Something We Can Do Ourselves
Jess watched as Nat fiddled with dials and knobs on what looked distressingly like a laser. “You know, we could just hire movers,” she said. For what felt like the tenth time, but could have been the 50th, she wasn’t counting or anything.
“And pay someone to do something we can do ourselves?” Nat said, shaking her head. “Absolutely not, that isn’t how I was raised.”
Their friends were all too old to want to trade manual labor for pizza and beer, and Jess very much didn’t want to carry a decade’s worth of accumulated possessions out of their third-floor apartment, across town, then up into their new fourth-floor apartment.
Of course, neither building had an elevator. Nat hated elevators. She hated them well past the point of a somewhat-normal refusal to use one, and instead refused to sleep in the same building as an elevator. She claimed the dinging kept her from falling asleep, no matter how far away they were, and even if the elevators didn’t ding.
It made finding a hotel an adventure, every time Jess tried to plan a vacation. They stayed at a lot of cute little B&Bs, but Jess dreamed of staying in a high-rise with an incredible ocean view, where they could eat French toast in bed and watch the sunrise.
Nat placed a box labeled “general kitchen” in front of the thing that Jess really hoped was not a laser.
“What is that?” Jess asked.
“It’s a laser.”
Jess sighed. “What is the plan here? Put a red dot on it and hope that some extradimensional cat bats it from one apartment to another?”
“I’ve been reading articles on flat earth forums, and I found this theory about bringing points in space together. They were all completely wrong, of course, but it gave me an idea.”
Nat’s last idea had involved raising pigeons in their oven, which had meant months of microwave dinners and the total forfeit of their security deposit. And a subtle request that they find a new place sooner rather than later. “Please just let me hire movers. I’ll pay for it all myself, it won’t cost you a dime.”
“We’re married, your money is my money.”
“I’ll get a second job. I’ll sell plasma. Or a kidney. That scares me less than whatever you’re planning.”
“This is about the pigeons, isn’t it? You know they were never going to give our security deposit back, even if we left this place better than we found it.”
Jess sighed. “They are legally obligated—”
“And you love our guard pigeons.”
The pigeons were already at the new place, in a coop that Jess had gotten special permission for and built herself on the flat rooftop. She buried her face in her hands. “Promise me that you’re not going to light anything on fire.”
Nat held up three fingers. “Scout’s honor.”
Jess was eighty-seven percent sure that Nat had never been affiliated with any kind of scouting organization. But before she could say so, Nat flipped a switch and the laser hummed to life.
A moment later, the box was gone.
Nat whooped in victory.
“Did you just vaporize my smoothie blender?”
“No! Well, sort of? But only temporarily! I sent it to a pocket dimension. All I have to do to get it back out is reverse the polarity on the laser.”
“That doesn’t sound like a real thing,” Jess said.
“That’s what you said about guard pigeons.”
Jess was not overly pleased by this development, but carried boxes to the spot in front of the laser and watched her worldly possessions vanish three cubic feet at a time.
They wrestled the laser down three flights of stairs, into the back of their compact car, and then up another four flights of stairs.
Nat threw a switch, which Jess could only assume changed the polarity of the laser.
She grabbed a fire extinguisher.
But their boxes re-appeared, one at a time.
“There. I told you so. Now, let’s use the money we saved to take a vacation. I’ll even let you pick the place.”
So Jess picked a hotel with an elevator and tiny balconies with a view of the ocean and booked a room on the 23rd floor.
Jess wasn’t sure why Nat brought the laser, till she called for room service, and an exhausted gentleman apologetically told her that any room service was on hold till the elevators were repaired.
“I can’t hear them ding from the pocket dimension,” Nat said, sounding smug. “But don’t worry. Now that we’re awake, I can go put them back.”
About the author:
Jamie Lackey lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their cat. She has over 160 short fiction credits, and has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex Magazine, and Escape Pod. In addition to writing, she spends her time reading, playing tabletop RPGs, and hiking. Find out more at http://www.jamielackey.com.