The Bottom Floor
by Skrath

Chapter 4 - These Pieces Don't Fit 

     Well, I am awfully sorry for all these horribly confusing chapters, but I really do think the story works better this way. It's not like all this confusion won't be cleared up at some point. It'll just take a little while, that's all. 
     Have you ever lain in your bed at night, not being able to sleep, just lying there and thinking? Did you ever think about time travel, or alternate dimensions? Odds are, if you're a guy you did, don't know about women seeing as I'm not one of them. But did you ever start thinking about all the possibilities and impossibilities and all the infinite iterations of all these things until it felt like the bottom of your mind dropped out and your thoughts swirled away like a goldfish in a toilet? Well, if you haven't, I highly recommend it, because it just may help you understand some of the things that are about to be explained. 
     The short, rather pudgy man closed the door behind him and turned to face Cedric Johnson.
     "Yes, hello Cedric. It seems I have finally arrived at the right time." 
     Cedric barked back at the man, "What? What in the hell are you talking about? Who are you?" 
     The short pudgy man frowned a bit and responded to Cedric, "Hmmm, yes, I do suppose some explanations are in order. But perhaps we should go somewhere else? This will take a bit and you both will want to sit down." 
     Harold answered, "We are perfectly fine here, explain what is going on." 
     The short, rather pudgy man cleared his throat and began, "Well, my name is Dr. Carl Lewison, and I am, well… I am a colleague of a Dr. Paxter and a Dr. Johnson… namely, the two of you." 
     Cedric then added, "Excuse me?" 
     The short, rather pudgy man let out a sigh. "Can we at least go somewhere with a whiteboard? This might get a bit complicated." 
     About an hour later, in a small conference room, Dr. Lewison was still trying to explain things. Cedric was sitting, holding his head with his hands staring down at the table and Harold was still asking question after question. Lewison was standing in front of the both of them with a bit of a frown on his face. 
     "OK, wait…" Harold started to ask, "One more time, from the top." 
     Lewison took a breath and began once more, "Right. 23 years from now you and Cedric built the first prototype of a working time machine. One year later, via large amounts of funding from the US government you both began tests of the machine, and I was subsequently hired to help you. I was sent here for one of the tests to find the two of you, and to see if the future could in fact be changed. If you let your self believe that time travel is actually possible it's actually pretty simple." 
     Harold was nodding and staring absentmindedly, "OK, I think I get it, it sort of makes sense…" 
     Cedric looked up at Dr. Lewison, "No. It does not. It's simply impossible." 
     "I assure you Cedric," Lewison answered, "time travel is indeed possible." 
     "I don't care about the time travel, it is simply impossible for you to even exist here." 
     "What are you talking about?" 
     "Look, I never would have even met Harold if you hadn't asked me about him in that bar. Which means that we never would have gotten together to make some time machine and we never would have sent anyone back. The mere fact that you're here is simply impossible." 
     Harold looked over at Cedric, "What? That makes no sense at all." 
     Lewison started to scratch his chin, "Hmmmm…" 
     Cedric started again, "It's simply impossible for you to be existing at all… the only possible explanation would have to be that you came from an alternate dimension, not just the future." 
     Lewison looked over at Cedric, "I suppose that is possible, we have only begun testing…" 
     Cedric just kept going, not even listening to Lewison, "But even still… it's not just that you're a paradox… your whole dimension is… it's almost as if an entire dimension was created just via the fact that you're here… it-it-it just doesn't make any sense! It's like that time travel kill your grandfather thing, except worse! I mean, how can our two dimensions even be connected like this?" 
     Lewison thought for a moment and spoke again, "Well… you are correct, this situation does appear to be quite paradoxical, but I think we should try and verify some things. For instance, if I should not exist here in your dimension, it would mean that I never existed. We should visit the house I lived in at this time." 
     Cedric responded, "Where did you live at this time?" 
     "Hmmm… I lived in a small town in North Dakota." 
     "Well then lets go." 
     Harold finally spoke up, "I'll have my secretary call the airport."