In this riotously funny romantic adventure, Randy and his younger brother Craig find themselves in a different universe, on a strange planet, desperately searching for Milo, a handsome stranger in imminent danger, all while being chased by the heavily armed local authorities. And that's just the start of this epic journey.
But what else does fate have in store for our brave heroes? And can one human save two worlds, the handsome alien he's fallen in love with, his entire family, and a self-aware watch? Read on, dear Earthlings, to find out!
It was two days later, two days of utter hell and frustration. It was late, close to midnight. I no longer slept. I was either awake or momentarily passed out. I was twenty-two and looking forty -- a pretty forty, sure, but forty, nonetheless. I was lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling. “Hang in there, Milo,” I whispered. “We’re coming for you.”
The bed shook a second later. I hopped up and flicked on a light. Craig came barreling in a moment later, a large garbage bag flung over his shoulder. He closed the door behind him and tossed the bag to the pink carpet.
“What is all that?” I asked as he dumped the contents out.
He put his index finger to his lips. “Shh. Working.”
I began to argue, which is how Craig and I did things, argumentatively, but then thought the better of it. Instead, I sat on the bed and watched him assemble the strange apparatus he’d invented. It took shape quickly enough. There was a basin on the floor, a structure of metal beams in the shape of a cube above that, a pan resting above that. There were some tubes running from top to bottom and back again. On the floor sat some sort of small motor. It looked like a ... well, I hadn’t a clue what it looked like. It looked like a mess of metal and tubes, like an erector set gone wrong.
“I have no idea what all this is,” I freely admitted when it was at last complete.
He rose to hand me two emptied gallon jugs, now deplete of their milk. “Fill these.”
“The cow went home for the evening.”
He grimaced, eyes, as usual, rolling. “With water, jackass.”
I nodded. “Water. Right. Be right back.”
I raced to the bathroom. I raced as my mind raced. What was Craig up to? What was that apparatus he’d set up? And how would it help Milo? In any case, the jugs filled up quickly, and so back I rushed. I handed them to Craig. He filled the basin with the water, and then passed them back my way.
“Two more,” he commanded.
I sighed. “Really?”
He mock-sighed me in return. “Did Einstein’s assistants question his genius?”
“I doubt Einstein had assistants when he was eighteen, little bro.”
He glared my way. “Don’t doubt; fill.”
Thus again commanded, I tore to the bathroom and filled up jugs three and four. By the time I’d done five and six, I was duly exhausted and even more frustrated. We didn’t have that much time, after all. The portal never stayed open for more than ten minutes, and we were close to that already.
“Please tell me that was the last one,” I said, now breathing hard.
“That was last one.”
“Thank God,” I exhaled as I watched him crouch down to the small motor.
“I’d say pray to him,” he said, flicking the thing on. “Thank him after this is all over with.”
The motor purred. Fortunately, it wasn’t all that loud. Also fortunately, my parents slept on the first floor of our house, while Craig and I slept on the second. I mean, how would I have explained any of this, especially the waterfall Craig had suddenly flicked on in the middle of my bedroom.
“Pretty,” I said. “But, uh, why does it suddenly look like the tropics in here?”
He rose and walked to the mirror. “Like I said a couple of days ago ...” He touched the mirror. “Solid.” He pointed to me. “Idiot.” He pointed to the waterfall. “Leaving.”
It took me a few seconds to put all the pieces together. “Wait,” I said. “Water isn’t a solid; it’s a liquid.”
“Eureka,” he said with an exaggerated sigh.
“Now what?” I asked, instantly coming down off my high.
He slid my mirror out of the way and got down on the floor next to the waterfall. He’d put the basin on wheels, and so all the thing needed was a push before it was sitting where the mirror once had been.
“Now this,” he said as he again stood next to me. “Go ahead.”
I gulped. “Go ahead and, uh, what?”
He looked my way, his eyes burning like two tiny stars. I guessed that this is what Justin Bieber looked like just before he went on stage. “Try it out, dude,” he said, then grabbed my hand and placed it in front of the downward flowing water.
“What if it works?” I asked. “What if it works and we’re sucked into space? What if his world doesn’t breathe oxygen? What if it works and we’re trapped over there?”
He nodded thoughtfully. “All surprisingly good questions, dude. But there’s one more: if we don’t do this, what happens to Milo?”
I paused, but not all that long. In truth, I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t know what happened to Milo. And no, that wasn’t me being a drama queen, for a change; that was me knowing that I had a connection that had been severed, leaving me very much short-circuited, so to speak. Milo, I’d come to believe, was my destiny. Whether or not rightly so, it didn’t matter; this is what I felt, and so that was all that mattered.
In other words, with just the slightest bit of trepidation, I stuck my hand through the water and promptly winced.
“What, what?” Craig asked, concern washing over his face. “Did it hurt? Is your hand disintegrating?”
I shook my head. “The water is cold.”
He socked me one in the arm as he sharply exhaled. “Fucker.” He then looked behind the waterfall. “Um, dude, just so you know, your hand isn’t back there.” He then locked eyes with me, those stars going all supernova-like. “Your hand, Randy, your hand is in another universe, boldly going where no hand has gone before.”
My gulp repeated. I wiggled my fingers. They, in fact, still wiggled. Meaning, my hand hadn’t, in fact, disintegrated. My hand was also not too cold or too hot, but, like the baby bear’s porridge, just right. And so, I moved my arm further into the water, and further it did go. Which is why, since the body goes where the hand leads, I found myself walking through the waterfall a split-second later, saying through the spray, “Well, here goes nothing.”
Though, of course, here went everything.