Check this out. You win five million dollars from the Publisher’s Sweepstakes, and the same day that that big Ed guy gives you the cheque, aliens land on the earth and say they’re going to blow up the world in two days. What do you do?

I’m guessing I’m not really in a position to negotiate with the aliens? They seem a tad unreasonable, but on the other hand, I kind of imagine we might be the rowdy neighbours of the galaxy. Blasting out a few hundred hours a day of aggressively mundane television and other electromagnetic rubbish.

Perhaps the aliens have work in the morning and have just finally had enough.

I’d consider stowing away on their ship, maybe. Unrealistic, but it’s definitely what films and videogames have taught me is the right and easiest thing. I’ll probably be able to neutralise the alien threat (that’s the best way to spin genocide) whilst still getting a romantic subplot and sorting things out with my kids.

Or maybe I’m showing a lack of imagination.

I guess the question here is really supposed to be about the money, not the aliens, but I can spot about three or four good problems.

First of all, cheques, presumably even massive ones, take about five working days to clear, so I’m probably not going to see a penny of it.

Secondly, I kind of assume money would become quite rapidly irrelevant in a ‘world ends in two days’ situation. I’m always rambling on about the shared hallucination that is the value of money. All of these digits and scraps of paper don’t really have anything to do with value. A social contract ascribes value to them, and there would probably be an amount of momentum to that, but who is going to be manning the shops, the power stations, and everything else? Five million dollars isn’t a worth a hill of beans in a world wide riot, or even a universal hippy prayer ceremony, attempting to avert the invasion with love.

I picture a few people desperately hoarding money, never taking time to notice they’ve got nothing to do with it. I expect the truly rich and paranoid will have already built their bunkers, but I won’t have time to grow my own, and those sorts don’t like the smell of the nouveau riche. Trust me, I’ve seen Titanic.

So I’d probably do the same thing I’d do in any apocalypse situation. Try and find as many people I loved as possible, give them all a cuddle, and spend the last hours singing and dancing and talking together. Find somewhere cosy, light a fire, and remember the things that have made the world special for us: us.

Once money becomes useless, and time stops stretching out before us like an inviting blanket, we’ve still got the people who rely on us to help make them smile. We’ve got networks of friends and loved ones that we wrap ourselves in. We support them, and make life worth living. They support us, and make life worth living. The world out there is beautiful, and we’ve been sharing it long enough to know that we should be together for the finale.

And as we hold onto that last warmth, we watch the fireworks.

Illustration by Emma

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About Alabaster Crippens

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Illustrations by Emma, Questions by Chris. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Check this out. You win five million dollars from the Publisher’s Sweepstakes, and the same day that that big Ed guy gives you the cheque, aliens land on the earth and say they’re going to blow up the world in two days. What do you do?

  1. Use the money to buy a really good quality towel, three beers, and possibly a cheese sandwich for everyone I care about :-p

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