Ever look up into the night sky and see lights that drift across? You’ve probably dismissed them as airplanes, but I must tell you that you’re wrong. It’s ok to be wrong. We’re all wrong about something otherwise we’d all know everything. That’d be a dreadful life. How could you tell a riddle or ask someone about their day? Well, I’m about to right you down the proper path. But you mustn’t tell anyone. Not even your pet cat. Especially not your pet cat. She has quite the gift of gab and has told many a feline about that thing in your bottom drawer. Scandalous. Now then, if you can promise me five times, with a bit of sugar, I will tell the tale of the startuggers.

When a person dies, the planet takes them back. But some meet a different end. The one’s who’ve lived lives many dream of, done things most can’t, they’re gifted with something rare. Energy cannot be destroyed, only shifted. Where do you think the energy goes from those elite dead? They turn into stars, brilliant and massive. They don’t begin that way, however. New life for them is a light that fits in your eye. That glimmer you see in your lover’s iris sometimes? A newborn star. But stars grow rather quickly so a startugger has to be swift. You could see them if you noticed them, but they pride themselves on their ability to distract. Like when you suddenly think of a song and can’t get it out of your head…

Once a startugger captures a glimmer, it flies as fast as it can to the darkest part of the universe. The downside of being the largest thing in existence is there’s always a darkest part. Nothing there but (b)lack. Too cold for misery. And that’s what startuggers try to change with their gift, bringing warmth and hope to those places. The universe is always thankful, but the life of a startugger is thankless. Even the sky likes the odd song or two. No one knows what a startugger looks like, why they do what they do, or what happens when they die. Yes, they die. All things die. Stars also eventually die. It’s a tragic responsibility of startuggers, but billions of years of life is a fair shake. And they must always be fair. Good people aren’t the only ones who’ve lived jubilantly.

When a star is extinguished, a black hole appears. The universe mourns this sudden loss, you see, and the only way it knows how to fill the void is with more emptiness. Some startuggers try to cheat. They turn stars due to be smothered into planets. But this is unnatural, thus they’re born infertile. Earth is actually a mistake, yet the startuggers can’t decide whether it’s a boon or a doom. What they do know is the universe is glacial and alone. And could use a little more light in its life.

Thank you for listening and thank you for keeping our secret. I’m almost at my end and can leave knowing that at least one person appreciates us now.


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