Author: Mark Joseph Kevlock

The metaphysical archive didn’t have as many visitors as it used to. Satch understood that. Still, he treated each one with all the kindness he could muster. The past was important to keep alive.

Round about six-thirty on Saturday night, a young couple came in. Nervous and fumbling in their attitudes toward one another, they must’ve been on only their third or fourth date, Satch could tell.

“A pleasant good evenin’ ta’ you,” he ushered them into the lobby and took their coats. “Welcome to the North American substation J2, of the metaphysical archive of planet Earth and its inhabitants. My name is Satchel Johnson. What can I show ya’?”

“This is Ellen. I’m Tom,” the young man said. “We’d like to start off with a personal tour.”

“Sure thing,” Satch said. “We’ll get you to the screening room right away. Just need your full names, dates of birth, and DNA profiles.”

Satch scanned their I.D. cards into the system and went up to the control booth. Ellen and Tom sat down holding hands in the darkened personal theatre and shared a kiss.

“Ready?” Tom asked his date.

“Sure,” Ellen replied.

“Okay, let’s start with the moment I decided to be conceived…”

Up in the booth, Satch located the appropriate recording and ran it for the youngsters.

Tom lent narration to the footage.

“There I am without form in the void. You can tell that my soul-self had grown restless with the lack of physicality.”

“You had such a cute soul,” Ellen commented.

“Watch now, here it comes,” Tom said. “There! There I go into Earthly reality, right into that egg inside my mother.”

“That was adorable,” Ellen said.

Tom shouted additional directions to Satch in the booth: “Okay, could you fast forward nine months, please?” Then to his date: “I want to show you the moment I decided to be born.”

Ellen squeezed Tom’s hand. “Lucky for me you did,” she said, playfully.

Satch grew a smile on his old face. Forty years and nothing changed. Young men still courted potential brides with revelations of vulnerability shared.

Tom toured Ellen through his birth footage and several key moments from his life afterward.

“What shall we view next?” he asked.

“How about the dawn of Man?” Ellen chose. “I haven’t seen that since I was six years old.”

“Comin’ right up,” Satch told them. He didn’t have to search for this footage; it was among the most popular in the archive. Satch marveled again at Humanity’s good fortune, that the Lagonians happened to be traveling past our planet at just the right moment to capture such monumental events as part of their galactic research.

“Look at that primordial soup,” Ellen said. “I’ve never seen a color like that!”

“Wait, there’s the spark!” Tom pointed across the interactive landscape. “The first thought created by what would someday become a human being — just a flash of electricity, that’s it.”

“And everything after has led to us,” Ellen gave herself over to a long, passionate kiss.

Satch grinned, over the wonderful self-centeredness of youth. He closed up the archive after ten, sensing that no other customers would visit tonight. He remembered when the concept was new: Man’s fascination with the notion that each of us created our own reality. Now it had become merely accepted fact. But for those who still felt the wonder of it all, Satch would be there, tonight and every night.