“Universe Hoppers, My Brethren,” by Maura Yzmore

Apr 4th, 2018 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

I leave the pharmacy, wiping off snot with my sleeve, my head stuffier than a high-school locker room. I carry nose drops, antihistamines, and the good decongestant for which I must flash my driver’s license because lesser meth cooks than Walter White use it as raw material.

I sit in my car, dump the loot on the passenger seat, and turn on the engine.

On my left, in a white pickup truck with rust along every visible edge, sits a man. His window is rolled down, left arm sticking out, holding a lit cigarette smoked almost to the filter. I recognize the shell of an embattled Universe Hopper: unshaven, eyes downcast, face basking in a cool glow. He’s been gone for a while.

On my right, in a small red sedan, sits a woman with silver strands in her thick black mane. From the perch atop my gas guzzler, I see her struggle. She moves the gear shift into drive, trying to resist the pull of the hop… But she hesitates and, in the blink of an eye, the gear shift is back in park, her face illuminated with the telltale blue, only her shell left behind.

I pull out my phone and join my brethren.


We are the Universe Hoppers.

We are legion.

We drive to work, mesmerized by morning talk shows and lubricated by coffee, only to hop straight upon arrival, our shells lingering in the garage.

We park and hop in front of Dead Prez Elementary, waiting until the last minute to return and collect our offspring from afterschool care without the late-pickup penalty.

We hop through portals that are social media networks, email accounts, repositories of cat videos and celebrity booty shots, aggregators of news real and fake. Those among us who shall not be named prefer to hop through the Vulpes News Portal of Doom. They visit places that give the rest of us nightmares.

We hop into the universes in which we slay with our incisive remarks and do not cower when a boss berates us for being late again. (But only because we sit in that damn parking garage for so long every day!)

We go to where strangers give us hearts, stars, and thumbs up for the painstakingly crafted yet seemingly breezy droppings of wit, while our colleagues and spouses here think of us as the flesh-and-blood incarnation of the color beige.

We’re everyman, my brethren and I.

The Universe Hoppers.

We’re a goddamn legion.


Maura’s job involves quantum mechanics, dry-erase markers, geeky puns, and lots of technical writing. She writes short fiction to avoid driving everyone around her crazy. Her flash can be found in The Fiction Pool, Jellyfish Review, Ellipsis Zine, Gone Lawn, and elsewhere. Some of her funnier fare has appeared in The Dirty Pool and The Drabble. This is her first time being thrown out the window — it’s exhilarating! Find out more at https://maurayzmore.com or come say ‘hi’ on Twitter @MauraYzmore.

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