Nothing To Watch
by Ken McConnell
Grot sat back in his plush recliner and rested his ante-arms on their respective cushions. He cracked open a cold one in one hand and opened a bag of crunchies with another hand. His six eyes were droopy and tired from a long day’s work. All he wanted to do was vegetate for a few hours and do nothing.
He turned on the interstellar holo-vision and started clicking channels looking for some mindless entertainment. He slowed down when he got past the pay per view channels out around four million and two and then took a chance on the long range incoming signals. Sometimes he got lucky and found a war picture where an entire civilization struggled against the galactic odds and eventually lost out to the ruthlessness of the universe. Other times he found documentaries on various animals, plants or politicians. Tonight was not looking good.
Grot kept going higher and higher through the interstellar channels until he stopped at something that got his attention.
He thought it was just another emergent civilization, trying to find out if they were alone and getting the cosmic cold shoulder that the universe so often favored. But it was more than that. It was a drama of some catastrophic disaster that was befalling the planet where the sentient aliens lived. The coverage never stopped and the worried expressions on the faces of the aliens got progressively disturbing. But the cameras kept running, constantly. People running in panic and rioting in the streets, were being inter cut with scenes of a looming asteroid.
Grot grunted in disgust, “Just get out of the way you idiots! Leave the planet and go somewhere else!”
But the aliens did not heed him. They had elaborate discussions about how to get the asteroid to move out of the doomed planet’s way, but nobody seemed to have a good way to make it happen. What ineptitude, Grot thought to himself. He watched warily for a while, knowing the end was near enough to stick around to see if it worked out for the hairless aliens.
He was disappointed. The live coverage continued until the skies above the broadcast station lit up with fireballs. Eventually the studio was destroyed and the signal fell silent. No more aliens and no more live coverage from that planet.
Grot continued on through the channels. Some nights there was just nothing to watch.