In which Scott Paul battles the forces of Mormonism in the Metaverse.
One day, a man named Scott fell into the metaverse. What happened next is a matter of some dispute.
Some say he was never real to begin with—that he was a manifestation of AI become personified. Others say he was an NFT who gained sentience and escaped from the Bored Ape Yacht Club on the back of a tiny pink Jet Ski. Still others believe he was born from a seashell in the mythical land of Malta, with nothing but an iPhone and a MetaMask wallet to announce his entrance into the annals of history.
There are even those who place his origin story in the real world—who claim he was an angel (investor) who came from the land of (tech) titans to save the metaverse and fulfill the prophecy that was once foretold about him—though we know better than to believe such religious zealotry.
Still, no one could explain how Scott came to find himself standing in front of the Mormon Temple in the middle of Decentraland, dressed like Jesus and wearing a hot pink wig. And there begins our tale…
There was something off about the temple—it appeared to be glowing, vibrating even. But then, the strangest thing, the angel Moroni shook from his parapet, the trumpet fell from his lips and then… was he blowing bubbles?
Sure enough, giant pink bubbles blew from the angel’s lips and bounced across the sky. It would have been quite the spectacle if anyone had noticed, but a Justin Bieber concert was playing nearby and people were jumping up and down trying to figure out how to dance using only the space bar.
Moroni blew his magical breath in Scott’s direction and suddenly he was caught up in a bubble and whisked into the sky, crowd surfing over Decentraland before he was teleported into another dimension, passing the rocket ships of various billionaires, a helicopter chasing after a UFO, and one baby yoda pod until he was lost on the other side of the galaxy.
Just when Scott wondered where he might be going, POP! The bubble burst and Scott was falling—no floating—down to… was this SafeMoon?
Scott knew this planet, it was a safe haven for crypto exiles—those who had seceded from the real world to live in the metaverse forever. He thought he saw Satoshi Nakamoto, Neo from the Matrix, and Kanye. Still others had merely used the #safemoon hashtag a little too judiciously. As he floated toward it, the planet emitted an ethereal, purple glow and all of it was powered by a giant wind turbine that spun rather hypnotically in an empty wind.
Scott landed softly in the moondust, his pink hair floating mystically in the ether. There appeared to be a beach party going on. Crowds of people, and a few whales, were moonbathing from lounge chairs as X Æ A-12 spun lo-fi beats from his turntable and Snoop Dogg, wearing Martha Stewart skins, served drinks with tiny umbrellas and a twist of freshly grated thyme.
Mark Zuckerburg was handing out pamphlets, trying to convince everyone to move to another planet. Mila Kunis was herding what appeared to be a herd of stoned cats. Even Oprah was wandering around, airdropping coins to passersby. “You get SafeMoon. And YOU get SafeMoon,” she said as she walked by.
“That’s the secret to her wealth, you know,” a voice said a little too close to his head. “She giveth it all away, and so earneth even more.”
Scott found his wallet suddenly flush with coins.“Are you… Rich?” he asked with his eyes wide.
“No, I am John,” the man answered. “The one you seek is over there.” As he pointed, a cave appeared before him, sparkling with the light of a thousand tokens. Even as Scott walked toward it, it seemed to grow farther away, stretching out like an unreachable oasis before him. Scott must have wandered for an entire day until at last, he reached the precipice.
From the depths of the moon cave, a man in a hooded cloak approached. Scott knew him at once. Rumor told that spiritual seekers from around the metaverse sacrificed Ethereum to him so that they might one day have eternal life—which would explain why Dave Asprey was cryogenically frozen and floating next to him, his soul minted as an NFT and available for 7,000 ETH.
Scott wondered briefly if anyone would purchase it, given the incredibly high price of gas these days. But then the cloaked man held out his hand. In one palm was a coffee bean, in the other was a cacao bean. “Will you choose the truth, and have your eyes opened to the secrets of the metaverse?” The man asked from beneath the shadow of his hood. “Or will you choose to return to the real world, and close your eyes to the metaverse forever?”
Scott knew it was dangerous. He had been taught the evils of the coffee bean, and knew well the virtues of its cousin the cacao bean. Still, he couldn’t help but wonder if those childhood teachers had known the truth and so forbid him from knowing it, just as Adam was once forbidden to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.
He took the coffee bean.
Scott felt different.
He looked down from the cave and saw that the beach party had devolved into a sort of distorted paradise. Some were buying up Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Burberry purses for more money than they cost in the real world. Others lay crying in the moondust, their tears drifting into outer space because the site crashed while they were trying to buy avatars from The Matrix. Even Melania Trump was trying to sell one of her eyes as an NFT.
Hordes of people were scrambling to get their hands on Coca-Cola snow globes, some spending the price of a new home for a virtual Coca-Cola puffer jacket. Pepsi tried to get in on the craze and but their site crashed, and mobs of tech founders pressed to get their caffeine fix, ensuring that Pepsi stock would go up and keep them all rich.
But Scott had had the coffee bean. He was separate from them now. He felt out of place—like an outsider. He didn’t want to drink soda anymore. He didn’t even want to fit in. For the moment, all he wanted was to be himself. He clicked his heels together three times, “There’s no place like YouTube, there’s no place like YouTube,” he said to himself.
Suddenly SafeMoon was melting like Dali’s clocks, dripping moondust into the sky. Green fog smudged the galaxy, dappling the stars in pink as Scott found himself floating through the northern lights and hovering over an endless icy expanse. Just when Scott thought he might fall into the outer darkness, the dust sucked him into another dimension and he was tucked safely away in an app on someone’s phone.
He looked around. He was in Life With Scott—the YouTube channel he called home—but this phone was familiar. Yes, it was his daughter’s phone—he could even see her through the screen. She was looking down at her phone but she wasn’t looking at YouTube. In fact, she appeared to be playing Fortnite. That can’t be right, Scott thought to himself, his eldest would never play Fortnite. And yet… was that Tom Holland?
That’s when Scott realized that there was great power in the metaverse. There might even be a greater power than existed in the real world. For this was a place where the entire world gathered. This was a place where everyone could be themselves—or Tom Holland if they wanted to be. This was a place where influence was more powerful than money.
Yes, this was the place.
Scott put on a new wig, this one with long brunette locks, and he secured his robes about him. He knew what he had to do. He had to go to Fortnite.
Somewhere in the real world, a very old man was praying, when suddenly his eyes opened. There was a shift to the balance of the universe—he could feel it. The scales had been tipped.
Another soul had taken the coffee bean, and this one was more powerful than the others. Because this prophet had the power to preach—and not just that limited church kind of preaching, not the kind of power that came from God—but an even greater power: The almighty powers of YouTube.
The old man knew he would never be able to compete with such an adversary. Not when his constituents spent 2,000 hours on YouTube each week and only two hours at church. So the old man issued a proclamation: From now on his congregation would be known as The Totally True Church That Must Not Be Called Mormon And Is Not To Be Confused With The Church Made Fun Of In That Broadway Play—except on Twitter where @notmormons would have to suffice.
Flustered, members tried to shorten it to “the TTCTMNBCMAINTBCWTCMFOITBP church.” But even that wouldn’t stand. They must be taken seriously, the old man said, and thus the full name must be used henceforth so as to avoid confusion and ensure that no one could ever make fun of them or take their social media handles again.
This was only the beginning, the old man thought, the battle for influence was not yet won. This was a battle for the very soul of humanity and he would have to meet them where they are. He too would have to go to Fortnite, he vowed. Only then, would they stand a chance against the allures of the metaverse.
The old man bowed his head in prayer. The Church needed more followers—and not just Church followers, but like real, actual TikTok followers. His own daughter would be lost to Kanye if he didn’t act soon—and the Church’s first post really didn’t go over so well. Apparently, people didn’t take too kindly to twelve old men dancing in white suits. Which, honestly, was kind of shocking.
Still, one properly placed influencer could sway public opinion more than any religion ever could, the old man knew. After all, it was a pair of influencer twins that spawned a thousand celibacies, it was a mommy blogger that inspired a generation a-line dress wearers, and it was a perfectly coiffed MLM Instagrammer that showed the world how easy it was to parent a dozen children—and that couldn’t be underestimated.
If The Totally True Church That Must Not Be Called Mormon And Is Not To Be Confused With The Church Made Fun Of In That Broadway Play wanted to regain their influence, then the old man knew what he had to do. He would have to take his seat in the metaverse and win the battle for influence—and his daughter’s respect—once and for all!
His vision thus determined, the old man tried to download Fortnite but to no avail. All he had were Apple devices and he couldn’t even get in! Not wanting to wake his family, he snuck down the stairs to his daughter Ashleeeeeeeee’s bedroom and located her Switch. Pretty soon, she would be drinking the Mountain Dew, he thought. Pretty soon, the whole world would be.
And his stock would soar…
Scott wandered around chapter three—people were smashing rocks with baseball bats and shooting llama piñatas to smithereens—was this really the Fortnite everyone had told him about? What was more, he appeared to be standing in the snow, which was all too unsettling. Scott lived in the snow IRL, he really didn’t need to do it in the metaverse too.
As Scott made his way toward the Sanctuary, a small village came into view. People were hawking their wares, most of them repping EVs or shilling NFTs. Larry David was walking around saying all of it was stupid. Coinbase was bouncing a QR code around like it was Atari and everyone was losing their shit about it. Meta tried to join in the fun with some avatars straight out of Chuck E. Cheese, but everyone was like WTF??!!
As he walked by, still dressed like Jesus and wearing his signature pink wig, a hush came over the crowd—it was Scott Paul, they whispered, the one the prophecy told would save the metaverse. The crowds pushed in: startup founders wanted his funding, venture capitalists were desperate for his advice, and the government wanted his help against the darkweb. There were even rumors that those who touched his robe would be cured of Covid.
It was strange, Scott realized: what he hadn’t been able to achieve as a tech founder or even as a millionaire, he was now able to achieve with a pink wig and a YouTube Channel. He may as well have skipped the startup thing altogether and gone straight to being an influencer—or at least given a Ted Talk. He only hoped he would make it out of Fortnite alive so he could tell his daughters to skip school and do the more sensible thing and become influencers, the credible kind with a blue checkmark next to their names.
Just as he pondered this Utopian future, he caught sight of a giant statue that, he hated to admit, kind of looked like The Rock.
Just then, the boulder cracked, The Foundation was unlocked, and a new player entered the arena.
“ARE YOU READY TO RUUUUUUUUUMBLE” he heard the old man say.
The old man made the first blow, or rather, he tried, but he hadn’t so much as blown up a llama yet and he had no weapons. Scott Paul took advantage of a nearby supply drop and launched an explosive.
The old man appeared to stagger, but he chugged some Metaverse Mountain Dew and regained his strength. Right when he was about to jump on a chest…
They froze, each of them wondering who would have the power to cease their very movements. They turned their gaze toward the sky.
“God,” they asked?
God was a teenager named Ashleeeeeeeee, and she was rapidly losing Twitch streamers. How did the battle suddenly come down to two old guys who didn’t even know how to play? Is this really how Fortnite thought they were going to win back older players?
It was causing discord in the Discord.
“OH GOD WHAT’S WITH THE CENTER PART,” said one commenter.
“SRSLY HE MKAES MILLIONS OF $$$$ AND CAN’T EVEN JUMP?” said another?
More than 2 million people had tuned in to watch her Fortnite battle. But to what end? To raise the value of her NFTs and win a pro-deal with Mountain Dew? There had to be more to life.
Setting down her headset, she let out a deep sigh. “Screw this,” she said at last. “I’m going to be a TikTok dancer.”