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The Template
Volume 2, Part Two

He did very little exploring the first day. He had some raspberries, which tasted as raspberries should, thank anyone other than "God." He had some cold, fresh water from a little stream just inside the woods. He worked on making a very rough sundial, after fashioning some very rough stone tools. Eternity was going to take one hell of a long time. He spent some more of the day thinking about building a shelter, but after awhile just decided to try and figure out what resources he might use for a makeshift blanket and pillow for the night.

He woke the next morning sore and slightly chilly. And quite dirty. He realized then that he only had one set of clothes, and wondered how long they'd last. For now he'd have to find a way to clean them, but soon enough he'd be needing new ones altogether. He wished his clothes would've been made immortal along with his body and mind, then vaguely wondered if maybe they hadn't. He sincerely doubted it.

His next thought was that he had no coffee. "I remember to wear my favorite clothes," he said to himself, "but I don't even think to bring any coffee. And I don't think I'll find any growing anywhere near here. I really must be the Devil, because this is definitely Hell." And that's what he decided to name this place, though for the time being he wasn't sure if he meant the clearing, or what might someday be a territory or nation, or the continent (if this planet had continents), or the planet itself, or the whole damned Universe.

Down by the stream, he used some rocks as a makeshift washboard to clean his clothes, grumbling to himself. He decided to make "eternity" the first official curse word in the new Universe. He wanted to use it as an epithet next time he saw God. He thought about all the things he should say to her. "Why the eternity didn't you just put that bottle of slar-eth in your backpack? Seemed like all my questions were delaying you from the retreat you said you desired, but now I think of it, you were probably just taunting me... flaunting your good thinking, rubbing my nose in my ignorance. The fact that you had taken something of mine, the last remaining artifact from my Universe. Something which had been priceless in monetary terms, not to mention the sentimental value- even if you couldn't have known that part- but whatever... It was mine, and now it's yours, and I'm left with nothing but the clothes on my..." he looked down at his work. "The clothes in my bloody hands, and a bunch of vaunted survival skills Dean said would come in handy, but which in reality don't put me much above a simple primitive...." He stopped and sighed.

He was tired of washing his clothes, and figured they wouldn't get any cleaner than they were now. Not without soap. He stood up, and suddenly realized he'd have to hang them up to dry. He seriously didn't want to walk around naked, so he'd have to find a way to make some new clothes soon. His skills didn't include spinning fabric, and so far he hadn't seen any animals. He damn sure wasn't planning on wearing leaves. If the general ineffetiveness and discomfort of it weren't enough, he still wouldn't be able to bear the symbolism. So... he'd just have to make a spear, go hunting... make a knife, scissors, needle and thread.... The list went on. Eternity... at this point, even taking one day at a time seemed unbearable.

A memory came to him of all the times he'd been forced to stand still for what seemed days on end at the tailor's. He'd always hated it. In fact, it had been one of the things he hated most about having such a public profession. But now... he'd been a primitive exactly one day, had barely begun to figure out what the eternity he was going to do with himself, and already he thought he could kill to have a tailor handy.

He realized he was still holding his dripping clothes. He wrung them out and hung them on a nearby tree branch. Then he stood there staring at them, naked and dripping, himself. He walked out of the woods to get some sun and air, and a few berries. "A compass," he said to himself absently, a passing thought. "I suppose I should add that to the list." He went to look at his sundial. "Nine bloody A.M. God, there are too many damn hours in a day. The better to actually accomplish some of the million things I need to do, I suppose. Even so, I wouldn't mind about ten less hours a day."

He wondered how long it would take his clothes to dry. He couldn't even bring himself to think about doing any work until he was dressed. And he couldn't imagine what to do while he wasn't working. He glanced at his wrist watch in impatience and frustration. Then his head whipped back toward the sundial, and he slapped his forehead. "Idiot," he said to himself. "Half an eternal day wasted, right there. Ah well... the battery will only last what, a decade or so? I certainly don't think I'll be able to make a replacement, so... I'll need a sundial eventually, anyway. Although it's not exactly portable, and I don't plan on staying in Hell that long; okay, then that's the name of the clearing or so. And by the time my battery runs out, hopefully I'll have better tools to work with, build a better sundial. Eternity, I wish I had a wind-up watch...."

He grumbled to himself, thinking he'd pass the time waiting for his clothes to dry by ranting to himself about how much he hated his situation, and how he'd rather have just died along with the rest of the bloody Universe.

Then, whilst staring at his watch without even consciously seeing the time, a thought came to him. One more thing to say to God, next time he saw her. He wondered if it had ever occurred to the eternal jerk in all those lifetimes. "It's midnight somewhere on the planet," he'd say to her. "Maybe you just always land at the wrong place at the right time. I suppose just because you call yourself God, you get to decide where the Prime Meridian lies? Or is it because this is where the Template is? Or is it something the Template told you on one of your subsequent crossovers?" At this thought, he finally brought himself to stand once more on the Template.

And he knew he was immortal. "Figures," he said to himself.

"Anyway... it certainly wasn't the Prime Meridian on my world. But I suppose that's just another thing you'll claim everyone got wrong." He sighed. And decided to forget everything he'd said to himself after 'wrong place, right time,' or maybe even 'it's midnight somewhere on the planet.' The rest would come later. He'd let God deal with it, say whatever she would. Hopefully none of that would occur to her, at least until a reply was too late to be anything but an excuse, a sad attempt at recovery.

"It's midnight somewhere on the planet," he said to himself again, and imagined only God at a loss for words. And he smiled.

vol. 2, part three
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All contents of this site David A. Ward