Loop – A Short Story


Hi there.
What’s up?
We are going to understand loops.
Yes, loops. Did you see the recent movie on Netflix called “ARQ”?
No. What was that about?
It was about loops. A couple was in bed and kept waking up over and over right before some bad guys broke into the room.
So what happened?
Well that’s not important. No spoilers here, actually.
Well that’s hardly fair.
Actually, this is not just about the story of ARQ, it’s about these stories in general.
Story ARCs with a “C” if you will.
Oh, I see the pun there. ARQ with a “Q” is a pun for ARC with a “C”.
So in ARQ there is a device called “The ARQ” in the guy’s basement.
I thought you said “No Spoilers”.
Well, right. No more spoilers.
Ok. So what about this ARQ thing?
Well it’s a plot device to loop space / time.
Loop space / time?
Yes. Send it around again and again to serve the storyline. For example, if I play this short Youtube video of a fireplace, we can cause a loop in space / time. Let me start one. Click.

What? Is that all it takes?
Yes, in a story, you can use any plot device you like to loop space / time. For example, in the first popular movie that used this meme, the plot device was a ground hog.
A ground hog? You mean a large rodent?
Yes, a ground hog.

What? Is that all it takes?
You see how that works?
Ouch. Did we just loop space time.
Yes, we did. That was a very short loop. Perhaps we should use a little longer one. Here is one that is a little longer.
Will they always be that jarring?
Well, no. Let me find one that is seamless so it will be less jarring.
Yes, so that the video passes around the loop without a glitch in the video or the sound tracks. That way you’ll hardly be able to tell, except that you’ll remember you have been there before.
Oh. Ok, I guess.

What? Is that all it takes?
See, wasn’t that less jarring?
Yes, that was much better.
Now back to our ground hog. You see, the characters in the story visited Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, for ground hog day. I’m sure you know about ground hog day.
Yes, yes. And yes I’ve seen that movie.
Well, the ground hog is the plot device that warps space / time.
Warps space / time? A rodent?

What? Is that all it takes? Oops. There we go again.
Yes, in that story. Apparently the rodent is responsible for repeating the day over and over again until Phil gets it right.
Well, yes. I guess I see that.
And in ARQ, they used the device in the guys basement to warp space time.
Ok. I get that.
And in this story we are using a looping Youtube video to warp space time to do that same thing.
Oh. I’m not sure that is very believable, actually.
And you are saying that a large rodent is more believable?

What? Is that all it takes? Oh. There we go again. I guess it does work.
Yes it does. That is very curious. Playing a looping video can warp space / time and cause time to repeat.
Yes. Actually any plot device will work. Recently there was another movie that used an alien queen invader to do that same thing.
Really? What movie was that?
“Edge of Tomorrow” with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. They went round and round trying to save the world from an alien invasion where the aliens could reset time, but Rita [Emily] and then Cage [Tom] were given the power to reset the day and they used that to defeat the aliens. Very interesting movie.
Really. I’ll have to look for that.
It was based on an original story by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, called “All you need is Kill”. A translation of that story into English is available on Kindle if you’d like to read it.

What? Is that all it takes? Oh. Again.
Are we just going to go around and around here?
Well, yes. Until we explore the entire issue.
What’s left to explore?
Well at least two things. How big is the area, or volume if you will, of space / time that is looped? And how can things and people get in and out of the looped volume to move the story forward?
Those sound like some pretty large questions? How do you know about all this physics stuff anyway?
I make it up as I go along. After all, I’m a story teller. All it has to do is sound plausible. No fact checking here.
Oh. I see. Well alright then. How do we go about answering those questions?
Well, apparently, we can have pretty much any answer we want. In ARQ the looped volume was a sphere around the house where all the action took place. It was a pretty low budget film. Good, but low budget.
Really. So they made a good film inside just a single house?
Yes they did.

What? Is that all it takes? Right. Sorry.
No problem. And in “Edge of Tomorrow” apparently the whole planet was looped, although all we ever saw was some of Britain and some of France.
Oh. That’s quite a bit larger. Sounds like a bigger budget.
Yes, quite a bit larger budget.
What about “Ground Hog Day”?
Well we saw most of the town of Punxsutawney, so I’d say a medium size budget.
So, the volume of space / time that can be looped is dependent more on budget than on the plot device that causes the loop?
Yes, that’s exactly right? It does take a larger budget to create an Alien Queen creature, but it is really the budget that expands the looped space time volume.

What?… Sigh. This loop is not very long is it?
No. But I think it will serve for our purpose and it’s hard to find seamless videos that won’t cause your teeth to rattle when we loop.
Yes. I’d rather that didn’t happen. So what is our budget? How big is our looped volume as you describe it.
Well, very small actually. The volume is just we two and the reader.
Are you sure the reader is with us here? We haven’t heard anything from them the whole time.
I certainly hope that they are still with us. After all, what’s the point of writing all this down if the reader is not going to follow along.
Good point. So what was that other question? I’ve forgotten.
How can things get in or out of the looped volume, or can they?
Oh, right. Here we go again.

What? Yes that was the loop. You know I’m getting tired of this. Maybe we have about run this one out?
I’m beginning to agree. We didn’t really see any example of things going in or out of the looped volume in those stories, except for ARQ where there was some unexplained things at the end. No spoilers.
Yes, we did say, no spoilers. What about that older movie. We can spoiler that if we want, can’t we?
Ok. Well as far as I recall, the town was totally sealed off by a snow storm or something during the loop. Another convenient plot device, I guess.
Sounds like it.
So how do we get out of our loop so we can go on with our lives?
Are you sure we have lives outside of this story?
I hope so. Don’t you?
Yes I do. Would you like to go get something to eat after this?
Yes, that would be nice.
It’s nice, don’t you think, when stories have a romantic component?
In this case, yes.
Ok, let’s stop this loop and get going. Where is that mouse?

Copyright © 2016 by Darrell Duffy, All Rights Reserved