Gautam turned away from the telescope's eyepiece and then stared at the sky. "Look inside" he urged his friend. "What?" Gautam's eyes squinted at the heavens. "Just look!"

David looked and saw the familiar orb of Jupiter with its belts and bands. Io and Europa were visible. And the background was starting to turn blue from the eternal cosmic night of the void.

Dave turned away and looked up finding the comfortingly familiar vault of stars overhead. According to his digital watch it was 10:37 and it would be night 'til 6:13 in the morning.

A silent moment passed between them. From the corner of their eyes they could see a growing blue glow emanating from the eyepiece.

"What the hell?"

Gautam shrugged. "Give it about forty minutes."

Dave blinked at his astronomy club partner. "That makes no sense. If we can see that blue through the telescope then we should see it here." beat. "Now."

Gautam laughed, putting an emphasis on his melodic accent, "Nothing's going to make sense anymore David."

11:04 p.m. and the sky began to lighten like dawn was approaching, except it was everyhwere rather than starting at one horizon.

Looking into his telescope again, Gautam began to laugh. "Fuck it! Fuck it all!"

Quite a surprise since his friend never cursed. Fred Rogers probably said shit when he stubbed his toe but Gautam wouldn't even say damn.

Suddenly the telescope was bent on the ground. Expensive optics and mirrors scattered like the milky way across the pavement.

Nearly 11:30 and the sky was bright as mid-day without the sun. "That was MY telescope."

"Not anymore" laughed Gautam as he pointed at the heavens.

Across the sky, along where the ecliptic once was, were the words "Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We're just collecting some error info, and then we'll restart for you."

David felt his balls turn ice cold as he watched the percentile tick upwards from 20% to 30%.

Maybe when they reboot, things will be better?

The story behind the story.
Welp, I was on Mastodon and saw @alanboyle@mastodon.social post something about Microsoft writing an AI to determine new catalysts for fuel cells and I laughed thinking of energy production getting a blue screen of death. A second later I free associated with blue shift, thought of space, and simulation theory. I apologize to my upstairs roommate for using his name. Just wanted to be inclusive. I apologize my story is still a sausage party. Take comfort their world's ending.

About The Author: tobadzistsini used to shitpost on Twitter 'til he called for a class war against billionaires. Now he shitposts on Mastodon and pretends he's a writer. You can find him writing for The Anomalist almost every weekend.

an old dream from 4/14/2015

First dream. I'm in a hotel or restaurant lobby with people. A black man with vitiligo on his left hand comes in. He's carrying a sheaf of mimeographed papers emblazoned with "Cook County".

"Are you raisinbottom?" Of course raisinbottom being my first and last name. His stentorian enunciation takes me by surprise, unleashing a torrent of questions. "Who are you? How do you know me?" And so forth.

He explains, waving his white index finger as if he's keeping time, how Cook County College wants to hire me for some writing position. The particulars of the job keep getting muffled, and I beg him to repeat himself so I can fully understand. Instead he smiles, "Help is on the way." His last sentence is the clearest and most lucid thing I recall from dreams.

Follow-up dream has me wandering around a city. My unseen companion is warning me not to talk to Greg Egan because either he'll use me in one of his stories, or steal my ideas. These are some of the reasons why Egan has no photos online. It's night and I'm brought into a dark building The interior would be white if they turned the lights on. The pathway is only lit by orange led strips in the corners. I'm led upstairs, only to realize I'm still going upstairs but from the basement. The building's in four dimensions. Eventually I'm led into a room full of masturbating Asian women. They're not horny, just bored, having been left in the room for days on end with nothing to do. I plop down on a chair for a little shuteye.

We're awoken as some people break into the area, they're shouting "Don't kill any!" The girls are herded into a bubble, vanishing in a flash of light. I blink my eyes and realize they're just stand-ins for a videogame. Each girl representing a 'hostage' rescued by the players running through the tesseract building.

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