‘LOVE YOU NOT’
Only after the world exploded did Daniel figure out it was his fault.
Daniel polished his time trapping gun with the white and slightly blood tainted towel he’d used to wipe the debris of the last world he’d mistakenly blown off, off his shirt and took the highway to planet Know-Where-Tobe.
Once I reach the damned planet, Daniel thought, I’ll be safe. I’ll reconstruct the world and the damage will be undone. There’s no way I can fail at this task, even though turning on switches isn’t my forte.
World reconstructing used to be done with a blow-things-out-of-proportion precision instrument Daniel knew nothing about and which had merely been used for atom creation and reconstruction. In those days, making worlds explode through mistakes were costly and punishable by law. Now, thanks to the time trapping gun, world reconstruction takes a split second and, provided it is done within a certain timeframe, roaming space cops won’t even notice that a world is missing. Besides, missing worlds are a common occurrence.
The fact is that the world exploded because Daniel had used the wrong switch in the kitchen. It could happen to anyone, really. There had been a switch for ‘love you’ and another for ‘love you not’ his wife had incorporated into the kitchen top, ‘for amusement’ she’d said. “If you press the ‘love you’ switch, you’ll end up in my arms and we’ll have many children. But if you press the ‘love you not’ switch, you’re sure to know what hell might be” she’d maintained. It had all seemed like a joke. “Be careful,” she’d insisted, “this is a designer kitchen: it has its own brain and it looks after all the appliances in a very efficient manner.”
Then, they’d had an argument over his impregnating multiple hosts in an attempt to reproduce himself, when all he had to do was to get Jess pregnant in the first place. They had talked about having perfect children before. Unlike Jess, he’d tried to explain, the new creatures bearing his genes would be perfect: no frightening toe curling ability, no self-generating three-dimensional tattoos randomly erupting at night and the right level of passivity would have to be present. Jess had been perfect, he’d told her, only with too many perfect imperfections.
Jess threatened to leave. In a fit of rage and with a vengeful grin on his lips, Daniel turned the ‘love you not’ switch on to piss her off and left to get a pack of cigarettes half-way across the galaxy because this is where everyone went for cigarettes these days.
Ten minutes later, just as he’d reached the Smoke-Till-You-Drop-Shop, his world exploded. The shop owner struck a deal with Daniel: he’d provide Daniel with a contraband time trapping gun in exchange for good cash and a promise he’d get taught how to use the gun.
Now that he’d reached the Know-Where-Tobe planet, Daniel had all but three options in order to reconstruct his world, those revealed by the three switches on his gun: He could aim the gun at the spot where the exploded world had disappeared, else he could shoot the gun into his throat to implant the seeds of creation in his own belly and hope to survive its birth, or, finally, he could aim the gun at any organic matter and shoot. The first option was the safest, although Daniel wasn’t that knowledgeable about it even if it was said to be fool-proof.
The second option was risky as body cells could regenerate into damaged genetic material of all types and create floating worlds of entrails, eye balls, windpipes, that roamed universes leaking and reeking of blood and superfluous body parts. If successful, however, this option could re-create a better world where its re-constructor became its ruler.
Now, the first two options could restore a world as it had been, from a split second after the explosion, had it not occurred, to one year later.
The third option was easier and always worth using when in doubt. Daniel had already experimented with it several times now: it went back in time up to a maximum of six months before the explosion. Once again, Daniel selected this option. He believed that by going back in time, he’d be able to build an invincible wall around his reinvented world. That way, it would never again be at the mercy of any fools who mistakenly select ‘love you’ or ‘love you not’ switches which some women build on kitchen tops. Daniel would create the first indestructible world the universe had ever known and would become its undisputed, unchallenged and all-powerful master.
Presently, this was Daniel’s fifth attempt at going back in time. As he kneeled and unwrapped his time trapping gun from its white but now very bloody towel, he found that its three switches had been tampered with, the first saying ‘fuck you’, the second: ‘love you not’ and the third: ‘love you.” So she found the bloody bag with the gun in it, Daniel thought. She’ll get what she deserves; I’ll never give in to what she wants to hear ever again or any of her whims and, without giving it a second thought, he turned the first switch on.
Nine months later, a heavily pregnant Jess is standing by the kitchen top showing the new switches she’s added onto it. “Remember the argument?” she asks Daniel, “you were so angry… I thought you were going to turn the ‘love you not switch’ on.”
Daniel nods, wondering, fearing this self-regenerating reality. He looks at the switches she’s added; there are another four: ‘one child’, ‘one child with car’, ‘one child with car and house’, ‘fuck you’.
“What’s behind the ‘fuck you’ this time?” he asks.
“’Fuck you’ as in?” he insists.
Daniel turns the ‘fuck you’ switch on.
“Only joking,” she says with a huge smile.
Only after his inner world imploded did Daniel figure out it was his fault.