Monday, July 31, 2006

Untitled Apocalypse Part 1.

He was away when the world ended. A patient at Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrows Detox Center, he was not allowed to watch TV and did not get to see civilization crumble, did not witness the riots in the street, the cars and city busses overturned, the stores looted and houses burned. He only saw the anxious faces of his caretakers, saw them whispering to each other in the hallway and began to notice the decided lack of effort going into his well paid for upkeep. The last meal he received was a handful of oyster crackers and a bowl of not quite solidified Jell-O.

The next day there was nothing, and the day after that he ventured out of the safety of his butter yellow room to complain. But by then, he was the last one left. Chairs and carts were left overturned in the hallway. All the calming prints of Monet’s haystacks had been torn from the walls. All the rooms were devoid of patients and in some even the mattresses were gone. The Ping-Pong table in the rec. room had been smashed to pieces and the front doors had been left wide open and unguarded. A few dead leaves blew in, skidding across the floor symbolically.

He went back to his room, dressed, packed up his belongings and checked himself out. He was cured anyway—it had not been much of a problem; his only addiction was mild and particular: a habit for a concoction of his own invention composed mostly of Alka-Seltzer Cold Plus with a shot of Robitussin. Sometimes served with ice, depending on his mood and the weather.

As he walked down the empty street, over broken glass, passed the burned out shells of cars, passed bodies stacked up like fire wood, he was remarkably unfazed. The world, to him, had always seemed on the verge of some cataclysmic end. It was no great surprise or disappointment to find out it had finally occurred, or that it had happened while he had been catching up on his reading in a quiet room.

Newspapers blew by in balls of post-apocalyptic tumbleweed in the street. He stopped to scan the headline of a page of the financial section caught beneath his feet. The dollar was down against the pound or the peso, but this hardly seemed an explanation for this final turn of events. What was buck or a quid here or there? Well, now it was nothing. It was probably disease anyway, or maybe a war or maybe an election—it did not matter. He was the master of all now; the world was his rapidly spoiling oyster.

He would stop at a drug store, fix himself a drink and ponder his next move.


Blogger Paul said...

If all your lonely people ever meet, I want to buy the novel.

6:19 PM  

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