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The End

Michel not only found a decent rope at the hardware store, but he purchased it at a discounted rate because the rope only had one end. He went to stow the rope in the garage, but his wife stopped him and poked him with her hand.

She pointed back at all of the rope lingering outside the door and said, "Aren't you going to wind this rope up on a spool?"

"I can't," replied Michel helplessly. "This rope has no end. I could begin winding and never stop."

Michel's wife then asked, "Well, then why didn't you cut a section off?"

He caught himself just as he was about to say, "I didn't think of that." He didn't say it, as he knew it would confirm many of his wife's suspicions about men. So he said, "Here," and tossed the rope over his wife's head and a coil of it landed in a box in the garage.

He went upstairs to look at photographs through a magnifying glass.

Michel's wife ventured into the garage and poured gasoline on to the rope and let it burn, confirming many of Michel's suspicions about women. The flame burned rope from their home to the hardware store, then began travelling along the rope through space, towards the point at which infinity begins.

As it raced along, the tiny flame ignited the atmospheres of planets, each of which glowed brightly for a time and then crumbled distantly in the rope's trail. Space crackled as the strength of the flame grew. Soon it was a comet and, soon, a blazing monstrosity. The fireball grew to fill an entire universe and its size began to grow quicker than its acceleration. And so it reached backwards toward Michel.

At first, he was confused by the intense heat that came through the magnifying glass and lapped up his photographs. But soon he was no more.

by why the lucky stiff

may 12, 2003