Sophie From Shinola, Part The Ultimate

>> Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nathan, at Polybloggimous, suggested anyone who wanted to could try to write a closing for Sophie From Shinola. This one is mine:

"...and that," He said, "is where it keeps breaking."

"Run it so I can see for Myself," She said, and He shrugged and He ran it again. The universe exploded from a singularity, around Them and beneath Them and inside Them and beside Them. Time and space got sticky and globbed up into leptons and quarks and then the quarks got all globby into hadrons, and some of the hadrons were attracted to some of the leptons and when enough of these hydrogen nuclei were bunched up together they caught fire and lit up the expanding night. And the blowing ashes of the thermonuclear bonfires were heavier and heavier, chunky helium atoms followed by lithium by carbon by iron by lead by gold; finally, some ashes were so heavy, those unstable elements that just flaked off into smaller pieces all the time, spitting out neutrons and collapsing into finer, more stable modes.

"See that?" He said, "That's good." And She saw it was good. "You've really separated the light from the darkness," She said and He smiled that goofy, ineffable smile She'd always loved. Radiant machines were kicking out atoms that liked being together, couples and pairs and polyamorous chains. There were planets assembling in the night, bathed in the soft rain of complicated chemicals.

She bent close to one of the nascent worlds. "Ooh," She cooed, "I love this part." He put an arm round Her shoulder and watched with Her: on a rusty little world where it was still hot enough to cook it had just gotten cold enough for carbon-based chains of atoms to stay hooked together when they spontaneously copied themselves according to the rules He'd set when He started running this one.

"You got this to work!" She yelled. "This never works! Are they going to repro--they are!" She beamed at him, then (ever the perfectionist) scowled. "That's not much of a homey place for them, is it?"

He didn't take offense. "That's why I set it up to move them to that wet one over there," He said as a massive chunk of rock and metal smashed into the fourth world, spraying chunks of burning ore everywhere. She smiled again, to see it--a few hundred million years and a few of the rocks carefully fell into the binary planet in the third orbit. The proteins that landed on the airless gray partner froze and baked and froze and baked ceaselessly, but the larger of the pair was wet and hot and just right for the evolution of life.

The tricky part was over. The simple self-replicated molecules that had been transferred from the fourth world to the third became increasingly grandiose. The chemicals learned, after a fashion--that it was safer on the insides of microscopic oil bubbles, that labor could be divided, that energy could be exchanged with the outside via molecules of carbon dioxide and paired oxygen.

It all went so quickly from there: colonies of the things, and specialists within the colonies. The colonies learned to eat, learned to swim, learned to crawl, learned to walk. In the flash of a few billion years, the wink of an eye, the colonies went from walking to setting fires to painting things on walls to poking each other with pointy sticks and rocks (She didn't like that) and riding on each others' backs ("Ponies!" She cooed, enthralled).

"Why are they making everything stink?" She frowned. "They're smelting," He said, "I'm afraid it gets worse when they start burning compressed hydrocarbons and begin driving these little buggy-things around." "Those?" She asked, pointing. She pouted, "I'd have never taught you to write consciousness if I'd known it would smell so awful." He patted her arm, "Look," He said, "they've already stopped using complex hydrocarbons for fuel." Moments later, silver specks were propelled into the void on strings of orange fire, thousands of tiny starships full of millions of human colonists.

She applauded. "We should talk to them!" She said, but He shook his head. "I tried that in a few versions, and all they did was take pills to make Me shut up. I think they have to be riper... except...."

She looked away from the colonization of the universe. He was biting his lip. "What?" She said. And then She said, "Something's happening." The whole universe was beginning to run together, an oil painting left in the rain. Stars turned into smudges and planets to mud and vast nebulae smeared with black holes that left spotted lines across the creation.

She could make out Blackmothonthestarclickclicklighton and then it all collapsed. She shrieked and jumped up, startled. They were alone in the void again, surrounded by nothing. Not black and not white and not dark and not light; absence, except absence would still be something and there wasn't anything at all, except the two of them, Sophia and Demiurge. "Do it again," She insisted, and He did and it was all exactly the same from the expansion of spacetime to the way the whole infinite thingamajig wobbled and smudged and crashed. "I think I heard My name," She said.

He blushed. "I named it after you. Our kid." She blinked at Him. "That's what this is supposed to do. You said you wanted kids, so, I... er... I thought I'd make one for You. But she isn't stable. Every time Our daughter is almost ripe, she starts turning into some kind of superhero/pilot/publisher/spaceship/coma victim/schizophrenic paradox and it causes the whole universe to break."

They were silent for what could have been a nanosecond or a googleplex of eons, if only time existed. "I thought maybe You'd have an idea," He said, "since You're..." and here He dug His toe into the nothingness and shyly looked down (or what could have been down), "You're good at words and ideas and things like that... I'm only good with My hands, I'm not as good at thinking of things."

She took one of those hands and held it. "I don't know how to tell You this," She said, "but I think You may have taken what I said a little too seriously... I was just chit-chatting, and... You're a really nice guy and I'm flattered that You tried to create the universe for Me.... but...."

He froze like he'd been speared in the gut. Which, in a manner of speaking, He had been. "But?" He said.

"Maybe We should just be friends."

5 comments:

Charles Follymacher Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 1:05:00 PM EDT  

Oh man, I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this one! I dunno how you came up with something so good so quick, but kudos! A perfect ending!

Jeri Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 11:21:00 PM EDT  

This is great. And ponies! ;)

I really enjoyed the tone and descriptiveness - and the amusing ending.

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