I put “Planet-Wide Domination” on my to-do list that morning as a joke. Thursday seemed like as good a day as any to take over the world. By noon, it didn’t sound as funny any more, just like the easiest thing to accomplish. Easier than sorting through and paying the bills. Easier than the laundry, with the half-dozen stains that needed attention and the three buttons to be sewn back on. Easier than editing the essay that was due tomorrow.
How hard could it be to buy an Acme Super Heavy Duty Laser and threaten to destroy the planet’s core if all the world’s leaders didn’t swear fealty and loyalty to me, their new queen? Probably, that kind of purchase would have to done secretly. I couldn’t remember there being any Laser merchants in the phone book. Still, I was pretty sure I’d met a guy in my freshman seminar who could hook me up, and from there it was a simple matter of publicity. Wander around outside, make sure I was seen with my laser. Destroy a cookie factory, or a bunny farm or a rainforest or two, just to prove that I was capable and ruthless. Hijack a television station or two to deliver my demands, and have the world bowing at my feet before I even got the grade back on that essay that was due tomorrow.
Or, my list didn’t say that it had to be Earth. There were plenty of planets that had smaller populations. Like Pluto. Less prep-work there. Fewer beings to intimidate. Really, all it would take to dominate Pluto, was a good strut onto the surface with a shiny flag and a cocky smile. I could paint my name on my bedsheet and tie it to the pole as a flag. It would be the finest flag Pluto had ever seen. And I wouldn’t have to do that batch of laundry. The twenty-three year long strut it would take to get there would have to set some kind of record. I thought I’d put “Set a Record” on some other day’s to-do list.
Twenty-three years was about a year longer than any project I had undertaken so far in my life though (I’d only been holding down the Heart Beat Every Seventieth of a Second Project for twenty-two years so far). Thursday was probably not a good day to take on something so involved.
Mars was only a year or so away. The Strut-Flag-Smile plan should work there too, as long as NASA didn’t have secret colony on the surface already. If they did, I was pretty sure I could take whatever scientists had settled there. They’d probably already lost enough bone density from the lower gravity, that they’d fall over like toothpicks if I hit them too hard. And I could keep them around to pay the bills while I ruled from a Red Rock Throne.
I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock. Two o’clock. The front door of the apartment squeaked open and my roommate wandered into the kitchen. She set her backpack down in a chair and glanced at the layer of papers I had spread over the table.
“Planning a trip?” she asked, noticing the gasoline calculations on the paper nearest to her. She might have said something more, but she stopped, probably noticing that somewhere the numbers got multiplied out into a twelve-month fast burn.
“Yes,” I said. I started to gather up the papers.
“To Pluto?” she said, catching the heading on one of the sheets before it disappeared into a stack.
“No, I already scrapped that idea.” I gave her a quick smile and headed for my room. She cleared her throat behind me. Turning back, I found her holding my to-do list up with two fingers. It was another second before she finished reading it.
“I know,” I said. “I promised: no more lists.”
“Just tell me that I’m not going to find hull plating for the space shuttle under my bed,” she said.
I shook my head and started away from her again. “In your bed,” I said.
Today was apparently a good day to write something random. Thank you Daily Post and Neekers for the idea.