Thomas flicked through the channels and took another drag off of his cigarette.

He was wearing Oakley's. Indoors. Any sane person would have asked him why this was, an he would have calmly given them the bird. Nancy Grace was prattling on about some Melanesian Massacre. Tom had no clue where Melanesia was, and he had no desire to find out, so he turned off the television and lay back into his easy chair to have a nap.

He was just on the verge of falling asleep when a loud crash came filtering through the ventilation duct and sprinkled him liberally with powdery grey dust. His hands tightened ever so slightly on the edge of his chair. He'd had a fucking awful day and if Phil was screwing around with god-knows-what in the basement again he would skin him alive.

He got up, went to the laundry room and opened a diminutive door that was painted in a hideous shade of floral green. He descended the concrete steps, one at a time, and turned the corner into the basement.

Sure enough, there was Phil, hair a-frazzle, white lab coat on as usual (as if he had ever been to medical school), poking the inside of a large steel box with a stick. Tom ashed his Camel Crush on the water heater and approached the box with what he hoped was quiet menace.

"Phil, I- I swear to god, If you are fucking around down here, trying to make that damn time traveling machine, I will eject you from this house."

"No, no, the time traveling machine was a bunk, I proved that. This is a perpetual chaos generator!"

Tom peered over the edge of the steel box and raised his sunglasses to get a better look. What he saw made him die a little inside.



"This is a weasel roped to a computer."

"Yes, that's the whole point, you see-"

"Jesus Phil, just shut the fuck up. Just shut up. Close your mouth. I don't even want to hear it."

"Well you don't have t-"

"Whatever you have to say, I don't want to hear it. I have a newspaper column to write. I'm going to go do that, and when I get back, I want that thing gone."

"Aren't you going to watch me turn it on?"

Tom shrugged.

"Fine. Just make sure it doesn't explode or anything."

Gleefully Phil pulled out a large control pad looking device and started pressing red buttons. Tom reflected that tomorrow, he would have to call the mental asylum and have him taken away. No amount of rent was worth this. Phil stopped and set the remote down. Tom's cigarette fizzled and went out.


"Just wait."

Tom waited exactly twelve and a half seconds, just long enough to let the awkward pause sink in, and then opened his mouth to say something else disparaging.

Then, his house vanished. The sun beamed down into the basement, and he stared up in shock.

"What the fuck?"

A cooler of Pabst Blue Ribbon streaked past with such momentum that it could be measured in fractions of the speed of light.

A twenty story high kitten, made entirely out of streetlamps gamboled after strange alien butterflies, crushing houses underneath its massive paws.

A red Ford Taurus engaged itself in a deep philosophical conversation, and then managed to work out the remaining kinks in quantum theory.

Tom began to cry softly.

"What did you do Phil?"

For once in his life, Phil looked vaguely perturbed.

"It wasn't supposed to be this... expansive..."

Then, the universe fell apart.

It started with the molecules, shaking off their covalent bonds and running amok, and then all the gravitons decided to take an extended vacation into one of the more obscure dimensions, and for a brief second before utter annihilation, Tom experienced weightlessness.

Matter changed into energy, and then back again. Every black hole in the galaxy disgorged its contents, and, overhead, the stars began to wink out without any big fuss. A fraction of a Planck-second later, the whole damn thing crushed into a sphere no bigger than a beach ball and vanished entirely, breaking every single law of physics, known and unknown. Several W bosons chased each other through nothing and then winked out.

Tom never did write that column.