Soundtrack for the End of the World

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Fiction, Issue Thirty-Eight

“Can a black hole destroy the Earth? Yes. Will a black hole destroy the Earth? Probably not. You know, though, you never say no.”

                                                                    —Dr. Phil Plait, Pulsar: A Science Podcast

In this scenario, I realize it’s pointless to prepare for the worst and compile stockpiles of canned goods, water, or toilet paper. A bomb shelter won’t do anything to prolong my life, either. And likewise, no arsenal on Earth can protect me from the gravity that will pull my lifetime taut as a fishing line, stretching me for eternity from my beginning to my never-ending. So I’ve decided it’s more important to choose just the right song to play as I approach the event horizon. Something from Dark Side of the Moon, of course.

Right off the bat, “Speak to Me” doesn’t seem like a good choice. Who would I be asking to speak to me? God? Why would I want to talk to a god who created anything as terrifyingly hungry as a black hole?

“Breathe” doesn’t really work, either, especially in a vacuum.

“On the Run” seems logical. But where could I run to that wouldn’t eventually be swallowed whole?

“Time” seems perfect. If some theorists are correct, I’ll have nothing but time. On second thought, no. If a black hole is powerful enough to annihilate light, lord knows what it would do to time.

“The Great Gig in the Sky” and its tidal wave of the same primal scream humans cry when we enter this life—and when we watch our loved-ones die—could work. But do I really want to go out kicking and screaming?

“Us and Them”? Honestly, does anybody really believe we think about anyone but ourselves at the moment of death?

“Any Colour You Like” is pointless. It’s not called a “black” hole for nothing.

“Brain Damage” seems possible. I doubt that a brain can function very well when its stretched thin as one of the hairs it lives beneath.

“Eclipse” seems like a very fitting finale, ending as it does with a diminishing heartbeat. It might be a bit too pat, though, for such a cataclysmic event.

After listening to the album over and over again trying to decide which song to choose, I finally give up and delete all my songs from the cloud, sending them to God-knows-where. In the end I’ve decided it won’t matter what song I play at the end. On the other side of the singularity, nothing really matters when matter literally means nothing.

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