When the Universe was young, and I mean very young; so young that it had yet to utter its first words, yet to combine its sundry gases and grits into stars and quarks, eons before galaxies, when the whole swath of Creation was mostly hydrogen and echoes, I took my dog fishing. (There have been many scientific fellows in the prestigious universities scattered about this one mean world who would argue that without oxygen, or matter, there would be no echoes at all, for sound would have no medium to travel through – there being a scarcity of molecules to carry the tune. I challenge them to explain the great screaming from the rim of the abyss when the neutrinos figured out how to get their Ford Thunderbirds to walk the dog on the rim of the first black hole. They called it the event horizon shuffle, and believe you me, without any molecules to get in the way their rowdy lingo was enough to turn the black abysm blue.)

My dog was not much of a fisherman, but he couldn’t be blamed for that. There weren’t a lot of us around in those days, and certainly no fish. I’d string the lure and dangle it down into the abyssal trenches left over from the Big Bang, and I’d drink beer and just sort of ruminate to my mutt. Sparks (he was a binary mongrel) must have learned a lot about what it’s like bein’ married, and I do suspect it was my constant pontificating on the subject that ensured he reached a ripe old age without ever getting himself similarly entangled. He died a proud bachelor.

Me, not so lucky. After a shouting match I’m sure the neutrinos next door were delighted to overhear, I left my house with a slamming of doors and my dog in tow, swearing I’d sooner build a tent on a neutron star than pitch another fit with my sweet harpy.

A few hours later, us about four beers deep, and me still steaming, I got a wiggle on the line. Well I got to reeling and sure enough, up comes something probably better left down in the ether. Wasn’t sure what it was to be honest. Sparks barked at it. I tried to cut the line but it reached for my knife with one of its silver tentacles and asked, as placidly as its fleet of mouths could manage, “Olaf Erikson?”

I swallowed and just shook my head. “My name’s Pete.”

“It appears we’ve both been misled,” it chorused. “Would you mind terribly lowering me back down into the madness of chaos? I’m waiting for someone.”

I lowered my pole until the great weight on the end of it shuddered and disintegrated. When I raised my line again my hook had turned into a flock of bronze butterflies. Then I went home, apologized to my wife, and helped her finish off the pie she’d left to cool in the windowsill.

Perspective, it’s what makes a marriage work.

The Sporadic Saga of Olaf & the Monster
 Wooden Ships and Iron MonstersConcerning the first battle between viking and abomination
 The Golden BowIn which the Monster proposes a wager
 Bad CompanyIn which the Monster wins a bet

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