Saturday, June 04, 2005


      "Listen, Isis," began Douglas, "I want to apologize for the way I acted before."
      Isis was caught off-guard and looked away before she spoke.
      "It's not important," she said, "I saw how the cockroaches acted. It must be very hard for you."
      "Maybe, but being good when it's easy doesn't count for much."
      "Must I be around for this?" groaned Josef.
      "Feel free to leave," replied Douglas to the mouse sitting on his shoulder.
      "Hey guys, this is hard enough," said 1 to everyone sitting on his shoulders, as he scaled the tower with bubble gum hands.
      Everyone went quiet until they reached the top. There, they went speechless.
      The small, flat, triangle roof held nothing more than a wooden desk and chair. It looked like an average workspace – with office supplies and a small picture frame – perched inexplicably above a planet.
      "He's not here!" said Douglas.
      "Of course he's not here," Josef replied, "The planetary controls are in the core."
      They all looked at Josef.
      "Then shouldn't we have gone that way?" Douglas found himself pointing at the picture frame, which turned out not to hold a goofy-looking family member, but a rather serious-looking green down-arrow. At least, it was green until Douglas pointed in its direction. Then it beeped and flashed a menacing bright red.
      Something, somewhere, clicked.
      Josef looked severely at Douglas.
      "Don't panic."
      Douglas was falling. They were all falling.
      The only thing more unsettling than the incredible speed at which they fell and the terrifying length of time spent falling was the soft, carefree music playing in the background.
      Then the scary red down-arrow flashed off and became a calm blue up-arrow. Something clicked again.
      "Fun," 1 sighed, "Douglas, you took that very well."
      "Indeed," agreed Josef, "Good show. I was afraid it would be too much for your monkey brain... Douglas?"
      Douglas screamed terribly.
      "What was that?!"
      "It is clear 3 installed a kind of –"
      "I know, I know. Some kind of super-elevator to the center of the planet, right?"
      "And the strange sensation you were –"
      "The elevator creates artificial gravity to maintain a pocket of air and keep us grounded, right?"
      "Douglas, was there an actual question you were posing?"
      "Does it have to go so fast?"
      "Fast?!" Josef scoffed, "There is only so fast you can go on gravity alone."
      "Isis?" interrupted 1.
      "Bright... so bright..." gaped Isis, who was the only one facing the door.
      The rest of them turned and were bowed to the blinding light.
      "I told you," said Isis, and walked through the door.
      The room was impossibly white. The white walls reflected every quantum of light onto massive white computer terminals arranged like solemn white pews. And on an altar of alabaster sat a very old man.