A toddler barefoot, blowing gasoline-colored soap bubbles on an ivy covered slope. Navy blue and red plantbugs considering every step as grackles shriek overhead.
[[Wait a year]]
[[Wait a hundred years]]
[[Wait a thousand years]]You hated to say goodbye but you keep your promise and you're back in one year for a holiday visit.
...But everyone is gone. The house is boarded up. There was an old clawfoot bathtub inside– that got pulled out first, the neighbors say. The couch that was on the porch had all its stuffing torn out. The windows are shattered. There's clumsy graffiti on the white stucco walls.
You sit on the tumbling uneven porch-steps for an hour in silence as the sun starts to set.
[[Bulldoze the whole block, salt the earth, and never return]]
[[Sit here all night in silence]]
[[Find whoever stole the bathtub]]You waited one hundred years. Idiot. Not that you had much choice, but your lifespan is barely that. Now you’ve almost decayed into dust. There could be a way out of this. Maybe….
[[Find the philosopher’s stone of immortality to save yourself]]
[[Just keel over and die like biology insists you do]]Little traceries of frost melt away from the window on your cryopod stored compactly in its corner.
If a professional were to take a gander at it, he would note the problem was neither the fission reactor nor absence of maintenance, but just an empty nitrogen tank. Nitrogen, of all the cheapest things.
You step out into an unknown research tower, a panopticon. But not a single lab coat is in sight. Of the dozens of windows in regular arrangement, not one overlooks the horizon. You gather your belongings from your cryo-cubby.
[[“How high am I?”]]
How are you alive?
Thunder. The floor crumbles beneath you. Outside, a lightning strike shoots up from Earth.
"[[A space elevator]]! That's where I am!" you exlcaim. “Gee Bill, we should'a told them lunatics beforehand.”
“Naw Marty, them migrants don’t deserve no rights.”
“If you say so, Bill."
“Besides, them loonies might as well be spies. Pfffsh. Refugees my ass!”
With Bill’s mighty convincing arguments to chew over, Marty begins the demolition process. If one were to press hard enough, Billy might even admit these Mooners had a better home than he did, but work was work. His feelings would not affect that.
When he hits the first concrete leg, cement dust balloons from within the building. Screams emanate. Blood drips from the rubble. He continues on to the next leg of the structure.
When all that is finished, Bill salts the Earth.
“Don’t want no funny invasive species here. No aliens nor their crops.”
They both make their exit.
“[[It’s not murder if they’re from the moon.]]”
“I dunno, maybe it’s time to find a new line'a work. [[Maybe growin' pizzas]].”
“That’s not a real job.”
You can't bring yourself to leave.
One of the neighbors walks by with his old dog. He has a cigarette while his dog shits gingerly despite arthritic hips. A chorus of crickets warms up. Street lights.
It occurs to you that a body is a place to hide from everythingness. A room, a house, a city, a country, a gasoline-colored soap bubble. You take the streets, determined to find the bathtub culprit. You steal a car, enranged, grand theft auto style. After hours of burning rubber, something catches your eye. Its one of the legs of the bathtub, sparkling on the sidewalk outside of the alleyway. You park your stolen car and amble into the alleyway. Its dark. Its scary. You approach the end of the alleyway, and see it. The bathtub is filled with cats. They stare at you, threatentingly.
[[Fight the alley cats in the bathtub]]
[[Negotiate with the alley cats in the bathtub.]]I mean what did you expect? You’re just deaf now. You won’t ever hear your child speak its first words. Sorry about that. You’re a problem solver though. Two ideas pop into your head.
[[Create a speaker loud enough to blow everyone in the world’s eardrums out to equalize the situation]]
[[Accept your fate and go buy a sandwich]]Why, we’re all along for the heresy. Yep. That’s right. Sew your eyes shut and sing along.
“No. No. NO. Stop!” a woman shouts. It’s Isabella of Castile, and she’s smoking hot, “This isn’t a game, you fools!”
“Why… life is a game, my queen,” says the head heretic. They all unbuckle their robes, revealing huge slabs of metal armor.
“Okay, fine, why not,” she says, and they dance the night away.
You say it and then you repeat it to yourself to make it true. The moon has no soul and neither do the things that grow there, the genepriests tell us, so to harvest moon-human flesh is not a sin, either for food, or for labor or for the pleasure of the oligarchs.
You stop for a second and [[close your eyes to read the news]]
You decide to [[flee from a crime you have not yet committed]]You close your eyes to read the news. You are overwhelmed with a psychic energy. Your pure intelligence has consumed you. Only a pure genius would close their eyes to read the news. I mean, you realistically only have two options now.
[[Ascend to godhood]]
[[Take over the world]]Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I'd like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I'll tell you how I became the God-Emperor of a place called America.
In Manhattan born and raised
On the playground was where I spent most of my days
Chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool
And all shootin some generals outside of the school
When a couple of immigrants who were up to no good
Started making trouble in my neighborhood
(The Middle-East is my neighborhood, because we own it)
I got in one little fight and the world got scared
They said 'We’re building colonies on the moon, where there’s no air.”
The toddler's hands are black with deep humus from hunting worms to add to the earthworm ball. They smear black on the blocks they stack, a loose wall, perforated and sloppy. The bottle of bubbles has spilled in the dirt now, a slick gasoline sheen on the goopy black worm castings. It's a warm day.
Every day is seasonless and nameless on the moon, we compare each day against alldays.
Every season on earth was different (towards the end) and they should have each had a unique name. The illusion of a cycle was part of the problem. I wouldn't want to go back there now.
You pick the toddler up and bring her inside. Dobby Snailson: He is [[not a fan of extraterrestrials,]] and you don’t even need to [[build a wall]] in Space. In fact, the lunar colonies are 100% migrant sourced labor and population.
Well, at least after the [[first strike]]. The others aren’t far behind.
Oh, he should have been more careful with his words. Way more careful. Your blood boils. You clench your fists. You train for 23 years, and make your way to the top of the MMA. You’re so buff you can barely move your arms. You hire a private detective. He finds the man who should have been more careful with his words. You enter his house at 3 in the morning. His beautiful wife and him sleep soundly.
[[Steal his wife]]
[[Eat all of his food before eating him.]]They shouldn't talk that way about the colonies. They shouldn't. And now you know you have to spend your whole sleep-cycle filing a report of accusation of Heresy or Heresiarch. You consider creating another instance of yourself to do the work but you remember what happened last time you needed to delete an instance of yourself. You still have the scars, even after stembathing– hours in a chamber, navy blue and red skinprinters drooling gasoline colored bubbles as a genepriest spoke its wordless static language, baby-pteradactyl-radio-screeching. You could always [[shout that your ears can no longer hear speech]], or you could [[join along in heresy]].You scramble through the complex which is shaped like a slice of citrus fruit. Fumbling about various drawers, you find syringes. Five types. Time to inject!
A small flame, as big as a match, bursts from your index finger.A small spark, as thin and long as a grapevine, bursts from your index finger.A small ball of water, as big as a water balloon, bursts from your index finger.A small tendril, as thick as a three-week old sunflower sapling, bursts from your index finger.Suddenly, you cannot see anything. You cannot talk. You are dead.DS: Is it really a patently obvious truth that we should expand to space?
Our bodies are not built for such centuries long voyages. In fact, the perfect solution could be to send androids and machines, to have them build up the outer worlds, and to have them bring resources back home.
Make Earth a better world. The only world.
At least, that is what some say.
The floor lights up. You see light through the cracks in the ceiling and the floors above lighting up too. Pieces of rubble begin to fall and are aglow in the ethereal storm. Static is in the air. Ozone burns your nostrils with a sting stronger than that of chlorine.
Your phone turns on.
The tower around you falls to pieces. You drop down into an abyss of gravity.
“The so-called [[‘Supreme Leader’ of America,]] who has not been so Supreme lately, had some [[nasty things to say about the Colonies.]] Their economies are crashing, and their people are suffering. [[He should have been more careful with his words!]]
"They changed the name to 'Sorcerer's Stone' in America," a voice says.
"They changed... Americans don't like philosophy, it sounds like school."
You exhale sharply, "What?"
"It sounds... it sounds dumb."
"Do you know where to find it?" you bark at the voice.
"The philos... the sorcerer's stone. I am dead."
"No, I am also dead."
You realize you are everything talking to itself everywhere.
"A body is a place to hide for a while from everythingness," you tell yourself. You embiggen past the limits of scale.
You become everything.
You are no longer subject to the arrow of time and you become solid state, impenetrable and infinite, no longer able to think.
You would become bored if you could become anything, which you can't because you are everything.
[[Kill yourself to make room for a new creation]].You try to imagine a way to die but you cannot think because you are already all ideas. You try to look for the thought in the infinity of yourself and its answer and find it in a many-dimensional library of you. In infinitely small words it says "Don't do that, that's bad."
You have always already decided to keep on existing. You get all the food. You are brutal and swift about it. Gnom-gnom, all it goes, down your gullet. You are a Pacman-insatiable-food-hole. You grab him next and begin forcing him down your maw.
"No! Please!" He screams.
His body shakes in agony, his chin breaks, the blood drains from his face. You hold him still. "Don't! No!" He struggles, you feel his flesh start to tear and roll in your mouth. You force it down your throat.
A thousand years later you are still there and still full. You no longer need to eat.
A man walks by with his elderly dog, he says, "Good evening".
"It's a fine evening," you agree.
It's dark now and you hope he cannot see the thousand year old blood on your face and the tattered remnants of your clothes.
You both watch the sun set while the old dog shits. There's nothing else you can do. You shuffle blindly through your pockets for change in the hopes that you can buy a sandwich.
"Sammwhich," you groan mournfully.
It's a long walk without shoes. You ask for a hoagie, imagining a toasted french roll heaped with meat and cheese and hot peppers and oil and vinegar and mayo. The sandwichman returns with a strange brown object that has been steamed in an ancient, rusty appliance called a "fresh-o-matic". It feels like moist flesh when you unwrap it, but it tastes ok, the cheese is melted swiss.
Your body absorbs the vitamins and you feel powerful again.
You leave the store and find a small abandoned house. With nowhere else to go you take up a spot on its porch.
[[Sit here all night in silence]]"Fuck Domino's!" you scream, voice surging.
"Fuck Mr. Domino!!" the words keep coming, voice ragged.
You run to a bank and demand ten million dollars, making a finger-gun with your hand. They promptly give you the money. You fish out the explosive dye cannister and throw it at the teller, "Keep the change!" you shout.
You take some of the money to a successful PR firm, "Destroy Domino's!" you command.
You give some money to various criminal organizations and foreign powers, "Erase Domino's from history!" You instruct them. "Damnatio memoriae Domino's! Every executive hung from a lamp post, entrails festooned on the asphalt! Their children and families melted in acid and flushed down a hundred cursed toilets!"
You use some of the money to buy up existing Domino's franchises and explode them with dynamite and then hire transients to urinate and defecate in the resultant craters.
Domino's is no more.
You make yourself a small Red Baron microwave pizza and eat it alone in celebration.
The sun sets on a country full of feces-filled craters.You call up your dad. It's been years. You're desperate now.
"I knew it was just a matter of time till you came crawling back," he says. He sounds pretty pleased with himself.
"I need a job, Pop," you try to sound friendly and sheepish.
"I'll see if the cheif custodian needs a new toilet scrubber," he says, stony-voiced.
"Don't be like that," you say. "I heard they have pizza farms on the moon now, I wanna do that, Pop. I know you have your fingers in those moon pies.
"You could say that."
"I love you Pop. Lemme at them moon pizzas."
There's a long pause as he considers this.
"I'll give blood to the genepriests and see what the oracle says about it. If the blood is favorable I'll consider having my assistant send you a bus ticket to the moon."
"Aw Pop, that's swell," you say.
You hang up and go for a long walk, thinking about summers gone by. You walk past your childhood home and find that it's dilapidated. You are stuck by the sudden fear that it's through some fault of your own.
You sit down on the crumbled remains of the porch steps.
[[Sit here all night in silence]]. “Nyancat… why… I believed in you! You were my hero. So many of my friends had your sticker on their laptops, so many of you left your screen as the default for library computers. And yet, you have come to steal my bathtub and now to take my life. Well, see if you can take it.”
“First of all, it’s not Nyancat. Is that the first cat name that came to your pathetic human mind? Name’s Thomas. Thomas Cat. Second of all, that bath tub is actually the hot tub time machine of cinematic legend. We need it to go back in time and save the world.”
“From what, Mr. Tom Cat? From what?”
“Sic him, boys.”
All 69 cats pounce on you at once. [[You die|Just keel over and die like biology insists you do]] in one second from the over 414 scratches that they inflict on you.
You try to reason with the cats but they won't listen. You leave and return with the remains of a steamed sandwich and try to lure them out.
The bathtub is theirs, it's not yours.
The ceramic coating worn through to the wrought-iron core by a thousand butts. It's immeasurably precious.
The property of cats now.
You shuffle dejected back to the old house. You don't know what season or year it is any more.
[[Sit on the porch|Sit here all night in silence]]<img src="https://wileywiggins.com/inform7/A_Matter_of_Time/Pinky-The-Brain-1030x686.png">If I can’t have it, no one can.
If I can’t have it, NO ONE can.
What is the loudest thing you can imagine? What is the loudest noise? What makes the biggest boom boom?
The fat man.
Set of ALL the atomic bombs. Now everyone is deaf. Or dead!
Seeing all of this, the child knew he had to [[go back in time]]
You sling her over your shoulder and jump from the nearest window.
“Good catch,” you say to yourself.
It was worth coming out to the boonies after all. Look at this find. Like at how fine she is.
“What are you going to do with me?” she asks.
“What won’t I be doing to you?”
She trembles and tears drip down her cheeks as you carry her to the dungeon. The dungeon is what you call your kitchen, because you are a very messy and experimental chef. You take a bowl and fill it with boiled eggs.
“Eat them. Eat them now. Eat them all.”
“Do what I say, woman!”
Unfortunately, you striked out, cowboy. It's over for you now. The 1st Strike wasn’t what you were thinking of. It was indeed the largest global strike of all time. Your favorite pizza chain is now on strike until former notice. Years pass. That delicious marinara artistry is now a delicacy on ebay. In a fit of rage, you break into one of the pizza chains, somehow making it past the guns and the barricades.
[[Sell the frozen pizzas on ebay for 500$ each]]
[[Destroy the Domino’s Pizza Chain as we know it.]]14" Pizza from Domino’s US
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You dig a hole in your backyard. You bury a frozen Trader Joe’s pizza. A week later, there’s no pizza growth. Is it because it was frozen? Try a different job.
[[Ask your dad if you can work at the company]]
[[Go door to door and sell sharp knives]]
The door opens to reveal a drab tired woman.
“Hi, sorry to bother you. I’m here for Domino’s Pizza Knife company. We have knives made specially to cut pizzas. Hard pizzas. Cold pizzas. Pizza pies. Moon pies. Vat grown moon pizzas…”
“… Sorry, I’m not interested.”
“They’re the sharpest knives on the market. Sharpened on the bones of pterodactyls from the personal collection of the genenomotect himself, the supreme architect of our demise.”
“Oh, well! You should have said so earlier. I’ll take ten.”
“Great, when can I teleport them into your home?”
“2 to 4 O’Barack should be good.”
“Okay ma’am. Just sign here and you’re all good to go.”
“How dare you say I’m good to go. I will stay where I please.”
The cessation of all your biological functions occurred at last.
You did not wake in your cotton bed, nor on the street, nor in another fantasy world, like in an isekai story, where you could suffer or rejoice once more. No, you did not awake at all to anything. Only, numbness seized your entire being. You did not have the energy to think at all as the warmth escaped from your body one vibration of a molecule at a time. No muscles moved to force you to gasp in air, a final breath, and no eyelids fluttered to let light into your dying eyes. Your flesh rotted to pulp, then dried into sand; your bones crumbled to gray dust.
The fog of interminable night had descended. You were nothing at all. Nothing was left of you.
As you fall down the crumbling tower, you have only one dire wish. “I HAVE TO GO BACK!”
Your hands glow up and a swirling vortex, swirling like a radioactive oil spill, opens before you. It does not belong to our material world.
Diving in, you say farewell to the world of one thousand years later. But when you exit, you are back in the research tower. Oops. That’s why you have to specify where you are going back. Now, you are in the year 2922, not 2022. Oh well.
A mob of white lab coats turn at you. You are sleeping in a cryo-pod behind them. It’s time to fight.
Using the magical powers from your injections, you blast away half the simpering nerds in one blast. The rest gather up their papers, screeching, and take to the stairwell. You open the pod, take your past self, and jump out the window.