The Best Seat

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Grandfather?

What is it, little man?

Bexi told me you're gonna be a million soon. Is that true?

Hmm... I don't really know. I forgot how old I am a long, long, looong time ago. Go check the Historical Records.

Okay. What ones?

Gaea, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Pre-Colonial Age.

Okay. Done. Grandfather, it's true!

Oh, yes? That's nice, I suppose.

How do they know you're the oldest man alive, Grandfather?

Well, you tell me, little man. I'm in the Records, yes?

Yeah, but how do they know? I mean, you're the only one who was around back then.

Heh, no. Not the only one.

I mean the only one around back then that's around now.

Ah. Hmm. Yes, I suppose. Can't ever be sure, though, can you? Heh.

Grandfather, what's it like to be the oldest man in the galaxy? I mean, is it weird? With everyone around you being thousands and thousands of years younger than you? You've seen whole civilizations rise. And fall. And rebuilt!

Not only that, but I had my hand in a little bit of all three. But I don't know, really. I think being the oldest man alive is sort of like having the best seat at a show. You get to see everything, up close and personal.

Do you ever get lonely, Grandfather?

Lonely? Oh, sometimes. But who doesn't? And with nobody dying anymore, it's not as if I'll ever have to miss someone for the rest of my life. They'll always be out there, even if maybe I don't see them for a century or two.

Do you remember what it was like when people died, Grandfather?

I do indeed, little man. It wasn't much fun. You spend all your time growing and living and getting to know a person, and then they up and die on you. No more talks or time to spend together, no more old memories to reflect upon, no new adventures to have. Death was a nasty thing, little man. Didn't end soon enough, if you ask me.

Do you think you'll ever die? Or me?

Naw, all that nonsense is done and over with. You just wait and see. Someday you'll be a million and you and I will celebrate together. We'll help build more civilizations, maybe keep a few less from falling, or help build 'em back up again if they do. We'll watch stars be born, watch worlds take shape. We can even travel to the ends of the Universe, if you feel like it.

How long will that take, Grandfather?

Forever, probably. But we've got plenty of time.

--

Notes:

The above conversation is between a young boy and his ancient grandfather in the far future. Implied in the dialogue is that death has been conquered and no longer an issue. Also, as it's probably confusing how the "little man" was able to root through the Historical Records so fast, it should be mentioned that the boy possesses an instantaneous BCI (brain-computer interface) which, by the time of setting, is as common as eyeballs or fingers for a person to have.