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September 2000

Next Thursday

“Sire, if I may, a question.”

“But of course, Berthold, what is it?”

“The universe, Sire, when did you destroy it?”

“Last Thursday. Did you not notice?”

“I blush to say that I did not, Sire, not immediately.”

“Well there you are. The universe was so inconsequential that its disappearance wasn’t even noticed. I was right to destroy it.”

“As you say, Sire.”

“By the way, when did you notice that it was gone?”

“Saturday, Sire. Saturday is my day for the furniture. I had finished polishing desire and was waxing poetic when I suddenly realized that there was nothing there. Gave me quite a nasty turn, it did.”

“So I imagine. Do you miss it?”

“Not really; it was all a bit of a bother. Some of it was rather nice though. I thought love was rather fine.”

“Hah! Love was my greatest failure. The heart of love, Berthold, is a lie. Love demands to be pure and can never be; purity would destroy it. I only invented love because I had not yet thought of chocolate.”

“As you say, Sire, and yet – is it fair, Sire?”

“Fair? What do you mean, fair?”

“Is it fair to the inhabitants, Sire? Their lives and all their futures are ended without notice. Is that fair to them?”

“Berthold, you have picked up a bad habit somewhere. What silly notions you have – imagine being fair to the inhabitants of the universe.”

“As you say, Sire, it’s just a silly notion and yet it doesn’t seem fair to me.”

“Oh, very well. Will it make you happy if I restore the universe?”

“Yes, Sire.”

“Very well. Let us see. Next Thursday will do nicely. It will be just a week. I shall restore the universe just as it was, next Thursday.”

“But won’t they notice that something is missing, Sire?”

“Not at all. There will be no gap, no discrepancy. They will never notice their missing week.”

“Very good, Sire. And what will you do with that missing week?”

“Good question. Let me think. Ah, I have it. I shall mount it on the wall of my study. It will be an artistic piece – The Week That Never Was.”

“Excellent, Sire. I shall pay particular attention to it.”

“Do so. It would never do for it to get dusty. This is a lesson to me, Berthold. In the next universe that I do, I shall have more chocolate.”

This page was last updated September 3, 2000.
Copyright &copy 2000 by Richard Harter

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September 2000