"A Foot In The Door" (Un-Iverse Fiction) by Matt Zimmer

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Matt Zimmer
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I wrote this a few months ago and have been debating whether or not to post it for fear it might give off some unintentional Gilda And Meek spoilers. As it stands it's ambiguous enough to not give too much away and brief enough to stand on its own.

For the record, the story is confusing. If you've read all 33 issues of The Un-Iverse I've posted online it is less confusing. But it's still a bit confusing. By design. One of The Un-Iverse's biggest influences in raising questions but being slow to answer them (if ever) is Twin Peaks. But I think the story is cool enough to be posted here. It's my first attempt at written fiction in decades. Tell me what you think.

Rating: PG. Nothing objectionable except for some adult themes and a mature(ish) perspective.

All rights to Gilda And Meek and The Un-Iverse belong to Matt Zimmer.

"A Foot In The Door" by Matt Zimmer.

"What is that?" asked Gilda.

The Beautiful Woman's bangs were blown back from her forehead from the wind rising from the vortex. She was tall, shapely, and dressed in a white cloak with green and red trim. She considered Gilda carefully.

"Everything," said the Beautiful Woman.

"That is not helpful." Gilda retorted dryly.

"Have I ever been?" the Beautiful Woman asked.

It's a fair point, thought Gilda. Still, Gilda knew this woman, and knew how coldblooded and manipulative she could be. The woman wanted Gilda to go through the door to vanquish her ancient enemies for her. And while the Woman may have thought Gilda owed her, Gilda thought this woman herself is someone she owed nothing to. Not yet. Not without more explanation.

Gilda's best friend Meek Horatio Anderson leaned forward. The light from the portal flashed in his eyes as they widened in delight.

"It's a door!" he exclaimed excitedly.

"That is a more accurate description," the Beautiful Woman conceded.

Gilda asked, "Where does it go?"

The Beautiful Woman replied, "Anywhere you want."

Gilda was skeptical. "Just like that? And home before supper, I presume?"

The Beautiful Woman slowly shook her head. "Technically, if you go through THIS door, you will never enter this Universe ever again. It is the door to the Multiverse. All possible Universes, some in which you exist, most of which have never heard of you. Every possible outcome of every decision made in every Universe split off into an infinite numbers of Universes."

Gilda said, "So why would I WANT to go through that door if I'll never go home again? And I've heard scientists speculate about the existence of this concept, but none has offered a shred of proof. It's as evidence-free a science theory as the belief in God is for the religious."

The Beautiful Woman raised her left eyebrow. "You are a Cat. Are you telling me you don't believe in God?"

"Not at all. What I am saying is there is no evidence to help out my faith there. It belongs to me alone. If God exists, I have never met him," Gilda replied.

The Beautiful Woman strongly considered correcting this misperception on Gilda's end, and wisely decided instead that that was not her story to tell.

"Without getting into a religious debate, the Multiverse DOES exist. Each of us travel it every day without realizing it, every decision we make creating entirely different Universes. Our decisions have us going back and forth between various Universes and we never end up in the same place at the end of the day. The reason you will not object going through that door is because every time you have foiled a fixed prophecy in the past, you changed the Universe you currently exist in already. I doubt you'll object to never seeing this Universe again because I'm betting today is the first time you've actually been in it."

Gilda asks a question that sounds reasonable, but it actually tells the Beautiful Woman she doesn't truly get it yet. "All of reality is divided and traveled upon by yes or no decisions?"

"Gilda, my child, you think too small. You assume decisions are binary, or that they are all in your control. A Universe isn't merely created whether or not you decide to brush your teeth. If you brush your teeth a Universe is created where you brushed for 30 seconds, one where you did for 17 seconds, and another a full minute. Some Universes you brushed hard, some you brushed fast. But every brush stroke you took created an infinite number of Universes from that, some of whose differences boil down to your toothbrush having two fewer atomic units of toothpaste from the other, or brushing a millionth of a millimeter to the left. Infinite Universes are created not just from your decisions, not just everyone else's decisions, but every being in the entire galaxy and galaxies of galaxies' decisions. An amoeba splits, a Universe is made, as are infinite versions where it went down slightly differently. You want proof for the existence of God? Just the fact that it is possible that there is a Universe out there created by an intelligent design means it happened somewhere. And if there is a God looking out for one Universe, there is probably a Mega God out there taking it upon Himself to look out for ALL Universes, even the ones He Himself didn't create. The fact that God COULD exist, means He does. And yes, somewhere out there the Flying Spaghetti Monster is very, very real. Fear him. He is still more plausible than Scientology."

Gilda considered the Beautiful Woman's insane sounding theory. And it's nuts, as tempting as it sounds.

But Gilda has known this woman for a lifetime, and yet technically only met her this morning. The look of longing Gilda saw on the Beautiful Woman's face is common enough to be directed at Gilda, but it always jarred her anyways. Meek also clearly seemed to have recognized the lust for what it was, and was also a bit frightened by it.

But not jealous of it. Never jealous.

"What do you actually know about this Universe?" the Beautiful Woman asked.

"Considering all of the death and destruction I have personally witnessed, and even been responsible for, I can safely say that I know it sucks."

The Beautiful Woman looked at her in disgust. "Which means you clearly know nothing about it. THIS specific Universe, and the Universes closest to it that you and I and Meek travel back and forth through every second, are uniquely LUCKY Universes. Have you ever heard of chaos theory?"

Gilda said, "In science fiction. Like the Multiverse, it's a concept that's completely free of any evidence."

"In THIS Universe, there is no evidence for it. It does not exist, or at least it doesn't work properly for us. The fact that the older an ancient prophecy is, the more likely it is to come to pass runs completely counter to the known chaos laws of almost all of the Universes unrelated or mostly unrelated to the cluster we inhabit. That is rare. That is a gift. Believe me, Gilda, as much as you and the world have suffered, we are all VERY fortunate. If Our Universe followed Chaos Theory like all of the rest of them, we'd probably all already be dead, or more likely never even have been born.

"Out there there are versions of you that AREN'T lucky. Who made a bad decision somewhere down the line and nearly destroyed their Universe because of it. You have saved the world twice, Gilda. Did you really never suspect there were versions of you out there that whiffed that mission?"

Gilda said, "You just want me to chase and kill the Whahuma Bears for you. That's all this is. I've been tempted by the best, and this won't impress me."

"Forget the Bears. Don't you want to see other, weaker versions of yourself, and know exactly what mistakes to avoid in the future? How to survive what comes next? Past or present, this door can take you anywhere to learn the truth about yourself and how to be a hero. And maybe you can make the lesser versions of you better people while you are at it."

Gilda was soon alarmed to see longing in Meek's eyes at that idea. She knew the one thing he wished he could change. And yet, this is an opportunity.

The Beautiful Woman leaned in and Gilda could smell her perfume. It's heavenly. "The secrets of the Universe are yours, Gilda. For the taking."

Gilda took a deep breath, turned around, and asked the only question that actually mattered.

"What do you think, Meek? Up for another adventure?" she grinned at her best friend.

He grinned back. "As always, just here for the ride."

Gilda turned around and looked back at her Universe for one last time. If the Beautiful Woman was right, it wasn't ever hers, or where she was supposed to end up. Still, she'll never see her version of Bernadette, the Piranha or Gabrielle ever again. What Gilda will pop up to them later on to replace her? Knowing that she'll never be here in this Universe again filled her with a sense of loss she never had when she traveled between Universes after foiling prophecies and never even knowing it. She also feels every bit her age. She left her child-bearing years behind long ago and that brings a pang of fear and regret too. What if she never sees HIM again either?

No, that could not be true.

Instead, Gilda asked the Beautiful Woman seriously, "Am I going to regret this?"

"Who is to say? How much of your actual life do you regret?"

Very little. And that's when the decision was made. She grabbed Meek's hand and took a deep breath.

"Are we ready?" she asked.

"Always."

They stepped through the portal as the Beautiful Woman levitated and floated through it herself. The portal closed behind them on this very, very Lucky Universe. What happened then? Pretty much everything. And all of the decisions that were made from that meant that everything was a good thing after all.

Linear Notes for "A Foot In The Door"

This is my first attempt at written fiction in decades. It kind of sucks. I normally write the Narrator in the present tense, and I used traditional past tense for this story. I don't feel like that is as consistent as it needs to be.

I want to make something very clear. I chose not to use The Un-Iverse's Narrator to tell this story. As far as Un-Iverse canon is concerned, this specific tale was relayed by me, The Author, instead. In fact, this is arguably the first Un-Iverse story that the Narrator takes no part in.

I wrote the story for two reasons. The first is that I have never been able to accurately describe to anyone who has never read The Un-Iverse what it is actually about. If you read this story, you'll know. I don't believe you'll even know after reading all of the 39 issues I have already written and drawn. But you will after reading this.

I cannot decide how to describe The Un-Iverse to newbies. Is it like Bone in being a funny animal book surprisingly stretched out into a science fiction / fantasy epic? Or are the themes it explores such as the fact that evil is uncool and mundane the actual reason I'm telling the story? Is it a political allegory for the end times we currently fear we are facing? Is it a character piece between Gilda and Bernadette and the conflicting natures of love? A thick continuity feast that connects disparate unimportant-seeming elements into an explosive 19 part finale? A book about a female protagonist whose very feminism is treated as normal by her peers, and not made an issue at all, and instead of being a female hero, is a hero who happens to be female?

It's all of those things and none of them at the same time. This story, or rather this scene, is the actual subtext to The Un-Iverse. A lucky Universe in a Multiverse teeming with unlucky ones. The Multiverse is pretty much the central theme and creed of the entire franchise. It wasn't always, but it is now.

The second reason I wrote it is because I wanted to see if I could write a Gilda and Meek story set in their far future without spoiling the points that happened between now and then. I raise questions, some of which I hope I'll get to someday, but a lot of the mysteriousness of the story comes through the fact that I DON'T actually reveal much about this period of Gilda and Meek's adventures, at least not in this story. We don't even know how far in the future it is. All we know is the tantalizing clues Gilda and the unnamed Beautiful Woman leave us.

I wanted to write this story as written fiction rather than a comic book because drawing what is happening would answer too many of the questions raised. It's better for the reader to speculate who the Beautiful Woman is, and whether or not we've even met her yet, instead of showing for sure one way or the other.

The big question: Is "A Foot In The Door" Un-Iverse canon?

Simply put, if things go the way I plan, it will be. I'll do a comic book version of the scene in 15 or 20 years (if I live that long) but I partly wrote this down to give me something to build towards.

But the reality is things rarely go the way I plan. So in 20 years, when I'm scripting and drawing "Gilda And Meek: Adventures Across The Multiverse" chances are most of the details I have described here will no longer fit, and I'll have to change a LOT of it. So the answer is that it's canon for now, but probably won't be forever.
 
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