Everyone told Jack that he should be the next Leader. For a long time they had asked the question what if Jack was Leader?, speculation mounting that he would bring about some kind of popular revolution. They said he was young enough to bring a fresh perspective to things, to drive the group onwards and upwards to greater heights. They said he had the patience, temperament and charisma to lead, and that most of all he commanded respect. He was the people’s choice for Leader, they implored. He was the only one they wanted.
Of course, like any human being having their ego stroked in such a way, he was sorely tempted. Words thrown about like destiny and purpose giving the argument for his ascent greater weight, making it very difficult for him to make a reasoned and balanced and unbiased decision. It seemed like refusing would bring about the end of the world, a seismic shift that would confound the laws of physics and cause everything to be swallowed up in some kind of colossal black hole.
There was just one problem, though; he had no real desire to become Leader. Sure, he enjoyed responsibility and the satisfaction of having contributed something, helped someone, but Leader was a bridge too far for him. For one, he didn’t enjoy the administrative side of things, preferring to get on with the practical side of any duties, actually achieving something instead of pen-pushing. He’d turned down various promotions before, for exactly this reason. Secondly, he felt incredibly uncomfortable at the thought of people looking to him for a reason to be or do. No matter how much he’d tell them to find their own meaning in everything, they’d still depend on him, as a baby depends on its mother. Leadership also invariably meant a descent into playing the kind of political game he despised.
So he graciously declined the position of Leader, returned home amid the chaos of his refusal and enjoyed a quiet drink on his balcony under the pale glow of the moon and the stars. That night, while he (and everyone else) was sleeping, a hole subtly opened up and swallowed the world, consigning all to an eternity of peaceful slumber.
Never again was the question of what if? asked, never again was speculation allowed to dictate the ways of time and space and life.