ENTIRE PLANET IS THE PLAYTHING OF AN ALIEN CHILD
We have all seen the science-fiction television shows and movies where the camera pans back at the end to reveal that our entire planet is the plaything of an alien child, held in its hand like a snow globe.
“It’s a common kind of scene,” said Dr. Allen Gutfeld. “It’s meant to show us that we’re not very significant in the scope of things, or maybe hat we don’t have control over our own destiny. Or we’re just meant to have that Twilight Zone-like chill down our spine. The Big What If, I call it.”
But now Gutfeld has made a shocking discovery that proves that the Big What If might in fact be the case.
“Early last year,” Gutfeld said, “the Rosentapp Space Laboratory, where I work, launched a space probe.” It was like any other probe, with one important difference: it went the other way. “When we explore space,” Gutfeld said, “we always go out into our solar system, to Mars, then Jupiter, then Saturn—or is it Saturn and then Jupiter? Whatever. The two of them. My point is that it’s like walking one way down a huge corridor. You don’t hardly ever hear anything about Venus or Mercury. We sent a probe the other way and within about two months it hit what we can only describe as a concave barrier.”
THE DAY BEFORE HAD BEEN A WEDNESDAY
Gutfeld was manning the equipment at the time. “It was Thursday,” he said. “I remember that specifically because the day before had been a Wednesday. I was sitting at the MonSta. That’s what we call the Monitoring Station. I heard a noise like something crashing into something. I thought that someone had dropped a coffee cup. Nope. It was the probe hitting the end of space.”
Further observation confirmed the shocking theory. By sending the probe in the other direction, Gutfeld had reached the end of the universe within only two months. “And it wasn’t just that it was the end,” he said. “It was what was beyond it. We saw a giant soft alien hand. It looked like a human hand, except a weird shade of reddish-green. At first we thought it was a cloud structure of some kind. But then we adjusted our telescope and saw the pads, the wrinkles, even one giant fingerprint. It was clearly a hand.”
And that hand was shaking the universe.
“We really had to take a deep breath” Gutfeld said. “What did it all mean?”
After a week of speculation and calculation, the team arrived at jubilation. “It was the most important discovery fo our lifetime,” Gutfeld said. “Dr. Ostapowicz, who never cracks a smile, was dancing on that table over there.” He pointed to a table. “Let me call him.”
ENTERS THE ROOM
Gutfeld lifted his phone. “Shirley,” he said. “Is Pavel in the lab today?” He hung up the phone. “He’ll be with us in a minute.”
A moment later, the door opened inward and a man entered the room. He was older, with a bushy white beard. He walked briskly to Gutfeld and took him by the wrist. “Come, now, Allen,” he said. “Visiting hours are over.”
Gutfeld stood. “I was just telling this young man about the wall at the end of the universe.”
“Of course you were, Allen,” the bearded man said gently. “Now say goodbye to your brother.” He turned to the other man. “We have upped his dosage,” he said. “That may explain the sudden turn toward a different type of fantasy. Though to be honest, I prefer this to the one where he is a general at war. Too bloody.”
The older man guided the Gutfeld toward the door. He paused and looked back over his shoulder. “Did he tell you my name was Pavel Ostapowicz?” he said. “Always makes me laugh. I am Murray Silver. I guess that’s not exotic enough for him. But I think this way is a little bit of a cliche, no? It’s always those mysterious European types who get to play the lead role when you’re blowing up all known ideas of the universe. Anyway, nice to meet you.”
Gutfeld nodded rapidly. “Dr. Ostapowicz is a direct descendant of Wernher von Braun.”
Silver shook his head.
The door shut behind them, separating Gutfeld from his brother.