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- The Island of Mana
Loki and his friend stand in front of an opening in an endless fence on an endless cloud. Three traffic cones block the path through the fence. Loki and his friend are wearing blue jump suits and green hats. Loki has a long white beard. A woman approaches them.
Woman: The clouds are so pretty.
Stranger: This way, butterfly.
Loki: Before you say anything, I just want to say, don’t panic. You just passed out, and this is all a dream.
Woman: Whew. What a relief.
Loki: Just kidding. You totally crossed the wrong wires and blew up. These are The Pearly Gates, and we are…
Woman: What gates?
Stranger: Oh, uh. They’re under repair.
Woman: Can’t God fix them?
Loki: Who said God exists?
Woman: So God doesn’t exist?
Loki: The more important question is, what did you believe?
Stranger: Does God exist? What’s the meaning of life? What makes a man? What is the true measure of morality? Why do doves cry?
Woman: Well, I think that we all just have to do our best and be kind to one another.
Woman: That’s it.
Loki: What do you mean, that’s it?
Woman: That’s the extent of my understanding and philosophy on life.
Loki: You mean to tell me, you had a cosmic supercomputer in your head for 29 years, and the extent of your worldview can be summed up in a sentence that’s vague to the point of being useless?
Stranger: What do you call this belief system of yours, nihilism?
Woman: I’m spiritual but not religious.
Loki:What does that even mean?
Woman: It means I find wonder and awe in the universe, but…
Stranger: But that wonder and awe never affect your actions in any significant way.
Woman: What? Like going to church? I’ve never really felt drawn to major religions.
Loki: Which is just as well. If you had bothered to read them you’d know they’re all mythologies.
Stranger: But did you ever think about the purpose of life outside of organized religion?
Loki: Well, I just think that there are some things in life that we weren’t mean to know. You know?
Stranger: So how do you decide what to do if you have no compass whatsoever?
Woman: I go to work in the mornings. I go home in the evenings. I watch TV and buy things. I like to hang out with friends and go to movies.
Stranger: Is that what you were planning on doing with the rest of your life?
Woman: What else would I do with my life?
Loki: Okaaaaaay. Ma’am, I’m going to need you to step away for a few minutes while my associate and I confer.
Woman: Okey dokey.
The woman leaves.
Stranger: What are you doing? This wasn’t in the script.
Loki: This woman is brain dead. She’s living on autopilot. She’s the embodiment of the word, “sheeple.”
Stranger: Exactly. She’s easy prey to screw with. I mean, we could tell her anything.
Loki: We may as well be mocking a brick wall. I take no joy in this. I’m leaving.
Stranger: Don’t friggin bail on me! This was your idea in the first place.
Stranger: Hey, lady. You can come back now.
Woman: Okay. Where’s your friend at?
Stranger: He uh, got called away on very important business in the underworld.
Woman: So what were you two talking about?
Stranger: We uh, were trying to decide if there was any reason to go easy on you.
Woman: What!? But I never did anything bad.
Stranger: The problem is you never did anything… at all. 14 billion years went into creating you. From the quantum particles, to the atoms, to the molecules, to the cells that make up your body, a God-like level of genius, power and time went into your design. You were given control of an impossibly robust machine, and you used it to watch TV, go shopping and hang out?
Woman: Well, what else was I supposed to do?
Loki: What were you supposed to do!? What were you supposed to do!?
Woman: Is that your friend?
Loki: What do you use a hammer for? To hit nails. What do you use a toaster for? To toast bread. What do you use an autonomous, bipedal supercomputer with opposable thumbs for? To watch TV and out!? Are you kidding me?
Woman: You’re back from the underworld awfully quick.
Stranger: Speaking of the underworld, it looks like they’re paging me. Gotta go.
Stranger: Have fun with your client, sucker.
Loki: Well played. Well played.
Woman: You’re not very organized around here.
Loki: Silence, mortal. We work in mysterious ways. Back to the matter at hand. The problem is that you fulfilled basically zero of your potential. Do you have any idea how many souls would have killed to be in your body? Do you have any idea how many souls would have used your body to solve world hunger and build an enlightened galactic empire? Oh, how they’ve cringed in the darkness watching you squander one of the few golden tickets acting like a child and binging on candy.
Woman: But I’m just a simple girl from a simple town. I was never destined for greatness.
Stranger: Greatness!? Greatness!? Forget about Greatness!!!
Woman: I think your friend is back.
Loki: Yeah, I got that. Thanks.
Stranger: You couldn’t have become the queen of the world if you tried, but you were given a gift with certain potential. And what you could do… you didn’t.
Woman: So… am I in trouble?
Loki: Personally, I don’t care what happens to you. I’m leaving.
Woman: What’s going on? Who are you guys, exactly?
Stranger: Uhhhhh. I’m uhhhhh. Gotta go. Bye.
The Stranger leaves.
Woman: Are you coming back? So… should I just wait here? Or should I go ahead and let myself through the gate? Okay, I’ll just step over these cones then.
The woman steps over the cones and crosses to the other side of the fence.
Woman: Hmmm. Should I go left or right?
Stranger: Trespasser! Trespasser!
Loki: She’s trespassing on the holy land!
Stranger: Blasphemy! Blasphemy!
Woman: Oh, dear.
Loki: We have failed to protect the gate while it was under renovation, and now the cosmic balance has been upset!
Stranger: This realm is now doomed to eons of darkness where there will be constant weeping and gnashing of teeth!
Loki: Aaaaaaaagh! Run for your lives! Save yourself!
Loki and The Stranger run away, leaving the woman by herself.
Stranger: Uh, guys? Guys?