“Out of All the Billions of People in the World,” by David Sandwich

Mar 3rd, 2021 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

An odd thing happened to me last night. I was lying in bed about to fall asleep, when a thought occurred to me.

I thought that, out of all the billions of people in the world, there must be at least one person out there who was, at that very moment, falling in love for the first time. Or, maybe there was more than one person. I couldn’t know for sure. But I figured there must be at least one person out there who was falling in love for the first time. And, as I lay there in bed, I thought what a wonderful thing it must be for that one person.

Then I thought, at that exact same moment, there must be someone else who was having uncomfortable sexual thoughts about their cousin. I thought how confusing it must be for that person. And, boy, I would hate to be that person.

After that, I thought there must be at least one person out there who was looking at their cat and thinking, I could eat my cat if I really had to. And they’re wondering how hungry they’d have to be to actually go through with it. They’re also thinking about how they’d cook their cat. If it would taste better fried or baked. Then they’re thinking, Maybe I wouldn’t have to be that hungry to eat my cat. Maybe I would do it if someone offered me enough money. But how much would be enough? Maybe ten grand? Ten grand seems fair. That’s what they’re thinking. Geez, that person has strange thoughts, don’t they?

As I lay in bed, I continued to think about all the people in the world. I thought about how, even though I was about to go to sleep, people in other time zones were just waking up. I wondered how many people were getting ready for work at that very moment. It must be in the billions, I thought. And, out of all those people, there must be at least one person who, when getting dressed, accidentally puts their shirt on backwards. They notice it and laugh. Then they think how funny it would be if they actually went to work dressed like that, and how everyone in the office would get a big kick out of it. So, this person, instead of fixing their shirt, they keep it on backwards. Then they think, Why stop there? So, they put their pants on backwards too. But it still doesn’t seem like enough. So, when this person puts their shoes on, they tie their shoelaces together. “There,” this person says out loud. “That oughta do it.”

This same person then makes their way to work, imagining how riotous it’ll be when everyone sees how silly they look. This’ll really brighten everyone’s day, this person thinks. But before arriving at work this person falls down a flight of steps and breaks their neck, you know, on account of their shoelaces being tied together. Out of all the billions of people in the world, this must be happening to at least one person, I thought. And, how lucky I am to be safe in bed, instead of at the bottom of flight of steps with a broken neck. How awful that would be. I wouldn’t like that at all.

I stayed up for hours thinking about all these people. There were just so many people in the world, and so many of them were doing crazy things and having such weird thoughts. And, I found comfort in the fact that I was different from all of them. Thankfully, my thoughts were completely normal.


David Sandwich is a college professor who writes humor and speculative fiction in his spare time. His work has appeared in Frazzled, Sci-Fi Lampoon, The Literary Hatchet, and Tales to Terrify. You can follow him on Twitter @SANDWICHcommaD

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