The universe was created by a kid for a school project. He got a C.
Johnny sneered at me. I hated him so much. It seemed his entire existence was just to one-up me. This time it was his stupid universe. It sat floating at the podium in front of the classroom as the best example of what the rest of us should have done.
“Well,” Mr. Williams began, clearly disappointed at first glance of my project, “what have we here?”
I pointed at the Milky Way.
“This is where life will take place. I designed it to develop itself over time.”
A gleam appeared in his eye. He stopped grading for a moment to take a closer look.
“Really now? That’s impressive. How long does it take for the intelligence to develop?”
I stared daggers at Johnny. You see how interested Williams is in my project!? He looked back without emotion, probably masking his jealousy. “A few million years.”
“No, specifically, how many years? What day will they start recording history?” he asked with a twinge of impatience in his voice.
“Ummm… I don’t know.” Johnny choked back a laugh and pointed at the display next to his galaxy with the countdown timer running Intelligence begins in: 342 million years, 23 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes, and 13 seconds
I hate you, Johnny.
“What’s this in your organism?”
“Cells. Every organism is made of cells that will stack upon one another to create a greater being.”
“And its sentience?”
“Well, none. Why would the building blocks need sentience?”
“Mark, I’m afraid you haven’t done most of my instructions. How many cells will it take for something to become sentient?”
“Somewhere around — “
“Specifics, Mark, specifics,” he rolled his eyes.
“I don’t know…” I conceded.
“Mmmm… And how do they determine the food chain once sentience is reached?”
“The smartest one takes all!” I claimed confidently.
Johnny smacked his forehead. I glared at him and looked back at Williams.
“But which of them take it?” he asked.
“There’s only one.”
“Only one?” he exclaimed, “come here, you need to see this.”
He took me over to Johnny’s universe and pointed to a planet at the edge.
“You see, here and here are two separate species that are surviving in groups together. What do you notice?”
I was looking at the floor in shame, not daring to look at Johnny.
“What do you see?” Mr. Williams continued.
“Language,” I muttered.
“Excellent! Now, the two of these species will have completely different takes on their world and as a result, change it to something that one of them could not have done alone.”
“But won’t it inevitably lead to war?” I asked, hoping to destroy the point.
“Ahh, yes, but so will yours Mark. Except yours will be fighting itself, hindering its ability to grow into something as a result of the trails of war and only to stand on top of their brothers’ corpses and brag of victory.”
“I programmed humanity…” I said dejectedly.
“Who didn’t!?” he exclaimed to the class, which brought a laugh, the loudest coming from Johnny.
“It’s ok, Mark. You did the base things. Try to make something more specific and innovative like Johnny did and maybe I can raise your C to an A. Alright?”
“Alright,” I said, slumping back to cause an extinction.