I had a dream that my friends rented a moving truck from Jack’s Hardware. It turned out that, due to some weird consequence of the rules of the universe, when you parked that specific truck in that specific parking spot and put the key in the ignition, a portal to another universe opened above the truck!

If you stood under the portal and looked up, you’d see the ground of the other universe. If you crawled on top of the car and jumped up, you’d go through the portal and the gravity of the other universe would catch you and you’d fall to the ground there.

We jumped into the other universe to check it out.

It was a lot like ours. The people were human and lived in cities like ours, and even spoke English! They had a different writing system, based on hieroglyphics that we couldn’t read.

There was a music concert of some kind there. I guess it was similar to one of those things where all the high schools send their musicians. We decided to see what the alien music was like. It was okay. Pretty similar to ours. We couldn’t read the programs, though.

Over the next week or so, we jumped over to the other universe increasingly casually, to see what was going on.

However, on one jump, we started to feel like people were suspicious of us, and it might be a little dangerous. Someone was talking to some cops and pointing at us, so we got out of there quick and jumped back through the portal.

Over dinner at my house, I realized that Juliet the dog did not make it back to our side with us! Ignoring all danger, and all warnings from friends, I went back to the portal myself.

Whoever was last through the portal, they did not shut it down. They just covered it with cardboard. So I took the cardboard down and jumped through.

Pretty quickly, I got arrested. On what charge? I have no idea, I have no knowledge of their legal system.

They took me to see the king! He said that he was going to send me to the scientists so they could dissect me and figure out stuff about my universe.

So I decided to challenge him to a duel for my freedom! I didn’t know if that was a thing, but sometimes things like this work in Earth fiction, so why not try it?

The king thought that was amusing and accepted the duel. Apparently, I was lucky: Duels in this society were not to the death. We had little pompoms velcroed to our backs. The goal of the duel was to get the pompom off your opponent. We also had swords with pompoms. If your sword loses its pompom, you have to stop using it. Now, I was given a rapier, whereas the king had a big ol’ sword and some kind of staff with a half-moon blade on the top. “I am the king, after all,” he said, by way of justifying the imbalance in weaponry. “We can’t just have people challenging the king to duels and winning all the time over here.”

Well, as it turns out, the king expected me to be dueling in the formalistic style of their culture. Being unaware of that tradition, I rushed him, knocked his weapons aside with my hands, and grabbed the pompom off his back. I won! Fair and square. Nothing actually said this was against the rules, it just defied expectations.

So, this meant that I was king now!

The former king’s first wife decided to be with me and stay being the queen. She seemed like a perfectly reasonable person, and it seemed like she was really the brains and wisdom of the kingdom – at least, this was my impression from my brief conversation with her. The rest of the former king’s wives wanted to stay with him because they liked him. I was a little worried about their prospects, but I figured that even if they did have to take minimum wage jobs to get by, with that many adults in the household, they should be able to get by. And for all I know, they’d have a lucrative speaking career, or make a bunch of money writing books or something.

The queen and I had a brief wedding right then and there. Featuring: “I, Ryan, take you, … uh, … psst. Hey, you. Person I randomly selected as best man. I did not actually catch her name.” Ambriel was her name.

My plans included getting her to teach me to read their heiroglyphics.

But first, we had a bunch of business to attend to! A bunch of supplicants were there for when the king was holding court. I had been one of them, but there was a long line after me. Also, I sent some of my guards to look for Juliet!

It seemed like for most of them, my ascension either mooted their complaints, or they were afraid because they didn’t know what I was like. So most of the supplicants just said something like “I just wanted to, um, congratulate you on your ascension.”

One guy, though, had figured out that if you make a dousing rod out of aluminum foil, it would project a faint image from my universe onto a wall! I thought that looked pretty handy, so I sent him to see the scientists. I checked, though. It was not a portal that you could go through.

So, even though there was still a long line of supplicants, the queen said that it was time to stop holding court. I guess that was something that was okay to do. Sure, whatever.

So I decided that I should take her to see my universe! We’d do a better job if we both understood each other’s cultures. And I’d like her to meet my friends and family and stuff.

So we went to where the portal was, but it was gone! Probably what had happened was that the people who work at Jack’s Hardware noticed that the moving truck was in the parking lot with the keys in the ignition and were like “what the heck?” and moved it back to where it’s supposed to be. But if anything is at all different, the portal disappears. If the truck is somewhere else, if the keys aren’t in the ignition. It was such a fluke.

Well, I hoped that my friends, who knew I was there, and knew how to summon the portal, would bring it back. In the meantime, I could maybe check out that dousing rod setup and see if I could send a message, or at least monitor to see when they were going to open the portal.

On this side, there was a diner near where the portal was, so the queen and I ate there. We had our bodyguards with us: The Knight and the Rook. They were hardboiled detectives wearing papier-mache rook and knight costumes. I whispered to the queen: “Can that one only move in straight lines and that one only move in L shapes?” She was like “What the heck are you talking about?” So maybe they don’t have chess there? I don’t know.

Anyway, that’s pretty much where I was left when I woke up. I hope I found Juliet! I hope I got the portal to my dimension opened back up! I hope I replaced the monarchy with a democracy!