This shattered Freddie’s entire existence. He climbed under his bed, clutched the crocheted Dalek doll his aunt had made him, and sobbed until his parents tried to convince him to come out.
“He’s gone!” he screamed in response to their consoling words. “Chuck Norris is gone!”
“At least he went in a fiery explosion,” his dad tried.
Freddie emitted a high-pitched squeal that marked all his worst moods.
“Now, honey, I know you really loved Chuck Norris—”
“You don’t know. You don’t understand, you can’t understand!”
And, perhaps, they didn’t.
Ever since his discovery of Chuck Norris, his mind had been fixated on the unexplained phenomena of the universe, as if Chuck Norris embodied all that was exotic and wonderful and impossibly possible. Freddie had always been a rather strange, frightfully odd little boy, obsessed with fractals and derivatives and atomic processes when other boys were playing with robots and cars, so when he began to talk to them about Chuck Norris, about his hero’s indestructibility, about Chuck Norris’ frightful presence and sheer omnipotence, the other kids listened, adding their own comments, which he disregarded as uninformed and childish.In any event, he refused to come out from underneath the bed, and eventually his parents gave up their attempts. All day Freddie refused their offers of food, though he did drink three juice boxes and once ran to the bathroom when no one was looking.
Even his younger sister, who usually ignored Freddie, trundled in and sat, peering beneath the bed at him. “Wassa matta?” she asked. “Wassa matta?”
“He was such a star,” Freddie lamented, starring up at the bedframe. “There never was a star like him, Maddie, never. He was such a big star. No one was powerful enough to destroy Chuck Norris. Nothing could hurt Chuck Norris. But…but…” His lips quivered. “It was his own fault!” he wailed. “It was all his fault! And now he’s gone!”
Freddie’s sudden outburst made Maddie cry, and their shrieks filled the house until their parents could soothe them.
That night they held a memorial for Chuck Norris in the backyard. Freddie’s father had dug a large hole, and Freddie laid his memorabilia in it—his sketches and short stories and colorings of Chuck Norris. But he could not part with the plaque.
“I have to keep a little bit of him,” Freddie explained solemnly. Then, taking the too-big shovel, he tried to cover up the hole, but only succeeded in getting a splinter in his hand and breaking down completely. He fell asleep moaning and groaning.
At about three in the morning, though, he rushed into his parents’ room. “Mom! Dad! I’m all better! I’m not sad anymore!”
His mom, whose night it was to deal with Freddie’s late night incidents, asked groggily, “Why not?”
“Because Chuck Norris didn’t explode last night. I just figured it out. He exploded 171,231 years ago! Isn’t that great?”
His mother did not ask what this meant but said she was very glad to hear it and tucked him back into bed.
He fell asleep almost as soon as she settled the sheets over him. He had curled up with the Certificate from the International Star Registry they had gotten him for his last birthday.
Back in bed, his mother jabbed his father in the ribs to wake him. “This is your fault, you know.”
“This. I wanted to get him nice glow-in-the-dark stars to put on his walls.”
“How was I supposed to know it would go supernova? And, come on, admit it, Chuck Norris is an awesome name for a star.”
“He almost had an emotional meltdown.”
His father yawned. “He always does that. Be thankful we didn’t buy him a goldfish.”