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donuts in space

Short story By: brucek

remembering Douglas Adams.

Submitted:May 30, 2012    Reads: 60    Comments: 14    Likes: 5   

Sonny Sullivan is now considered the greatest inventor of all time. This achievement didn't happen solely through his own efforts. He had quite a bit of help. Right at the beginning his parents paid a rather large amount of money to a genetic engineer to help things along. Unfortunately, the extra brain they paid for had a difficult time, at the embryonic stage, of finding a home for itself in his body, and, as a result, he had to be content with sitting on half of his thinking power for the rest of this life. Most of the time his extra brain worked just fine, and its location never was a problem, except for when he sat too long in one position on long car trips, which would cause him to forget where he was going. It turned out his regular brain was too embarrassed to ever ask for directions, so he ended up getting lost a lot.

However, like I was saying, he was an incredible inventor, and that's the point I'm trying to get across. The stunning thing is he really only came up with one successful invention. Now, after hearing that, you might decide to rank him below the bubble gum on the bottom of Edison's shoe, but let me tell you, that one invention was truly amazing. What Sonny came up with was a machine that could reform matter directly from his imagination. But, in order for it to work, he had to imagine an object down to its tiniest detail. If he was able to pull that off, the machine would do all of the rest. Hopefully you noticed that I said the machine reformed matter. It couldn't just create something out of nothing. Sonny was pretty sure that was impossible. But in order to form what he was imagining, an equal amount of matter had to be transformed, usually from somewhere nearby. The question was always what was going to disappear, and, to be honest, Sonny never gave it all that much thought, until one day he permanently lost all of the hair from the left side of his body. After that, finding a date on the weekends became much more difficult.

The first version of the machine was very small, and was run on an ordinary nine volt battery. The most that he ever managed to reform with it was a bowl of Bing cherries and black olives, both of which he loved, so, for a while at least, that wasn't a problem. It was while he was enjoying a full body massage that his rear brain, feeling rejuvenated by the brisk rub down, came up with the idea of using the machine to create a larger version of itself. Even after Sonny went back and studied all of his notes and diagrams, it still took a week of imagining all of its intricacies to make a slightly larger model a reality. Of course, at the exact same instant, an equal amount of matter, in the form of his favorite Christmas sweater, was lost forever. But he'd done it. And it seemed logical that he should use the new machine to create an even larger and more powerful machine. And to use that one to make an even larger one. And so on. And after five years of using his imagination machines to create more powerful imagination machines, he finally achieved his goal; to be able to use his imagination to create anything, anywhere, no matter how large or fantastic. Believe it or not, Sonny never developed a "God Complex". Even with the incredible power he had at his fingertips, it never crossed his mind. Quite admirable, don't you think? Of course, it never crossed his mind how much destruction he was causing by reforming all of that matter into all of those machines either. The reason for this was simple enough; he had a very clear goal for what he wanted to do with his final machine, and he just couldn't be bothered with any distracting details. What he wanted was to open a donut shop in the center of the universe, in the exact spot where the "Big Bang" originally went "Bang". By his way of thinking, it was the perfect location, since the motion of every galaxy in the universe pointed back to that exact spot. First he would use his machine to create the donut shop, and then all he needed to do is figure out a way to advertise. And boy would he have to advertise, since, for billions of years, his customers had all been speeding away from where he wanted to set up his shop. Far, far away. I guess he hoped that other intelligent species had figured out how to cross vast interstellar distances like he had using his imagination machine. Actually, his rear brain thought it was an asinine location for a donut shop, but whenever Sonny noticed himself having those kinds of thoughts, he simply sat down until they went away.

So, the question for Sonny was, how in the hell could he advertise so that other beings would know that he was open for business. The answer he came up with was similar to the ones he always came up with: Think Big. Like a neon sign with letters a hundred thousand miles high. He had the machine for the job. In fact, the final version was roughly the size of Jupiter, so the only concern was where all of that matter was going to come from. Well, thought Sonny, matter was everywhere, right? And if a few planets happened to be destroyed when he imagined his sign into existence, so what? There was countless numbers of galaxies in the universe, and a staggering number of planets in each one, so the chances of Earth being destroyed was pretty damn slim, and that was all he really cared about. You see, Sonny was planning for his retirement, and sometimes sacrifices had to be made. So Sonny created his sign (Sonny's Donuts, of course), and he hung an "open" sign in his window, and he waited. And he waited some more. Until, one day, his rear brain had had enough.

"You do realize this isn't going to work."

"What do you know about anything?"

"You don't even know if any other species likes eating donuts."

"Everybody likes donuts."

"What if your first customer shows up and decides it would rather eat you?"

"Why are you always so negative? It's not my fault you ended up in my ass."

"Now let's not get into that. I was talking about your donut shop here. Whatever possessed you to create one out in the middle of nowhere?"

"It's nice and quiet."

"That's because there's never any customers."

"I want my retirement to be relaxing."

"Boring, you mean."

"Oh, so now you're bored, are you? And what do you suggest I do instead, smart ass?"

"I knew it was only a matter of time before the name calling started. We can never have a civil conversation."

"Well, you said I was boring!"

"I did not! I said this retirement of yours was boring."

"And I already asked you what you think I should be doing instead. Going out dancing every night?"

"Not much of a chance of getting a date way out here."

"It was never one of my strong points anyway."

"Whose fault is that? You never let me do any of the talking. I wouldn't go on and on about gear ratios and subatomic particles."

"Fine, next time you can do the talking."

"What next time? We're in the middle of nowhere! There's not an attractive girl within a million light years!"

Unfortunately for Sonny, his rear brain was completely correct. Attractive or otherwise, every other member of the human race was very, very far away. There was, however, a starship, at that very moment, racing towards Sonny's gargantuan neon sign. They weren't human, they didn't know what it meant, or even what it said, since they didn't speak English. In fact, a mind boggling small percentage of intelligent species actually did speak English, which was another practical consideration Sonny refused to concern himself about. He figured, once his donuts started selling, word of mouth, or fanged, mucus covered hole, would do the rest. What the passengers and crew of the spaceship did find interesting about the sign was that it looked exactly like the undecipherable sacred words in their great holy books. All of the other sacred words were understood, and had been studied and revered for thousands of generations. These were the last words, the words that would at last give them a final understanding of their place in the cosmos, and of their role in it. Unfortunately, their eagerness to reach the sign was far greater than their ability to slow down to avoid large, brightly glowing objects, and when their spaceship was completely obliterated, it left an enormous, gaping hole the size of Manhattan in the letter "D". Huge clouds of neon gas poured out into the vacuum of space, the letter blinked for an hour or two, and then went black.

"That's just great!" shouted Sonny.

"Can we go back to Earth now? Let me see,............hmmmmm," thought his rear brain, "zero customers.............plus one broken sign..............equals.............a disaster!"

"Maybe Earth would be a better location to sell donuts."

"You think!?"


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