“Night” is the longest running show in the universe.

It started off quite a few years ago, and while some of the original cast have retired, cooled off, (and in one embarassing incident, mostly hushed up, collapsed in on themselves to form a singularity, although some of her co-stars were heard to mutter that she’d ALWAYS been a singularity in one form or another) for the most part, it’s still going strong.

It was hard going at first. The first billion years was pretty dead. However, to be fair, there hadn’t been much in the way of advance advertising, no posters anywhere, so really, you couldn’t expect much. The rat stagehands that hang the stars in the firmament were philosophical. Nobody saw them anyway, so the fact that nobody saw the show at all didn’t weigh on them much. The rest of the cast, encouraged by this example of rodent stoicism, went on with the show.

After a coupla billion years, however, it started to wear on them. People stopped scanning the seats every night looking for a new face. But they didn’t quit. It was the theatre. The show had to go on. The temptation to slack off, to just hang the quasars anywhere and not bother lighting the nebulae, had to be intense, but the rats never did. It was craftsmanship, they said, and if they didn’t have an audience, at least they had pride in a job done well. Again, the cast took heart, and they put in some of the finest performances of “Night” ever seen, except there was nobody to see it. But they knew they’d done a good job, and that was the important thing.

But oh! The excitement, that first time when there, in the third row, a self-replicating amino acid was spotted, clutching its ticket and peering around with the nearsightedness of something that lacks sense organs, and which can only be called an organism in the loosest sense of the word. It couldn’t see the show, and the show couldn’t see it without a microscope, but still, the tension in the air was electric.

The cast walked on eggshells the next day. Had it liked the show? Would it return?

When the director peered out between the curtains and saw that it was back, and it had replicated a friend, there was a spontaneous cheer from backstage, and they put on the bounciest “Night” ever performed.

After that, it snowballed–amino acids, proto-viruses, mitochondria, and one day a huge hulking brute, cell walls and everything, stimulus response. It was astonishing. The snack bar could hardly keep up. Only the rats stayed calm, hanging the stars up every night in the theatre firmament with the same meticulous craftsmanship, unmoved by prima donnas and vapors and missed lines. But that’s rats for you. Solid creatures, rats.

The seats had to be expanded (and in some cases, completely redesigned) when such peculiarities as Hallucinogenia were ushered down the aisles, and the eventual rise of the vertebrates required a complete overhaul, but it was all worth it. You can still catch the shows today, regular as clockwork, the longest running show in the universe. Sometimes it’s a bit late, sometimes a bit early, but the show always goes on.

I have no idea, it just showed up in my brain. Blame the drugs.

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