Wormhole in the Museum Called Reality
My friend Charlie sells a painting to the Gregorian Museum out on Galactic Park.
They hang his painting in one of the upstairs rooms for a week, and then trouble starts. Charlie gets a phone call in the middle of the night from the director. Charlie can’t believe his ears. He rushes over to the museum.
Upstairs, the director is in his pajamas pacing back and forth. Charlie goes up to his painting, looks at it for a few minutes and sees it.
People have walked into the painting and taken up residence there.
They’re in there.
Law suits, the director says. Their families could take us to the cleaners.
When Charlie calls out to the people inside his painting, they don’t hear him. They don’t seem to be able to get out. At least no one’s trying.
What do you want me to do? Charlie says.
Get them the hell out of there, the director says. Pick up the picture and shake it if you have to. Turn it upside down. I don’t care.
Charlie doesn’t think this is a good idea. Somebody could get hurt.
So for the next few hours, he sits in front of his painting, drinks coffee, and tries to talk to the people inside.
No dice. Even when he yells, they don’t notice him.
By this time, the chairman of the museum board has shown up. He’s agitated. He’s yabbering about containing the situation.
Charlie asks him how he proposes to do that.
Blanket denial, the chairman says. Pretty soon, the cops are going to link these disappearances to the museum—but then we just throw up our hands and claim we know nothing about it.
A lot of good that’ll do, the director says. Even if we wiggle out of the law suits, our reputation will be damaged. People won’t want to come here. They’ll be afraid somebody will snatch them.
Okay, the chairman says, we’ll shut down for repairs. New construction. That’ll buy us a few weeks and we can figure out something. We’ll say the building needs an earthquake retrofit. Not a big one. Just some shoring up.
…So that’s what happened. They closed the museum and hoped for the best.
Charlie was upset. If word got o
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