I knew I shouldn’t have worked around chemicals but I needed to support my family so I did what I had to. A mistake, like practically every decision I’ve made in my life. How different it would have been if I had gone to school, been smart enough to marry beautiful Jeanne instead of plain Jane, thrown my first cigarette on the ground instead of sucking it down so small my fingers burned on the butt.
The chemicals destroyed my immunity, plain Jane’s kids turned out to be plain dumb. My lungs turned cancerous due to sucking on all those butts. As I lay in my hospital bed, unable to breathe without the help of a machine, I wondered how different my life could have been.
My breathing stopped and then my heart. Beeping sounds went off. I wasn’t afraid and I felt no pain as I floated above the husk that had held me for 58 years. I instinctively knew where to go and flickered to another universe where in a world like ours, I saw another me there, strapped into an electric chair. A guard pulled the switch, and I died a painful death. Now there were two spirits. We flickered on to another universe where I lay in a bed surrounded by doctors and family, who all wished me dead. They loved my money, not me.
At least my kids with Jane didn’t love me for my money. The me in that life died and three spirits journeyed onto another universe and found one more me who was explaining to his wife, beautiful Jeanne and his retarded kids, how if he would have turned left instead of right he wouldn’t die, but he did..
Now there was four of us whizzing onto another universe where there was another world like ours. I ran a marathon and was shot dead by a gunman in a passing car. I heard him say, “That’s what he gets for being so smart.”
Five of me zoomed to the next world on what appeared to be a mission to gather all my different souls. Once there I found a retarded me dying in a group home. People there cheered my demise, and I remembered how I had been saved from a brain crushing blow when just a babe.
Six of us wondered how there could be multiples of us when we found number seven dying. He was king of the world and the streets were lined with subjects sorry for his demise.
Onward we went and found number eight living in a cannibalistic world. He was dying from eating his cousin’s infected brain.
Nine of us coursed through space at unimaginable speeds until we came to yet another world like ours and listened to number ten explain the discovery he had made.
“Don’t be sad because I’m leaving you here,” he told his wives plain Jane and beautiful Jeanne, and his sixteen offspring, “I have researched hard and long, so before I go I’ll tell you all that life as we know it isn’t what you think.”
“Please don’t go,” they all cried.
“Let me finish. Once I do, you’ll be happy I get to go. We all have a soul, but there’s not only one. There are plenty more just like mine. Every other world has one of its own.”
“That doesn’t make me happy,” plain Jane said.
“Let me finish. These worlds exist to make every opposite decision I never made happen. After one dies he can see how his life would have been if he had only made a different choice in that life.”
“How many are there?” Beautiful Jeanne wanted to know.
“Every choice you make, a world is created where you make the opposite, so the number of worlds is infinite, because there is one for every decision ever made.”
“But, why?” one of the children cried.
“So a person’s souls can discuss for eternity what choices were right and what ones were wrong.”
Eleven of us moved on, but with the knowledge, there’d be many more of us. Time went by and we became a tremendous mass, bouncing from one universe to the next. We just picked up number six billion and one.
It’ll take eternity to decide which decisions I made were right and which were wrong. And maybe that’s the plan for my soul, to perpetually try to know!