Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sparkling or Smoldering; Your Choice

Sam and Alex are about to witness the end of all things.

"Well, here we are." Sam said.

"At long last," Alex replied.

"Long? Only eternity."


Of course they couldn't be where they were and doing what they were if they had bodies and such things. What they are boils down to being the last two individual consciousnesses in the universe.

"What do you think it will look like?" Alex asked.

"I don't know. It will probably be hard to tell, what with space and time and us collapsing into it," Sam answered.

"Yeah... the Big Crunch, as it were. We probably should have stayed longer at the Big Bang."

"Gone back further you mean?"

"I suppose we did see the good part," Alex suggested, essentially with a smile. "Everything was sparkling and new."

"So full of energy, it was. Bursting forth to begin an eternity of creation and existence," Sam added.

"That was so long ago..."

"Only eternity."

Alex became a bit slower, having to really stop and think for the first time in a long time. "What were we doing before that?"

Sam hardly hesitated at all. "We were on our way there."

"But before that? What did we spend our time doing?"

"We don't spend time anymore. We're soaking in it!"

"Your muddling things up again," Alex said, essentially with a pout. "You always do that... to distract me."

"Distract you from what? The smoldering stars racing towards oblivion? We can always go back and watch it again."

"Can we?"


"How can you say that? How can it be certain? The universe is ending!"


"Well there won't be anything left after that?"

"But there's an eternity of infinity before it."

"But will we exist after it?"

"We existed after the beginning... for an eternity." Sam wondered, "Don't you remember?"

"Of course I do," Alex resolved. "But we're at the end. What happens after?"

"Well quite definitively nothing, I would have to say."

"Why do you say that?" Alex asked, as the last bits of time and matter were now but an infinitesimal distance from that singular point of annihilation.

"Because," Sam replied, gazing on in wonder. "Everything happened before."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Anchorage That Was

December 7, 1941.

It took one night to destroy it all.

Anchorage was finally becoming a prosperous city. It was a port city, but the German's nuclear bomb tests the last eight years on the Arctic icecaps changed the world's shipping routes. Los Angeles was a side track now. Seattle could barely see through the rain. It was a great time to be an Alaskan.

The new trade agreements with the German Reich solidified the United State's position as dominating in the Western Hemisphere. There was one time that we might have stopped them, but a quiet nuking of the Brits changed our foreign policy rather rapidly.

The only other power in the world was Japan. We had just received the secret of nukes from the Reich, which Japan had been negotiating to get for months. It was a slap in their face. Some said it was a decision of race. Regardless, it was amazing how quickly and decisively Japan stopped the cleansing of China and India to stare out at us across the ocean.

There would have been no way to know the fleet was coming. At the time it would be the biggest force on the Pacific. Half of it was aircraft carriers. The other was destroyers. They crept up on Anchorage in the morning. Nobody can see through the morning fog.

The shelling continued through the night. I remember thinking that they must run out of ammunition sometime. I don't remember when they did, but they left. The port was nothing but ruined buildings and the sea was filled with burning shipwrecks. The harbor was choked with metal ruins of tankers and trade ships.

After my country made sure the islands of Japan were void of life, the U.S. refused to acknowledge Anchorage as anything more than a monument to the war. They focused their efforts on rebuilding Hawaii and fortifying L.A. I think they wanted Anchorage to vanish into the fog. And it did.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Standing at the Edge of Creation

The sky was the color of a television tuned to a dead channel.

But he loved the sky like this. In the bitter December cold a sky full of nothing but silver diffusion one could practically know that just past those trees and administration buildings was no less than the end of all things. It was so easy to feel, in the quiet frigidity of winter, huge chunks of the Earth just crumbling away and off into oblivion.

And that might well have been the case. Yesterday was graduation. Today was packing. Yesterday Mom, Dad and Grandma had come to visit to celebrate their boy. Tomorrow he'd be rejoining them for good in the next life.

Everything was done here. As he walked across the empty campus he passed all the buildings he'd toiled in as nothing more than student and observer; practicing... rehearsing.

He had a job lined up already. The university was good about that. Where was it again? Oh yeah, in the design department of that manufacturing company. The job was just one in an endless flurry of attempts to secure attachment in the next life. He didn't know terribly much about any of them, only enough to avoid the ones he was sure he didn't want.

Still, it was a gamble no matter what. The important thing was not what the job was but just that it was his. A place to start. A foundation to build upon.

The world crumbled to dust around him and blew away. The trees toppled over and the administration buildings simply faded as ghosts. He felt the weight of the Earth drain away under his feet. He was soon nearly floating, and it was only a little frightening. The ground he'd walked for better part of his young adult life would soon be altogether gone. He'd be left floating alone just waiting for the sun to rise in the void.

So as he walked, he started to contemplate what wonders he would begin constructing tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The sun sliced Moby's eyes like a knife as he emerged from his cabin at the crack of noon. In response, His Majesty Mr. Jones put on his patented superstar shades and gave old Sol the finger. He scratched his bare chest and allowed a brief shivering yawn as he scanned the mountain before him. Satisfied that all of his domain was in order, he figured he'd go see how his mate Brodi was handling the morning after.

Brodi sat, as expected, in the lotus position on the deck of his cabin facing East. "Oy!" Moby called as he skidded down the snowbank between their cabins. His over-sized unlaced board boots dug trenches. Brodi turned his head around to flash his California grin, black Ray-Bans, and frosted scruff 'do.

"It lives!" Brodi laughed. "You outdid yourself last night, Bro. Heh... just like every night."

"Wot?" Moby replied in feigned innocence. "A champion cannot rest on 'is laurels, now can 'e? The public demands Mister Moby in top form at all times!"

"Heavy is the head..." Brodi said as he turned his grin back up to the sun. "You 'bout ready to hit the slopes, Bro? I know you don't want to get slushy now that he's coming back to the tour."

"Piss off!" Moby indignantly responded as Brodi chuckled. "That French git got tired of Alpine snow up is arse so now 'e's comin' back 'ere on 'oliday." He flung his arms up in emphasis of this pronouncement and was suddenly struck by a sinister funk.

"A man should always respect his rivals," Brodi rebutted.

"Aw to 'ell with that. That twat might count as a rival if I trip over 'im on my way to the lift, aye?"

Moby Jones picked up a handful of snow, packed it into a snowball and scrubbed a bit under his arms. Brodi noticed this out of the corner of his eye and his grin was immediately replaced by a gag. "Wot?" asked a shrugging Moby who then received a powdery thwak to the back of his head.

"Rise and shine, snoozer!" Zoe hollered as she and her board whooshed down from behind the two men, rode the wooden rail of Brodi's deck, and then sailed out into the air and on down hill. They could swear she even managed to wiggle her backside at them crudely in the course of this graceful maneuver.

"Cheeky Tart!" Moby called after her with a beaming grin and fist shaking in mock rage before scrambling back up the bank to go get his board.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Uncle Enzo, Coda

Uncle Enzo sat in the study of his well-protected mansion. He hated that he was mostly immobile, but the stab wounds were healing "better than expected." The study was once used for book reading, but now Uncle Enzo just came to focus on the portrait of his father.

Uncle Enzo's father, Tony, was a second generation American, back when the U.S. existed. Tony's father was a meat packer, and he came home from work everyday dog-tired. Tony vowed that he would never work so much that it would take him away from his family. So, he started a pizza business in Little Italy, New York, New York.

It was a simple business of making pizza based on his mother's recipes, and they became quite popular. He emulated the Asians over in Little China and hired delivery boys to run it over to whomever ordered the pizza. Rather than pay upon delivery, many customers would come in the next day to pay for last night's meal, and for Tony that was just fine.

Uncle Enzo's favorite thing about his father's old business, one that had grown into the pizza place in North America under Uncle Enzo's guidance, was the promise of a hot pizza in half an hour. Of course, when you are only delivering to people you personally know in Little Italy it was a little simpler. If one of Tony's pizzas came after half an hour, Tony invited the customer over to his house for a personally prepared full Italian meal.

Now it was different. The fucking customers won a veritable lottery if a pizza was delivered over half an hour, and then people had to be fired, accounts had to be re-evaluated, and the media ate up the story like starving dogs. But that was the price to pay for destroying all the other pizza companies. Uncle Enzo finished his drink with a salute to the painting, and left the study to go read the daily report on North American pizza delivery times.