I’ve been so busy editing over the last however-many-months, I haven’t posted anything besides a few book reviews, a note on querying (which was mostly for my own benefit), and the weekly Friday Morning FYIs. So here’s a short (<900 words) thingy I banged-out, oh, probably a year ago. I wrote it one day when a strange, naggy little idea way-too-small for a novel broke through the topsoil in my mind, and watered itself.
Are There People In My Universe?
“I love cheeseburgers,” I said. “Have your salad, I got no problem with it. For me, it’s cheeseburgers all the way. I could eat them all day, every day.”
“I shudder to think what your insides look like,” she said. It was cute.
“They look just like yours. It’s dark in there,” I joked. She just shook her head.
Of course, I knew that wasn’t the case. I knew I was lying to Annie. But how could I tell her I have a universe inside me? That’s not something you bring up on a second date. You should probably discuss dietary preferences, though. Big ones–like being vegan–usually come up on the first date. Since that didn’t happen, I figured we’d be alright and I could give her the cheeseburger speech. Oh sure, if we keep dating she’ll try to get me to cut back on the red meat and eat more of the green stuff. That’s OK. I can always grab a burger when she’s not around.
Crap. Now I’m hungry.
Anyway. So, yeah. A universe.
Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about a metaphorical universe, like ‘The body is so complex it’s its own little universe’. No, I mean a universe universe. Planets. Suns. Vast expanse of cold, empty nothing. That kind of universe. In me. Specifically, just below my left lung. Everyone calls it something else, but I know what it is. Apparently it’s very rare.
Now, you’re probably wondering if it hurts. Plainly speaking, yes, it hurts. I wouldn’t recommend it. In fact, If I had a choice between having a universe in me and not, I’d go with not. Not would be better. There’d be no doctors telling me to take painkillers, no upset family members begging me to get treatment, and no pain. But hey, what can I do? I can’t cry over it. That wouldn’t do any good. My universe would just keep right on doing what it’s doing. You can see why I didn’t tell Annie, though, right? Who’d want to date a guy with a universe up against his lung? That’s why there’s no ‘Do you have a universe in you?’ profile question on any of the dating sites.
You’re also probably wondering how the thing got there. You and me both, sister. Again, not crying, but I am curious. Did I eat it by accident and it’s growing, like a tapeworm or something? Did someone put it there on purpose? That’s an unpleasant thought. Is it genetic, like every other generation someone in my family grows a universe? My parents say ‘no’ to that last possibility, by the way. I don’t know, but I hope I find out before it kills me.
The other thing I wonder about, the thing that digs at me even more than the whole ‘Where did it come from?’ thing is: are there any people in my universe?
I KNOW, RIGHT?
Imagine that. People in the universe under my lung. Farmers farming, athletes playing sports, mothers, fathers, children. It’s nuts! But so is having a universe in you, I guess. But if our universe has people, then why can’t mine?
Holy crap. Wow. Wow wow wow. Why didn’t I think of this before? What if… think about this: what if we’re in a universe inside somebody? It’s possible, right? I mean, we don’t know where the universe, our universe, ends. Maybe it’s bumped right up against someone’s spleen, or kidney, or heart. Man, that’s meta. Huh.
I hope our universe isn’t hurting them. Mine gets really bad sometimes. I even cough blood. That sucks. Makes it real hard to sleep.
So, anyway, there it is. I wanted you to know, and now you know. At this point I’m not sure what I’m going to do. It’s strange having it in my insides, but I think I’ve made peace with it. The doctors say it’s inoperable, by the way. They say they’ve got some promising new drugs coming up on trial, but honestly I don’t think I can do that. If there’s people in my universe, how can I destroy it? Especially now that I think we might be in a universe in someone, too? I wouldn’t want them killing us. From everything I’ve read, those cures can be a lot worse than having a damn universe, anyway.
I’ll tell you, my folks are pissed I’m being so nonchalant about it, though. And my brother is being an absolute ass, getting all over my case to join a support group. He hopes it’ll change my mind about treatment. Whatever. It’s not their body or their universe. It’s mine. I’m just glad the doctors said it’s not contagious. I’d hate to give a universe to Annie, or you, or anybody.
Sorry, I got heavy there. It gets me down a little when I think about it. You’d think it would be cool. Like, give me super powers or something. But it’s not. Really not. Sometimes I cough blood. That sucks. Shit, I said that already. Sorry.
You know what? I don’t want to talk about this anymore. Let’s go get a burger, huh?
Thx for reading,