The End of the World, or Not

Fiction.. or not.


By Aaron M.


It was July 1993, or possibly August 2002. James, or perhaps his name was Peter, drove through either Texas or Nebraska in either a Pontiac or a Ford.

One thing was certain: It was the end of the world, and not just as he knew it. At first, he had no idea it was anything so serious. At first, he thought either his phone was ringing or he had bad gas. Actually, it was either 24 or 15 years ago, so he probably didn’t have a phone.

It took him a while to realize it wasn’t a gas attack. In fact, even when the car’s interior plastics began to vibrate noisily, he just supposed it was a particularly deep and rumbling fart.

He either wasn’t very bright or a Stanford graduate, so there was a 50% chance (unless Stanford is rubbish) that his failure to recognize The End was due to a lack of intelligence.

What finally made him notice something was wrong was the simple realization that he wasn’t farting. Also, looking around, he either did or didn’t notice that the houses or wheat fields that surrounded the road were in a conflagration and sending clouds of noxious smoke skyward.

Either way, he continued driving until the car dropped into a deep void of antimatter. As it fell, we are certain our hero (or antagonist) was very confused. He most likely said, “What’s going on?” or “Is this the end?” quite loudly to himself.

Actually, all he probably did was turn on the radio only to realize the top 40 station had been switched off or it had been hacked by either an eight or seventeen year old Katy Perry, who was playing a number of fragments from songs that frankly didn’t exist yet. We can only assume he either turned the radio off or switched to the NPR station (do they have NPR in Texas- or even Nebraska?), which was either covering Russia’s economy after the collapse of the USSR or Al Qaeda’s involvement in 9/11. His car continued to fall through the void.

The probability of what happened next remains clear to this non-existent day.

Either the car suddenly popped out of the void and into the Marianas Trench, where it was promptly crushed by water pressure. He could have also suddenly appeared cruising down New York’s Fifth Avenue, where he looked very out of place in his low-style Midwestern garb. If it was the Trench, he was, understandably, dead on the spot. If it was Manhattan, he was just very bewildered with the change in circumstances.

Assuming it was the Big Apple, he either rear ended a truck or accidentally drove down the stairs into a subway station. If it was the latter, he must have been very confused (unless he was, in fact, a Stanford graduate) because he had never seen one before. If it was the truck he didn’t notice because he had rear ended either 22 million or 0.758 trucks in his lifetime.

Either way, he got out of his damaged mode of transportation and walked away with an uncertain degree of placitude (I myself am uncertain of the last word in the previous sentence’s degree of wordhood.)

James, or possibly Peter, soon found that he either liked New York or despised it and found it as ugly as a used toupee. No matter how much he liked the City of Cities, the pinnacle of Western civilization (or, if you prefer, cesspool), he soon realized that it wasn’t real or possibly a material simulation made out of either CD’s or floppy disks. If it was, in fact, 1993, it being CD’s was unlikely because they were too cutting edge to destroy millions upon billions of them.

Either way, it was more likely a hologram, the kind found in science fiction of various merit and appeal, not the kind found on cheap Captain America valentine’s cards that makes a nice noise when you rub your fingernail on it.

As he walked down the street, he asked either a Communist or a Terrorist to take him to the world headquarters. He suddenly found himself in an outhouse in either Iceland or inside the Kremlin. Other than the primary feature of the outhouse, he shared it with just one other object. It was a taxidermic Naked Mole Rat that had a toggle switch mounted where it’s head should have been. Thinking that it would turn on the lights, he reached over, and careful to avoid touching the animal, he flipped the switch. When that happened, everything, including himself, vanished.