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The End of the World (flash fiction)

August 7, 2012

Double Decker  Bus with 2012 Movie Ad


It’s not on Calvin’s calendar, but there are forecasts calling for the end of the world like forecasts for sunny or windy or rainy conditions tomorrow,

which reminds Calvin to pack an umbrella for tomorrow since there is a 30% chance of rain,

which is greater than 1% but much fewer than 100%,

but if that were the case, the largest umbrella (the size of a city block, that is) must be procured, packed, and had on hand in case the torrential rains start to fall,

and if they persist, plans for a big boat must be drawn up and put into motion, good solid wood must be procured, not the cheap nasty junk on sale but the durable stuff, those planks with no knots in them because this beauty must be ship-shape and pitch-perfect, no leaks on this here vessel,

for it will need to carry a great many passengers and beasts, and Calvin will need to learn how to cut the jib and tack into the wind and tie an assortment of knots and the delicacies of the astrolabe—not to mention the language of maritime signal flags in order to communicate with the other ships of survivors,

which is of course assuming there are others, but of course Calvin hopes there will be, because it would be lonely to be the only one in the world like the “Twilight Zone” story in which Burgess Meredith finally gets the peace to read all the books he pleases but steps on his glasses and breaks them,

which reminds Calvin to not only invite others to join him on his ship, but to pack books to load for cargo, and he’ll have to draw up a list of books to bring, but that will probably lead to a great many arguments over which books are significant and should be saved in the tightest, most water-proof compartment on the ship, as some people will want to bring The Odyssey and Shakespeare and Don Quixote and Moby Dick and untold other classic works, but there are others who will say no we’d rather have more modern fiction that’s more fast paced, but then others will say that’s all just drivel, we need to bring a pile of books from our grand learnings, of the many and varied branches of science, engineering, medicine, architecture, electricity, plumbing, philosophy, and laws,

which then someone brings up the bright idea to load a massive amount of books on tablet computers (not to mention the history of music on electronic files) because that would solve part of the space problem on board because all those books will take up a lot of space that otherwise could be used for food, to which someone will say, what about simply bringing fishing poles so we can fish for all of our meals,

but a large contingent doesn’t like this idea because they’re not overly fond of seafood—even lobsters if you could somehow catch them—and a thoughtful person says that eating raw or undercooked seafood could lead to health problems, exasperated by those whom easily get seasick,

which leads someone to say that we can cook the food, we’re not going to eat raw foods, but that same thoughtful person doesn’t really care for the idea of a fire on the ship because, well, it’s our life support system,

but then someone else brings up the point about electricity: will there be electricity on board the ship to operate cooking ovens and recharge the batteries on their tablet computers carrying all the files for the books and music, of which he prefers early jazz? well, there’s the idea of solar cells, which could be used to run ovens and a blender should there be a daily happy hour and to recharge batteries for the assorted electrical devices,

but someone else flatly states that scientists haven’t figured out how to make photovoltaic cells inexpensively, that the prices are downright through the roof, but that first someone asks why should we care, that we could purchase the photovoltaic cells on a credit card and you’ll never have to pay it because after the world ends, there will be no banks and no records of that purchase,

which, someone points out, is a very good point, so we could have a huge shopping spree and not really have to be responsible for any of it after the world ends,

but, someone else points out, we can’t fit all that stuff on the ship and what if the world doesn’t end? we’ll have all that stuff in our house and a huge credit card bill,

which is a pretty good point, too, and then someone else makes even another good point: what if the world doesn’t end by torrential rains? what if there are earth-shattering earthquakes or a meteorite pounding into the earth in a horrific, earth-shattering impact that sends up gargantuan dust clouds that block out the sun and send us into a never-ending night? then we don’t really have to worry about building a gargantuan ship and filling it with assorted books and electrical devices and a very expensive array of solar cells,

which is a string of questions that shatters their previous line of reasoning and leaves them quiet for a little while, then someone asks, just how are we supposed to prepare for the end of the world, anyway?

copyright Dave Williams

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 7, 2012 3:11 pm

    I’m still smiling about this story…it is as I would expect a “committee of friends” might approach preparing for the end of the world…delightful read.

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