The Rather Unremarkable Story of Patalymus, Catalymus, Rhododendron, and Other Minor, Unimportant Characters
Author's Note: Warning: Excessive amounts of sarcasm run rampant through this story. It is, after all, a satire of everything I've ever found to be ridiculous. (Well, not everything, but pretty close to it.) Oh, and bear in mind that the quotes inside parenthesis are the Narrator. Read with caution, and remember that I hold no legal responsibility for your reaction to this story.
Once, in a time that is not relevant, in a place that is neither important nor relevant, there was a mighty god. Surprisingly – or not – this god's name was Fred. The reason for this may have been one of two things. One, everyone might have been too lazy to give him an interesting name, or, two, his true name was too powerful and great for the unworthy ears of you mere mortals. However, this is only slightly relevant, and not very important.
At this same irrelevant (and irreverent) time, there was a young man living on the lovely planet earth.
(At this point in time, the Narrator will step in and make a side comment. "Of course, this is a clue that this story must have happened a long time ago, seeing that the author has described the earth as 'lovely'.")
This young man was named Patalymus, and he had two good friends named Catalymus and Rhododendron. Catalymus was only a few years older than Patalymus, but the two had been fast friends as long as they could remember. The two boys had grown up together, and had gone on many "adventures" together.
("Though numerous, these "adventures" are completely irrelevant, and totally unimportant.")
Rhododendron was a beautiful girl about the same age as Patalymus, and was sometimes considered the most beautiful girl in the world.
("But we all know this isn't true.")
The trio was a rather orthodox group: Patalymus and Catalymus having the obligatory crush on Rhododendron, and the appropriate ratio of two boys to every one girl.
Unfortunately, tragedy was about to strike. Patalymus had committed a terrible sin, and Fred had grown angry with him. That night, at the advice of his friends, Patalymus went to beg for the god's forgiveness.
(At this point in time, the narrator shall enter the story as Fred, the all powerful, omnipotent (but not omni-potent) embodiment of ultimate supremacy, and the Alternate Narrator shall take his place and make a side comment. "Fred was, at the moment, throwing a temper tantrum. He was upset because people were giving up on the easy way out of blaming things on him, and were now moving to the ultimate evil: science. Not only this, but his worshipers had less than a 98 majority. Poor Patalymus. This was not a good time to piss off an all-powerful, omnipotent embodiment of ultimate supremacy.")
"Mighty Fred, hear my plea," Patalymus began, kneeling before an alter with his hands clasped before him.
Fred stopped his raging rampage to look down at the earth, mystical arms crossed over his mystical chest.
"All powerful Fred, may I please ask forgiveness for --"
Sufficiently annoyed, Fred decided to smite the ungrateful human with his ultimate Smiteful Smiter: Ver. 2.643789113. The god raised his arms above his head, and with a flick of his wrist, sent doom crashing down upon the head of our hero.
The last thing Patalymus remembered was an imminent feeling of doom before everything went dark.
("Which makes perfect sense. One would be susceptible to feelings of imminent doom if tragedy were about to strike.")
Patalymus slowly awoke to see a haze of dust and gas swirling around him.
(At this point in time, the Narrator shall return to explain. "This is the author's rather feeble attempt at representing the Nebula and Protostar stage of a star's 'life'. However, since everything happens at an agonizingly slow pace, the author shall teak it a bit so that everything is ridiculously fast, and millions of years shall be made up of mere paragraphs. Also, as it is Fred's will, several elements of the story will not make sense scientifically, but he's a god, and the god is the one with the Smiteful Smiter: Ver. 2.643789113, not you.")
"Ugh, what's going on?" Patalymus asked, looking around to find that he was floating about in a void.
"Well, there are two answers," answered Catalymus' voice.
Patalymus looked around frantically, trying to locate his friend. "Catalymus? Where are you?"
"Right here," came the answer as a red giant of a star floated into Patalymus' vision.
Our hero faltered for words, but couldn't find any.
Catalymus continued, however. "The first reason is the religious reason," he began. "You angered Fred, and he smote you, me, and Rhododendron and turned us into stars for some metaphorical reason beyond our comprehension."
"And the second reason?" Patalymus prodded, finding his voice again.
"The second reason is the scientific explanation," Catalymus answered, pausing only for a second before continuing. "Giant clouds of gas – mostly hydrogen and helium – mixed with dust formed and began to collect in the center. Once the planetary nebula heats up enough, it begins to glow and heat up, forming a protostar. You're almost to the 'main sequence' step, Patalymus. That's where four of your hydrogen atoms will combine in a process called fusion and form one helium atom. This will create a large amount of energy.
"I, however, have passed this state and have moved on to the stage of a red giant. This is when I have used up all of my hydrogen, and I begin to expand from the energy I'm creating by fusing atoms of carbon."
Patalymus mulled this over for a moment before asking, "And Rhododendron?"
It took Catalymus a long moment to reply. "She has entered the stage of red supergiant. That's when she, being a larger star than I am, grows bigger, hotter, and denser than me. Her fusion forms carbon and then iron."
"And?" Patalymus prompted, trying to get the whole story out of his friend.
"I'm afraid her and I don't have much longer to live, Patalymus."
(At this point in time, the Narrator would like to interject another side comment. "Stars do not 'live', so calling this process a 'life cycle' is really just a big joke. But, personification is a crazy thing, so we can pretend, and just say that these stars are 'alive'.")
At this moment, Catalymus used up all of the carbon in his core and shrunk to a white dwarf, and thus left the plotline, where eventually he burned out and turned into a floating chunk of carbon, or a black dwarf.
Patalymus mourned his friend's personified death for an entire sentence before going off to find Rhododendron.
"Patalymus?" Rhododendron asked softly as Patalymus approached.
"Yes," he replied softly. After a moment, he collected himself and began, "Rhododendron, There's something I need to tell you. Something I should have told you every day since the moment I met you."
Then, Patalymus confessed his love for the girl in a heartwarming speech that brought tears to the eyes of readers everywhere.
(At this point in time, the Narrator casually fiddled with the Smiteful Smiter: Ver. 2.643789113. "It did bring tears to your eyes, right?"
"Ah, but I cannot love you, Patalymus," Rhododendron confessed tearfully, "though it burns me up inside."
"Why not?" Patalymus asked, rather astonished that his heartwarming speech didn't sway her emotions.
"Because, darling, I am close to my personified death, and I could not love you, knowing that I will just break your heart."
"But, but," Patalymus faltered, "you're breaking my heart even when you're not loving me."
But, alas, the sweet, touching moment was ended by a giant shockwave made by Rhododendron as she went from red supergiant, to supernova, to neutron start, thus leaving the plotline with a bang.
This time, Patalymus mourned the personified death of his would-be girlfriend for two whole sentences. He sat there for a moment, burning inside ("Literally, again.") before taking action.
"Fred!" he called to the god angrily.
(At this moment in time, the Narrator shall re-enter the story as Fred, and the Alternate Narrator shall make a side comment for him. "At the present moment, Fred was in a considerably better mood, having just sent messages to his priests, telling them to attack, bribe, murder, and use otherwise underhanded tactics to convert non-believers.")
"Yes, dear child?" Fred asked, appearing before Patalymus.
"Just how do you expect me to worship you now that you've taken away all that I've ever loved?"
Fred shook his mystical head and smiled. "Actually, Catalymus' personified death was a fluke. My Smiteful Smiter: Ver. 2.643789113 malfunctioned and accidentally sped up his already quickened doom."
"And Rhododendron?" Patalymus inqured.
"Oh, her," Fred began slowly. "She was meant to create some kind of moral to this story."
"Oh," Patalymus said flatly. "Something like: 'Never repeatedly insult all-powerful, omnipotent embodiments of ultimate supremacy'?"
"Yea, something like that."
(At this point in time, the Alternate Narrator would like to make another side comment. "It is ironic that Patalymus should think that this is the moral of the story when it is anything but. The true moral is, 'Stop trying to analyze Nyssa's literature, as it is random and makes a whole lot of absolutely no sense'. But, then again, it might have something to do with regularly upgrading your Smiteful Smiter to the next newest model.")
After a long pause, Fred waved to Patalymus and prepared to leave. "Well, I'm off to go do . . . Godly stuff. Ta ta!"
And then Patalymus was left alone. And, after billions of years, he collapsed into a black hole as dark and empty as his heart.
(At this point in time, the Narrator would like to return to finish off the story by ridiculing those of you who expected a happy ending. "It's a myth. Myths never have happy ending. Honestly now. Anyways, Farewell, and never forget The Rather Unremarkable Story of Patalymus, Catalymus, Rhododendron, and Other Minor, Unimportant Characters.")