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  • It had been a rough day.

    The troubles started early. There was a computer glitch that I was slow to comprehend. To my surprise almost half a dozen versions of a story went out to the website. Each version had a different cover photo.

    When I arrived at work they asked me which version had I intended for them to use?
    I replied that they were all the same, identical, except for the image.

    “That simply is not the case.” This came from a gentleman, J.C., who I saw sometimes in the hall. I usually saw him at a great distance so he appeared to be about the size of a postage stamp and was slightly out of focus, like a thumbnail photo on a computer screen.

    “I have been through them all,” he said. “In the first version your character takes a right turn down the hall. In the second version he takes a left, and in the third version he goes straight. The differences continue from there.”

    I spent the rest of the day sifting through my papers trying to untangle the complex and ever changing documents. The characters seemed to have started lives of their own. It was anarchy.

    I went home exhausted and foul tempered. I mumbled through dinner, wrote for an hour after the meal and went to sleep soon after reading half of a chapter.

    I woke up almost immediately, or was I dreaming?

    “Hello, your back, let’s see if we can find the one you are looking for.” Said a woman, pushing a library cart full of pages, stapled and stacked neatly.

    “Last night you were on version 75, 2012, the day where you sent the multiple documents out with different photos. Let’s see if we can trace you back to the moment you pressed ‘send’ and we can get you back to that day and that version of your own story”.

    I looked around the room and saw bookshelves full of documents, stacks and stacks of multiple versions. I was panicked.

    One bookshelf was empty and I asked the librarian about it.
    “That shelf is for all the times you were going to do something but decided to put it off for another day.”

    I shivered, suddenly cold.
    Given the choice, a life of empty shelving, or this one, piles of papers, I settled down with the stack of documents.

    I was looking for my own version of my own life story, the life where I had a bad day but the next one was better.
    It was going to be a long night.
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