daily post

The Countdown

 

Asteroids by Nicholas Wilson

Asteroids by Nicholas Wilson

Scientists had first observed the asteroid months ago, but most people didn’t comprehend the magnitude of the consequences. For the first few months after the discovery people suspected some sort of impossible scientific conspiracy, like the big bang, the Higgs Boson, or global warming. Many researchers and pundits were accused of conspiratorial motivations involving a far left or far right agenda. Christian theologians began preaching the coming of the Apocalypse, as if Jesus were somehow riding into town on the asteroid like a holy space cowboy, which in turn led to a dramatic increase in prayer and salacious requests of salvation. Most assumed that between the United Nations, the global industrial military think tank, and brainy scientific literati, some sort of solution would be proposed and executed before the impending strike. Blow it up with nuclear warheads, use rockets to alter its path, blast it to smithereens by lasering into its icy core, construct some sort of giant space blockade out of plastic bags and styrofoam. Human kinds brightest minds would undoubtedly surmise some sort of solution to this impending disaster. For most life went on in a predictable and routine manner, unfazed, despite the fact that asteroid P-52637 was hurtling toward Earth at 280,000 miles per hour, and though there was a level of unpredictability in its trajectory, most models and calculations seemed to indicate it would make a direct impact somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere on December the thirtieth.

After the brainiest engineers’ plans and calculations had proven inadequate in abating the large chunk of space dust’s path, the impending impact grew closer and more unavoidable. Some people became frantic, attempting to live an entire life in the course of a couple days. Others rioted in the streets trying to seize control of their destinies while they still had destinies to seize, looting things like high end liquor, big screen TVs, and surround sound systems, so they could watch the doom and gloom footage in 1080p while they got drunk and tried to forget about it. Not that the shop owners or police cared. Some of them were looting too.

Some people tried to frantically build catastrophe shelters or spaceships in hopes of avoiding the carnage altogether. Others grew despondent and fell depressed into a sort of paralysis, a state prevalent enough to be termed the comet coma. The whole of humanity seemed to be reaching a sort of emotional apex covering the spectrum of possible responses. Anger, sadness, denial, elation, regret, apathy, forgiveness. Most, it seemed, suffered from a strange combination of all these, inducing even more instances of comet coma as the impending impact approached with its promise of blasting life as we knew into the the nether regions of space.

While some became agitated and lashed out at the cruel absurdity of it, more and more fell into their comet comas, still alive on the outside, but lifeless and empty on the inside as if they were already dead. It was an inescapable and vacuous feeling of having everything we had worked for and dreamt of and aspired to accomplish in our lives suddenly taken. Sure we all die, but this felt so much more permanent than death. Most of us hoped that even though our time on Earth was limited to this one life, some small piece of us—a memory, a child, a resume of accomplishments, an obituary in the local paper—would live on past our temporal existence.

Knowing that there would be no tomorrow for any of us somehow made today so much more valuable. I lamented the fact that it had to take this impending catastrophe to trigger this realization. I did my best to avoid the coma and the comatose pacing the streets in despair like zombies. I tried to embrace the sanctity of this moment—of every moment—before these moments spiraled to their cataclysmic end. And as that fiery ball filled the sky and reminded us all of our impending mortality, I climbed onto my roof, popped my best bottle of wine, and lifted a glass to the heavens. It had been a good run.

Cheers!

Posted for the DP Weekly Writing Challenge: Countdown

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Family Reunion

Chauncy had slept with each of the three sisters and married two. He cheated on his first wife, the eldest, with her youngest sister, resulting in her impregnation. When his wife found out about their affair she filed for divorce, and ever since the two sisters never spoke. The middle sister, who had always been passed over for her two more attractive siblings, became enamored with Chauncy’s flirtatious advances, and they were wed before the ink on the divorce papers had even dried.

Between the three sisters Chauncy had fathered five children. He was their father and their uncle. They were cousins and half-siblings. These things get confusing, as is often the case with families, especially one so tangled up in itself.

Chauncy’s mother-in-law had died and the sisters would be together in the same room for the first time in years. The entire family had already gone into the church, but Chauncy loitered outside in the parking lot to smoke a cigarette and bolster his nerve. He wondered how it would pan out. Would all be forgotten and forgiven with kissing and hugging and what were we thinkings? Would his first wife make a scene like she always did, embarrassing everybody with her accusatory rants, calling the youngest sister a slut and a whore in front of the entire family? He envisioned the casket getting spilled into the aisle in the hair pulling scuffle, that the tragic reunion would be far more depressing than the actual funeral.

He stamped out his butt and made his way to the entrance, but discovered the door to the church locked tight. The sisters had decided that the best way to keep the peace during the service would be to exclude Chauncy altogether.

At least they could agree on something.

chicago- north center (by like, totally on Flickr)

The DP Daily Prompt: I can’t stay mad at you,

The DP Weekly Writing Challenge: Flash Fiction

 

Shooting Star

Shooting Star? (by deltaMike)

Jones never believed in wishing wells or fountains, but shooting stars were a different matter. He looked into the night sky, clear of clouds and lightly frosted by stars, and thought of what he would wish for if he saw a shooting star. Someone else to baby-sit for one thing. Sure he owed his sister some money, but working it off via indentured childcare? It rankled him, all but destroying the tiny bit of integrity remaining in his spine. Maybe he would wish for Stacy to come back to him, that bitch. Jones realized having her back would not bring him happiness, but he felt like a dysfunctional relationship was better than the nothing she had left him with. He could wish for his mother to come back from wherever she’d gone to. It seemed like everything had really started to spin out of control after she finally passed. He could wish for his father to walk again, if for no other reason than to knock him back down. How feeble his father had grown in his older years, an atrophied shadow of the man that had terrorized Jones’ entire life. His father consistently claimed that Jones was far less than a man, that Jones was pathetic and would never amount to more than a pile of cigarette butts. Maybe Jones could wish to be a man, in the eyes of his father and the eyes of the world, whatever being a man entailed. Jones wasn’t sure what he would get with a wish like that, but it was a wish that would probably be worth the gamble. He’d mulled it over a million times. What was the one thing that could change his entire life around, the one wish that would make all his other wishes come true? He hoped for a meteor shower, so that all his wishes might be accounted for. Then, from the corner of his eye, Jones saw a streak of light sliding toward the horizon, and for a brief instant it seemed like everything might actually be coming together for once.

He took the pack of smokes out of the breast pocket of his red and black flannel, much lighter than he remembered it. He probed inside with a finger, grabbing hold of the last one carefully. He placed it between his lips and then double-checked the empty pack again, hopeful of some oversight on his part.  Finding no more cigarettes he silently wished for another pack, and then cursed himself for wasting his wish.

Shit, how stupid to waste a wish on cigarettes. I should have wished for two more wishes with my one, but what good would that be? Left with nothing but unfulfilled wishes. The people who want one thing more than anything else, they are the lucky ones. They always know what to wish for. What about the people who don’t know what they want or the people who want too much? Wishing for cigarettes, how stupid are you Jones?

Jones realized he had been talking to himself out loud again. He hated when he did it, although he was never sure unless there were others around. Usually, by the time he found out about it, it was already an embarrassment. He should have wished that he’d never do that anymore. He couldn’t even make a wish without fucking it up.

Lucky Strike (by Axolot)

Written for the Daily Prompt: Three Coins in a Fountain

The Convenience of Paradise

You had come to Mexico to find paradise, but that was before you couldn’t make it home. Now you realize that paradise is a convenient place. In paradise there are flushing toilets with toilet seats. In paradise the coffee is hot and the beer is cold. In paradise there is electricity on demand and remote controls. In paradise there is cell phone reception and free wifi. In paradise there are familiar faces and hot showers. In paradise things come easier than they really should.

At some point the novelty of it begins to fade and the pining for convenience begins. Things that should be easy grow daily harder, and a hundred pesos suddenly feels like so much more than ten dollars. When it rains your stuff gets wet and never dries out again, ever. Perspiration and dirt cover all surfaces. Piles of rusty corona bottle caps are reproducing faster than the cockroaches. The humid breeze is the opposite of refreshing and actually makes it harder to breathe. Men with guns seem to be studying you closely despite your attempts to retain anonymity. The mosquitos swarm. The bathroom stinks. The sad excuse for a bed is a puddle of sweat. The tacos make your digestive system self destruct. All you want to do is go home and remember the easy convenience.

But every day home feels further and further away.

viva mexico


Daily Prompt: Let’s Go Crazy

(Not really impulse, but definitely going crazy)