The Advent of Space Toad

Space toads don't have motivational phrases. They're surprisingly self-motivated. But if they did, a popular one would certainly be "the world is your pond." At least, that would have been Space Toad's1.

Humans do have motivational phrases. And despite the fact that "hey, let's build most of our major cities on the coast" isn't one of them, humans developed a knack for doing it. As buildings reached higher and higher, more and more people packed themselves near the land's edge. Each step towards the metropolitan future wore down the soles of humanity's shoes, leaving them increasingly vulnerable to coastal calamity. By the time Space Toad's continent-sized body impacted the Atlantic, mankind was standing barefoot in its own grave. What followed was (among other things) pretty bad for the economy.

Say you lived in Miami, Florida. The first thing you'd see was the swelling horizon. By the time you've had a chance to do a double-take, it's 200 meters closer. You could try to run, but for what? For the smidgen of a chance to live through the post-apocalypse? To claim your spot as part of the 14% of humanity that wasn't killed by the tidal wave, earthquake, or second tidal wave? To wade through the flooded ruins of your hometown, convincing yourself that if you stuck your hand into the rubble you'd chance upon some fragment of normalcy? To get the privilege of living through months of aftershocks as seismic waves echo off of the earth's interior like the death rattle of billions echoing off the dry well of the human spirit that once drew hope?

Needless to say, Space Toad's arrival put a cramp in more than a couple quinceañeras.

She sat peacefully in the ocean, relaxing in the summer sun and remaining blissfully ignorant to the remaining billion people who wanted her to croak. But despite all the nuclear warheads launched and all the negative vibes sent2, Space Toad's tranquility went undisturbed.

But humanity hadn't given up on getting rid of the titanic toad. Some people turned to religion, praying that a great serpent would consume Space Toad. It didn't. Others prayed to Space Toad herself, the suck-ups. They claimed that Space Toad had killed most of humanity on purpose, and that it was their duty to usher in a new era of man and toad living harmoniously. But the world's toads stared blankly at humanity's open arms and saw our jealousy, our greed, and our unending ability to drain the earth and synthesize instruments of death from its lifeblood. The toads decided to stick to their lifestyle of bumming around ponds and eating insects. And so the sun never rose on a world with man and toad united. Space Toad herself never caught wind of the worshippers, but I imagine she would have been flattered.

After hanging around in the ocean for a few days, Space Toad decided to sunbathe on a nicely-sized rock. She searched for the perfect spot, finding one at the rock's center. And there she lay, her belly on the warm Earth and her folded legs nearly touching the cool ocean. Those poor Aussies never stood a chance.

Many theologists connected Space Toad to Kek, Egyptian frog god of primordial darkness. Primordial darkness, they surmised, referred to humanity's inevitable extinction. These theologists were shunned for having a really depressing take on the whole Space Toad situation, which really wasn't what people needed to hear at the time. Read the room, people.

For a while, the apocalypse was about as uneventful as it gets. Hourly aftershocks, looters in ruined cities, survivors inevitably turning on each other, the usual. The Amish were doing great, all things considered. At some point Space Toad ate the International Space Station thinking that it was a fly. Space toads are not particularly bright creatures, but this was certainly a new low.

One week after she had arrived, Space Toad was gone. She'd hopped away in search of clearer oceans, oblivious to the destruction she'd caused. Life on Earth went on. It always does. The beasts of the new world soon learned to make their burrows in the ruins of the old. The birds learned to fly far above the noxious fog that spilled from leveled factories. Humanity licked its wounds, yes, but soon the great superorganism of civilization was back on its feet. Townships, scattered and hungry but alive, began popping up on coastlines around the world3.

And then came Space Frog, who was around the size of a watermelon. He burned up while entering the atmosphere and disappeared before touching the ground.

THE END

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