Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: What’s Scary About the End of the World

I listened to him because it was his fire that kept the dogs away, and his beans we ate. If I was good he might even crack open one of the last remaining beers in New England. I could see three bottles in his satchel.

“Dying isn’t what scares anybody about the end of the world. Everybody thinks he’s going to make it through to see Mad Max. Because if you don’t? Then it’s the end of you, and who cares about the rest?”

He stuck his poker in the flames, stirring the logs. Scintillas flew up, like he’d angered a flaming hornet nest.

“What’s scary about this was never dying in the atomic blast. It wasn’t even that all the fun would be over. No more new movies. No more spring fashion. No more daycare, low fat food, or bitching about the price of gasoline.”

He threw up his arms and announced to the abandoned building, “Ladies and gentlemen: the internet is closed!”

He sat back down beside me, the poker dangling from his fingers.

“All that stuff blows away in the wind. The closest to culture you’ll get is a shred of The New York Times in a tumbleweed.

“No, that’s not what’s scary. That’s what’s depressing.

“What’s scary comes right after scavenging for food and fighting a stray for shelter before it rains. And it’s not the lack of food or shelter, or the plentiful irradiated dogs.”

He jabbed the poker at the nearest window. Its glowing orange tip accused the rest of the planet, perhaps for not being frightening enough.

“It’s that it’s out there. Observe the toppled buildings and wilted flowers. Look past them. Somewhere, out there, is the legitimate shit. The wide steel doors that the government has kept locked. The Devil himself, riding horseback down the highway, weaving amongst a graveyard of dead cars. The gurgling noise in a pit from the earth, and there’s no CNN let to tell you why it opened.

“Yeah. That’s the legitimate shit. The bogeyman that’s been waiting in your closet all your life for the day when the door would be knocked over. It’s stuff that’s waiting for you at the end of a long and leveled field. That’s what’s still scary when you’re scrounging for canned food and a place to sleep.”


  1. indeed, where would we be w/o CNN? Excellent piece John. Well done in a most medium rare kindof world.

  2. Thought provoking. Well done.


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