The Conduit revisited
Jeremy Truscott recognised the man pushing the elephant into the wardrobe. He was quite a memorable figure; over seven foot tall, a distinctive moustache and wearing full evening dress, even in the middle of a hot summer’s day.
It was the Conduit.
That was how he had introduced himself. He had claimed to be the conduit between Earth and another world, and had interrupted Jeremy while he was about his toilet.
And here he was again. Pushing an elephant into a wardrobe no more than a third of the elephant’s size in width.
The wardrobe was in the front room of a house, a house Jeremy walked past every day on his way back from the train station. He had only noticed because the window was wide open and the Conduit was shouting at the elephant at the top of his voice. “Get in, McCarthy, Get in. You have done your service.”
Jeremy Truscott watched, intrigued. Though the elephant clearly didn’t fit into the wardrobe, he barely fitted into the room, it was, never-the-less, slowly disappearing through the wardrobe door. Its head was already gone, and it’s shoulders slowly trudging forwards into their wardrobed destiny.
The Conduit, unaware that he was being watched, continued to push the elephant from below its knee-roll and to bark commands at it. “I don’t have all day, McCarthy. I AM the Conduit you know, the sole link between two separate universes. I have important things to do. I shouldn’t be spending my entire day pushing you into a wardrobe.”
The elephant said nothing, but continued to disappear, further and further into the wardrobe.
Jeremy Truscott watched on, fascinated. That the Conduit could break the laws of physics didn’t surprise him, after all he was the Conduit. But to see him here, in a little house near the station that he’d never taken any notice of, well that was a surprise. Was he here for him? In which case why was he waiting here, not at the station, or at his house. And what on Earth was he doing with the elephant? There hadn’t been an elephant before.
Then the Conduit turned, and saw Jeremy staring through the window.
“What do you want?” he asked, angrily.
“I just wondered what you were doing. I recognised you through the window.”
The Conduit stared hard at him, then relaxed a fraction. “Oh, it’s you.”
“Is the elephant a present for me?”
“Don’t be foolish, this is The Elephant of Lost Dimensions. It is not mine to give as a gift, and if it was I certainly wouldn’t give it to you.”
“Only last time you brought me gifts.”
“I brought you gifts?”
“The last time you came to see me. You brought me a cuddly toy penguin, a four-pack of beer and a set of hover-boots for a stoat.”
“Those gifts weren’t from me. They were from your mother. I don’t distribute gifts, I am the Conduit, I am the connection between your world and this world, not some inter-universe Santa Claus.”
“But you were the Conduit of the gifts.”
“Obviously I was the Conduit of the gifts. I am the Conduit of all things. But the gifts weren’t from me. Besides, I am not here to see you, so why should I have brought you gifts?”
“You’re not waiting for me?”
“Waiting for you? Why would I be waiting for you here of all places?”
“Oh. I just sort of assumed you were here for me. You mean you often come to this world?”
“Of course. I am The Conduit. I believe I explained that. I am in constant interplay between the two worlds.”
“So I’m not the only one here. There are lots of us from my planet here on Earth?”
The Conduit stared at him silently for a while. “If you do not know the answer to that question then you have forgotten it for a reason.”
Jeremy Truscott had assumed he was unique, the only man on Earth from another world. He was shocked to discover that he wasn’t special after all and desperately tried to keep the Conduit talking, to find out more.
“What are you doing with the elephant anyway? This Elephant of Lost Dimensions.”
“I ride it when I’m in a hurry.”
“You ride it?”
“Of course. I’m the Conduit, you see, sometimes I need to cross the universe in a hurry, so I go by elephant. The Elephant of Lost Dimensions is not bound by your laws of physics.”
“No, the elephant you see is a pan-dimension conductor, a conduit across the dimensions.”
“So he’s a conduit like you?”
The man gave an indignant look. “I am not an elephant. I am the Conduit, I control pan-dimensional conduits like McCarthy. It is I who controls what form McCarthy takes in this realm, what form you take in this realm.”
“What form I take.”
“Yes. Here, on Earth, you take human form, you have human sperm human DNA.”
“So what was I like in my home world? What form did I take there?”
“Do you really not remember? Then it is best you never know, this is your home now. Anyway, you distract me, I am a busy man. I AM The Conduit you know. I have things to do.”
“I know, you have elephants to push into wardrobes.”
The Conduit sighed. “If only everything was as simple as you make it sound. That’s the thing about my job description, the line about ‘And anything else that may reasonably be required of a Conduit.’ That includes pretty much anything in the universe, unfortunately.”
Those were the Conduit’s final words as he shut the window, closed the curtains and disappeared from view and, Jeremy surmised, almost certainly disappeared from this realm as well.