Michelle Imber: B3D, Chapter 9

B3D: Chapter 9

Michelle Imber

The name's Fourd. Fourd E. Menshunal, but all my friends just call me Fourd. I'm a cleaner by trade, working for the Company, but these days I've taken on another job. I'm a fly-by-night, a drifter, a cruiser. Times are rough...can't make no decent livin' at any o' them four-dimensional jobs. Those all go to those hoity-toity upper-middle-class folk. Since the Revolution of '31, followed by the '32 Reassignation of Tasks, life is pretty hard. The Minister of Occupations favored the others of his kind, giving education to the wealthiest and best-connected and leaving the rest of us to the worst of it. They gave us the factory jobs, the cleanin', the sweepin', the mass production, while they all sit cozy in their comfy offices and spin on their fancy revolvin' desk chairs and don't give a darn about the rest of us. That's just it. Not a darn.

It's gotten so bad that me an' my buddies were thinkin' about gettin' us some new ways o' makin' money. That, my friend, is how it all began. We found ourselves a whole new career, we did.

But lissen, I'm gonna tell you this confidential-like, but you can't go tellin' nobody. Cuz, see, if them higher-ups find out what we've been doin', we could lose everything. They ain't supposed to know.

It all started that day when me and the guys was sweepin' up the floor of the quadruple-corrugated-hyperstorage-box plant. Suddenly, old Bill gives a start. Well, we never did see anything like it. What do you think it was, but a little man--but not a man! Almost a man. He was completely, well, the educated folk would say he was --three--three--threedee. Well, old Bill calls us over in a flash. And over we come, and darned if that wasn't the oddest thing I'd ever seen. I've seen it a lot since, to be sure, but I wasn't used to it back then. No sir.

Lookin' at this--CREATURE--we was completely amazed. We could see all of his insides, right through this big open side of his body, all his slimy organs--they were churnin' and pumpin', blood movin' around only in this one direction. We was even more amazed when he started to speak to us! Just a-talkin', like he was the most normal thing in the world.

"Ha!" he crowed. "I did it! At last, at last, after all these years!!" And he started jumpin' about, cavortin' and gallavanting--every which way, up, down, in, out, throo, froo. "Whee, look at me--I've never jumped in that direction before! Ha--wait--let me just see--" and he pulls a little stick out of his pocket with a point on the end, some crumpled heaps of what look to be plant fiber fragments, and pressed the stick to the plant fiber. "HA!!" he exclaims again. "I've changed my own handedness! Remarkable!! Oh, look--" he knifed over froowards, towards his open side--"for heaven's sakes! I can see right inside! Good lord!" He seemed a trifle paler now, and straightened.

"Gentlemen," he said, turning to us, "allow me to introduce myself. I am a mathematician from the third dimension, professor--" he paused and flexed first his right hand, then his left--"well, in my current state, you can call me Mot." He chuckled, seemin' mighty pleased with himself for a little threedee guy.

Well now, Bill had first seen the little guy, and Bill was sharp. He came up with a plan, so nuts it might just work. "If you can get here," said Bill, always the connivin' one, "can we get to your dimension?"

"Well, I don't see why not," said Mot.

"I know of your people. There have been texts written about what three-dimensional culture would be like, its limitations and necessities. My uncle did math, back before the Revolution. I inherited his library. He had books about your kind. I have a sense," he added with a sly grin, "there is much we could do for you..."

Mot looked thoughtful. "I suppose," he said. "The exchange of ideas would be wondrous."

"Not quite what I had in mind," Bill said. "Supposing....supposing we could interact with your folk. We could do a lot for your culture. Think of it...we could perform scarless surgery. In, out, nobody'd be the wiser. We could do surveillance. We could make people disappear by moving them froowards--they'd never know what happened to themselves. Like we did with that Elvis guy."

Mot frowned. "I'm not entirely sure I like the sound of that," he said.

"Sure," said Bill. "It'd be easy. You think it hasn't been done before?? We just need to know how. How'd you get here, Mot? Where's the portal?"

The rest of us just looked and gaped and wondered at old Bill. He could always talk smart, he could. "What do you say, Mot?"

The threedee man swallowed, all nervous-like. "This was an academic expedition," he said. "I'm writing a book... I'm not here to strike up any business deals."

Bill got this smile on his face again. "You gotta admit," he said, "we have the...dimensional advantage over you. We can keep you in this hyperbox, here, and make you tell us what we need to know. We need the jobs, we need the money. We can use your money here, if you set up the linking right. It could be very profitable."

And then--Oh, jeesh. The Boss. He's comin'. I can't tell you no more now...if he finds out about our other jobs, about Mot, we could all be in the biggest of trouble. Promise you won't tell...I've got a family to feed...promise..."