Carl & Neil Ponder the Cosmos
"Y'know, Neil." he dragged the cannabis smoke deep into his lungs. His friend's name came out suppressed, in a low frequency. He paused while holding his breath to fully infuse his bronchial capillaries with the full gamut of Mary Jane's combustion, none the least being, the elements of THC.
Neil stared at the cranberry red ember perched near the tip of Carl's fingertip. The roach's abdominal end was nearly extinct. He wondered how his friend's index finger and thumb tolerated the heat. His mind went off on tangent from the subject of stars's phenomenon of innumeracy to the theoretical aspect of man's inventions involving the ubiquitous roach clip and related paraphernalia. "Carl could sure use such an instrument now," he thought.
"Dude, y'know, Neil, . . . " He exhaled lengthily. Smoke followed his words. "It's not so much about numbers as much as it's about infinity. There's really no end number that's fully quantifiable. You and I both know we're fairly close to the actual number of stars within our own galaxy, but what about dark matter, string theory and alternate universes?How many stars there?"
It wasn't a question begged of his fellow colleague, as much as a quantum physics exercise to play mental bridge.
"Hey pass the joint, or what's left of it," Neil pleaded. "I get your point - but what's your point?" He pulled the bit of roach to his mouth holding it precariously between a pair of forceps and sucked ever so gently. His lips were puckered forward into thin mandible-like lines of dexterity.
"My point is - cool forceps . You always carry those things? - Ooodles of stars! That's what our known universe contains, oooooodles of 'em."
Hysterical laughter erupted from Neil. His characteristic broad grin matched the breadth of his forehead. Each time he attempted a rebuttal, his frame quaked. They'd been sitting on the concrete steps of Cornell's deep space telescope observatory when overcome with laughter. "Dude, my side hurts oooodles. The weed's inspired a numerical term of value. Ooodles huh?"
"Oooodles on my noodle. Twinkle twinkle little oooodles, . . . Hey Neil check it out." Carl stood up abruptly and pointed skyward toward the Orion Constellation. "The hunter's armpit, the red giant, it makes me wanna light up another blunt."
"Why's that, 'cause of the red tip on my roach?"
"Yeah, that's ponderous thinking. Our own sun will become a red giant in 4.5 billion years. Then we're gonners."
Neil bit into his pizza. "Hey Carl, say Billions again!"