Time: 15 minutes
Prompt: "...my neighbors are all there, fearful, watching..."
Source: The Parade Ends by Reinaldo Arenas
When the Big End finally begins, I am on the toilet. At least I'm not alone. Okay, that's not what I mean, and you know it. There's nobody on the toilet with me. There's nobody else in the bathroom, even. But of the five billion or so people who are awake when the End starts, at least ten million—at least!—must be enthroned on a crapper.
By the time I get myself out the door (and yes, even though it won't matter, I do wash my hands) and into the street, my neighbors are all there, fearful, watching. It's six in the morning so even though this is the appointed day, only a few people were actually looking at the sky when the Enders appeared. Now those few—those happy few?—are describing it to everyone else—how these zillions of bright dots just showed up all over the sky, shining in the morning sun.
We all knew they were coming. They'd been telling us for years. Knowing didn't help though. Made things worse, actually. You can tell a goldfish every day for a year that on the first of April, you're going to drain her bowl. Can the stupid fish do a goddamn thing to save his tail?
Okay, bad example. Goldfish don't talk... or listen. So let's say cancer. Tell me I've got malignant melanoma with mets to the brain and I have a month to live. Nothing to be done. Thanks. So happy to know. Now fuck off and let me try to forget—try to remember what it was I was doing before you told me.
Churches have done pretty well since the announcements started. All the religions, really. Lots of soul-searching and good-doing. A whole lot of sinning too, of course. Never been so easy to get laid. No lasting consequences that would have to be dealt with for very long.
And then there were the drugs... I finally tried a whole load of shit I'd been too scared to touch before. Amazing stuff. I can't afford any of it now though. I grow what I can, like most folks, but the raw materials for the designer recipes—can't get hold of it anymore.
Now I'm just happy the water and sanitation still run. Lots of things have broken down and crapped out as folks quit going to work (who can blame them?), but as long as my toilet flushes and I can take a shower every few days, I'm okay.
The most desperate of the mega-rich bought themselves berths on space stations. I guess if there's still a planetary mass to hold them in orbit when it's all over and if they find some way of getting back down to earth and if there's anything left on earth to be worth living for, their escape might do them some good. A lot of ifs. Mostly it just seems like a sad attempt at palliation to me.
You can let the tumor kill you in thirty days and keep feeling sort-of okay for half that time, or there's this chemotherapy that'll make you sick off your ass, starting right now and you can expect to live an extra three to six days in exchange for your suffering. No thank you, doctor. Give me whatever the Enders bring us today and let me burn with everyone else.
If that's even what happens. The Enders haven't provided much in the way of specifics. They just showed up on TV and radio and all over the internet, telling us, in every language spoken, that if we wanted to survive, we should evacuate before the End—before they arrived. They told us what day they'd be here, but didn't tell us how the End would go down. Maybe if we'd believed them sooner and gotten busy, we could have sent at least a few promising survivors out the door, off the planet. A little seed of us that might survive.
Our response? Neither intelligent nor constructive.
Ha ha. Great hoax. We're all amused. Victory to the annoying little pranksters. Just wait till we catch your sorry little asses.
Guaranteed immunity to the international info-bombing terrorists if they will only please confirm that this is all in jest and please just fucking quit already.
Somebody, anybody, please, tell us how the fuck they're doing this and how come we can't control our own transmissions anymore.
What if it's for real? It's probably for real. Shit.
Shit. Shit, flush, wash hands. Repeat.
Until the end.
[about my timed writing exercises]