The End is Near (Quantum Shorts, 2015)

Knocking on the door has always triggered some serious decision making for Walter: open the door or not? This time, he did open it, annoyed by an eye of a stranger trying to peek inside through two slits on the door. Walter hated observers, as most people and particles do.

Two men stood in front, holding piles of papers and not trying to get in. The taller one was a loud fellow, as he yelled at Walter: “The end is near!” The words echoed in Walter’s ears and down the street like a nuclear bomb blast as the stentoresque giant hid the Sun.

“What?” Walter was again in doubt: close the door or not? He would probably hear that voice through an arbitrary number of closed doors.

“We are from the Ministry of Quantum Affairs” said the other one silently. “According to our statistics, you have created more than two billion universes so far, and the limit for personal universe creation is 2147483648. We are here to warn you about this.” He didn’t read that number, he seemed to have learned it by heart. An important constant, probably.

“And what happens if I make more than that limit?” Walter wasn’t convinced (he didn’t believe there was such a thing as Ministry of Quantum Affairs, such thing as multiple universes and consequently, he had no reason to believe in existence of that silly limitation.)

“It is uncertain. No one has ever reached the limit so it would be a precedent.” The taller one was so loud that at least two adjacent universes could hear him.

“And how do I make those universes? I don’t remember making any so far.” Walter was trying not to laugh, as the apostles of Church of Multiple Universes at his doorstep did try to look serious. He was playing dumb, but Stentor and Silent Bob weren’t able to notice.

The shorter one whispered. “With every major decision and critical situation in your life, a branching happens: in one universe you make one decision, in the other one the other decision. And it just grows exponentially.” He pointed at a decision tree he had in his big folder: it seemed like the Ministry keeps a file on all major decisions Walter made since the day he chose to say Papa instead of Mama as his first word (at least in this half of the decision tree he said Papa).

Walter made it look as if he was finally getting it. “So you came to me in each universe I created to ask me to stop making more universes?”

“Not in each one. You are dead in 134,216 of them. But yes, we came to you in the rest of the universes you created.” Oh, yes. There were skulls and bones in some branches of the decision tree Silent Bob showed.

“So in each universe I’m alive in you asked me to stop making more universes. In every one of them I can decide to do so and not to do so. Hence, each one will branch into one where I decided to obey and one in which I disobeyed. Hence, it all doubles. Brilliant plan, gentlemen.” His nodding at the word brilliant was so convincing that Stentor started nodding as well before Silent Bob stepped on his foot.

“Well. we didn’t think this through.” Both Ministry officers were confused.

Walter closed the door and laughed hard. as a hand knocked again. They want to try once again? Or they want to punish the creator of four billion universes?

Walter’s hand lit two candles under a horseshoe.

“Thank Bohr I’m sane enough not to believe those crackpots,” he whispered at the Copenhagen altar.

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