The Thing That Moved

“Inertia is the property of matter by which it remains in uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force.” -Klaatu ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ (1951)



   “Today we’re going to start the Universe” rumbled God.

“Yes, sir”, replied Gabriel. He readied a pen on his clipboard.

“Here are the specifications”, said God in a stentorian voice that shook the Heavens. “Matter shall either move or not move, depending.”

Gabriel scribbled. He looked up.

“Make things move or not move”, Gabriel repeated.

“Exactly”, said God, causing an avalanche somewhere.

“Very good, sir.” Gabriel left. A moment later, his head appeared in the doorway.

“Err”, said Gabriel. God was cleaning his spectacles. Why did he need them? Gabriel had always left it alone. Obviously they were merely an affectation, and what was wrong with that? Nothing, apparently.

“Yes?” said God.

“Only, it’s not that I’d second guess, well, you know.” Gabriel paused to gather his thoughts. “Well… Will there be a lot happening in this Universe?”

“Oh yes”, replied God excitedly, then looked over with a furrowed brow at a vase that had fallen. “Trust me, you don’t need more than what I’ve given you. You trust me, don’t you, Gabriel?”

“Oh, ha ha, absolutely, sir! Just making sure. Wouldn’t want anyone to say I wasn’t doing my job ‘n all.” And with that, Gabriel was off.

A moment later a timid knock was heard at the entrance to God’s office.


“Sorry, not saying you’re wrong, you can’t be wrong, that would be some kind of contradiction in logic on the most fundamental level, only you do pay me quite well…”

“Quite well”, said God. “Quiet well”.

“Exactly”, said Gabriel. “And I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I didn’t make sure, well…” He stopped for a moment before finally getting to the point. “Is this… a test?”

God leaned back, laughing. “Nope, not at all. An object shall remain in uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force. Put that in the program. ” God looked off into the distance. “The rest will take care of itself.”

“Understood”, said Gabriel, and this time he meant it.



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