A Short Story On The End Of Life As We Know It
It started at the big earth table, where people gather in the afternoon before dinner. A similar sense of strangeness was being commonly experienced by the people at the table. When the question was asked, “Well what’s going on? What is everyone feeling?”. The answer was, for once, universal. One after another replied, “I don’t know… I can’t explain it.”. After the meal it was obvious that all present were sharing a similar lethargy and so they sat down to examine what was to be done. One by one they said that it wasn’t anything in particular. Just a vague unwillingness to keep struggling. It wasn’t that anyone felt lazy. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to do something. It was more a feeling of having been participating in something of great futility and that it kind of hit everyone at once.
Well, said one, if we could all do something, for no reason, just do something, what would it be? Collectively they said, “I’d really like to just go for a walk”. Since they were all feeling pretty much the same they rose as one and headed off in the same direction. Odd that no one thought about taking the lead or what they would attempt to accomplish – they just walked. When the group noticed something they would all pause in there progression to take it in. Sometimes it was something in the sky. A cloud being whipped up into an interesting shape like a wave or the swirling pattern made by leaves that blew from the tree. When they had a full appreciation of the event they would move back into the walk. Not many words were spoken. The occasional, “nice” or, “wow… how good was that?”. They would smile and nod in response to being treated to something very special.
When conversation started, as it will with earthlings, it was apparent from the collective agreement that they all felt they were awakening from a dream. As one they voiced how they felt they had been working passionately, frantically to accomplish something – but the clarity of that something no longer seemed tangible. “I can’t remember what I was doing”, one said. “I know what I was doing, but I can’t remember why” said another. Another spoke of how, “It seems I was following some instructions, but then I couldn’t remember the goal… the point”. At one time they turned to each other and all facing the inner circle wondered silently… what was it that seemed so important? They spent the rest of the day walking and looking at all the things that had been there all their lives. They enjoyed it all… a lot. That night they all slept for about ten hours.
The next day they ate some food and washed and one said, “I’m going to grow a garden”. Several others said they would help and the ones who liked digging dug and others who enjoyed sorting seeds sorted. There were several who collected what would be good for compost. The engineer types were very interested in a water supply and knowing that water came from the sky at regular intervals decided on the best ways to catch it and store it. The ones that had always thought in shapes and structures were happy to put it all together. They had a really good day. After dinner they all got up and took another walk.
They all thought about the things they had collected over the years. When they thought about irons and ironing boards they broke out in spontaneous laughter. It seemed so absurd that they had all spent so much time, for as long as they could remember, straightening their clothes. They all noticed that they hadn’t once thought about what they were wearing at all for the entire day.
How strange it had all been… doing what they coudn’t quite remember they’d been doing. Just to get – what – to go where? Funny none seemed to remember. Soon they forgot they’d forgot and that was that.
So the world became what it is. Time passed and they used all that was readily available and lived very happily.
They never remembered the money, which was that thing they’d been doing. They found lots of it. Great stores of paper, metals and gems. They couldn’t quite figure out what it had been used for. It turns out that there was of course a lot of thing to do with the gems and crystals. The builders used them for space flight and communication. Gold and silver were also put to good use as any really valuable metals will be. It turns out that the paper money was excellent for using in mortar. In fact the Earth Mint and Mortar Plant is highly regarded through out the galaxy to this day.