Wednesday, November 3, 2010


The sun exploded. It exploded with no hesitation. There was no forethought to it, certainly no afterthought, and absolutely no regard whatsoever for anything else in the solar system. There was a "Geeze, is it hot enough for ya?" shouted somewhere in the middle of a city, by a man of no significance, to no one in particular, and then the earth turned black like a marshmallow fallen into a campfire.

That morning, in a kitchen, just before being turned to cinders, Kelly Henderson held a frying pan under a stream of warm water in her sink to clean off the egg residue leftover from her breakfast. More than anything, Kelly wanted to learn how to salsa dance. She wanted to know what it felt like to move suggestively in public, to lead with her hips, to capture the attention of a room full of strangers. There was a flash and Kelly fried faster than her eggs.

Salsa dancing now exists nowhere in the universe because the sun exploded.

Elsewhere that day, Simon Sherman, a man who enjoyed the fact he had two first names, whistled along the sidewalk while he walked to get his morning coffee. In the midst of his stroll, he recited the only French phrase he knew to himself in his head. Je vous pense tout le temps, he thought, over and over, hopeful that he might catch a certain young lady's attention that day. There was a distinct sound, a pop, the same kind of noise a small bubble blown out of gum makes when it expands to quickly, a precipitous explosion of heat, and the girl (Eileen Anderson was her name) was no longer around (nor was anybody else for that matter) to find out how much he thought about her.

Because the sun exploded, French currently exists in only two other places in the universe.

A young girl named Lizzie woke up that morning with the vague notion that it was going to be an odd day. Having lost her grandmother to lung cancer earlier that month, Lizzie had formulated a shaky comprehension of the concept of death, though it was full of holes and abstractions. Before her Grandmother passed, she had pulled Lizzie tightly into her arms, squeezed her with what little strength she had left and whispered, "I'll miss you, my Lizzie. But don't be sad. I've been so happy with my life."

Lizzie was under the impression that as long as you were happy, death was really nothing to worry about.

Walking into the kitchen, Lizzie discovered that her Father had woken up early to make her her favorite breakfast: French Toast. The little girl smiled and laughed and whirled and clapped her hands, and then there was a flash and then there was nothing.

It really wasn't anything to worry about.

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