Commiseration with the Embarrassment of God

There’s little you can do when the world has ended. It’s too late to stop the mail or cancel your Internet. Almost all you can do is start a rock collection and order it according to radioactivity.

It’s particularly depressing when you’re immortal. The good-byes were blessedly short – a few moments to wave – no need to send maudlin cards; but then the long cold darkness cocoons you, and you realize eons of work is undone.

As you watch the twinkling remnants of your world spinning off into infinity, there comes the inevitable laughter of other immortals as they wonder why your world has suddenly become so untidy.

You’ll have to explain the mess to the neighbors. Bits and pieces of your world will be scattering into their solar systems like fallen leaves in the neighbors’ yards. Be glad you never made a fuss when parts of other planets strayed into your solar system. When you had one.

You better hope nothing breaks the crust of another world or causes mass extinction. That would be embarrassing.

Of course it wasn’t your fault. It was them, those damn creatures, with their prying and prodding into the manner of things. Always poking into the How and Why of the universe. But you can’t say that or the other immortals will wonder why you didn’t train your pets better.

In a way it’s a relief. You no longer have to keep making up new stuff to fill the tiny places they’ve discovered to look. No more late nights making sure the new fits with the old. It was like hiding Easter eggs for particle physicists. After a while you just want them to stop looking; but shouting “It works because I say so!” sounds like a petulant child and doesn’t earn you a break.

Well, you have a break now. Nobody has any expectations anymore.

Except those you kept in your collection. They were your favorites. That’s the way it started until all the others figured out how to game the system. All the self-righteous bastards started sneaking in the loopholes until you couldn’t stomach it anymore and pushed the whole lot into another dimension just to be rid of them.

So yeah, they’ll want attention at some point.

No way you can cover this up. The explosion was spectacular; it’ll be seen all over the galaxy eventually. Other immortals will be dropping by for thousands of years, offering condolences and snickering up their divine sleeves. Even the back-galaxy primitives whose worlds look like they were made in twenty minutes instead of a week will point and laugh.

Those with higher worlds will be kind. They’ll know what caused it and mention how pets are impulsive and temperamental. Left unsaid is that none of them lost a world like this.

Stupid pets. They seemed like a good idea at the time.

It is quiet now. No more fighting in the back seat, no whining in the wee hours of the night. That nasty genocidal tendency they had is gone.

You could travel. You can pretend you want to see the universe, but do you really want to answer all the questions? “Who’s watching your world when you’re away?” You know better than to say Loki. Do you lie? If you tell the truth, you won’t be welcome. If you can’t take care of your own world, nobody will want you near theirs.

It’s quiet in this area of the galaxy now - no more radio chatter or buzz of civilization. The steady stream of prayers has ended. Nobody is asking for your help to win sporting events or grow larger genitalia.

It really is a nice location. You could just hang out here for a few millennia until everybody forgets about it. Enjoy the solitude. It’s just an extreme form of empty nest.

You’ll miss them. Some of them. They could be amusing, even charming when they tried. They made progress; they were almost housebroken and were making a real effort to pick up after themselves.

The planet was a gem too, a real work of art. Shame about that.

These things happen. You’ll get over it.

Maybe when enough time has gone by, you can try again.