A small New York apartment living room.

“NASA has announced,” he says, “that a demand has just arrived from 1,764,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles out in space from galaxy NGC 4889 in the Coma Cluster. One of its monsters—a 4,385,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000-pounder—is currently napping but soon will waken, resume emitting 1000 times more energy than the Milky Way galaxy does, and need new food. Its maw is 80,780,000,000 miles wide, so our solar system’s 5,648,000,000-mile diameter would make a nice grain of rice for it, NGC 4889 insists.”

“Nice try!” she cries. “But even if we both rushed straight at each other at the speed of light—an awfully big if, no?—it still would be 150 million years before it swallowed us!”

“Where do you get that kind of confidence? Maybe you think you can trust a thing like that. I don’t.”

“Big isn’t evil, Tom. We wake up hungry too.”

“Did you hear this? Rubio and Trump called Cruz a liar.”

“They worry me. These candidates are black holes, and they’re right here in our living rooms, right now.”

“Then maybe that’s the reason we should go out for some dancing and a couple drinks.”

You worry me! Two quiet hours at home together, and it seems you start to suffocate. In two more weeks, we’re fucking getting married.”

“We aren’t marrying the TV, honey, are we?”

“Well, we sort of are. Not just TV, but yeah.”

“You’re scaring me.”

“And is that more or less than NGC 4889?”

“Let’s make a baby—now. That shit gives TV more allure, I’ve heard. Let’s go out dancing first, and then come back and throw precaution to the wind!”

“Two weeks. I understand there’s usually a bit of dancing, and some drinking, at receptions.”

“Well, couldn’t we rehearse?”

“We have rehearsed. We’ve danced. We’ve drank. We’ve fucked. A lot.”

“But that big ogre’s coming! I can feel it! Big bad Coma Cluster Fuck! Come on!”

He jumps up from the couch, pulls her up by her wrists, and starts to whirl her round the living room.

        Fade to black.

Tom Riordan lives in New Jersey. He’s a retired restaurant worker and teacher, and dreams about becoming pope for his next career.

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