There came a startling knocking sound…
“That’s odd,” I grumbled to myself. “What the hell is that?” I looked around and it seemed to be coming from a mysterious object I had once named, at random, a “door.” Found upon the door was a piece of spherically-shaped metal which I brilliantly intuited could be used to pry the bloody thing open.
Gazing through the gaping portal I saw a most hideous thing standing on the go-away mat. “What the hell are you?” I gasped.
With an eerily familiar voice it replied, “I’m you from the future.”
My mind reeled. “How far in the future?”
“Tomorrow, to be exact.” God, it sure was ugly. It looked irritated and menacing, too. “Are you going to invite me in?”
Once inside it looked around the living room as if with the eyes of a child. “You’ll have to forgive me,” it said. “This sure brings back memories.”
By now I was feeling pretty damn irritated. My normal routine had been severely disrupted. “I’m feeling damn irritated,” I said. “You’re severely disrupting my normal routine.”
For a second it lost it’s composure. “Don’t you think I know that?!” it snapped ferociously. It took a deep breath and slowly exhaled then seemed to go limp in resignation. After an awkward silence, it finally continued. “I’m here to help you,” it said softly. “To help both of us.”
“Go on,” I barked.
“A few minutes from now,” it said ominously, “something is going to happen. Something completely out of the normal. Something disastrous. I’m here to stop it.”
Suddenly I noticed a gun in it’s hand. That’s odd, I thought lamely to myself. We don’t own a gun. What the hell had happened to me?
Bang. The gun went off. I fell to the floor while clutching my stomach in pain. He had shot our most prized possession. He had just shot our LCD 42″ flat screen TV.
“You son of a bitch! You die!” I screamed as I felt my life oozing away. “Why??”
“Poor little idiot,” he said, literally looking down on me. I couldn’t help but notice he was starting to twinkle, almost as if he was slowly dissolving away. He smiled.
He looked at his dissolving hand in wonderment. “It worked, it worked,” he said, forgetting the question that was currently pending on the floor. Then an expression of fear gripped his hideous face. “At least this time.”
His expression changed to one of resolve then went soft as if he had reached some sort of climactic decision. “What I’m about to say may end the space-time continuum as we know it, everywhere, everything, but fuck it. It might be our only chance.”
“Shut up!” he hissed. “We have very little time.” By now he was about fifty percent translucent, much like the time I had tried to Photoshop a profile image using a real picture of my own face.
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” he said to himself, ignoring me completely. “I never watch broadcast TV. I never even turn it on. I hate the commercials. I avoid it like the plague. But I was supposed to be working. So, yeah, I guess that might be how it happened.”
He turned and looked me in the eye. “I turned on the TV,” he said. He was starting to scare me. “I did it on purpose. It was showing the CBS morning show. God help me, I don’t know why, but I watched.” I was stunned to see tears streaming down his face. “They called it ‘Note to Self.’ Oh God, why did I watch?”
He was almost gone now. He sparkled like a glinty trick of light and I had to lean and strain to hear what he had to say.
“Don’t do what I did. Don’t ever, EVER,” he hissed, “make the mistake of watching Note to Self. It’ll be the death of you.”
And with that, he was gone.
Dazed, I slowly got to my feet and swayed. Wow. What a trip. And what an idiot. How the hell was I going to watch anything with a bullet in my TV? And how the hell was I supposed to avoid doing real actual work?
More importantly, who was going to clean up that mess of ectoplasm where the bastard had been standing?
Once upon a time I was in a serious quandary. I wanted some cheap, plastic, materialistic consumer shit made in China and I wanted it now. What to do, what to do?
As I saw it, there were two choices.
I could haul my fat ass up and out of my chair, somehow make it to the car, drive to a big-box store, somehow make it inside and navigate the maze to (hopefully) the right section where the object of my desire might be found. All the while being blasted by a tasty mix of songs scientifically designed to make me spend more money. (The mix is a rotation of two songs. Happy, by Pharrell Williams and anything by Mumford & Sons.)
I say “might” because I’ve tried this in the past and it didn’t quite work out. Ever go to the store to buy one specific thing? After expending incredible effort (see previous paragraph) you learn it isn’t even there. Out of stock. I do not believe there is a worse feeling in the entire universe.
And that other choice I mentioned earlier? Amazon. Duh.
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I was already full. Case in point: She was toting a box of leftovers but I was not. Mine had been crammed down my gullet. This scenario would soon allow me to put my advanced decision-making skills on display.
We walked into the shop and it was what I like to describe as “Portland cute.” The place was constructed to look post-industrial. This means concrete walls, vaulted ceilings with lots of duct work, lighting fixtures that hang all the way down from the ceiling and, of course, the pièce de résistance of the Portland eatery scene: the fake garage door. Those things are ubiquitous around here, perhaps even on par with the fedora and other trendy chapeaux.
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There are two great mysteries in the life that one must unravel before traveling to the Great Beyond. One is the nature of the Bermuda Triangle. The other is, of course, how gerbils cause household items to go missing from the space-time continuum.
Today we uncover a disturbing piece of evidence that goes a long way towards explaining what really happens. I took the following raw footage at great risk of life and limb.
If you’re not willing to invest one minute and 44 seconds of your precious existence in the following ode to cinema, then I guess you really do hate my guts.
Hang on tight and be prepared for the twist at the end. “I see gerbil people!!!”
An entity that was/is/will be known as Wuleghu phased into what humans might call existence across the infinite reaches of the space time continuum.
Simultaneously, everywhere else, an incorporeal form comprised of pure energy and consciousness was doing exactly the same thing. This being was known by the name of Otomib.
Each was aware of the other. It was the now of The Meeting of the Universe. Although they existed across all space and time, for the purpose of limited understanding by primitive human brains, you can describe The Meeting as taking place in a construct known as a Control Room, if it brings you comfort to think of it so. A plaque on the door read, “Universe Control Room #2.”
Over a trillion Earth years ago, Wuleghu had created a mote of energy in preparation for the moment. That energy manifested itself in the form of an opening to a conversation.
“Good morning, Otomib.”
The construct of an Earth day is used here to help with understanding.
The Meeting had begun.
“How are you?” asked Wuleghu.
“Meh. I’ve been better.”
Wuleghu shrugged and somewhere by his big toe a black hole was created.
“We better get started,” it said. “Is The Report ready?”
Otomib nodded, causing a star to go supernova and spiral into Wuleghu’s black hole, and handed over The Report.
“Let’s get this business over with,” Wuleghu said as he began to read from The Report.
GALAXY: Milky Way
LOCATION: Third Orbital named “Earth”
GEOGRAPHY: Northern hemisphere, continent named “North America”
Wuleghu grunted in disgust. “Earth? Really?”
“It happens sometimes,” said Otomib, cleverly and knowingly employing a variation on a shit joke.
Wuleghu continued to read.
LIFE FORM DESIGNATION: Tom B. Taker
“Good God,” said Wuleghu. “What have we done to deserve this?”
“It comes with the job. It’s best to get this done then we can move on to something else.”
“Well, I’m skipping ahead to the summary.”
Subject is mostly harmless. Has been employed all of his life since age 16. Obeys the law. Arrests: 1. Convictions: 0. Does not dissemble on taxes. Ethical, moral, and tries to live by the Golden Rule. Does not cause pain.
Universe gifts bestowed: None.
Status: Low income, no access to health care, various ailments including destroyed spine, stabbing pain in heart, and psychosomatic vision problems. Null values in power, influence, and desirability schema.
Energy condition: Nominal but failing. Termination eminent.
Wuleghu tossed The Report aside. “That’s enough, dammit. I’m ready. You?”
“We now render The Recommendation.”
“Let’s do it.”
A knowing look was exchanged. They both nodded. An understanding was shared and grokked. Otomib took the report and, using a rubber stamp, embossed upon The Decision of The Meeting.
Freshly adorned with the text – MAINTAIN/NO CHANGE – Otomib shoved The Report down The Slot where it would wait for eternity to never be reviewed again.
Bonus image: Wanna feel small?
Shouts to the Alien Names generator for the proper names of the protagonists used in this post.