Me vs. the Multiverse: Enough About Me is a part of the Me vs. the Multiverse collection.
Can plain old Average Me fix the rip in the multiverse? The Mes are back in this hilarious second book in the sci-fi comedy series for fans of Stuart Gibb's Moon Base Alpha and quirky animated shows like Rick and Morty and Regular Show.
Saving the multiverse starts with another origami note: Make it here, pronto.
This time Meade Macon, aka Average Me, knows that parallel dimensions are real. He's met dozens of his counterparts from other Earths. What he doesn't know is that they're all about to get zapped out of existence.
On Earth Zero, a rip in the multiverse is spreading to other realities and causing chaos wherever it appears. And the different versions of Meade--the Mes--are caught in the middle! Motor Me, Resist Me, and Hollywood Me just want to go back home to their own Earths. The only way to do that is to repair the rip. Once again, it's up to Average Me! But if Average is going to fix the multiverse, he just might have to team up with his archnemesis . . . Meticulous Me.
An Excerpt fromMe vs. the Multiverse: Enough About Me
How Juvenile of Me
So this one time in juvenile hall, I went sleepwalking and peed on my cellmate Lil Battleship, the most dangerous kid in lockup.
Then my watch had to go and narc on me about it.
“This is not a good deed!” blared the robotic voice of the MeMinder X on my wrist, blasting the last dregs of sleep from my mind. Dad had built his latest version of the smart watch with a Good Deed Tracker, an app that read your pulse, temperature, and other vitals to sense a guilty conscience. He would have been thrilled to know his snitch-on-a-wrist could tattletale on me even in my sleep. But I saw no reason to celebrate: the stupid thing woke up Lil Battleship too.
“Meade?!” The groggy giant looked himself over, peering at the stains on his shirt. He touched the puddle of pee in his bed and sniffed his finger. Suddenly, he wasn’t so tired. “Meade?!”
Eardrum and Slime, the two other juvenile delinquents who shared our room, started to stir.
“You peed on me?” Lil Battleship looked more hurt than angry, which made me feel even worse. Though he beat up other kids all the time, he’d never picked on me. We’d sort of become friends. Now all bets were off, especially as our audience woke up.
“He peed on you?!” shouted Eardrum. Most anything from his mouth came out as a shout.
“That’s cold!” said Slime. “You can’t take that lying down!”
If those two hadn’t egged him on, Lil Battleship might have forgiven me. After all, I’d told him about my sleep-peeing problem, and he’d claimed to understand. I didn’t go around telling just anyone what my bladder made me do at night, but Lil Battleship and I had bonded super fast over comics, cats, and the desperate need for a friend in a very unfriendly place. One time he’d confessed to me his love of weepy Hallmark Channel movies, so it had seemed only fair that I share a deep, dark embarrassing secret too. Since I couldn’t exactly fess up that I’d traveled between dimensions in a hotel elevator, the next best thing was my stories of where I’d gone wee-wee at night. I just hadn’t ever expected him to become part of another chapter in that saga.
Let’s get one thing straight. I hadn’t sleep-peed in years, not since the time I went in my tub of Legos as a kid. So why now? Why would I revert to my worst bad habit at the worst possible time in the worst possible place and on the worst possible person?
One word: stress. Being stuck at the County Youth Development Center six months into a long sentence will do that to you. It was a tough place filled with tough kids, and I didn’t deserve to be there. I know that’s what every prisoner says, but in my case, it was true--even if nobody in their right mind would’ve believed my excuse.
Three months earlier, two especially stupid and annoying versions of me from parallel Earths--Dare Me and Click Me--posed as yours truly during a very public crime spree around my town. They’d littered the internet with videos of me doing graffiti, smashing windows, stealing stuff, and lots of other wholesome activities. Overnight I’d racked up a record more sizable than most of my fellow inmates combined, and the evidence was online for everybody to see.
I’d become the internet’s favorite juvenile delinquent.
Though I’d never so much as shoplifted a piece of candy before, the judge threw the book at me. It hadn’t helped that I’d run away from the cops when they’d tried to arrest me in front of my entire school. Sure, that resisting-arrest charge was on me, and, yeah, so was the breaking-and-entering citation for busting into both branches of the Janus Hotel. But I’d had a good reason. Namely: saving the entire planet, plus scads of other alternate Earths throughout the multiverse.
But at this particular moment, I was just a bed-wetting moron who couldn’t even manage to wet his own bed.
As Eardrum and Slime jeered in the background, Lil Battleship grabbed my shoulder. Not hard enough to hurt, but not light enough for me to shake free. Maybe at one time I could have broken his hold with the fizz, the mysterious energy that let me borrow the talents of other Mes. But the fizz had gone flat a long time ago, and I’d given up hope that it would ever come back.
Lil Battleship leaned in to whisper, “Look, I get it, you were sleep-peeing, like you told me about. But I can’t let this stand. Gotta save face. So where you want it? I’ll stop at one punch, but I gotta leave a bruise somewhere people can see. You want it in the eyes, the nose, or the jaw?”
“Decisions, decisions,” I croaked. My words got drowned out by Eardrum and Slime chanting “Kill him!” over and over.
Then, just like that, they went silent. I glanced their way and saw what had shut them up.
A monster stood between them.
It was the general shape and size of a wild turkey, but with a few . . . extras. Instead of feathers, thick and floppy brown fur covered its body. Tusks--actual white and pointy tusks--poked out from either side of its bulbous beak. It was like some sort of mutated cross between a dodo and a woolly mammoth. A woolly dodo.
Eardrum and Slime both stood stock-still as the mop-bodied bird bobbed its head between them, pecking at their pockets like a pigeon hoping to score some crumbs. One of its tusks got hooked on Eardrum’s waistband, and the woolly dodo tugged and tugged to get loose. With every yank, a soft whimper escaped from Eardrum’s chattering teeth. By the time the bird had unhooked itself with a snap of underwear elastic, it was all too much for Eardrum: he fainted from sheer fright.
Slime started to scream, but a hand reached around from behind him and covered his mouth. Mud and fungus coated the hand and the rest of the figure it was attached to: a filthy boy who emerged from the shadows. Somehow, under all that sludge, I saw a familiar face.
It was me, if I’d had the bad luck to fall into the deep end of the muckiest, most bug-infested swamp. He wore nothing but a raggedy, stained loincloth and some twigs. A literal bird’s nest clung to his tangle of hair.
I’d seen this mess of a Me before. He was Caveman Me, whose napping body Meticulous Me had tripped over when I dumped him off on a prehistoric Earth. If Caveman had somehow gotten here, that could only mean . . .
“Looking for me, mate?” said a voice beside me. My voice. With a British accent. I whipped my head around just in time to see another hand squeezing Lil Battleship’s shoulder. My friend’s eyes rolled up into his head as he fell back into his pee-soaked bed like a tree falling to the squishy ground after a rainstorm.
In his place stood a Me I knew all too well.
My mortal enemy, my evil double, the worst Me in the multiverse. Meticulous Me.
Meticulous had picked up the paralyzing nerve pinch he’d used on Lil Battleship from Acupuncture Me. He’d learned countless skills from our other counterparts too. But there was one talent he’d come up with on his own and refined through years of practice: acting like a puffed-up jerk.
“Really, Average Me?” he said. “Sleep-peeing? Don’t you think that’s a little naff at our age?”
Meticulous was bad news all around. His early experiments with the origami drive had turned perfectly innocent Earth Zero into a multidimensional disaster zone. And rather than help all the people he’d displaced there, he’d started Me Con instead, a scam to steal technology from other Earths that left dozens of Mes stranded away from their homes. If my Me friends and I hadn’t stopped him, he would have caused even more damage.
“Wha--What are you doing here?” I said, hating myself for sounding so nervous.
Meticulous walked over to Slime, who shook like a force-feedback game controller in Caveman’s grip. The woolly dodo waddled up and down Eardrum’s prone body and started pecking on the crud between his toes.
“Brilliant job, Cave! I’m very pleased!” Meticulous patted Caveman’s head with one hand and placed the other on Slime’s shoulder. He squeezed. Just like that, Slime slumped in Caveman’s arms, dead asleep.
Wiping both hands on his knickers like he had cooties, Meticulous nodded toward Slime’s bed. “Caveman, this is what we call a bed. Would you be so kind as to place this young reprobate on it?”
Caveman tossed Slime straight at his mattress so hard that the kid bounced right off and thudded to the floor. Pure delight spread across the filthy Me’s face. He climbed onto the bed and jumped up and down, hooting with excitement. The woolly dodo ran over and joined him. The two bounced together in an explosion of squeaky bedsprings.
Meticulous shook his head like people do when a beloved pet does something silly. “Those two goofballs. Am I right?”
“Make them stop!” I hissed. “The guards will hear!”
“Quite.” Meticulous shoved his fingers in his mouth and whistled.
Caveman stood at attention, drool spilling down his lips.
“Cave, put the body back in the bed for real,” said Meticulous. “And do the other one too.”
Caveman shook his head. Then, when Meticulous raised his eyebrows, he corrected himself and nodded instead. He hopped off the bed and shooed away the woolly dodo, who started munching the fuzz off Slime’s blanket.
“What is that thing?” I asked as Meticulous made his way back over to Lil Battleship. “And what are you doing here?”
Meticulous crinkled his nose at the pee stains on my friend’s clothes and sheets. “I’m going to need something to clean this up. What toiletries do you use on this Earth? Have the simpletons here developed deodorant lasers? Soap-bubble bots? Nano-scrubbers?”
“No, and don’t act all superior about it,” I said.
Meticulous adjusted the ruffles of his shirt. “You primitive Mes are so touchy about the dodgy state of your technology.” He pulled from Lil Battleship’s bathroom bag some toothpaste, a few chunks of deodorant stick, a handful of baby powder, and some other ingredients, which he tossed into a bottle of mouthwash and shook up. Meanwhile, Caveman heaved Eardrum onto his bed, kicking at the dodo as it tried to nip at his bare ankles.
“Seriously, what is that bird?” I asked.
Meticulous poured his new concoction all over Lil Battleship’s shirt. Somehow, it sucked up the stain and the smell in an instant. “Barbra, as improbable as she may seem, is the reason we’re here.”
The dodo snatched one of Eardrum’s smelly socks at the foot of the bed and gulped it down. Her eyes bulged in surprise as the lump slid down her throat.
“What do you mean she’s the reason you’re here?” I said.
Meticulous dumped the rest of his miracle cleaner all around Lil Battleship. The pee and the smell evaporated in moments. “The Rip zapped her to Earth Three Hundred Seventy-Six. Remember that Earth, the prehistoric world where you stranded me?”
I still had nightmares about the Rip, a glowing green hole in the multiverse that Meticulous had accidentally opened over Earth Zero. It had filled the place with a mind-boggling mess of random people, creatures, vehicles, and even whole buildings from other Earths.
“But the Rip doesn’t work that way!” I said. “It’s only supposed to dump stuff on Earth Zero!”
“The Rip is spreading,” said Meticulous. “It’s spread to this Earth, obviously. How else do you think we arrived?”
“Quit lying,” I said. “I would have noticed if the Rip had opened up here.”
“It just happened. You were asleep. But you probably felt it on some level. Maybe that’s what compelled you to relieve yourself on your bodyguard. What’s his name? Tiny Warship? What kind of name is that?”
“Lil Battleship. It’s his rapper name. Or it will be when he makes it big. And he’s not my bodyguard. He’s my friend.”
“Stop fooling yourself. You only play nice to him for protection. I don’t see what he gets out of the deal, but it better be good if he’s willing to overlook how you took a tinkle on him. Now, about the Rip.”
“Yeah, about that. How do I know you’re not just making all this up?”
Meticulous waved a hand at Barbra, who pecked at Caveman’s leg. No matter how much Caveman shoved the bird away with his grimy bare foot, she kept coming. “A woolly dodo isn’t enough proof for you?”
“No,” I said. “I don’t trust anything you tell me.”
He sighed and made his way to the door. “Then you’d better see for yourself.”
The night sky looked like it had been poked by some humungous stick that left behind a nasty puncture wound. Streaks of purple swirled around a big hole in the air, with flashes of green light shooting out. Every few seconds it crackled inside louder than the world’s biggest piece of Styrofoam breaking apart.
“This is not a good deed!” said the MeMinder, stating the obvious.
The dung beetles in my stomach rolled little balls of anxiety around and around. It had been scary enough sneaking past the guards to get here. But that was nothing compared to a giant hole in the multiverse opening up over my Earth. “The Rip is crackling,” I said. “It didn’t crackle before.”
Meticulous gazed overhead with a peeved look on his face. “I hadn’t expected another storm so bloody soon.”
“Storm?! What storm?! Since when does the Rip do storms?!”
“When too much energy builds inside, the Rip shoots it out as cosmic lightning, for lack of a better term,” said Meticulous. “If the bolts touch down on the ground, they’ll either dump something from another Earth or take away whatever they hit and dump it somewhere else.”
“How’s that even possible?!”
Meticulous dusted imaginary fluff off his coat. “How to explain so a mind at your level can understand?” He clapped his hands together. “Oh, I know! Think of the Rip as a clogged loo. If you don’t take a plunger to it, the transdimensional energy inside it overflows and spills all over the place. That’s how Earth Zero wound up so barmy. I suspect that a stray bolt from the Rip is also what did in my second elevator.”
My throat went dry. “You know about that?”
“Yes, yes. I saw the wreckage when we broke into the Janus earlier this evening.”
The explosion. My mind went back to a nightmare I’d relived hundreds of times already. There I stood in the elevator bank of the Janus North, still choked up. I’d just said goodbye to Motor Me, Resist Me, and Hollywood Me, who’d left my Earth in Meticulous’s new and improved dimension-hopping elevator, version 2.0.