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68262
Picture: The idiot
Or more accurately, the Fool. 5 feet tall. Covered in a long overcoat to protect himself from winter showers and cold winds. Posture, slightly hunched over and furtive, as if he was trying to hide from something. Dark hair. Dark eyes. British-Italian ancestry. A forgettable face in the crowd. Eyes often glued to a book, out to nowhere, or onto his phone. Oliver Smith, born in around 1960, somewhere that didn’t matter, and to two working class parents.
A shy and furtive boy, he made few friends in school, often bullied by children with their native cruelty and lack of care. Joining a local university in 1980 managing to keep himself from being expelled after an unfortunate incidence involving a woman, several packets of pre-cooked pasta, a jar of peanut butter, a large stuffed bear, and the University’s residential plaque of its founder. Graduating in 1985 with a Bachelors in Business and Management, he joined the British civil service.
At first, he was hopeful for a change in his life; childhood was a bust, university was a failure, perhaps this would be the time when his fortunes changed, and he could gain the popularity and friendship he so wanted?
His hopes were dashed. His grades and achievements were low to begin with, and his shyness and inability to be prosocial crippled him. Slowly, his acquaintances and what tentative friendships he could make left him behind, either transferring to another department or promoted away. His inability to read the mood and properly gauge the exchange of favors and ideas meant that he lost out in office politics. His mediocre skills did him no favors, leaving him as the man in the background when others had time to shine. Attempts to fit in failed in awkward silences or anxiety, further driving him into isolation. He threw himself into other forms of entertainment. Books. Late night movies. Tv shows. Daydreams where he was the hero, with all he ever wanted. Fantasies. Tentative attempts to write down his own day dreams, hopes of being an author. And ignoring that his life had struck a rut, and younger coworkers were rapidly being promoted beyond him. His coworkers now viewed him as ‘that old man that’s always there’.
His family was not much better. Being the middle-child, he was often the neglected one, and with the stalling of his career and his own lackluster social life, family reunions were, at the very least, not places of pride for him. His older brother had already married and gotten children, the pitter patter of tiny feet exciting the new grandparents, filling reunions with talks of more children, preschools. The joys of the child’s first name, or first steps. His younger was on the track of biochemistry, already having several recommendations and high grades from university, and already having companies knocking on the door for her expertise and skill. And him? He could only sit in silence at the dinner table while his parents crooned over their grandchild’s new antics, or excitedly talk about his younger sister’s newest achievement. His parents loved him, but he could see their disappointment. Soon, the questions stopped, and in family gatherings, he mostly kept to himself.
Now, he was on the way to work. At 6: 00 am, he woke up, and prepared himself a breakfast. Cereals, a few fruits, and some coffee woke him up and gave him the strength to start the day. He packed up his briefcase and work documents by 7: 30. By 7: 40 he was already on the way to work. And here, it was where things shifted. Every workday, every week, every month, for 10 years, he had the same schedule. The same path. The same train. And barring things like accidents he was always on time. And this time, it was the same. Walk out of his apartment. Walk past the newspaper stand. Wave to the man walking his dog. Wait for the lights to turn green. Walk 100 meters past the museum. Turn right onto Bowing Street. And then walk down the subway.

If he had been more attentive, he would not have walked down the path he did. If he had not been engrossed in a sci-fi novel, Walker in Stars, he would have stayed in his mundane life. If there was someone to interact with him, he would have been ‘far’ from his book-world to realize something was wrong.
But what would happen, is that Olive Smith did not take his eyes off his phone. He would step into the subway station. He would dimly realize that his surroundings were less crowded and quieter than usual. He would notice that a train stops in front of him, ignoring that cushioned seats are now replaced with hard plastic, and the train model and interior did not belong to any train in London. He would sit down onto one of the seats, not noticing that no one was getting on with him. He would be reading in the minutae of a space battle, as the doors slam shut, and the train sped away. And it would only be an hour later, that he would realize that he wasn’t on an electric train, he wasn’t in the London Underground, he wasn’t in Britain, and he was, in fact, not on earth at all.
Picture: The Fool


Or more accurately, the Fool. 5 feet tall. Covered in a long overcoat to protect himself from winter showers and cold winds. Posture, slightly hunched over and furtive, as if he was trying to hide from something. Dark hair. Dark eyes. British-Italian ancestry. A forgettable face in the crowd. Eyes often glued to a book, out to nowhere, or onto his phone. Oliver Smith, born in around 1960, somewhere that didn’t matter, and to two working class parents.
A shy and furtive boy, he made few friends in school, often bullied by children with their native cruelty and lack of care. Joining a local university in 1980 managing to keep himself from being expelled after an unfortunate incidence involving a woman, several packets of pre-cooked pasta, a jar of peanut butter, a large stuffed bear, and the University’s residential plaque of its founder. Graduating in 1985 with a Bachelors in Business and Management, he joined the British civil service.


At first, he was hopeful for a change in his life; childhood was a bust, university was a failure, perhaps this would be the time when his fortunes changed, and he could gain the popularity and friendship he so wanted?


His hopes were dashed. His grades and achievements were low to begin with, and his shyness and inability to be prosocial crippled him. Slowly, his acquaintances and what tentative friendships he could make left him behind, either transferring to another department or promoted away. His inability to read the mood and properly gauge the exchange of favors and ideas meant that he lost out in office politics. His mediocre skills did him no favors, leaving him as the man in the background when others had time to shine. Attempts to fit in failed in awkward silences or anxiety, further driving him into isolation. He threw himself into other forms of entertainment. Books. Late night movies. Tv shows. Daydreams where he was the hero, with all he ever wanted. Fantasies. Tentative attempts to write down his own day dreams, hopes of being an author. Ignoring that his life had struck a rut, and younger coworkers were rapidly being promoted beyond him. His coworkers now viewed him as ‘that old man that’s always there’.


His family was not a great help. Being the middle-child, he was often the neglected one, and with the stalling of his career and his own lackluster social life, family reunions were, at the very least, not places of pride for him. His older brother had already married and gotten children, the pitter patter of tiny feet exciting the new grandparents, filling reunions with talks of more children, preschools. The joys of the child’s first name, or first steps. His younger was on the track of biochemistry, already having several recommendations and high grades from university, and already having companies knocking on the door for her expertise and skill. And him? He could only sit in silence at the dinner table while his parents crooned over their grandchild’s new antics, or excitedly talk about his younger sister’s newest achievement. His parents loved him, but he could see their disappointment. Soon, the questions stopped, and in family gatherings, he mostly kept to himself.


Now, he was on the way to work. At 6: 00 am, he woke up, and prepared himself a breakfast. Cereals, a few fruits, and some coffee woke him up and gave him the strength to start the day. He packed up his briefcase and work documents by 7: 30. By 7: 40 he was already on the way to work. And here, it was where things shifted. Every workday, every week, every month, for 10 years, he had the same schedule. The same path. The same train. And barring things like accidents he was always on time. And this time, it was the same. Walk out of his apartment. Walk past the newspaper stand. Wave to the man walking his dog. Wait for the lights to turn green. Walk 100 meters past the museum. Turn right onto Bowing Street. And then walk down the subway.


If he had been more attentive, he would not have walked down the path he did. If he had not been engrossed in a sci-fi novel, Walker in Stars, he would have stayed in his mundane life. If there was someone to interact with him, he would have been ‘far’ from his book-world to realize something was wrong.
But what would happen, is that Olive Smith did not take his eyes off his phone. He would step into the subway station. He would dimly realize that his surroundings were less crowded and quieter than usual. He would notice that a train stops in front of him, ignoring that cushioned seats are now replaced with hard plastic, and the train model and interior did not belong to any train in London. He would sit down onto one of the seats, not noticing that no one was getting on with him. He would be reading in the minutae of a space battle, as the doors slam shut, and the train sped away. And it would only be an hour later, that he would realize that he wasn’t on an electric train, he wasn’t in the London Underground, he wasn’t in Britain, and he was, in fact, not on earth at all.
>posting twice
weird flex but okay
apparently the first one had some errors and he couldn't figure out how to delete/edit in time.
Soooo is this not a cyoa or are we gonna get votes soon

seems like, half done or something
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