Cubic Moon

“’He’s the only man who could drop out of a cubic moon, he’s so square.’”

“You made that up.”

“No I didn’t.  I wish I had, honestly; but I didn’t.  Somebody said it once.  I think it was Marcus Aurelius.”

“So what does it mean?”

“I’ve no idea.  But I think you’ll agree it’s relevant to our situation.”

“It…  What?”

“Well, you know.  Isn’t it?

“I don’t know.  How can I possibly know whether it’s relevant if I’ve no idea what it means?”

“Surely it doesn’t matter what it actually means, if we know it involves a cubic moon.  Because, unless I’m very much mistaken, wouldn’t you agree that that’s what we;’re looking at?”

“Possibly.  I remain to be entirely convinced.  I mean, clearly someone intended for us to assume it to be a moon.  But it could just as easily be a very large, very pale blue light bulb.”

“Oh, what, and someone put it up there to fool us?  Like the stars are the tiny street-lights of towns on the underneath of the sky?”

“I’m…  going to have to go with ‘what?’ again, there.”

“I’m saying, you think it’s likely that that thing up there, that’s bathing the landscape in this lovely pale light, is an artificial object put there artificially… by artificers… rather than being what it obviously is: a naturally formed natural satellite.  Perfectly natural.”

“And perfectly square.  As you yourself pointed out.  It’s square.  How many times have you ever known that happen?”

“Not all moons are round.  Some are… sort of potato-shaped.  Haven’t you ever been to Mars?”

“Many of them, yes.  But they aren’t…”

“Well then, you should surely understand that moons aren’t always round.  You’re so geocentric sometimes.”

“Yes, but the principle of hydrostatic eq…”

“Oh, I don’t want to hear of your sciency jumble-bumbly.  The point is what did you say?”

“What?  When?  About hydrostati…”

“No, no no no no.  No, not that.  Back then, when I asked if you’d been to Mars, and you said, ‘many of them’.  It sounded for a second as though you said, ‘many of them’.  Did you?”

“Did I what?”

“Say, ‘many of them’.”



“Because I have.  Happens all the time.  Don’t you get that?  Sometimes it feels like you can’t go to the pub, have a bath, play canasta without some portal opens up, or someone shows up in a Winnebago with a hyperdrive, or you discover the lost tomb of a contingent of crystalline-skulled aliens – again – and before you know it, you’re on bloody Mars.  But it’s always a different one.”

“Why do you play canasta in a bath in the pub?”

“There were commas.”

“Oh.  Anyway, no.  It doesn’t happen to me like that.  And besides, there’s only one Mars: the one with the potato moons.”

“Yeah, and the one with the big face on it; and the one without the big face but with the low-gravity aliens who shoot at each other; and the other one with the big face on it; and the one with all the buried machines to generate a breathable atmosphere; and the one with the other big face on it that haunts astronauts…”

“The one with the theme park…”

“…with the theme park, yes…”

“So are we agreed we’re not on Mars?  The huge cubic moon suggests we’re not.”

“Light bulb.”

“Moon, light bulb, whatever.”

“Besides, it could be a superposition.”

“Begone, demon.”

“No, no!  No, it’s…  It’s science.  Again.  It could be like, you know, light being made of particles and waves, both at once, depending how you look at it.”

“So that’s, like, a moon to me, but a potato to you?”

“Light bulb.”

“A light bulb to me, and a potato to you?

“Begone, demon.”

“Don’t be shirty.  So how do we get out of here?”

“Patience, I guess.  I’m sure there’ll be a Winnebago along in a minute or two.”


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