Flash Fiction: Covfefe

WHEN HE WAS YOUNG, Covfefe’s father would take him for wharble rides. “Watch for the spout!” his father would say, and hoist the young birpl into the air to blow a big, wet kiss on his belly. Covfefe would squirm and laugh, and they’d fly together through the endless halls of their world-house, father and son, the perfect pair, until his father got tired or dinner was ready or some other cataclysm wrenched apart their loving bond.

Would that those short bursts of birplhood bliss could’ve lasted forever. But bliss is not something made to last.

Whenever Covfefe considered what it meant to be good,  in all the long millennia he lived to consider that question, that was the memory his mind always came back to: his father taking him for wharble rides through the empty, root-filled halls of their world-house. And now that Covfefe was dying, what it meant to be good was the single, all-consuming thought rattling around in his quantum brains. That, and the pain of slow disintegration.

How was it possible he had wasted so many millions – or was it billions? – of years, when his father, a strong, sturdy mirple, simpler than Covfefe, but good, had seemed to live so well on a measly three hundred thousand? How had Covfefe consumed so many worlds and all their myriad species, yet never seemed to feel content, while his father had only needed the two? Those damned two. His dad always bragged about those two like they meant something. Those pitiful two worlds were a veritable family myth. Every time Covfefe’s father had gone out with his friends and gotten drunk on the Good Old Dark Stuff, he’d told the same damned story about how he’d grown to his size without ever extinguishing another life, not even one as small as a single cell. His father’s world-stomach had been so refined with the liquor of goodness it had only consumed cold planets.

Covfefe felt another world slip out of him, and his quantum body slimmed a little more. This one hurt. In the vastness of spacetime, Covfefe winced. It wouldn’t be long now. A few hundred million, maybe a billion years. Not much time at all.

How could his father have been so proud of only two worlds? The old fool had missed the best part of being a mirpl: drinking that beautiful energy as a hot civilization disappeared down one’s world-gullet. Covfefe had surpassed his father’s record before the second millennia of his quantum life. And, as all strong, conservative, world-stomach-minded mirpls knew, once you devoured your tenth star system, your world-intake skyrocketed. Covfefe’s world-stomach-portfolio had exploded after his tenth at a rate that could only be described as “mental.”

Yet here Covfefe was going cold himself. His quantum body was finally, albeit slowly, dispersing back into all its inanimate, constituent parts, and the question of what it meant to be good was unrelenting, like a super-massive black hole at the center of his being sucking in all other possible thoughts. His world-stomach-portfolio didn’t mean a damned thing now, did it? All the lives he’d consumed, from the small to the tall, raised their ever-deafening screams from the silence of the void at all hours. How was he supposed to rest, if he couldn’t even close his local clusters without seeing them? Without wondering what if?

What if someone had done that to him and his family? What if he had never had the chance to take a wharble ride at all, because someone else’s world-stomach-portfolio was more important?

He’d enjoyed eating all those warm worlds, hadn’t he? Feeling their lives disappear into his own insatiable mass? He had. They’d made him drunker than the Good Old Dark Stuff, so drunk that for most of his adult life, all Covfefe could think about was eating more of them.

And only now, in hindsight, could Covfefe see that this was the worst part of the deal. Because, like any rational creature large enough to have a quantum brain spanning millions – or was it billions? – of miles, Covfefe knew what it meant to be good, and that he wasn’t. He knew that it was too late for him to change. He knew he would never give anyone a wharble ride, despite having more offspring than there existed atoms of certain heavier elements in this universe. He knew he could never brag to his friends over a parsec of the best top-shelf Dark Stuff that he’d grown to this size by only consuming cold matter.

The disintegration quickened, and one more world slipped away. Covfefe thought of the wharble rides again. Between the stabbing daggers of pain, he wondered if it was possible, had he grown large enough – another dozen or three dozen or three million worlds, perhaps – that he could earn the power to reverse the flow of time. He still had the energy to give it the old Particle Era try, didn’t he? To eat a few more, hot or cold? To do anything but sadly wither away without leaving a single positive mark on the universe of his birth?

But there were no more worlds in this quadrant. He’d eaten them all. And, sadly for him, there would be no more anywhere else, either – by the time he reached them, he would be too weak. It dawned on Covfefe then that not even gods have the power to undo their mistakes once it’s too late.

Which sort of makes all their other powers irrelevant, doesn’t it?

Tales from Being Car-less in Los Angeles, Pt. 1

I usually yawn at these bullshit holier-than-thou types of rants about this that or the other thing, but this was very funny to me, so here we go. I don’t have a car (by choice) and usually take the bus to work. I haven’t owned a car since I moved to Europe in 2013. I moved to LA earlier this year, but despite the ease of travel a car provides, decided to stick with the challenging, weird lifestyle of being car-less for a few reasons. I used to have a nice car, an Audi A6 that was luxurious and fun to drive, and you know what? I never saved any money, because maintaining that thing was more expensive than a small country, and I always got parking tickets. Besides, the Northern Californian in me doesn’t like smog and if I can do my tiny little part to make sure my kids and their kids grow up in a world with redwood trees instead of a scorched post-apocalyptic wasteland, that’s cool, too.
 
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“Dehydrate!”
 
Practically, public transportation is better for cities than massive loads of commuters all driving their own vehicles, anyway, so why not use it? It reduces traffic on the roads, lowers pollution, and if buses and trains are consistently full it gives the city a reason to build and run more of them. And personally, I think riding public transportation at least for a work commute is simply a lot less boring. If you’re going to spend a huge chunk of your day sitting around waiting, would you rather do it in your own vehicle where you have to drive a few feet every five or ten minutes, or someone else’s, where your hands and eyes are free to read a book, play Super Mario Run, or look at dank memes?
 
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The face of a man who wishes he could be battling King Koopa but instead must listen to NPR.
 
So I was walking to my bus stop today and there was gridlocked traffic all up and down Sepulveda Blvd as far as the eye could see. My bus was five cars past the stop and not moving. So I said frog it I’m walking to the next stop. Four stops/two miles later, the bus is still behind me and I’m listening to the Devil Makes Three bobbing along the sidewalk with my coffee and a smug smirk on my face while a bunch of pissed-off ladies give me dirty looks from their BMWs, some of which are plastered with Democrat or pro-environment bumper stickers. Some of whom are angrily scrolling on their cell phones probably blasting some friend or family member on social media for having the wrong opinions. Some of whom are at that very moment writing Facebook essays about how the Republicans are going to ruin the planet.
 
Turns out the traffic was unusually bad this morning due to a messed up traffic light, which is why I was able to walk farther in an hour than the entirety of the Hermosa/Manhattan Beach section of Sepulveda Blvd was able to drive. But still. Forget about daggers. Some of those folks were staring glaives.
 
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Now, my beliefs on politics these days are pretty open and I mostly try to keep them to myself. Seven billion people, seven billion realities. But. And this is a big but. The car issue has dimmed my view somewhat about the “open-mindedness” of others. Specifically certain people I’ve met since moving to this great city of sun and sand, the vast majority of whom have been awesome, but a small segment of whom have, upon learning I don’t drive a car, given me that not-so-subtle smirk to quietly inform me they think I am subhuman. Let’s not even mention the run-of-the-mill blonde BMW ladies who rocket around right turns on a red light when the walk sign is on and almost kill me on a regular basis then flip me off and yell at me even though their windows are up, like being a pedestrian is some form of cancer.
 
What’s up? And why here, of all places, where anyone who has been stuck in traffic all of once can recognize that the future of Los Angeles needs to look beyond the automobile as a primary mode of transportation?
 
C’mon. Guys. You will talk until you’re blue in the face about how those BAD PEOPLE are sooo going to destroy the environment… but am a crab-person for not driving when it is literally faster to walk?
 
Hmm.
 
Hmmmm.
 
That’s interesting.
 
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One star.