By Richard Nathan




TWO PEOPLE lie on their backs, looking up at the stars.  We'll call them FIRST PERSON and SECOND PERSON.


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    Whenever I look up at the stars, I can't help thinking
                                    about how space just goes on and on for infinity.  Just
                                    on and on and on and on and on and on and on and
                                    on and on and on and on and....


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    Shut up!


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    How can anything do that?


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    Do what?


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    Go on and on and on and on and on and on and...


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    Stop right now or I will kill you.


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    Do you think maybe at the edge of space, there's
                                    someone shouting, "Stop right now or I'll kill you"?


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    Space doesn't necessarily go on and on.  One theory
                                    is that space has been expanding ever since the big
                                    bang.  So it keeps getting bigger.


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    If it keeps getting bigger, doesn't that mean it
                                    goes on and on longer?


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    But it's not infinite.  So it doesn't go on
                                    and on forever.


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    So if space is not infinite, what's outside the
                                    outer borders?  I mean, you've got all this
                                    expanding space.  What's it going to expand 


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    Into nothingness, I suppose.


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    Then how do you tell the difference between the
                                    nothingness and space?  Most of space is just a
                                    big vacuum, and a big vacuum is just empty
                                    emptiness.  So if the empty emptiness
                                    vacuum of space expands into the nothing
                                    nothingness outside of space, how do you notice
                                    the difference?


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    Maybe space loops.


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    What do you mean?


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    Some people think that if you took off in a
                                    straight line, after billions and billions of years,
                                    eventually you'd get back to where you started


                                                            FIRST PERSON

                                    Well that sounds disappointing!  You travel for
                                    billions of years and you never get anywhere!


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    You've been across the universe!


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    But you ended up back where you started
                                    from!  So what's the point?


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    Maybe the point is the journey.  Maybe what's 
                                    really important in life is not the destination, but 
                                    the journey.


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    No, because if you're going out to buy fresh
                                    cat litter because you haven't changed the
                                    litter for two weeks, then actually getting to 
                                    the store where they sell the fresh litter and
                                    buying the litter is much more important than
                                    the trip to the store.  You do not want to go
                                    back home without the litter.

                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    But that's different!  You're not going across
                                    the universe to buy fresh cat litter!


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    Well I certainly hope not!  

                                                           SECOND PERSON
                                    The point I'm trying to make is that there's a
                                    difference between just staying in one
                                    place and going on a journey from which
                                    you eventually return.  You take vacations,
                                    don't you?   What's the point of taking
                                    vacations if you just end up back at work?


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    That's exactly how I feel whenever I get back! 
                                    There's nothing worse than the first day back
                                    at work after a vacation.  And think how much 
                                    worse it would be if you went through the whole
                                    universe, especially if they just let the work pile
                                    up while you were gone -- which they would!


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    I think if you want all the way across the universe,
                                    someone would take care of your work while
                                    you were gone.


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    You'd think so, wouldn't you?  But not where I
                                    work.  They just let it pile up and up and up and
                                    up and up and up and up and...


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    Shut up!  Look, it's all theoretical anyway.  If you
                                    actually tried to go all the way across the universe, 
                                    there's no way you'd live long enough to loop back
                                    to where you started.  You'd be dead long before
                                    you got back.


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    Oh.  That's a relief.  But what if they froze me?


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    What would be the point of that?


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    So they'd still have me to do all the work they
                                    saved up for me while I was gone.


                                                            SECOND PERSON
                                    You don't have to go.  No one is making you
                                    go across the universe.


                                                            FIRST PERSON
                                    No.  I can just stay here with you, looking up
                                    at the stars, and thinking about how space just
                                    goes on and on and on and on and on and on

                                    and on and on...





2006 by Richard Nathan.  All rights reserved

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