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art by Void lon iXaarii

An Unparalleled Real Estate Investment Opportunity

Nicky Drayden is a Systems Analyst who dabbles in prose when she's not buried in code. She resides in Austin, Texas where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required. You can see more of her work at nickydrayden.com or by visiting dailysciencefiction.com and searching for her previous publications with us.
Three-hundred seventy square feet. That's the average size for a micro apartment in Chicago these days. Of course, I don't have to tell you that, seeing as you've opted for the high-end mattress that serves as your bed, sofa, and dining table depending on how you flip it. Oh, and that sleek, top-of-the-line Function-All-custom built to give you your own place to shower, shave, and shovel a few bits of high-comp food into your stomach. But let's face it, all the chrome trim in the world won't change the fact that you crap ten inches away from where you eat. I know this is not really how you want to live, and I can offer you better.
How does 3,700 feet of living space sound to you for less than a quarter of what you're paying in rent right now? Ha, no, not in Indianapolis. Even with the lingering radioactivity there, you won't find real estate prices this low per square foot. I'm talking right here, downtown Chicagoland. And best of all, you won't even have to move.
I assure you I'm most definitely not on frazz, so you can put down the blaster, and I'll give you a brief demonstration. I'm sure by now you've heard about all of the military applications of mecrydium, like using parallel realities for risk-free nuclear testing. Our company, Unparalleled Realty, is the first company to make commercial use of the product. Simply place a thin sheet of mecrydium foil on the wall you wish to expand through, choose from one of the twelve approved parallel residencies, and push through here and here, and if you'll just bear with me while I make sure I get ninety-degree angles everywhere. Of course, I'm just a salesperson and not an architect by any means, but as you see, you are currently the owner of an extra twelve square feet of space. Yes, I said owner, not renter, not squatter, but certified owner. This little foil-lined closet is yours to keep, free of charge. That's just an example of our unparalleled service.
Relax, your neighbor is definitely not going to kill you. I knocked on that thug's door right before yours, so I hear where this fear is coming from. This new space doesn't infringe in any way upon his living area, so step on in! It exists on an entirely different plane, if you will, an alternate universe. And if you sign up today, we're offering a promotion, double your square footage for just an extra dollar a month! Ah, I knew you were a smart one. Yes, you could in fact sublet the space, become a landlord, or a slumlord for that matter. I won't judge. Just sign here, and here. Initial here.
There is one small stipulation... you can decorate and paint all you'd like, but under no circumstances are you to attempt to breach the foil barrier. It seems that the chosen parallel realities do host life... not human life, mind you... but we wouldn't want any critters crossing over, if you hear what I'm saying. Oh, don't worry about that. I assure you, they're lesser species... descendants of the Neanderthals, or something similar. They surely won't mind losing a few square feet here and there, and if they do, what are they going to do about it, right?
Excellent! Well, we'll run the credit application and you should hear back by the end of the week if your financing is approved. In the mean time, I'll schedule you an appointment with our in-house designers so you can get a better idea of all of the possibilities that await you! Ummm... no, that's definitely not a part of my demonstration. It appears someone is opening a rift into our dimension. Yes, that does somewhat resemble the tip of a warhead coming through. What's it say there on the side? "The Confederate States of America"...oh, dear. I suggest that we vacate the premises, posthaste.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014


Recently, I read an article about how the Japanese are using robots for eldercare, and it got me thinking about how different the world will be when I enter into my golden years. How do we go about retirement planning when human cloning will likely be a viable option? What degrees should we encourage our children to pursue when robots are competing for the best jobs? After bouncing some ideas off my coworker and critique group, I decided to explore the popular science fiction tropes that are rapidly becoming our new reality, and in doing so, I realized that you can't adequately plan for YOUR future without planning for THE future.

- Nicky Drayden

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