Written for VisualFling’s image prompt. Story begins after the photo.
Genre: Science Fiction/Humor
“Rick? Have you seen this?” Chloe stared out the kitchen window.
“Holy…That tree has balls!”
Chloe glared at him. “Rick, there wasn’t even a tree out there yesterday.”
“Yeah. At least the tree does,” she commented dryly.
“Let’s check it out,” said Rick, immune to her jabs as usual. He led the way out the back door. Incredulous, the two stared at the impossibly fast-growing tree. They walked around it, wondering at the odd fruit.
Then Chloe froze in place. Barely moving her lips she said, “Rick. That branch is moving.”
“Yeah. Trees do that in the breeze.”
“There’s no breeze.”
“I see it,” said Rick, and then he also froze in place. The moving branch reached out and grabbed another branch, then hung there a moment. It swung it’s…legs….a few times then catapulted off to land in front of Chloe and Rick. It opened it’s eyes, and smiled.
“You’re…you’re…” stammered Chloe.
“Jeff,” said the alien. Impossibly thin, Jeff was nearly seven feet tall with shoulders about one foot wide. With a long, narrow head and bark-like skin, Jeff looked like an anthropomorphic stick, with golden eyes.
“I think I said my name was, Jeff.”
“But you’re an alien,” said Rick.
Jeff rolled his eyes. “Okay, fine. If you want to get technical. I’m an alien.”
“Uh, is this your tree?” Asked Chloe.
“Chloe!” Admonished Rick. “There’s an alien in front of us and you’re worried about a tree?”
“It’s a weird tree.” Chloe defended.
“How can anyone own a tree?” Mused Jeff. “Didn’t your Native-Americans teach you anything?”
“We tried our best to kill them all,” noted Rick. “But we made up for it by naming football teams after them.”
“How civilized,” said Jeff. He gestured at the tree. “To answer your question, this is a Gigimin Tree. It is a trans-universal propagating tree.”
“And that means what, exactly?”
“It tries to spread to as many universes as it can. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find that not all of it’s roots exist in this universe. It lives in several universes at once and tries to propagate into other universes.”
“How many universes are there?” Asked Chloe.
“Infinite as near as anyone knows,” answered Jeff.
“So how does it propagate?”
Jeff plucked one of the fruit and took a bite out of it. “It waits for someone to eat the fruit.”
And then he disappeared.
“Pretty cool, eh?” Jeff was stood behind them.
“Woh!” Exclaimed Chloe and Jeff as they turned about.
“The fruit grants the consumer the ability to travel to other universes. Most universes are copies of this one with gradually more and more significant differences. You could travel to another universe and hardly notice a difference depending on where you go. You can travel spatially too, so that you could easily visit Rome or Angkor Wat in this universe.”
“Awesome,” said Rick. He plucked a fruit and examined it. “How do you direct it to where you want to go?”
“Once you’ve eaten the fruit, you simply think of where you want to be.”
Rick took a bite and chewed.
“Rick, no!” Shouted Chloe.
“Tastes pretty good. Like a mushy apple,” said Rick. And he winked out of existence.
“Rick!” Screamed Chloe. She turned to the alien. “Please Jeff! Bring him back. He’s not the smartest guy in the world, be he’s my guy. I love him so much, I’d…”
Rick blinked back into existence. He wore lederhosen and held a large stein of beer. “Hey Chloe!” He grinned. “Octoberfest is happening in Bonn. You’ve got to go there!”
“Rick! You jerk!”
“As you can see,” said Jeff. “Traveling with the fruit is perfectly safe, even for Rick.”
*** Three Years Later ***
Rick handed the keys to the Jaguar to the valet and slipped him a US $50 bill. A month’s wages for many in the Philippines. Rick walked out onto the sands of Boracay to join Chloe as she watched the sunset.
“How’d it go?” Asked Chloe.
“We are now the proud owners of Boracay’s newest resort,” said Jeff.
“That’s nice,” she said absently.
They held hands and watched the sunlight dance across the water. Chloe finished her Pina Colada with a sigh. “Jeff. Do you think we did the right thing?”
“It’s a good resort.”
“No. I mean the bank.”
“Oh! That. It was great. Popped in, grabbed a bunch of cash and popped out. Best bank robbery in history!”
“But it’s still theft, Rick.”
“I know, but we haven’t done it again. We invested and tripled the money. That put it right back into the system. We started the orphanages, the charities, the African agricultural program, the computer education schools in Honduras. We’ve given back.”
She sighed. “I guess we’ve done enough.”
“Not nearly enough,” said Jeff, suddenly appearing beside Chloe.
“Oh!” Chloe jumped, but recovered quickly. “If it isn’t the fabled Jeff Appleseed. Sun tan lotion?”
Jeff looked significantly at his tree bark skin. “Pass.”
“You’re barking up the wrong tree,” said Rick. “But maybe we can root some info out of him. We’ll have to pack our trunk first…”
Chloe whacked Rick’s shoulder. “Stop it.” Rick responded with tickles and the two fell into the sand in a tangle arms, legs, and hysterical squeals. Eventually they tired of the game and returned to their beach chairs.
“You were saying, Jeff?” Asked Chloe.
“The Gigimin Tree propagates across universe-s. You two have only traveled spatially across this universe. ”
“We don’t know how to do that,” said Chloe.
“I can show you. How about it? Wouldn’t you like to see other planets in other universes?”
“Come to think of it,” said Rick. “I haven’t spread any seeds around. How do you do that?”
“They’re very small. They come out in your sweat after you eat the fruit.”
“Does that mean we have to go to a hot planet, so we sweat?” Asked Chloe.
Jeff looked at the excited and happy couple. “I’m sure you can work up a sweat somehow in a cooler place.”
Rick took Chloe’s hand and said, “What do you think? Want to spread some seed with me?”
Chloe’s grin was his answer.
This was written for the picture at the VisualFling blog . A site worth the visit, and a great human being.