A darkness was spreading over the world and had covered a frightening portion before the Cosmic Caretaker noticed. They had been so engrossed in the latest book borrowed from the Library at the Center of the Universe, their dereliction of duty was almost forgivable. They placed a bookmark at the end of a particularly juicy chapter and set it down.
“Damn humans,” They muttered, observing multiple disasters unfolding around the globe. “They give more trouble than any other six worlds under my care combined. Well, grousing isn’t gonna fix much, so where should I begin.”
They got up to speed by watching several hours of media broadcasts, realizing all too soon that most of what humans considered news was anything but. Fixing that was as good a place to start as any. They snapped their fingers and social media was filled with cute cat photos and prancing unicorns. Every time anyone tried to post something hateful or untrue, they lost a finger and their device melted.
They turned to the networks. There was so much bias passing for news, they wanted to initiate a blackout. Instead inspiration hit and every time someone tried to pass off a lie, or a distorted fact as news, they turned into a chicken. In short order, newsrooms across the globe were cleaning up chicken poop, broken eggs and loose feathers.
They sat back to watch the carnage and realized there were more serious issues at hand than disinformation. Evil was rampant, and the number of souls perpetrating it was far beyond what human laws and morality could deal with. “Well, desperate measures and all that,” they muttered. What was that old sports adage humans used-Addition by subtraction, or something like it. They didn’t want to create a new problem while trying to fix another. Ten million is a good number to start with, they thought and snapped their fingers again. When the full moon rose that evening, people all over the globe were stunned at the change on its surface. A pile of evil people, ten million in all, was visible to the naked eye.
Unfortunately a scramble ensued to fill power vacuums everywhere as a result. Fortunately the Cosmic Caretaker had a Plan B. Anyone perpetrating an act of violence following the mass export of evildoers to the moon, was turned to stone. Public works departments had to hire additional staff and rent front end loaders in order to free streets and public buildings. It seemed like there was an endless number of fools in the human race, but after six months, the number of new statues slowed to a trickle.
Cleaning up evil was just the beginning. They turned their attention to damage done to the planet by unchecked development, greed, and stupidity. This was where the Cosmic Caretaker’s creativity really came to the fore. The quickest way to right the ship known as Mother Earth was to capture carbon, and they did so with a flourish. Flying devices sucked it from the atmosphere and the oceans before compressing it into diamond hard sheets that were superimposed over decaying roadways. Excess went into building giant greenhouses. Construction company and paving executives cried foul, but taxpayers and government officials secretly, and not so secretly celebrated. When global temperatures started dropping back to normal, and drought-stricken areas began experiencing rainfall again, more of humanity celebrated.
After brewing a fresh pot of coffee, the Cosmic Caretaker read for a bit before resuming their cleanup of the dumpster fire known as Planet Earth. They had a special fondness for the State of Maine, having camped in the northern part when they were younger. This time, a giant delta-winged craft made measured passes across the state, sucking up ticks, Browntail Moth caterpillars, and green crabs until none were left. Once they were captured, the haul was compressed and shot off, to descend weeks later through the super hot and acidic atmosphere of Venus. Sure, some of each species would migrate back into the state, but the moderating temperature would make the numbers negligible.
They thought for a bit over a second cup of coffee. The obsession with other peoples’ private lives and bodies disgusted them. Another finger snap was in order, they decided, but it needed to result in something so startling it couldn’t be ignored. “Of course,” they said with a smile. “A play on a book title would be a perfect tough. In a matter of days, all the zealots who wanted to inflict their values on women of childbearing age, found themselves with a womb, complete with a view port, filled with nearly mature porcupine fetuses. “Serves those pricks right,” they muttered.
The Cosmic Caretaker knew they couldn’t fix everything on the first pass, but one particularly annoying aspect of their earthly check-ins was how sloppy and lazy many inhabitants were. Trash was scattered all over, with dog poop being the most offensive. This fix required a double finger snap which was tiring, but the results were criminally satisfying. When offenders turned in for the night, they found their discards placed under the sheets.
There was one final action they needed to take before sitting back and letting Earth do its thing unsupervised. Humans treated weapons like kindergarten kids treated toys-recklessly. They snapped their fingers and all bombs, both nuclear and conventional softened, becoming huge blobs of silly putty. Attempts to make more elicited a similar result. Firearms were next. Any attempt to use one to hurt another human resulted in the barrel making a U-shape and shooting the perpetrator. Knives being used against another, except when the holder was defending themselves, became venomous snakes that bit the attacker. The homicide rate dropped to all time lows, and emergency rooms heaved a collective sigh of relief.
“It’s not perfect, but when has anything been so,” They muttered, turning their attention to making lunch. They had another pressing task this afternoon. Three new books had come in at the library and were calling their name in a most seductive manner.
(This is what my brain does after reading the daily newspaper. Hope you had a great Fourth of July)