The Writer looked around. It had been so long since he had last visited his epic that everything was different. This couch. This laptop. This operating system. Even his browser looked different, as did his body. Both had acquired new rounded outlines.
"Oh, it's just so sad, the passing of time!" he howled fatly.
"And why is that?" asked his wife, poking her head around the corner. "You know what happens when time passes? Wounds heal, things are learned, lives are changed and the world becomes a better place. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, but humanity is and has been on an upward trend since pretty much forever."
"Poppycock," the Writer said. He liked that word. The Wife had a point, but he wanted to use poppycock so he did, because this was a free country.
"The very notion of a 'free country' isn't that old, but can you imagine the outcry if someone tried to get rid of it tomorrow? You can type horrible things--barely literate things!--and shove them into the faces of an unsuspecting public, and you'll barely even get executed."
"Okay, okay. I admit to your point-having. Now poke your head back around that corner. I have epics to unfurl."
Stubs had never heard of a timequake before. He knew enough to know that he didn't know everything, and so he knew that simply living would continually present him with things whose existence he had never even surmised. Just because he didn't know what to call something didn't mean it didn't exist or that it wasn't really, really terrible.
He was glad to know that this sensation he was now experiencing had a name, so that he could avoid it in the future. Timequakes, he mused as the fragments of his consciousness were squeezed through the void between reality's nucleus and its electron shell, felt like your whole existence was a throat that needed clearing, and you weren't allowed to go ahem.
"Ahem," said a voice.
"Lucky bastard!" cried Stubs. "If I ever get my body and my hammer back, I'll give you such a hamming!"
"That wouldn't be a very good way to treat your accomplice. Especially not after all the odors you've subjected me to."
Stubs opened his eyes. He was in a swamp. Sitting in it, in fact. A small cloud of steam was wafting away from him and dissipated as he watched. His whole lower body felt hot.
"Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no." He lurched to his feet, and fell back again into the turbid water. His legs didn't work yet. He slapped around in the water, trying to locate his hammer.
"It's okay. Calm down," said Becky. "Here's your hammer. It arrived a couple minutes before you did. Come here, you've got to see this. It'll cheer you up, I think." She hooked her arms under Stubs' and hauled him up. "Hey, Tony! Stubs made it! Wanna see if he's got any bread?"
There was an angry fluttering of wings and a duck exploded from a nearby bush. "If he doesn't, I'll kill him and I don't even know why!" it shrieked in Tony's voice. "I can't help myself!" The duck hit the water with a plop in an ungainly tangle of feathers and goofy orange feet. "Arrrrgh! This shitty little body!" it shrieked again.
"Heh," said Becky.
"Ahem," said Stubs.
"Wonk," said Tony's original body.