The Road Map To The Universe

| January 29, 2016

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THE ROAD MAP TO THE UNIVERSE

NOTE: This novel can be purchased with three other novels of mine for $3.99 in an anthology entitled Four Murder Mysteries. The Road Map to the Universe is also contained in Four Novels, which is another anthology of mine that sells for $3.99.

Who really murdered Karen Breen? Was it her son Jeremy, her husband Dana, or Shawn Evans, Jeremy’s former best friend?

Jeremy, being only twenty-three, is a bit of a brat, but at least he’s an intellectual brat. It all started on that day when he was killing some time in the library and picked up a book called The Road Map to the Milky Way. As he was flipping through it in an aimless, sarcastic way, he stumbled onto a statistic that he would never forget: Most astronomers felt that the universe contained at least two hundred billion galaxies and that the average size of each galaxy was two hundred billion stars.

Whoa! Such a massive figure, but what did it really mean? For one thing, it meant that he had no significance at all and that his disappearance from the earth would have no effect on the universe. Depressed, Jeremy walked outside the library and rolled himself a joint. Might as well chill out and try to face the facts. That’s when it hit him—since everything was insignificant, it didn’t matter what he did. What difference did it make? In a million years, everything would be exactly the same—the galaxies would stroll on with their never ending waves of annihilation, and nothing he or anyone else did would have the slightest effect. Very exhilarating! Because it meant that it was impossible to make a mistake and that choices were just bad jokes from the ego.

But things become a bit complicated when Jeremy’s mother is murdered and his father is convicted of the crime. Still, the misfortunes of his father don’t really affect Jeremy because all the guy had ever done was fool around with other women behind his mother’s back. As for the loss of his mother, Jeremy just can’t be bothered with all the trite manifestations of grief that people feel compelled to go through when someone dies—as if death were some tragedy that only happens to a few unlucky souls.

But a year later, when Shawn Evans tells the police that Jeremy was the one who murdered his mother, it’s difficult for Jeremy not to begin to take things seriously. And afterwards, when Jeremy is indicted and then brought to trial, his theoretical universe of two hundred billion galaxies begins to shrink all the way down to the woeful confines of his own mind where he has to grapple with the fear of being sent to prison for the rest of his life. Very annoying, if not downright infuriating! During his time in court, Jeremy loses his metaphysical cool and not only attempts to physically attack Shawn but also amuses himself by mocking the judge. As is often the case, it’s not very smart to defy people in authority, and Jeremy is convicted of first degree murder. But then, while the jury is being polled, an extraordinary revelation occurs—in fact, in the annals of courtroom history, it is probably a premiere.

Amazingly, this courtroom revelation seems to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jeremy’s underlying belief system has some real potential. Because, in the end, it appears that even the murder of Jeremy’s mother is just one more example of people being seduced by a mirage, one more example that everything we experience is based on the self-aggrandizing perceptions of the ego. As Jeremy is laughing at the judge and the prosecuting attorney, he remembers reading about the ancient notion that the sun orbits around the earth, and it strikes him that the belief in significance, any significance, is simply a symptom arising out of the peculiar notion that the entire universe revolves around oneself.

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