Chris Auman

Mind's Eye

God Rick's Planet

Originally published in Mind's Eye #3, June 1993

Your planets messin' up, Rick," Todd would always say, and it was true, to a point. Creating and maintaining a functional and populated planet was not always, if ever, and easy task. There was a large margin for error. Rick knew this, but he had confidence in his work. He liked to think he knew what he was doing even if others didn't think he did. They're just jealous, Rick thought, especially Todd. It may have been true that Todd's planet was capable of sustaining living, multi-cellular life forms after only one billion years, and that the dominant species was able to find a cure for cancer in two years. So what? What was the rush? Todd's planet was spoiled anyway. His planet had been at a state of world peace for so long, it made Pax Romana seem like a catnap. Todd laughed at the Pax Romana, at Latin, and the whole Roman Empire in general. All the guys gave Rick grief about the Roman Empire.

"So let me get this straight, you got these hedonistic, idol worshipping, pagan dudes, right? And they build this huge arena so they can throw these Christian guys--who are like, in the hottest new, underground religion--they throw them in the arena and make them fight lions and gladiators?" Todd could barely control his laughter. "And they wore sheets?!"

Rick tried in vain to defense the Roman Empire. "They weren't supposed to do that. I thought I made that perfectly clear. Kill each other I mean, not wear sheets—tunics, I mean. They're called tunics."

"Yeah," Todd would answer, "but what about those tyrana-souses or whatever."

"They were called dinosaurs, Todd."

"Yeah, right. That killed me, dinosaurs. You must have been smoking some serious trisodium phosphate crystals when you cooked that one up."

Rick admitted that the dinosaurs may have been a step in the wrong direction: giant reptiles, miles high? He was young then, he thought they looked cool, but soon realized they were going nowhere as a species. Not before Todd and the others though. Todd hurled a two thousand ton meteorite at Rick's planet, which through a series of tidal waves and intense earthquakes, completely wiped out the dinosaurs.

It was strictly forbidden to mess with anyone's planet and Rick would have surely complained to higher authorities, had any existed, but all the guys agreed that the dinosaurs were dumb and that Todd was doing Rick a favor by destroying them.

At least Rick's birds survived, he loved his birds. None of the other's planets had birds. Marsha's had flying fish, but that didn't count. Rick's birds survived because he did one thing with his planet none of the others did: Rick's planet evolved. It changed and evolved continuously, and so did its inhabitants. Rick was fascinated by the way his life forms turned out and was amazed at the infinite possibilities that this evolution provided for all species. When one of the others wanted to create a new life form, poof! it was done, just like that. What kind of way was that to run a planet?

The others just couldn't understand Rick. They couldn't understand his patience, his persistence, or his driving creative spirit. Most of all, they couldn't understand how Rick did it, even when he tried to explain it one day at lunch.

"Okay, I'll try to explain this one more time. Your organisms, like mine, are composed of hundreds of teeny tiny units called cells. Now this is where we differ. My cells each have a nucleus which contains a genetic code. Your cells don't have this code."

"A code?" asked Bob.

"Yes, a code, deoxyribonucleic acid, which determines how the individual will appear physically and perform mentally as a distinct, individual species. These cells tend to mutate, which is essential for evolution to take place."

"Wait a minute," Todd interrupted. "You purposely mutate your organisms? That's sick. You are disgusting. Hey guys, Rick's been making a bunch of damn mutants for his planet."

Rick could shrug off most of Todd's comments without letting them get to him. Rick's humans, that was a different story. Rick had a hard time living them down. He didn't know what to do with them. Even Todd would back off a little when it came to the human race. It was definitely a touchy subject. Rick loved his humans most of all. He had allowed them to evolve into beings that were capable of thought and able to love and create. He allowed them to populate his world. He gave them the entire planet and trusted them with it. But they fought constantly. Time and time again, they brought themselves to the brink of destruction by abusing and misusing a gift that he had given them, the day they split the atom. They were growing more and more powerful everyday.

Rick thought long and hard for a solution. What if, he thought, what if I just let them go? What if they bring themselves to the brink of destruction, what if I just let them go over the edge and don't intervene. It's just not fair to the other species. Maybe their time on my planet is up.

The others knew about Rick's dilemma, and one night at dinner, Brenda said something to him.

"Look Rick, nobody's gonna laugh at you if you just admit that you made a mistake. It's not too late to start over and just forget the past."

"Yeah, Rick, just admit that you're a goof-up and that you couldn't run a planet if you existence depended on it."

Todd knew he stepped over the line with that last comment.

"Wait a minute, hold on a second! What are you talking about? I can't run a planet? What about you Todd? What about your first planet, Mars? It seems to me I remember something about the fastest extinction of a species. And Bob, what about your planet, whatever it was called. You don't hear much from that one anymore, do you? Why? Because you lost it. How do you lose an entire planet, Bob?"

"I overslept, man. It floated off somewhere. I'll find it eventually. That was only a million years ago."

"A million years? You leave a planet alone for a million years? Do you have any idea what can happen to a planet left alone for a million years? Why don't you guys just leave me and my stupid planet alone."

"But Rick," asked Karen, who was usually the only one to stick up for Rick. "What are you going to do about the humans?"

Rick was silent for awhile before he got up from the dinner table. "I haven't decided yet," he said, and it was true, he hadn't. 

© 2020 Chris Auman