Alone again spatially

Jack’s favoured way to die had always been the deep space float. Just being cast adrift in a heated space-suit with a tank full of oxygen, a smack/acid drip in his vein and velvet underground in his head.Away, away, with no possiblity of turning back, no possiblity of rescue, no possibility of changing minds (acid notwithstanding).

As space tourism was still comparitively rare (i.e. expensive and not all that safe)  this was, of course, just so much fantasy … and then the win on the Euro-lottery, the banking of the Euro-millions, and the possiblity of a ride on the Euro-shuttle, made all this a possibility. Of course Europe not being Russia, there were also Euro-laws, which would, of course, necessitate Euro-compromise (acid made in Italy and shipped by road to Germany balanced on the wing of an airbus the oxygen half English and half French; the smack  ‘Fairtrade’ and the music volume not above ‘5’) so the possiblity of a truly satistying death still seemed to be somewhat remote.

Then came the disasters.

Overthrowing it’s usual remarkable grasp of timing, the Euro-space council managed to rail-road (space-road whatever) funding through the various member nation parliaments (once they came up with the idea of selling  the idea as an investment in saving the planet etc. etc. it wasn’t much of a stretch) about 2 mins before the first of the disasters, in Russia.The money was committed in the form of negotiable bonds 6 1/2 minutes before the 2nd of the disasters, in America (giving the bonds both the prestige and the stigma of the only game in town).

..and a few weeks before the outbreak of yet another War featuring Israel and Iraq
(real -life Wii – though by this time few could tell the difference and fewer wanted to), which was threatening to go nuclear.

Given the Iraqis (showing some forward planning for a change) had the Chinese  on the bench

… and the Americans (showing some restraint for a change) were waiting to see who was winning before jumping in  with their size nines (US size 14 1/2),

.. and, as though further diversion were needed, sceintists at CERN picked this time to announce that they were about to prove that the universe emanated from a poster in an travel agent’s window (they brought forward their ‘final’ experiment out of fear of being cancelled, nuked, or attacked by small animals/foreign food etc.)

… it’s amazing that the  Euro shuttle got off the ground at all. As it was, “Le Shut” took off at 2 minutes to Midnight on Sunday.

There wasn’t a bang, neither was there whimper. From a point somewhere on the French Swiss border, there was an inaudible hiss and, like a beach ball, the earth casually deflated to nothing.

So now there really was just Jack, alone again, spatially.

(Tim Shreeve)

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