Author : James Bambury

V pricked the side of the universe and giggled as it contracted and spun about in circles.

“Did you see that?” V poked another universe. It collapsed into a space-time singularity and V laughed again. “That one had more of a fizz. Make some more.”

“Are you going to burst them?” X asked.


“What about letting one go for a little longer, just to see what would happen?”

“I am almost certain it wouldn’t be as exciting as watching them blow up.”

“Well, I want to see. Will you leave this next one alone? Just for a change?”

“I guess.”

X lit up another universe. It flared outwards in a bubble of quark-gluon plasma that was just coalescing into a soup of particles when V stabbed it. It sputtered and collapsed.

“Come on.” X said.

“You can always make more,” said V. “I’ll leave the next one alone, I promise.”

X sighed and sparked a new universe. It flared into being and floated between them.

“This one is nice.” said V.

“You stand back.” said X.

“I mean it. This one seems a bit different.”

“You’re just saying that.”

“No, seriously. You’ve done something interesting with the gravity in this one. There’s just the right textures of galaxies and dark matter in there. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was sentience in there. Remember the last time that happened?”

“I was drunk and lonely. I don’t want to talk about it.”

“There’s going to be a whole lot of planets in this one.”

“As if you care about any planet that’s not being engulfed in its own star.”

“I care far more about things than you think. Now, let’s grab some lunch and see how this plays out.”

“Fine.” X stood up, turned away and heard the familiar pop of a universe collapsing on itself.

“After you said all that you had to just–” X glared. V scrunched the universe into a Planck sized ball and flicked it at X.

“I just had to see your look,” said V, “but also, have you actually thought about cold death if there was sentience around to experience it? I think I’m being the nice one here.”

X waited for V to leave, then tried to remember what had happened with the gravity on the last universe. X lit a tiny universe and hid it under his seat.

He would catch up with V and start another argument. That would give the stars time to burn. Then he’d send back his main course, spill a drink, do anything to buy some more time while the universe would become pockmarked with evaporating black holes. With a little luck, X would see cold death when they got back from lunch.


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