Today--July 15th, 2015--marks the day Grijalva would've hit if it hadn't missed. Celebrate by reading your favorite Fauxpocalypse stories! You can buy a copy at Aaron's Books. Here's my contribution to the anthology, It's the End of the World As We Know It:
Tomorrow my life will end.
Hold up, I'm not talking about suicide or anything. Nothing that dramatic. No, I'm talking about the end of the world.
Hold the screaming! I know the scientists have proven it. I know everyone's at home, hugging family and friends and saying their goodbyes, but I'm not.
Why waste your time on something that's never going to happen?
I know I said that my life was going to end tomorrow, but that was just a trap to get you to read my story.
Did it work?
My story is just way too interesting for anybody to ignore.
Little Rock, AR, USA--14July2015. 3:00 p.m.
"Aren't you worried?" my best friend Ellie asks me in her Southern drawl.
"Worried about what?" I ask, licking a drip of ice cream off of my hand.
"Worried about what's going to happen after tomorrow."
"What's going on tomorrow?"
Ellie stares at me as if I'm an alien riding the comet that's supposed to destroy the world.
"You can't be serious, Natalie."
"Ohhh," I say, smacking my forehead with the palm of my hand. "That. No, I'm not worried. Not at all. It shouldn't hurt if it's supposed to hit the Earth and destroy it in a few seconds, right? I mean, it should just be like, boom! Life over. World destroyed. Kablooie!"
Ellie shakes her head with her lower lip stuck out.
"What? What did I say?"
"That wasn't what I meant. I meant, aren't you worried what's going to happen after the world ends?"
"It's not gonna end, Ells," I say, rolling my eyes. "I'm sure of it."
I’m sure of it. Part of me wonders if I’m saying all of this just to convince myself. I shake off the doubt quickly and listen to Ellie’s next outrageous statement.
"The sooner you accept it, the better. You need to spend time thinking about your sins."
"Your sins. You know, the things that you've done wrong. Think about the people you've hurt, including yourself. What have you done wrong?"
"What twisted guilt trip is this?"
"Natalie you need to repent. Don't worry, God will forgive you."
"God doesn't exist," I say with a shrug.
Ellie gasps and covers her mouth, her brown eyes round with pain and worry. "You'd better repent fast. You don't want to end up in hell. Forever's a long time."
I turn to face Ellie and put my hands on her shoulder. It's an easy reach, since I'm a good three or four inches taller than her.
"The. World. Is. Not. Going. To. End," I say slowly, shaking her gently for emphasis. "And God doesn't exist. Neither does the devil or Satan or whatever the heck you call him. Where's the proof?"
"There is no proof. Not like science. You can feel him in your heart."
She places her hand over her heart and closes her eyes, taking a deep breath. She takes my hand and places it over my heart.
"What do you feel?" she says seriously, gazing up at me.
I raise my eyebrows. "The beating of a healthy heart. Why?"
Ellie backs away, looking concerned. She takes my hand and squeezes it. "If you end up in hell, I want you to know that I will always be your best friend."
"Good to know. Thanks for that. Now if you will please exit the church?”
Ellie rolls her eyes.
That night, my mom and dad spent what feels like forever hugging and kissing me. They assure me that they love me and will always love me and that it shouldn't hurt when the world ends. I humor them by hugging them back, refraining from letting some sarcastic comment slip from my lips.
The only good things are that they don't make me go to bed, and I'm allowed to have whatever I want for dinner.
"You should enjoy your last day on Earth," Mom says with tears in her eyes.
"Do whatever you want," Dad says. "We love you."
I hug them and trot off happily to the kitchen, where I gorge myself on cookies and order pizza delivery.
My parents, along with most of our highly religious neighbors, have decided that they should spend their last day on Earth at home with their family. Unlike most of the world, they don't want to hop on planes to go to Disneyland or Europe before they die. They just want to sit around, holding hands and making bargains with God.
“I can’t believe I managed to get pizza delivery tonight of all nights,” I say. I hand the pizza delivery guy some money and take the pizza box. It smells like cheese and doughy bread.
The pizza guy shrugs.
“I just don’t buy it,” he says. “The apocalypse? Really? This is the sort of stuff you hear about in sci-fi movies set in the year three-thousand.”
I grin and high-five him before he leaves.
The night is a long one. No one sleeps, no one eats, no one does anything but curl up on the couch and wait for the end.
It's eleven thirty at night and we're moping around like someone's just died. I start to feel little twinges in my stomach despite the fact that I firmly believe we’ll be okay. For the most part.
When the grandfather clock in our house chimes twelve, my mom squeals and hugs my dad. Dad makes me join the group hug. I can't make out what either of them are saying, due to all of the snot and tears trickling into their mouths.
"I don't wanna die!" Mom says. "I don't want the world to end!"
"It's the end of the world as we know it," I sing to myself.
Dad glares at me.
"As the comet comes closer to Earth, we bid everyone farewell and a pleasant afterlife," the man on the news channel says. His voice cracks at the end of his report and the screen goes black.
I manage to squirm away from the group hug and glance out the window. I don't see any sign of a comet or anything remotely scary-looking.
I see my drum set out of the corner of my eyes. An idea pops into my head and I sneak over to it.
My mom and dad jump about a foot in the air and I drop onto the floor, laughing like a madman. The bass drum is still ringing, but no one can hear it because my parents are screaming at me for playing "such a nasty trick" on them. My laughter drowns them out.
The minute hand moves forward on the clock, indicating that: one, the world didn't end; two, we all look like idiots now (except for me); three, we've wasted a whole day of our lives doing nothing but sit around and look depressed; and, four, I'm going to puke from the amount of junk food I've eaten for the past two days.
"Jesus Christ," Mom says weakly. It's a mark of how shocked she is, taking the Lord's name in vain. She stands up, legs shaking, and looks out the window.
"The world didn't end," Dad says. He's staring at the clock. It's now 12:02 a.m. "The world didn't end!"
The realization dawns on them and they jump up and down, hugging each other and squealing with delight. Tears of joy roll down their face and they squeeze each other, babbling incoherently.
I just vomit all over the carpet.
What would you do if you thought it was your last day on Earth? What are your favorite stories from the Fauxpocalypse anthology? Leave a comment and happy doomsday!