Kenzie and Ali are at home drinking and smoking their way through another Friday night. Suddenly, Kenzie inexplicably finds himself out on the beach. Utterly confused, he returns home to Ali and plays down the incident, blaming their huge consumption of beer and marijuana.
Things begin to get even stranger for Kenzie, but with the help of his new friend Sonja, he discovers that he is swapping places with a version of himself in a parallel universe. Desperate to keep it from Ali and get his life back to normal, Kenzie tries to work out why the slips are happening and most importantly, how to make them stop.
As he searches for a solution he is forced to make some tough decisions. Not only do these cause problems with Ali, but are made all the more difficult by the dubious actions of his other-self in both worlds.
Can he get his life back on track before his relationship with Ali crumbles beyond repair, or is it already too late?
Targeted Age Group: Adult
Genre: sci-fi, general fiction
The Book Excerpt:
Kenzie loved Friday nights. Just him and Ali, eating, drinking and smoking; the perfect end to a long week driving around the county in the works’ sweaty delivery truck. It was a job he vowed to escape from sometime soon, but for now it paid the bills.
Approaching midnight the TV was gushing its usual late night trash. He surfed the channels whilst half-listening to Ali chatter away from the adjoining kitchen. Taking a last gulp of beer from the can he crushed it and tossed it across the room, aiming for the cardboard box beside the TV. Ali had missed the box every time so far and her cans were strewn all over the floor, the consequence of which had her fixing snacks. His aim had been spot on all night, until now. The can hit the far right corner and bounced out, landing under the TV.
“Man, what’s with me?” he groaned.
Slumping back onto the sofa he hoped Ali would think it was another one of hers; she was pretty drunk so there was a good chance she wouldn’t question it when she came back in.
Despite the late hour the room was hot. Living so close to the beach usually blessed them with cool evenings but tonight the air was still and heavy. Sitting up slowly, so as not to disturb the sleeping cat on his lap, he took off his sweater leaving just his faded old Lakers vest. It did nothing to cool him, he was still too hot. His stomach turned and for a moment he felt like he might throw up. Tightening his abdominal muscles staved the sensation but still left a sickly taste in his mouth. Beads of sweat were beginning to form on his forehead, swelling enough to drip down his face and off his chin. He wiped them away, only to find them dripping again within seconds. Sticky hairs at the back of his neck agitated him and his vision was starting to blur. Calling out to Ali, his voice was barely a whisper as sharp pains stabbed into his head. He squeezed his eyes closed, but still the pains bore into him. The only sound he could hear was her sweet voice still chatting away in the kitchen.
Light-headed from the beers and joints they had consumed, Ali was making a mess. As she prepared cheese on toast for them, a trail of breadcrumbs and grated cheese followed her across the counter. She had been telling Kenzie for the last ten minutes about the goings on at the store where she worked and how the latest development would affect her. Unsure if he was still listening, she carried on regardless – getting things off her chest might help her decide what she should do. Kneeling on the floor, eye level to the grill, she watched the cheese melt whilst mulling over the pro’s and con’s of the new branch opening.
Once the cheese had begun to crisp on top she removed the pieces of toast, sliced them in half with the pizza wheel and put them on a plate. Still chattering about the store, she took the plate through to the table near to where Kenzie was sitting just a few meters away, then returned to the kitchen area to get napkins and more beers. As she turned back to Kenzie everything fell from her hands. He’d gone. He had been there just seconds earlier when she took the plate through, she was sure of it. Her concentration had been focused on not letting the toast slide off the plate but he had been there, he had definitely been there. Their cat, Mr. Big, had been on his lap. Mr. Big was now standing on the sofa looking up at her and mewing, looking as confused as she felt.
A shiver went down her spine.
“Kenzie, where are you?” No reply. “This isn’t funny ya know.”
Rushing to the bedroom she flicked on the light. Nothing. Same in the bathroom. There was no sign of him anywhere. Both the front door and the slider to the back yard were locked. Opening the slider she called his name – again nothing. Unlocking the front door she went out to the end of the driveway. The lane was dimly lit with no sign of movement and no response to her calls. Going back into the apartment she locked the door again and sat down. Confused and scared, she sat staring at the floor unable to make sense of what had just happened. There was little she could do but chew her nails and wait.
An anxious ten minutes later the door handle turned. Rushing to unlock the door, she flung it open to see Kenzie standing there looking bewildered. “Where the hell have you been? Kenzie, are you OK?”
Shivering and mumbling under his breath he ignored her questions and walked straight past her. Shivering, he went through and sat on the sofa, his arms folded tight around his body. Sitting down next to him she put her arm around his shoulders.
“You’re freezing! Where did you go? You were here, and then a split second later you’d gone.”
“I… was on the beach…” His voice was unsteady, as if he didn’t believe what he was saying.
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t understand how you got out so quick – the doors were both locked.”
He rubbed his hands over his head and stood up.
“Where you goin’ Baby? Are you feeling OK?”
Kenzie left the room without saying a word and headed to the bathroom. He flicked the lock, then turned to the basin and splashed his face with cold water.
“What the hell just happened to me?” He asked his reflection, wondering if he had just dreamed it all. “No way!” he told himself. “That was all too real.”
Looking down at his hands he saw tiny cuts scattered across his palms and fingertips. As he lifted his left hand toward the light for a closer look, he could hardly believe his eyes. He watched as the small smudges of blood withdrew back into the wounds and the skin pulled back together. Within a minute there was no trace of a cut on either hand, not the slightest hint of any injury, and no scars; the cuts had healed completely. None of this was possible, what the hell had just happened? A cold sweat broke out over his whole body as his stomach tightened and a wave of nausea washed over him. Rushing to the toilet bowl he threw up. His head was now throbbing with pain and his entire body ached. Dropping to the floor, he lay on the cool tiles to recover, his stomach muscles still in spasm. Fighting the urge to close his eyes, he eventually hauled himself into the bedroom next door where he collapsed onto the bed, his body exhausted and his mind utterly confused.
Ali had given up knocking on the bathroom door and was now sitting on the back porch smoking another joint, relieved that Kenzie was back, but frustrated by his silence. She had no idea what had just happened and his behavior since he got back was confusing her even more. Taking a long drag from the joint she tipped her head back in the rocker. Exhaling slowly she watched the smoke as it danced into the clear night air. A feeling of calm washed over her as the marijuana worked its illicit magic.
“Man, what the fuck was all that about?” she asked herself with a giggle. “That was some trick! And to come back in and keep a straight face like that, he deserves an Oscar.” She went over it again and again in her mind; positive he was sitting there when she put down the plate, but unable to explain how he got out so quickly. Surely she would have heard him get up? And the room was so small there was nowhere to hide. Thinking back to her reaction and dropping the beers, she laughed. Swinging back and forth in the old rocker she looked up at the full moon.
“Do you know how he did it Mr. Moon?”
After finishing the joint she sat for a few more minutes, still going over the events in her head before going back inside the apartment. Checking the bathroom she found it empty.
“Oh, not again!” she laughed.
On opening the bedroom door she saw Kenzie flat out on the bed still wearing his clothes. She undressed and climbed into bed next to him, pulling the covers over both of them.
“If I didn’t love you so much I’d hate you for spookin’ me like that.” she whispered to him. But by now, Kenzie was in the deepest sleep of his life.