Armageddon in a Flash
by Brian McNett

Oh dear... Here I am again.

I'm the narrator. So this is a Dr. Armageddon story. But those things are... you know... LONG. You can't tell a Dr. Armageddon story in less than 1000 words, can you? Just the necessary description of the beady-eyed, hawk-nosed, droopy-eared, meter-high, well-dressed, green-skinned, top-hatted fellow is going to kill at least the first seventy words! Words are going to die. But... I'm made of words!

     "Yeah, said Dr. Armageddon, breaking the fourth wall, "but brevity is an ART!"
Wow, there he is! Dr. Thaddeus Bucephalon Armageddon. He's got a comically oversized plunger switch! I think he means business.

     "Yeah," said Thaddeus, looking directly at the empty space from which my 'hey, I'm the narrator' voice emerges. "You totally know what my business is?"

     "Boom?" I asked.
"Yeah, baby," said Armageddon. "Boom."

       Oh my... I haven't even described the scene yet. We're just voices in empty space.

     "Not me," said Armageddon, "I got my description."
Thaddeus Armageddon placed the plunger on what would have been the surface of something had we time to describe it.
"Have you ever considered," He asked, "What happens if I blow up the consensual hallucination in which the story takes place?"
Holy hell, this story is METAFICTION!
"Yeah, baby," said Armageddon, "I'm exploding the paradigm here!"
Won't someone, anyone save this story from certain doom? Oh, strike that. It came out so WRONG.
Thaddeus reached out to push the plunger down and stopped, frozen in time. This is really weird. Time has stopped. In an Armageddon story, this can only mean one thing.

      In a massive rush of non-linear quantum transactions, breaking the Bekenstein bound of your brain and collapsing it into an information black hole -- Delrick Borograve, logically-impossible time-traveling gnome from 320,000 dimensions away orthogonal to any reasonable reality... Oh. My. God. What a big damned hero!
I misspoke. He's also only one meter high.
You know him. You love him. He's logically-impossible yet physically real! He has pseudo-Z DNA. Benzo-brown hair, sea-foam green eyes, large round nose, comically oversized ears. Casually-dressed and likely metro-sexual. Not quite as a loquacious description of old Thaddeus'. He's carrying a really nice guitar today.

     Having nothing better to do, as all of time is stopped, let's say hello.

     Hello, Delrick!

    "Hi," Delrick replied, "Fancy meeting you here, Narrator."

     It was then the narrator noticed Delrick was holding an ELECTRIC guitar... What just happened there? Usually I talk about myself in the first person.

     "Don't worry about it," Delrick replied, "We don't have enough words left to explore it. Here, let me strum some notes on this Rickenbacker Electro-Spanish, and sing you a tune."

     Mysteriously, Delrick plugged the guitar into something which wasn't there, and strummed. A guitar amplifier appeared where he was plugged in. Grass sprouted at his feet. He sang.

I'll be a dandy, and I'll be a rover

You'll know who I am by the songs that I sing

I'll feast at your table, I'll sleep in your clover

Who cares what the morrow shall bring

     Isn't that copyrighted, Delrick?
"Well, yes, but it's only a fragment, and you're doing commentary, so it's fair use."
Delrick returned to singing John Denver's "Today." It's a modern classic. A song about living in the moment. While Delrick sang and played, grass spread in all directions. Birds flew. Butterflies fluttered by. Trees blossomed...

I can't be contented with yesterday's glory

I can't live on promises winter to spring

Today is my moment, now is my story

I'll laugh and I'll cry and I'll sing.

The sun was in the sky, a breeze blew. The gnome sang gently and from the heart. And a whole world was created as readers looked on. This is really a powerful tune. Are you sure we can get away with quoting these lyrics?

"Oh sure," Delrick said, "I do this all the time. No one will argue with us about the fair use issues. Not only is this commentary on John Denver's song, it's a parody of the copyright system. We have those lawyers both ways."

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine

I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine

A million tomorrows shall all pass away

'Ere I forget...

Delrick's voice trailed off. A single tear rolled down his face...
"Not enough time left," he said, "I gotta wrap this up, take Thaddeus into custody... You know the drill, Narrator."
Yes, I do know the drill. Delrick picked up the oversized plunger switch and chucked it into the air with such force that it's still speeding in a brachistochrone trajectory across his newly created solar system. What an arm! You should see him play baseball.

"Maybe another time," he said, pulling a length of rope from somewhere... What? I never said I was an OMNISCIENT narrator! He tied Thaddeus up, and allowed time to resume.

"What the..." shouted Armageddon, as he stumbled into the space where his plunger had just been, and tripped headlong into a heap on the ground due to being hog-tied. He squirmed around on the grass which an instant before in his reckoning hadn't been there.
"No one destroys cyberspace on MY watch," Delrick said, "You'll be answering to Judge William Gibson over this one, Thaddeus."

"Curses!" Armageddon said, "Foiled again!"

Now that you've saved the consensual hallucination that connects author to reader, what are you going to do next, Delrick?

"I'm going to Disneyland?" The gnome asked.
"I don't think so," I said, "Have you checked your day planner?"
"Oh," said the gnome, checking his day planner, "Looks like I'm bound for Hawaii. Hey, that's not that bad. Beaches, surf, tropical drinks... Not Disneyland, but... Okay..."
"And exactly where and when are you going to be in Hawaii?"
Delrick checked his planner again.
"Looks like Pearl Harbor, er... December... Nineteen...
"YOU FOOL," Armageddon screamed, "You're going to get us all killed! I may like blowing things up but I'm NOT BOMB PROOF!"
"Nothin' to it, boss," Delrick said, "I'm a predestination paradox. Totally have to go there. No choice. Off and away!!!"
And with that, Delrick and the hog-tied Dr. Armageddon were off in a rush of non-linear quantum transactions combined with more that a whiff of illogic.

Copyright © 2018 Brian McNett