The 40 Story Laser Spewing Reptilian Behemoth

It was the end of the world. There was no denying it - a 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth was eating people and cars like popcorn. Yes, the end of the world was nigh. Some people would view this as a pity - if any, running in circles from terror, had time to think of anything apart from their impending death.

One person however, was not chasing what was left of his life in circles, but rather, sitting placidly on the sickly yellow curb. His eyes were a bit glazed over, glaring retrospectively at the 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth. There was nothing worried about his face, no shock of eventual doom loomed over his head, nothing about his physical presence was at all altered by the fact that in about ten minutes time he would be dead. His name was Alice.

Not more than a block away was a jogger in a purple running suit, his lanky legs easily avoiding the rather large pieces of building that the 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth had discarded. He had a wholly pleasant appearance, despite his brooding eyes, and in no bone was threaded a fiber of fear. It was as if he was going on his daily morning run with no more hindrance then one might find in a busy city. Coming up upon a young man sitting on the curb of the intersection, he slowed to a stop and said, "Good day?"

"I couldn't possibly tell whether or not it's a good day." Alice responded.

"How couldn't you tell? It's either a good day, or a bad day. All black and white, easy as pie."

Ruminating, Alice leaned back against the light pole. "Have you ever made pie? I have – it isn't quite so easy as you say. The crust is the hardest part, because if you spread it too thin, it's ruined, and if you make it too thick you lose any worthy flavor. I know, because I could have remade the crust, but I chose not to." He paused, interrupting the jogger, and continued, "I know, I ought to, I lost the pie contest. That's my consequence I suppose."

The jogger plopped down next to Alice; in a state of awed perplexity at the most bizarre man he had ever met. A car smashed into a jewelry store across the street and down a block. "Don't worry, it wasn't your fault," he said in a comforting tone, "There was nothing you could do about it, it was bound to happen."

"Bound to happen, how can something be bound to happen?"

"Well it's not like you had any choice in the matter."

"I could have remade the pie, it would have all been different if I had remade the pie." Alice hung his head in his hands.

"No. There was no way you could have made the pie. You were destined to lose, so if you had remade the pie, you would have won, and obviously you were not meant to win; because you were ultimately destined to not remake the pie." He looked at Alice, "So now can you tell me if it's a good day or a bad day?"

"For me it's a bad day. I could have remade that damn pie."

"Well then there we have it. You made a bad pie so you were fated to already have a bad day. So then you ought not to feel so bad."

"You didn't ask whether I was having a bad day – you asked whether it was a bad day."

"Well, it's just the same thing, now isn't it?"

"Not at all. For example, you see those people running about out there?"

The jogger followed Alice's gaze and nod at the scrambling mass of human flesh. "Yes."

I can't tell whether they're having a bad day or not, can you? I certainly can't because I don't know if they even exist."

"Well of course they exist, they're running for their lives." His tone was incredulous, pointing out the extreme obvious.

"But I can't tell if they have cognitive thought, cognitive being, what proof can you give me that shows that they are capable of life and capable of death?"

"That they are fearful of their lives."

"How do you know that they are fearful of their lives?"

"They are running from a 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth."

"Then why are they running from a 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth?"

"Because they are fearful of their lives."

"I see. So it was already predetermined that they would be fearful of their lives, thus having it ordained that they would be running in fear of their lives from a 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth?"

"Exactly."

"Then why is there a 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth here?"

"What is your name?" The jogger thought a change of conversation might be beneficial to his health.

"Alice." Said Alice.

"Alice is a girls name." The change was not beneficial to his health.

"Alice is my name." Long pause, "Why is there a 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth here?"

"Because it was supposed to happen."

"The entire human race was predestined to be lasered to death by a 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth. What is the point then? You can't be responsible for your actions then, you aren't responsible then."

"Well you weren't responsible for ruining you pie. You weren't responsible for being given a girls name."

"I was responsible for my pie, I could have redone it, I won't know what would have happened, there could have been infinite possibilities. Maybe, if I had redone my pie there wouldn't be a 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth in the city."

"I must say that that could not be your fault. Since it was already going to happen, there wasn't anything you could have done to change it. It would have happened anyway." He patted Alice on the shoulder in a fatherly gesture. "Besides, you don't really know, now do you?"

"It was in the paper."

"What was in the paper?"

"The 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth."

"Oh, well that's nice."

"Didn't you see the article?"

"No. I don't read the paper. I find that what happens, happens. It's really no skin off my back. Besides, I prefer to just let things happen. Like I was going on my morning run like always, and I decided to stop and talk to you, instead of continuing home."

"So you chose to come talk to me? Doesn't that mean of your own accord – free will – that you stopped to talk to me?"

"Well it was a choice, but what other could I make? I couldn't continue running, because if I had kept running, I would have been wrong about predestination. Now, isn't that comforting?"

"I'll tell you about the article." Alice looked about to cry.

"I really don't care about the blasted article. What I care about is changing your mind."

Alice chose to ignore the aforementioned comment. "I am the reigning pie champion of the Baker Heights Community Picnic. And this year I, as I've said, lost. The paper article was about a Mr. Smith, who had coincidentally, been some sort of mad scientist. I think I remember his pie – strawberry rhubarb. Have you ever had it? Delightful really."

"I don't eat pie," mumbled the purple suited jogger.

"It must have happened while conducting one of those experiments that mad scientists concoct, they always seem to be making mad and superfluous scientifical things. And you know, he always had it out for pie champion, always had it out for me. And if I had remade my pie, as you know, I would have won – or maybe even another person would have won."

"You can't berate yourself for losing to this Mr. Smith, it was inevitable."

"I could have remade the pie. He was stark raving mad."

"And you claim you are not?"

"I never said."

There was a long, awkward pause perturbed only by the smashing of cars against glass and the cut off screams of individuals.

"I never asked your name." Alice stated.

"Bennington. Bennington Boyd."

"I never asked."

"Oh."

"It's a shame really. But could I say that I'm lucky for not eating Mr. Smith's pie? I'm wholeheartedly sorry for my neighbor, Mr. Hyde."

"What has Mr. Hyde got to do with anything you're raving about?" Bennington. Bennington Boyd asked.

"Mr. Smith was raving. And Mr. Hyde ate the pie. If only he hadn't eaten the pie, we wouldn't be in this terrible fix." Alice moaned and laid his head in his lap.

"Eating a pie couldn't have caused all this, it's inconceivable to even think of it."

"I didn't think of it, I know it. I read the paper."

"What about the pie in the paper."

"There wasn't really a mention of the pie in the paper. But that's why there's a 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth voraciously devouring our city. And it's all my fault." He hung his head again between his hands, the epitome of a man in pitiful defeat.

"Nothing is anyone's fault. We can't mean to do bad things. We follow a divine will, a path that is laid out for us going in one direction. And then, every now and then we have that illusion of choice, not real choice like you so vehemently believe in, but predestined motives and solutions and reactions combined with interactions. These illusions, or 'realities', as I like to call them are just minor roadblocks in our lives, we get around them somehow, and because we do and because we must – our actions are completely maneuvered thus leaving us unaccountable for the roadblocks that we meet. There is nothing you can do about it, nothing you could have done about it, and nothing to be done about it. Take a chapter from my life, just follow that path since you can't deviate, and live it up. There isn't anything at all to worry about this way."

"But if you killed a man, wouldn't you be responsible?"

"I would never kill a man." Bennington Boyd sneered. (Most unbecoming of his upbringing.)

"But, what if you did?"

"I couldn't be at fault."

"The authorities… they, well they would find you at fault."

"Just a road block, it truly is unjustifiable to hold me for charges that I could do nothing about. If I killed a man, then there was no other way about it!" Bennington, good old Bennington, screaming almost, in an argumentative frenzy.

Alice stayed calm; maybe he was just morose, "What if there was another way around it?"

"If I killed a man, then he was supposed to die, by my hand, I can't change fate, you silly boy."

"Is there no way I can convince you?"

"I highly doubt it."

"I know the 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth. It's Mr. Hyde."

"What?"

"Mr. Smith's judge was Mr. Hyde, and Mr. Hyde ate his pie. He's now the 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth."

"Are you quite sure?"

"Rather." Said Alice.

"I'm always quite sure."

"I suppose you would be." Disdain.

"I don't like your tone." More disdain.

"What else don't you like about me?"

"Not much, frankly. Do you normally behave like this with people?"

"I haven't the faintest idea. Here, take this rock." Alice handed Bennington Boyd a nice chunk of freshly broken street asphalt.

"What for?"

"Have you got a good throwing arm by chance?"

"Played every throwing sport in track way back in college. Got fifth in state."

"Throw this," Alice pointed skyward, "At Mr. Hyde."

"The 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth?"

"That's what I was pointing at. Now you have a choice. If you throw that rock the beast (otherwise noted as the 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth) will turn it's attention on us and if not, he may very well eat or laser us any way, or pass over us completely – or maybe we'll have a car dropped upon us or others may perish or survive. So throw the rock or don't."

Complete and total silence. The kind in movies when there is noise everywhere, but the theatre is suspended in awe as one being. If brain cogs made a sound, Bennington Boyd's would have been deafening. He stood, slowly, graceful as a swan, a fox, a magnificent beast. Alice sat. He arched his back to rival the beauty of Adonis. Alice hunched over his knees. With one fell swoop Bennington Boyd flung his arm synchronous with the forward thrust of his leg to brace his momentum as his arm flew out in a young ballerina's grace. And the asphalt flew, and Alice cried, and as a shooting star is gazed upon with all it's flaming wonder – Bennington Boyd watched as the asphalt star vaulted to the heavens to return from grace and smack the 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth right on the snout. Alice looked at Mr. Hyde.

A puzzled look spread across its scaly, reptilian face, and it shook once or twice and found the source of torment. One step. Two, three, and four. Then with shocking speed the lizard hunkered down and sought to imprison poor, fearless, Bennington in stained ivory bars. His fate sealed, the final roadblock – and Alice, poor, young, pie champion Alice flung himself, like a cat, into the 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth's snapping jaws.

"Do you believe me now?" Alice creaked through clenched teeth, as the 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth decided to enjoy his 111th meal of the day in front of Bennington.

His face was flushed a violent purple, his ears plugged, rage steaming from every poor and fiber of his being. "YOU!" He shouted, "YOU WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO DO THAT!" He looked about him, as if seeking out some hidden path – some place to go. "THAT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN! THAT PAINFUL DEATH WAS MINE." He paused; Alice was slowing losing his conscious between the crack of bone and splatter of blood. Bennington Boyd walked straight up to the level of Alice's face, "I will never believe in a fool like you. I am ready for anything."

"You threw the rock, I didn't think you'd…" Alice smiled, the most saccharine thing Bennington had ever seen, and died.

The 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth turned and walked merrily away.

"I will never believe you Alice. Never." And as he turned to continue his morning jog, the 40-story laser spewing reptilian behemoth's tail slung back and knocked him 80 feet back against a building.

Guess he should have just continued his normal morning jog.