Storytime: Moving Day.

September 11th, 2013

The world was ending.
It was no surprise to anyone. There’d been signs, and portents, and maybe even a little bit of light prophecy. Doomspeaking too – not doomsaying, which any old fool can yell on a street corner, but proper, full-bore doomspeaking the likes of which nobody can say words against without giving it more weight. There was dread in the air and nervousness in the streets, there was not enough energy for a riot and not enough surety for suicide pacts.
The world was ending. Moving day had come.

The animals were boxed up first, of course. Nobody wanted them to panic at all the fuss, or run around underfoot. So all the aardvarks and the camels and the humans and the plankton and the whales and the zebras were put in crates and barrels and boxes and tanks and tucked away, safe and sound, for when the move was complete. They were supplied with little dishes of food and water, and placed next to one another so that they shouldn’t get lonely.

After that came the packaging of knick-knacks, trifles, and keepsakes. The tidying of the heirlooms. Each and every bit of plant matter was individually wrapped in gauze and tucked away in an intricate jigsaw, and the microbes were removed, hand-washed, dried off, and put in an airtight jar where they wouldn’t get musty.
The lower mantle and upper crust was riffled through gently until the oldest extremophiles were located, reproducing at the rate of one-per-multi-milennia, and placed in a tiny silver box, which was put in the glove compartment. A little yellow sticky note was attached to its outside, so that it would not be forgotten when the vehicle was returned.

Then it was on to the larger possessions. A lot of them needed cleaning first.
Cabins, garbage dumps, huts, metropolises, factories, highways, radio towers, and oil platforms were gingerly scraped off with a brush. The bare earth was rinsed in a simple solution of mild soap and water, then patted dry with a clean and absorbent cloth.
Some of the bigger mine shafts and fracking projects wouldn’t come loose easily. A brush on a length of wire was used to clean them out enough to be prised loose.

The furniture came last. From lightest to heaviest, in accordance with proper time usage.
The atmosphere was carefully coiled off and tidied into a clear plastic bag (so it wouldn’t be mistaken for garbage), the seas were frozen into a neat cube and packed in a padded bin.
The crust was peeled off, cratons and all, before being folded over and over into a tight roll, which was slipped into the very bottom of the vehicle. Next to it were stacked the bits and pieces of the mantle, upper above lower.

Packing took careful thought and could not be rushed. Each container had to be placed with the precision of a chess grandmaster, each possible combination of items considered, and ideally without too much delay, lest the move be held up.
Mistakes were a necessary part of the experience, but thankfully on this occasion they were harmless. At one point the kakapos were nearly stowed underneath the blue whales, and someone almost scraped off the Himalayas with their elbow while trying to wrestle open a spot to put the krill, but these errors were noticed and tragedy was forestalled.

The final vacuuming followed. The molten core was groomed meticulously, until not a speck remained upon it. The Van Allen Belt was polished to a mirror sheen. The lights were turned out.
And at last…there was nothing left to do but drive. And to try not to look back, to not think about not looking back, in the rear-view mirror as the move took it all away.

They hoped that the new owners would treat it well. It had been a good place to live, for a while.

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