers assigned to them, but they can also be called by their end points or by other names, but usually they’re not. For example, the 2 North or the 2 South is also called the Frank Lanterman Freeway, but nobody has ever called it that, and I’d be willing to bet no one ever will. Not a lot, but I’d bet a few dollars for sure.
So, since we know Charles Reuben grew up in Arcadia, and his apartment is now somewhere near Dodgers’ Stadium, he most likely took the 210 to the 110 by way of Orange Grove, to the 101. That, or he drove through Monrovia and Duarte and took the 605 to the 10 to the 110 but that seems unlikely. Honestly, I wasn’t really thinking about it when I wrote that, I was just thinking of L.A. County in general. It’s where I’m from, you know, so… write what you know, they say.
Parking tickets are a pretty common thing there. He could have been parked near a fire hydrant, or too close to a driveway, but more likely there was a sign that said no parking on Monday or Thursday or whatever because the street cleaner cleans that side of the road that day. If time passed in his world at the same rate as it did for him personally, his car had been parked there for several days. Honestly, he’s lucky it didn’t get towed. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, parking in a place like Arcadia.
So this whole thing about Jeremy his not-actually-brother, I really just wanted to bring us back to the world Charles Reuben came from, or to see it a bit more for the first time, since it was a bit rushed before finding out his backstory before his interdimensional adventure as an adult. Filling in some of the gaps. One funny thing, I wrote this in probably 2016 and, originally, he’d inherited the apartment when Jeremy moved to Beijing in 2020. I was setting the whole story a few years in my own future at the time. Now that we’ve all lived through 2020 it’s a pretty darn silly idea that anyone would have relocated to Beijing in 2020, right? If you can call it silly. Maybe just “unlikely” is a better word.
So, he arrives at his apartment somewhere hear downtown L.A. still wearing his space suit from Venus. I chuckled a bit when I wrote the part about him figuring he must be sane because he was wearing it. I wonder, did you chuckle too?
He gets a letter from himself. Since it was a Saturday when Charles Reuben left his universe, and we can assume he works Monday to Friday at his office job, it would seem this is Tuesday night, or early Wednesday morning, so he’s been gone for four days. The first night he slid down the mountain, the second night he slept in the forest on Venus, and the third night he slept in Clara’s bedroom. So, it would seem, time does flow for him about the same as it does for his home universe, at least in this case. But, it's easy enough for him to use The Coffeehouse for time travel.
So, because of the awkward experience he’d just had, Charles Reuben decided not to go back to either of the two islands he’d already been to. So, he rolled two six-sided dice sixteen times. Now, normally when you roll two six-sided dice you get a number between two and twelve. However, he did it in a bit of a different way. If one were to pay close attention to which of the two dice was which, one could potentially roll two six-sided dice and get a number between one and thirty-six, since six times six is thirty-six. This is the same idea behind the Trigintasex numerals.
Anyway, he choses one of the eight septillion Coffeehouse islands at random. Remember that he does this, as it’ll come up later. He opens a door to that island right where he stands, having been given the ability to do so by the polyamorous-ish Clara with the roller-skating waitress uniform before he left The Coffeehouse probably about an hour earlier, depending on traffic.
He then has a bit of a fun exchange with the Clara on the island where he finds himself, the one with her hair up and wearing a paisley dress. Remember, the Claras share their memories with each other when they sleep, so they remember everything about all the other Claras except for the things that have happened since they woke up that morning. They’re individuals on the day they’re experiencing, but with a collective memory of everything that came before. Still, they are able to distinguish between their own memories and those of the others. Presumably, they are able to discern which of the others have which memories as well. It’s part of the miracle of Jobe’s Rectangle, no doubt.
Anyway, he travels back to his apartment in L.A. two nights earlier, and is sure to write the note to himself that he’d received from himself, then goes to sleep. Now this next part might be a little confusing at first, he can’t drive to work because his car is in Arcadia. This is because he parked the car on Saturday, drove back to his apartment on probably Tuesday night, and is now waking up on Monday morning. So, his car isn’t there, it’s back in Arcadia. Time travel, right? Makes sense? He had to leave the car there on Monday so that it would be there for him to drive home on Tuesday night, which he’d just done. Otherwise he’d be messing up his own timeline and all. He’d probably watched Back to the Future and didn’t want to destroy the universe, and whatnot.
Anyway, he takes the Metro, and goes to his cubicle. To me, this part is kind of interesting, as he is exactly the 21st century equivalent of what would be considered a Drone in the 27th century.
Finally, we meet Jerome, after whom the chapter is named. It is the name of his manager-god… or, excuse me, “manager.”
Then it gets a little confusing, as Jerome seems to have gotten a call from Charles Reuben that he doesn’t remember making. The chapter ends with this confusion not having been clarified. Fear not, it will make sense very soon. Kind of.
So, now we’ll transition to one of the chapters, or short stories if you’d like, in “The Small Grey Mouse,” called: THE QUARTER
Charles Reuben rolled the dice, and wrote down the address they provided on the fifth page of his notebook.
He grabbed his things, walked up to the wall, put his right hand up in the usual manner, looked at the randomly selected address on page five of his notebook, and the door faded into view.
“That's such a rush” he thought to himself, remembering the first time he'd seen his dad do the same thing.
He walked through and felt the shimmering portal pass around him like a vertical water surface.
He saw, for the first time at The Coffeehouse, a blue sky overhead and a great yellow sun in the sky. He decided to stay for a bit, and take in the majestic view of the ocean with all the other Coffeehouse islands in the distance. He found a seat at an empty table, near the edge.
Presently, Clara arrived. She was dressed as a 1920's flapper. Charles smiled and asked, “Did they have flappers in the universe Blythe was from?”
Clara sat down beside him, gathered her thoughts for a moment, and said,
“That's really heavy stuff you're bringing up all of a sudden.
“I've only just met you, despite what you may think. I know, I know, you think you were just talking to me about it, and I remember the conversation as if I had been the one having it.
“But... I'm not. We're not all so fond of talking about... her… of treading so far down memory lane.”
“God… I hadn't really thought about it… I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be insensitive.” he said.
She smiled and said, "Actually I'm the one who's being insensitive. I know something you don't know."
Charles raised an eyebrow, "From the way you say so, it makes me think you might be willing to share what you know?"
Clara noticed a few new arrivals, an elderly couple looking like they're dressed for a cruise.
She glanced back at the pyramid in time to see through the door, another Charles Reuben just now entering his apartment, and writing a note.
She said, “Let me see what these two are having and I'll be right back. Chai?”
Charles said, “Sure, yeah,” and looked back at the horizon as she left.
“Charles?” He turned to see a familiar face.
“Isaac!” It was certainly him, but he was now in his mid-twenties.
Isaac said, “Is this the second time you're meeting me?”
“You're on page five?”
Charles said, “In my journal? How'd you know?”
“You told me. Old you, I mean. He told me you'd need this,” Isaac handed this Charles a simple quarter.
Upon closer examination, Charles saw that both sides of the quarter were heads.
Isaac said, “Eat me, drink me.”
Charles said, “Pardon?”
“Alice in wonderland. It'll make sense later, but I've gotta jet, I'm fighting millipedes!”
“Hardly seems like a fair fight.” Charles said.
“In the Carboniferous Era??” Isaac left through the right door of the pyramid wall facing them.
Charles glanced over at the door on the left side, and saw his fishbowl helmet on his desk.
“What the…” he walked toward the door and looked around the corner to see himself getting into the bed. He looked at the desk and saw the note. He furrowed his brow in confusion.
Clara came up behind him. He asked her, “Do I, later… go further back? Is this my future self I'm looking at?”
Clara said, “No. Here's your drink,” and then left to attend to some other guests.
Eventually, she returned and said, “Follow me, I'll show you.”
As she approached the central door, the shimmering portal vanished revealing the sandstone brick hallway lit with torches. Charles followed her into the hallway.
Clara said, “Don't get the wrong idea. I'm just taking you to the Library.”
Okay! So, this is one of the parts that, no doubt, was very confusing for Mrs. Brunke. Are you confused as well? How is it that Charles Reuben seems to have started in the same place where we found him in the middle of the chapter we just read, but the rest of his experience was completely different?
This is where we must refer to some of the basics of this type of multiverse theory and interdimensional travel. When you go to an T-intersection, you can turn right or left, or you can make a U-Turn. You can also leave your car there and walk away. Whatever you do, you are making a choice. If you’re on your way to work, you’ll most likely make the same choice you always make. Or, maybe you see there’s an accident down the road, and you don’t want to be stuck in traffic behind it, so you go the other way. Doctor Who plays with this idea in series four, of the revival I mean, in the episode called “Turn Left.” At a certain point, Donna Noble turned left to work a well-paying temp job, and ended up meeting The Doctor and the universe unfolded in a particular way. However, when she is made to go back and turn right instead, she never meets The Doctor. Now, the rules of time travel in Doctor Who are a little different, more like Back to the Future 2, in which it is assumed that there is one kind of “sacred” timeline and if you go back and change something you mess it all up. From a different perspective, you could say that when Donna turned left she created a universe where she traveled with The Doctor, but in another universe she turned right or, rather, in the same universe she turned right and, in doing so, created another universe. In this sense, every time we make a choice we are allowing the universe to unfold in a particular way but, right next to us, there is another universe in which we made a different choice and the universe unfolded differently. Either Henry the Eighth had a healthy son or he didn’t, right? So, when Charles Reuben rolled the dice, one of him ended up on the island with the Clara wearing her hair up and a paisley dress, and in another universe which has just now diverged from that universe the dice landed differently, and Charles Reuben ended up on a different island with the Clara wearing the flapper dress.
First, flapper dress. For those not already familiar, just briefly, in the 1920’s in our universe, which we can assume is 99.9% identical to Charles Reuben’s universe, if not 100, there was a subculture of young women who wore knee high skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior, thank you Wikipedia. Charles Reuben, who just recently had a long conversation with another Clara about her past and memories of Blythe and so on, and also just met Blythe earlier that night, knows that things were pretty different in The New World Empire universe which Blythe was from, from whom Clara’s earliest memories were copied. So, he feels it somewhat natural to ask this Clara, as if jumping in mid-conversation, if they had flappers in the universe Blythe came from.
He quickly learns, and perhaps so do we, that the personalities of the Claras can vary quite widely. Prior to this, he’s met two Claras. Remember, this version of Charles Reuben hasn’t met the Clara with the paisley dress, since that’s happening at about the same time on another island somewhere presumably on the night side of the gargantuan sphere upon which all of these island rest. The two he’s met thus far both like him, maybe a little more than they should. This Clara, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to care for him very much. She kind of reprimands him, or at least establishes boundaries with him, that it’s not okay to just randomly ask her about a topic which was so sensitive to, for example, the Clara currently wearing the roller skating waitress outfit, that she cried while talking about it. It’s sort of the equivalent of seeing Britney Spears at a restaurant and pulling up a chair next to her and opening with a question about her relationship with her father. It’s kind of inappropriate. But, he didn’t realize that. Clara is not a normal person, or population you might say.
Moving on. Charles Reuben meets Isaac again. You remember the nice old man who gave him his journal and taught him how to read the numerals on the pyramids. Well this time, thanks to time travel shenanigans, Isaac is a younger man. We know, as it was pretty much clearly stated, that Isaac is a Multiverse Cartographer who learned everything about that lifestyle from Charles Reuben, when Charles Reuben is much older. Sort of a Doctor and River thing happening, a little bit, except they’re not married, we assume.
Isaac gives Charles Reuben a quarter, only it’s a special quarter, like one you might find at a magic shop. Not, like, a tarot cards, penis candles and incense magic shop, more like trick playing cards and “nothing up this sleeve” rabbits coming out of hats and that kind of thing magic shop. Charles Reuben asks for an explanation, but Isaac just says Charles Reuben told him he’d need it, old Charles Reuben told Isaac that young Charles Reuben would need it I mean. Sort of a Bill and Ted type time travel trick, if you’re familiar. He also quotes Alice in Wonderland. Put Ted and Alice in Wonderland together and you get? The Matrix, that’s right. It’s subtle, but it’s there.
Then, Charles Reuben sees himself in his own apartment, we can assume it’s the Charles from the “Jerome” chapter. Charles Reuben is baffled by this, so to explain Clara takes Charles Reuben into the pyramid. Naturally she, like all Claras, remembers Charles Reuben’s trip into the pyramid the night before, so she’s quick to clarify that she’s just taking him to the Library. Never mind what the Library is, of that there’s a Library, she just wants to make it clear they’re not on their way to her bedroom. She’s not interested in him in that way.
This chapter, or “short story,” leaves off on something of a cliffhanger, but I assure you we will come back to this moment in this Charles Reuben’s story, just not today.
Next, we have another chapter, or “short story” as they’re called in “The Small Grey Mouse” right or wrong, that’s what I’ve called them there. This one is called: THE DICE
He grabbed his things, walked up to the wall, put his right hand up in the usual manner, looked at the randomly selected address on page five of his notebook, and the door faded into view.
"That's such a rush" he thought to himself, remembering the first time he'd seen his dad do the same thing.
He was surprised to see, on that island, some kind of festival happening.
There were structures like tents supported by wooden beams, some of which went up three floors, with wooden stairs connecting them.
There was music, and the smells of familiar and unfamiliar food.
He looked back at the door leading to his apartment and thought, "Ah, well… I'll go back home later."
He began exploring the labyrinthine structure beside the pyramid, moving aside beautiful Persian rugs to get from one incense filled room to another, to another cooking meat, to another filled with strange looking people smoking something suspicious.
Eventually he saw a familiar face, but not the one he was hoping for. It was The Creepy Man in the suit who, apparently, wanted to mate with and kill him the day before.
"YOU MUST DECLINE!"
The Creepy Man said, referring to their previous conversation.
"Yes, I must." Charles agreed, laughing.
The man's eyes widened.
Charles reached to shake The Creepy Man’s hand, but the man ran away repeating,
"I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY!"
He thought maybe he should stop trying to shake the man’s hand.
"Charles??" That island's Clara said, and he turned to see Clara in full Chiquita Banana costume.
Charles said, "That guy gets around!" and before he realized it was happening, everyone in that particular Persian rug tent partition was dancing. He was dancing too.
She shouted over the crowd, "Who gets around?!"
He said, "That scarry guy! It doesn't matter! I like your outfit, but... isn't it a bit culturally insensitive?!"
She cocked her head to one side, not understanding, then brought it back to her point, "What are you doing so far out, all of a sudden?!"
"I rolled some dice!"
She laughed, "Oh no, the dice!!! Are you on page five?!?"
"I… you mean, in my journal!? Yes, I am on page five! How did you know that!?"
She said, "Every version of The Multiverse Cartographer has a different page five! I thought this might happen one day!"
Charles Reuben remembered what Charles the Grey had told him, that his journal would one day define Multiverse Cartography in both the past and the future.
Charles said, "I didn't know that was the title of it!"
"Why does every version have a different page five?!" he asked, a bit worried.
Clara said, "I'll let it be a surprise."
He was okay with that. If she knew, but didn't want to spoil it, it must be okay. "What's happening here?!" he asked, referring to the festival.
She showed him around. They played games, had a few drinks, and smoked some of the opium-like suspiciousness.
Once she was inebriated enough, she said, "Do you wanna see what it all really looks like?"
Charles shrugged, not sure what she was asking.
She snapped her fingers.
Suddenly, everything from the sky to the sea vanished.
He was the only actual human around, and some of the others he saw were indescribable. Others can be described. Suffice to say, it was like a cross between the Star Wars Cantina and a microscopic look at some food that was left out for too long.
And Clara… he had seen her like this once before, but he'd thought it was in his mind.
Yet there she was, hovering, full of light. Humanoid shaped, but with many arms and legs, and one great diamond-shaped eye where her face should be.
The vision of her snapped one of her many hands, and returned to her familiar human form, in the silly costume.
"Wow." he said. “You're like a god. Do they all see me as looking like themselves?” Charles indicated the others there with them at the festival.
"No. Humans need to see other intelligent travelers in human form in order to relate with them responsibly. You know, without having the urge to kill them and mount them over the fireplace, for example."
Charles was nodding, "Yeah, that makes sense."
It does make sense, doesn’t it?
So, here again we open with Charles Reuben having rolled the dice, but the dice landed a bit differently than it did for the previous two Charles Reubens. We have a clear and immediate manifestation of the diverging timelines which came from his choice to roll the dice. Have you ever flipped a coin to decide something major?
That was from La Bamba. For the younger folk, spoiler, he dies in a plane crash right after that. Anyway, enjoy the movie. Actually, when I saw that I somehow knew from the beginning that that was going to happen, as if I’d had a dream where I watched the whole movie. That used to happen a lot more when I was young. One time it was a Tom & Jerry cartoon. But, then again, they were all reruns in the 80s so maybe I’d actually already seen that episode. But I digress.
This Charles Reuben arrives at a rather festive Coffeehouse Island, with a Clara with another personality he hasn’t encountered yet. If you’re unfamiliar with the outfit Clara was wearing, or why Charles raised an eyebrow about it, I suggest Googling Carmen Miranda after you’re done with this video.
Charles runs into our old friend The Creepy Man, you remember him? He’d asked to mate with and kill Charles Reuben the day before, and Charles Reuben politely said he must decline. So that’s what was happening there. He’s a bit awkward. Both of them, really, but I mean The Creepy Man in this case.
Charles Reuben says, “he gets around,” and Clara says, “who gets around?” This can be taken on the surface to mean she wasn’t sure who he was talking about, but I think she was making reference to the fact that Charles Reuben was there on this random island all of a sudden partying with her, knowing he’d been with roller skating waitress Clara the night before, though she wouldn’t yet have a memory of his encounter with Goth Clara in the morning.
She asks him what he’s doing so far out all of a sudden, and he explains that he rolled some dice. She, like Isaac, seems to be intimately familiar with the content of the journal he’s writing. Now, in the original episode, Charles the Grey when he met Charles Reuben earlier, told him the journal he’s writing becomes the foundation for Multiverse Cartography in the past, present, and future. In the version you heard in that earlier video, Charles the Grey didn’t mention that, but here Charles Reuben mentions that he mentioned it, so I guess now we know that he mentioned it somewhere in the conversation that we missed, somehow. Whatever, Edward. Plot hole number two, we can call that.
The most interesting part I think is when Clara snaps to show Charles Reuben what it all really looks like. He discovers that he is the only human being on the island, but that The Coffeehouse was not only translating everything into English for him, but transforming all these other beings from who knows what kinds of universes into human form so he could feel at ease among them, and interacting with them. Most interesting of all is the “true form” of Clara. As we know, she started out 16,000 years prior as an exact replica of Blythe, though a combination of Blythe-as-Handrite-Empress and actual Blythe coming to ask Charles the Grey for help rescuing Simon. Somehow, since that day, her true form has become that of this very sort of Hindu or Tantric Buddhist reminiscent goddess. Perhaps it is that a large part of who she is is a kind of personification of Jobe’s Rectangle itself, or it is an effect of being eight septillion individuals who so many times have merged their memories. Imagine how much experience she has had, 16,000 years of being eight septillion Baristas meeting and interacting with countless souls from every different possible imaginable and unimaginable universe or universe type or realms which cannot even accurately be described as either universes or realms, three and four dimensional universes like ours, as well as multiple variations of fifth and sixth, seventh and eighth, ninth and tenth dimensional origins. Given all we know and don’t know about those higher realms, what would it be like to call these realms home and origin?
“Wow, you’re like a god,” indeed.
Charles asks if The Coffeehouse is also translating his form into forms similar to themselves. Do blobs see him as a fellow blob, for example? She tells him no, one fairly unique trait of humans is the need to see others as human in order to relate with them responsibly. Think of how few humans treat chickens or pigs with any respect at all, and how the idea of treating even humans of other ethnicities, religions, sexual or gender or political orientations with any respect is such a new idea which itself is an idea outright rejected by so many who decry mutual respect as a political position, or “wokeness.” So, it is a wise precaution for The Coffeehouse to make everyone a human meets look like a variation of themselves, a precaution as essential as exit routes and fire extinguishers in a wooden building in the summertime. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Coffeehouse made all beings appear as a human of the same ethnicity as the person it is translating for. I suppose that could depend on the capacity of the individual human.
"Yeah, that makes sense," indeed.
As you might have guessed, “The Dice 2” from “The Multiverse Cartographer” picks up right where “The Dice” from “The Small Grey Mouse” left off. So, continuing: THE DICE 2
“Wow!” Charles Reuben said, “You're like a god! Do they all see me as looking like themselves?” He indicated the others there with them at the festival.
“No. Humans need to see other intelligent travelers in Human form, in order to relate with them responsibly. You know, without having the urge to kill them and mount them over the fireplace, for example.”
Charles Reuben was nodding, “Yeah, that makes sense.”
Clara continued, “Others don't mind so much, seeing things as they are.”
“Cool! So, hey, does this thing always go on here on this island?”
“Just in the evenings.”
“I'll come back to see you, when I'm done in the real world. I mean… you know what I mean.”
Charles staggered back to the pyramid, and directed the door back to his apartment.
He decided to call in sick for work since he had a few more days off, and then pass out.
He looked up at the top of the pyramid and said, “Gimmie my apartment two days before but, no… actually the morning after that, at like 9:05am.”
He stumbled in, not noticing that the note on his desk had already been written. He picked up his phone, and called Jerome.
“Hey, I'm not feeling so good this morning…”
A bit shorter, that one, but we’ve finally got an answer to the unresolved confusion at the end of “Jerome.” This Charles Reuben, having stayed up all night partying with Chiquita Banana Clara, staggers into his apartment just after the other Charles Reuben, who’d had the very brief conversation with hair up paisley dress Clara, left to catch the Metro and, just before passing out, called in sick. Granted, this is an odd choice considering he could have time traveled to an empty hotel room and slept it off and gone to work on time but I can understand how that might not have occurred to him, what with the drugs and all. So, I won’t call that plot hole number three. I’ll cut Edward some slack, this time.
So, by now it might make sense why the image associated with this video depicts so many Coffeehouse islands. I mentioned at the beginning that they’re not actually close together, but now you probably have an idea why the picture for today’s recitals depicts such a vast multitude of islands. If you look closely you can spot versions of Charles Reuben on at least two of the islands, but given the mathematics of exactly how he rolled the dice to determine his destination, it’s pretty safe to assume there’s a Charles Reuben on most if not all of the islands at this point in the story.
Also, you might have noticed that the Charles Reuben with the two-headed quarter left off in the middle of his story, following the Clara with the flapper dress to the Coffeehouse Library. Sometimes these scenes end without what might be considered a satisfactory resolution, but in this case it will be continued later on, not in the next video, but in the video after that, the fifteenth video in this series.
Next time, we’ll be back in The New World Empire universe, I’ll be reciting and explaining two chapters from “The Multiverse Cartographer.” The first is called “Volunteer Surrogate Drone” where we’ll explore a bit more of that concept, and the second is called “Baggit and Eva.” You might recall that Baggit is the name of Blythe’s little brother, but we haven’t yet been introduced to Eva as far as we know.