TWENTY-TWO, 2.0

You should all know this, whether you read this now, or a hundred years from now: there was no way I’d ever let go of this rope. Just because you tell me it’s safe to fall doesn’t mean I’ll happily tumble down three miles into nothingness.

It’s a joke, really.

Did you hear about the guy who lost his teeth after drinking a beer? No one else lost their teeth after drinking the same beer, so how did he lose his teeth?

A punch in the face after drinking someone else’s beer.

Simple.

So, why am I holding onto this rope?

Let’s set the mood: I’m at the edge of a cliff. The ground is mostly dirt, some larger chunks of gravel. There’s a weed to my left, some kind of bushy thing with only a few leaves on it, barely blowing in the calm breeze. It’s calm now, but wasn’t earlier. Thus the rope that’s now leading me over the edge of this cliff.

The sky is overcast, and darkening. Night is upon me soon, but I still won’t let go of this rope. I have it tied around my waist, and the other end is stretching for miles into space.

Everything on this planet was wonderful when we came upon it, but after our fuel cell exploded and destroyed almost all of it, except our pocket, everything became nothing.

I hesitate to look over the side of this cliff. I don’t think my partner is even holding on any more, but I’ll continue to hold on. If he climbs up, we’ll keep all our teeth for the short time we have remaining. If he doesn’t, then it’ll just feel like I’ve downed my last beer, and I’ll just have to try to enjoy myself.

Either way, I won’t let go of this rope.

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