“Dan, come on buddy, this really has gone on for too long.”
Anne pleaded with Dan, but he barely seemed to hear her as he stood over his masterpiece. It had taken him 2 years, 4 months and 16 days to create, and it was only just now nearing completion.
“Dan, you should really come out with us tonight,” she said, trying a new tactic. “How long have you been sitting in your basement playing with toys?”
“They aren’t toys, Anne,” Dan barely whispered as he leaned over his construction, slipping one more piece into place. “This is what’s going to make me famous.”
“For what, 15 minutes on youtube?” she said, slumping down to sit on the hard wooden steps of the basement.
“You can make a lot of money in 15 minutes of Youtube fame.” Dan was barely talking to her now, reciting the words that had been etched into his brain over the past two years. “Get famous enough and I’ll never have to work again.”
“And then what, Dan? Sharon already left you, half our friends have given up. Even the cat has been missing for 3 days and you barely even tried to look for him.” But if Dan heard her, he made no indication of it, still lost in his intricate world of tiny wooden pieces. Ann sighed. She’d try again tomorrow.
She opened the front door to let herself out, only to be met with a yowling cry. Mischief sat on the front step, cleaning his black and white fur as if to ask what took her so long.
“Oh, there you are!” Anne said, more relieved than she thought was reasonable. She stepped out of the way to let the cat inside.
The cat sauntered inside casually, taking in the house to verify nothing had changed.
“Let me get you some food,” Anne said, loosening her scarf to head to the kitchen. But the cat had other plans, darting for the basement door that she’d left just barely opened. With a gasp, she ran after the cat, reaching the top step just in time to hear the telltale sounds trickle up the stairs and Dan cursing.
As she watched in horror, 6,875,288,101 dominoes began to fall over, one after the other. They travelled up tiny stairs and over tiny bridges. She saw one knock a marble onto a wooden track as another fell into a bucket, triggering another path that ran across a short plank set up like a diving board. She heard what sounded like the opening score to the Phantom of the Opera, and saw that the marble was now running across a tiny xylophone with boards of varying lengths.
Dan made a small noise and her eyes were torn away from the xylophone, focusing back onto the pieces as they headed towards a massive cluster near the centre. She watched as two massive towers of black and white dominoes began to crumble to the ground. As they fell, pieces strategically placed on the top began to swing across the board on thin ropes. They hit two more dominoes placed across a high bridge that began to rain pieces like a waterfall.
As the last one hit the table, it triggered the only part of the display still standing, rows upon rows of dominoes. The uniform white of their tops began to vanish like water, revealing an image of a single rose wrapped through a diamond ring. The pixel point image was so perfect, Anne barely noticed the banner that dropped down behind it, the words “Will You Marry Me?” clearly inscribed on it.
Silence filled the room for several long minutes after it was finished, both of them too spellbound to talk. Finally, Anne let out a small cough.
“Did you… Ah… Did you get any of that on tape?” she asked.
“Nope.” Dan’s answer was definite, almost emotionless. She may as well have asked if he’d watered the plants today.
“Ah…” she trailed off, unsure what to say. “You know that Sharon left you last year, right?”
“Yeah… Had to finish it though, you know?” Anne did not know, but she nodded anyway as Dan talked. “Want to go get some food? I have a craving for Buffalo Wings.”
Anne nodded dumbly as he brushed past her up the stairs. He was locking the door behind them when she spoke again.
“That would have been a really cool youtube video.”