I discovered a glitch in the working of things. It all started with an accident. I was lost in the forest, and I came to the base of this large mountain that had a vast network of tunnels and caves hollowed out in the inside of it. One of these tunnels terminated in an opening several feet above the ground, high above where I was standing. As I stood there, staring up at the granite face of the mountain, I saw a man in a marching band uniform fall from the opening. He stood up, dusted the burrs and dried leaves of the forest floor from his sleeves, cast a wary glance back at me, and then he took off through the trees and he was gone.
I didn’t think anything of the incident until I happened to stumble upon a parade the next day in the city. There were floats and baton twirlers, and of course, a marching band. As the band passed, someone stepped on someone else’s shoe, and one of the band members tripped and fell. I watched as he got back to his feet and dusted the dirt from the street from his sleeves. And then he spotted me looking at him. He shot me that same wary glance, and then he pushed the other band members out of the way and took off through the crowd before I could pursue him.
I returned to the mountain in the woods. In one of the tunnels, I found a stage that was set up to look like a restaurant in my neighborhood. I had stumbled across some sort of rehearsal space. I hid behind the counter over by the cash register and I watched as these two women had the same lunch over and over again, reading all the same lines, trying to get it right. Like the marching band member tripping and falling, it was an event that wouldn’t happen until the next day. This was where they rehearsed life before it happened, making sure it all came off normal and natural.
After about their fifth or six run-through, I began to notice something. I saw that one of the women kept reproducing a twenty dollar bill from her wallet every time the bill came. There was no resetting of the props between each scene. It was a fresh bill every time. An idea came to me. I stood up and revealed my position. They were startled to see me, but I launched right in, asking about the money. I wanted to know where it all came from. Was a new twenty created from thin air every time? Had I found an unlimited source of funds? A loophole in the economics of existence?
Unfortunately, once we started piecing it all together, we discovered that these funds were being generated from tiny changes out in the world, changes that normally no one would notice, things no one would miss. But when we traced where the money that had paid for these lunches had come from, it all led back to this young bride-to-be. Her wedding dress, which she had dreamed of since childhood, had been traded for a cheaper one to pay for the meals. This would lead to a grave misunderstanding between her and her fiance’, as the dress was the same one which an old girlfriend of his had worn for her wedding the previous spring. And this suspicion, in turn, would break the engagement and derail this poor bride’s entire life.
We couldn’t let that happen. I sat down to figure it all out. I took account of all of the different scenes being rehearsed in those caves. We had to juggle the money around from one scene to the other. We had to set things right and get this bride her dress back. It was a vast undertaking, pennies from one life, dimes from another, but at last I managed to do it. The world was back on course, and no one would miss a thing.