This train wreck keeps on a-chuggin’.
What Hob did not know was that the others were not everyone, but just more things. Of course, they could have been everyone since Hob did not know who everyone was, but he had a good idea that they were not things. Not to say that he didn’t like the things; they seemed nice enough, although Hob had nothing to compare them to but everyone else. But since everyone had been rude enough to not show up and was still talking badly about his observation base, Hob concluded that these things that lived in the moose woods were very nice indeed.
“Look at this,” the thing said to the others. “I found him outside the woods.”
“I am pleased to meet you all,” Hob said. “If you are half as interesting as Barry is, then we will get along just great.”
The other things looked puzzled. “Who is Barry?” they said.
“Yes, who is Barry?” the thing said.
“Why, you are Barry,” Hob said. “You can’t stay a thing forever, you know.”
“I see,” Barry said.
“So where did you come from?” one of the things said.
That was a good question, Hob thought. After all, what is one’s identity worth without an origin? True, he was indeed Hob and he was indeed here, but to live exclusively in the moment was undoubtedly the road to self-destruction. On the other hand, who could possibly search for origin without ignoring the very world around him, and perhaps neglecting the very things that define his own existence? The Question: search for the source of the proverbial guiding light or follow its path, leading perhaps to some greater knowledge rivaling even that of his mysterious naissance?
“I haven’t given it much thought,” Hob said.
“How can you not know where you came from?” Barry said. “You had to have come from somewhere or you couldn’t be here.”
“Then how do people get started off in the first place?” Hob asked. “Every somewhere had to start off as a here, but if every here needs a somewhere the whole thing just falls on its face, assuming that propositions involving here’s, there’s, and somewhere’s have faces.”
The things paused.
“You’re not going to conquer us, are you?” one of the things asked.
“Everyone else does,” the thing said. “People come around sometimes looking for a fight, but we don’t care much for all of that so most of the time they just end up putting a flag in the middle of our woods. Then somebody else kills those guys and puts up a different flag.”
“And this doesn’t bother you?”
“Why should we care what flag is in our woods?”
These things were a lot smarter than Hob had thought.
“If these people are always conquering you, don’t they want to tell you what to do?” Hob said.
“We usually don’t listen to them,” Barry said. “They always end up threatening to kill our king and overthrow our society, but the joke’s on them.”
“And why’s that?”
“We don’t have a king.”
“That is a good plan,” Hob said. “…What is a king?”
“A king is someone who tells everyone what to do,” Barry said. “The people say it’s the only way to coordinate a civilized society in which we are supposed to kill lots of other people who have other kings.”
“Why don’t you have a king?” Hob said. “Sounds like you’re missing out on a lot.”
“We figured having a king would take out a lot of time out of our day,” Barry said, “so we decided having a flag in our woods was much easier to keep track of.”
Hob scratched his head. Were these people everyone else? They sure sounded like the kind that would forget about him and his observation base, especially since they were all considerably preoccupied with coordinating a civilized society and all.
“Where can I find these people?” Hob said.
“If you wait around long enough, they’ll show up here again,” one of the things said.
“I can’t wait that long,” Hob said.
“But you don’t know how long ‘long’ will be,” Barry said. “How can you not wait for an interval that you do not know?”
“How can I wait for an interval that I do know?” Hob said. “That’s bound to take all day.”
“Bleepin’ Blurgs!” the things said. “You’re right. We’ll send you on your way at once.”