Even in the Morning Rush

Linsey seated herself. Even in the morning rush, her table was vacant, and a steaming cup of coffee appeared as she sat down. Her breakfast would follow in a few minutes: eggs scrambled with cheddar, a bowl of fruit, and a single pancake, every day without exception.

Linus sat down across from her. "Doctor Verdun," he said. "Have you ever thought about parallel universes?"

"You're sitting at my table," she said.

"I know. But what if that one were your table?"

Linsey clenched her teeth. "This is my table, and you should be working."

He continued as though she hadn't interrupted. "What if you took tea instead of coffee?" She glanced down at her coffee, now a smooth au lait color. "How would it feel if you woke up in that universe instead of the one you remembered?

"Or what if," Linus continued, "I had gotten that grant fifteen years ago? What if you worked for me instead of you working me to the bone?"

Linsey sighed. "Is there a point to all this?"

"Maybe not. Enjoy your breakfast." He walked away as the server returned with her food: eggs scrambled with cheddar, a bowl of fruit, and a waffle.