Moving to a new city is hard. But its especially hard when the city you move to is suddenly struck by a freakin earthquake, encased in an impassable dome of mist, and then slammed together with another version of itself from another dimension.
I really only moved because of her. We had just finished college on the West Coast, and she got into the Semiotics program at Miskatonic U. Solid program, tuition almost all paid for etc. It was a good deal. And I went along, clutching my little bachelor’s degree and humming Reliant K, assuming that I would find a good job, say, a week or so after I set my suitcases down. It’s been about two months now, and I still don’t have work.
No, it’s okay, my family says from across the country or maybe the cosmos when the fog is thin enough to let internet waves or whatever through. You’ll find something soon. Just keep looking! My dad reminds me of all the food chains various members of the family have worked at and suggests I ask for legacy benefits.
Well, very funny, dad, but fast food doesn’t pay the bills like it did when you were a kid, and who wants to work at a KFC where the meat they use rotates daily is sometimes bipedal. The KFCs in this city were the third things to switch irrevocably over the other dimension’s version—Kelzabub’s Fried Chickin. I think it’s spelled with an ‘i’ because, like I mentioned, the meat is only rarely chicken. I don’t know what consumer protections and liability is like wherever these KFCs come from is like, but I suppose if we think lawyers are too common and generally evil on this side of the dimensional rift, I can only imagine what lawyers are like on the other side.
Still, its not all bad. My neighborhood didn’t get erased like some neighborhoods—it just got shrunk to about half its original size, and our parallel neighborhood slipped in the empty space. So now there are two 63 Highcrest Terraces, which means that Amazon (which is now exclusively staffed by tall, dark-skinned female warriors) gets our packages mixed up even more than they usually did. I’ve tried talking to customer service to explain that no, as a matter of fact, humans don’t generally eat dried newt eyes no wear eight-legged trousers. I found our next package stuck to the door with a rather large spear, and I stopped calling. I kept the spear though—I’m told that winters are bad, and I have a shovel head in head of a new handle.
One of the craziest parts of this brave new world that I live in is how it just seems to go on. You’d think that half your payroll switching places with imps, trolls, faeries, and assorted demonica would cause even the most heartless and efficient corporation to stumble a bit, but you’d be wrong. Turns out executives and archfiends have a lot in common, and so life continued apace.
Not everyone is taking this experience as well as those execs. I’ve been stopping in at all the staffing agencies downtown, hoping that one of them can finally get my resume in front of the right person. It’s rough. Not for me—I just have to show up. But the poor staffing agency folks are being overrun. I saw at least three zombie hiveminds the last time I was there, offering to do data entry and call center work for peanuts. They were decent size—maybe twenty bodies each, they practically filled the lobby. The poor desk clerk took a resume from each, too flustered by the smell to realize that they were all exactly the same (it’s a hivemind, after all). She was buried under a pile of paper, the hive minds were chatting (which means sixty zombie voices were buzzing and groaning all at once), and all the noise excited a bunch of imps in to the air, who then started dive bombing the staffing agency staff from the ceiling. In all the commotion, some of the accounting gnomes got stepped on, and I left when I saw a short parade of slime monsters rolling up the avenue with resumes in hand.
I’ve spoken to several employers, some who I got into contact with thanks to that very office. Most of the potential roles have been above my pay grade—I don’t read runes, can’t cast background check spells, and don’t know how to use Salesforce. I’ve gotten a few interviews, some in person, and some over the phone. The only network that works after the quake the shift is T-Mobile, which is great, because I have T-Mobile and didn’t have to get a new phone, but it is also terrible, because T-Mobile is terrible.
My wife is having the better time of it all. The Semiotics program mysteriously merged with the Arcanology department in Miskatonic2 , so what would have been two years terminal masters in the art of reading books in a much more complicated way than the average person to little discernable benefit has become a two year terminal masters in the art of Practical Logology (she can cast spells now) and Semiotics, in which she finds hidden meanings in books, but also unlocks the source code of the universe from them. The head of the department, a floating, bearded daemon unanimously elected after wiping the mind of the last department head (an kindly Irish Studies professor who hadn’t said a mean word in his life) with a glance, has promised her a position as a university fellow next year. She’ll be teaching a class of freshcreatures either an intro writing class, or tier 1 natural magick—it’s not totally clear yet.
Most changes are small, details really. Buses are still crowded and unreliable, the subway is still loud and you still have to check the seat to make sure you’re not sitting on slime, and food is expensive wherever you go. There is more variety, but its not a good thing. All in all, I’m much the same as before all this happened. I still don’t have a job, I still need to the pay the rent, and I’m still very unhappy. Until next time, dear journal.