The body swap machine was a feat of engineering. He had devoted his whole week to it. Now, he realised how that sounded, and that it was better to have spent one’s whole life on a project, but it wasn’t his fault he’d got it done so quickly. It had all just come together really.
Except, it was all about matter. And matter transference at that. If he was honest, it was just a series of pipes, though he would never explain it like that. He’d use words like quantum, and soul, and even ketchup instead. He’d never say it was easy.
All that was left now was to decide who to let help him with the first test.
He opened his email, and his shoulders sank.
Not a single reply to his advert.
No-one wanted to migrate their soul to his body and vice versa.
It was disappointing.
The whole point of the machine was to swap with someone else. And if no-one volunteered, then what had he spent the past week making?
He sighed. The sigh he always sighed when he realised he would just have to do it himself. Maybe if he didn’t spend so much time locked away, making things, all by himself, he wouldn’t be so damned lonely.
Shaking the thought away, he stepped onto the platform, and stretched his shoulders. There was no way to know how this was going to feel. He looked over at the other, empty platform, and worried for a moment that a fly might land on it, or that there might be a flea having a rest on it. Would it be so bad to body swap with an insect?
The pad in his hand felt heavy, and he enjoyed the resistance of the old mechanical timer dial as he twisted it, setting the delay for ten seconds. That gave him time to put the pad down, and gird himself for whatever was about to happen.
With five seconds to go, it occurred to him that swapping with an empty platform might just render him invisible. Not that anyone would notice of course. Though a few ideas popped into his mind about what he could do without being seen.
And it involved picking his nose.
He was disappointed in his himself for such a lack of imagination.
His atoms separated.
There was no way to describe that sensation. It was like nothing else he had ever felt, though it did smell vaguely of tomatoes.
When his atoms reconstituted themselves three feet to the left, it took a moment to get his bearings. He patted himself down, ran a mental check of his faculties, and wiggled his toes to see if his shoes still fit.
He was just the same.