Exitus Terrarum

{from the vault, my first encounter with the Elf...}



the Hyperion Chronicles
“What would happen if you used Pledge on pixie dust?”


#140 Exitus Terrarum


I decided to end the world today.

Now, this might seem like a rather odd thing for someone to decide to do. But I have my reasons.

You may also ask just how I would go about ending the world. That’s a funny story. I saved an elf’s life. I didn’t know he was an elf when I first met him in—of all places— a garbage dumpster, where I found this fellow surrounded by a pack of feral dogs.

I’d had some experience with thee dogs as they consider that dumpster their territory, and I was able to pelt a couple right in the ribs with chunks of concrete; not enough to kill, but enough to send them yelping away.

So I try to help the guy up, but he was bleeding in several spots, and I see that he can’t really walk because one of his legs is a little lame. I’m loath to get involved with police, and he looks light, so I pick him up and carry him back to my house. I didn’t have a proper first aid kit, but I did have some cologne (alcohol for his cuts), a towel of the landlords I ripped up, and some duct tape to hold it all together. I was fairly intent on putting the cologne and the towels on, and I really didn’t pay much attention to his face until I was done.

That’s when I first noticed he was an elf.

I pulled his hood off to daub the cologne on a cut on his head, and I saw those pointy ears! Like nine kinds of idiot I made some offhand comment like: “You’re an elf!”

As soon as I said it I knew it was the wrong thing, for his face turned dark and steely. But, instead of a touchy comment about his ears and slight build, the fellow said, “I suppose you want your wish for saving an elf’s life.”

I could go on with this story and tell you how he got to the dumpster or who came to pick him up or a thousand other things, but that’s not really the point of the story. What happened was I received one wish.

Now, anyone who knows me knows what I would wish for. Most of the last decade I have talked of little else than taking over the world. So, of course this is what I wished for.

But in the manner of Fairy Tales or telegraphed sitcoms, I didn’t for some reason just wish to take over the world in a straightforward manner. “Elf,” (He had an actual name, but I’m not going to reveal it here.) “I wish to take over the world.”

Sadly, this is not what I said. What I in my non-infinite wisdom said was, “I wish to control the world.”

The elf got an elfy look on his face (you’d have to meet an elf to know what I’m talking about) and he proceeded to tell me that controlling the world was all but impossible, what with all the variables and Chaos Theory and everything. I’m not kidding: he actually mentioned the butterfly flapping its wings and all that.

The elf went on to say that the only way I could control the world was to end it. So, to make a long story short (well, not short, but done, at least this part of it), I now have the ability to destroy the world.

Which brings me back to my opening sentence.

Now, ending the world was not something I ever really considered. I mean; I still want to rule the world one day, and ending it doesn’t really promote that goal. So, I had always treated this ability as sort of a white-elephant super power.

Until lately.

I’m not sure why, but the last few weeks things have just been getting to me. I looked around and there is just so much suffering. Even the people who aren’t suffering sure aren’t happy. People can’t even be kind to each other, and I got cut off in traffic and the store has no flat-leaf parsley and my friend’s not coming to visit me now and we’re out of hair conditioner and I lost my pen with my name on it and my back hurts and…

ARRRRGGGGHHH!!!!!

You see how stressed I am?

I guess maybe I’m having a quarter-life crisis, but even with that there is Pat Robertson, and he’s 11 reasons alone to end the world. And then there is all the evil. And I read this website about Universalism that said when it’s all said and done everyone will get to Heaven so even if there is an afterlife all I’m really doing is sending people to Heaven, right? I mean, when you look at it that way, I’m a selfish S.O.B. for not doing it sooner.

So, to get back to the point—while I still remember what it is—I’m sitting here on the back porch at 4:25 in the morning having decided to end the world.

I look up one last time to kind of take in the grandeur and majesty of the heavens and as I’m sitting here with my head tilted up I suddenly come to a realization, and that realization is that we have Cheerios. Why is this important? Well, a few weeks ago I discovered that the absolute best is to make a grilled turkey and cheese sandwich and then put some Cheerios in it right before you eat. The resulting texture difference makes the sandwich just out of this world.

Of course, to make and eat said sandwich I have to be in this world, which sort of puts a damper on my whole end-the-world idea. I struggle for a minute, trying to weigh the ideals of my beliefs vs. the growing hunger. But then I remember we have gourmet hot chocolate too. What man can resist that?

Sigh.

Just at that moment, I see a coyote lope up and attack a jackrabbit. A sign from above? I do try to live by principle, but a man can only take so much. So, I guess I won’t be ending the world just yet. But I will be going inside to make my sandwich and cocoa.

Until the world seems bleak again (or I find out we’re out of whipped cream),

Hyperion
July 31, 2003


Credits
Thanks to Koz with the title
Thanks to Tufloi for editing

1 comment:

Biff Spiffy said...

I shall have to write General Mills to thank them for saving my life.

Cheerios are also handy as donut seeds. Hand 'em to a little kid and tell him to go plant them about 6" deep and 3" apart, and in a month he'll get Krispy Kremes.

I have an elfy look, but I don't going about revealing it to mortals.