Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Crumbly Adventures Outside Time And Space

It all started on a Saturday. Well, I say it "started". It didn't exactly start, so much as explode into existence in a shower of fiery sparks, shrapnel and indigo hued smoke which made my eyes bleed.

"What exactly exploded into existence?", you may ask. Furthermore, you may also ask, where did this explosion occur? Well, for the purposes of futile suspense, I shall spend a couple of sentences telling you that this explosion occured in my living room, about three metres from my television, roughly two feet from the door and more-or-less one yard from my sofa. So yes, in all respects, this explosion was contained firmly within the boundaries of my living room, except that during the course of the explosion, some of these boundaries chose, mostly due to reasons outwith their control (such as an impending explosion) to suddenly be many tens of metres away in my neighbours gardens.

So anyway, now that I have explained the situation and the suspense (futile though it may be) has been built, like some shoddy outhouse which will most likely collapse upon the first unfortunate soul who ventures within, I can tell you that it was an entirely new Universe which exploded into existence on this fateful Saturday.

Now, for most people, this would be an important event. Momentous, even. Stupendous. But no. Not really. I was unphased.

The Universe, as is commonly believed, is a big thing, mostly incomprehensible and full of confusing elements like pastry, Satan worshippers and trumpets. So it's fair to say that it's not something that most people will have to deal with on a daily basis. They don't, it is reasonable to believe, wake up every morning and think to themselves "Oh my! I seem to find myself contained, once more, within a Universe. What are the chances!" before continuing downstairs to feast upon cornflakes and gaze longingly at whatever banal breakfast trite the television is birthing forth. No, the average person will most likely live their entire lives never even giving the fact the the Universe actually exists a single moment's thought. Although they will watch quite a lot of morning television and eat a lot of cornflakes. If a Univsere suddenly appeared right in front of them, more than just a gasp would issue forth from their mouths.

Well, I have a different outlook on life, I do enjoy marvelling at the Universe and cooing over its many intruiging features, such as time and space which I consider to be vastly underrated. So, to find a new one being birthed forth suddenly in my home wasn't quite as surprising as it should have been, myself being aware of the existence of Universes, at least in the singular sense. After the initial explosion, which destroyed most of my house, the Universe seemed to stabilise into a pulsating sphere roughly one meter across and hovered there, silently, like a mad bastard orb.

It seemed to me that the formation of a Universe must be a fairly rare occurence as I couldn't recall ever having seen something of this sort happen before. I scratched my head and thought a little. I figured I had time to spare, staring at this marvel of creation in my battered abode, as the few tasks I had planned for that day could well be thought of as cancelled, as the items that those taks would require (namely one sofa and one television set) had since been obliterated by the cosmic oddity that was, peering closer, actually starting to wobble and bob around the place. Almost inquisitively, it sniffed at a few pieces of charred plasterboard a few inches from my feet.

Well, I imagine it would have been sniffing if it had possessed a nose. Universes, you'd think, wouldn't have a need to smell anything, as anything worth smelling would be contained firmly inside them. It's like if I asked you what your spleen smelled like. You wouldn't know. In fact, you probably wouldn't care. "And why not?" I ask. What sort of gentleman in this day and age knows not what his spleen smells like?

Oddly, while these thoughts raced around my head, I noticed that this universe did have a nose. It had eyes too. And a mouth! Good lord, the thing was alive. Or at least as alive as anything with a face can be. It spoke:

"Hello. Who are you?"
"I'm Howard Nebulator. Who are you?". It was a silly question to ask a Universe. I felt quite foolish for having asked it. Nonetheless, I got a reply,
"I am The Universe", the Universe rumbled. "Where am I?"
"You're in my living room. Or at least what's left of it"
"Oh my, I'm terribly sorry", the Universe commented. "I appear to have made some sort of terrible mistake. Please forgive me. Please? I didn't mean it, I...". A slight tremble of the lower lip.

The Universe looked sad. I could see that it had a troubled expression now that I realised it posessed a face. A face quite possibly moulded from the creases, ripples, bends and twists in the fabric of whatever spatial dimensions were contained inside, textured with billions of galaxies, trillions of stars and with quite a prominent spot on its nose that could well have been the result of quadrillions of years of work by an advanced enterpreunistic space-faring species, keen to discover what lay at the reaches of their domain, spending aeons, generations building devices and machines to probe the limits of their existence only to find out, after the toils of eternity that the first thing peering back at them was an explosion-battered shabby beige couch.

"What mistake is this then?", I asked the gloomy looking Universe. I thought I saw a tear form at the corner of its star speckled eye.
"Well, what you saw just then - that explosion...". A moment's pause.
"Yes" I said, "Do continue"
"Well, that was my Big Bang"
"Was it? Well, it was quite something! It destroyed my house". I tried to sound enthusiastic but, due to the recent destruction of my property and the fact that, yes, all things considered, it wasn't really all that big of a bang, it came out with something of a sarcastic tone.
"It was NOTHING!", it screamed. I jumped back slightly, this was quite a shift in mood for the sprightly little chap.
"Hey, don't fret. I bet loads of Universes don't get their big break, and end up forming all sorts of places. A garage forecourt, maybe? A branch of Woolworths. Swindon"
"But all the other Universes, they get all the perks. Bloody bastards. They won't stop rubbing it in, you know. 'Look at Little Universe, shaped like a mint, or something'. What shape are mints? I don't know!". The Universe was rambling on a little bit, and sadness had faded only to be replaced with a look of mild insanity.
"I feel used and wasted", the Universe complained. "Can I stay with you for a while? I won't get in the way"
"Well, I don't really think... Y'see...", I couldn't think of a good reason why the Universe couldn't stay. It seemed nice enough, if not a little miserable and prone to mood swings.

Why not indeed? I no longer had a fully functional house (a fully functional house being defined as one which you can live in without wondering daily whether people are going to randomly wander through the 25 foot wide gaping hole that's been ripped into the front of it due to the sudden and unfortunate expansion of a clinically depressed Universe.) but I felt this was pig piffle compared to the potentially fun and slightly interesting situations I might find myself in now that I was friends (on first name terms) with a Universe.

"You can have the spare room upstairs. If it's still intact", I told the celestial blob. I wondered if Universes actually needed sleep and proceeded through to the kitchen to get a cup of tea, via the gaping void in the living room wall. Saturday continued, as Saturdays do. The Universe plodded along behind me, making sniffling noises and wiping its snotty nose on an arm composed from uncountable galaxies and ripped space-time fabric.

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Possibly coming soon - Part 2 of this disturbing saga. Stay tuned!

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