Clark Kant and the Threat of the Beast
A knock on the door. Clark Kant woke with a start from his dogmatic slumber, put on his glasses and walked hesitantly to the door. "Hello" he mumbled, a vague well-meaning smile dimly illuminating his placid features. In the dim light outside a wild bearded face appeared. "Where are your **#!* parents." Clark paused, and struggled to reply. His parents were upstairs, asleep, enjoying their retirement in peaceful Koenigsberg years after their exile from another world, the happier Kripkon. He recognized the wild face at the door, understood the violent emotions rippling beneath the bearded surface, and noticed the handle of the axe emerging from the bag held loosely in the man's left hand. This was their arch-enemy, the renegade painter Heteronomous Beast. If he told Beast the truth, that axe would soon descend on his parents' sleeping heads. But what else could he do? - no Kant could ever tell a lie.
Desperate situations call for disparate solutions. Clark considered his options with frantic speed. "Yes" he said, stepping away from the door, "both the Kants are asleep upstairs, second door on the right". Then, as Beast strode past him he moved quickly to the little closet where the telephone was kept. Stripping off his clothes, he felt familiar electricity throb through his body. Out of the closet stepped Noumenman, radiating confidence and capability, his silhouette shifting so that he seemed to coincide sometimes with one thing, sometimes with another.
Quick as a flash, Noumenman went to the wall and moved through it. No difficulty here; the house had originally been planned thirty feet further south, so that in a nearby possible world the wall was not there. He passed rapidly through that world into another in which through a window he could see his parents sleeping. Leaping up to the window and climbing through it, Noumenman nudged the curtain so that the feeble moonlight cast a pallid glow upon two faces, faces marked both by nobly refined and brutishly callous features. He waited; heavy steps approached; the door opened. Heteronomous Beast entered; Beast located the sleeping old people; Beast raised his axe. Noumenman exhaled gently but accurately, so that the curtain twitched again, and before Beast could swing his axe the moonlight bathed the two faces in the bed. "Mother" he whispered, "father". "And mine" came an answering whisper from by the window. Beast put down his axe, confused: how could he be about to murder his own parents? The axe rested on the floor, but the floor beside the window. The hand that had held the axe now opened the window; the feet that had entered through the window now left through it; and the person who was Noumenman, Clark Kant, and Heteronomous Beast walked slowly towards the exit from the world in which the parents of all of these were the same, reflecting on the folly of acting in a way that he would not want everyone in every world to act. The boundary was reached, and soon after Clark Kant emerged from the cupboard, wiped his glasses, and wandered towards the kitchen to make himself a cup of cocoa.