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We Are Still Here
You have TWO votes which MUST be used.
We are still here
“NASA control, this is USS Percival and you are not going to believe this.”
The message blasted out of Sandy Smiths desktop rudely interrupting his watching of 2012, it may well be a turkey of a movie but he liked it as much as any corny disaster movies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
“Go ahead Percival, try me, what will I not believe this time? I have made a New Years resolution to not believe a word you tell me.” Sandy had been sold left handed screwdrivers, elbow grease, glass hammers and a myriad of other non-existent products by the officers on the Percival before so he had a healthy scepticism for anything they might be telling him now.
“Oh, it's you Sandy, listen man, we are sorry about those snake oil products, we really are sorry but this is absolutely the Gods own truth this time!” Clearly Sandy had not been able to keep the wariness out of his tone, “OK Percival, what have you seen?”
“NASA control, for the official record, the date is the 21st December, the year is 2112, the time is 21:12 GMT. USS Percival on the Outer Rim patrol and we have just seen Santa.” Sandy burst out laughing, after a couple of seconds trying to compose himself he got back on line, “Percival, please repeat last.” He suppressed another peal of laughter, “USS Percival, we repeat, we have just seen Santa, Father Christmas, Saint Nick, call him what you like, a Fat bloke in a red suit, but he is not in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. He is in what we would suggest is a bringer of death for all mankind.”
Sandy swallowed his laughter, sobered up by their last message, “Say again Percival, Santa is in a bringer of death?” The next message was his last.
“NASA, this is Santa. Percival is destroyed, you are next. No presents for you this year and no New Year either. As the song said, you better be good, you better be nice, and you were not either so bye bye cruel World!" Sandys last thought was that the Mayans were only off by one hundred years.
I've always enjoyed these woods. It was a match made to be, like NASA and space. I remember running through these woods as a little boy, fighting all sorts of imaginary battles with nothing but a stick for a rifle. When I grew older, my father gave me a shotgun one Christmas. I couldn't tell you what other presents I got that year, cause that shotgun was too important to me. He taught me how to shoot, how to aim, how to handle and clean my weapon. He was very strict on the handling and cleaning parts. A dirty gun wouldn't fire right, so after each day of firing we'd spend a good hour or two polishing every nook and cranny of that shotgun, leaving no residue behind. The safety had to always be on, except for when I began to take aim; never point the gun at anyone, whether or not it was load or unloaded, safety on or not. It seemed like such a pain back then, but I know why he taught me those habits, and I appreciate that more than anything.
One year my father took me turkey hunting with him. It was a right of passage in our family, and I did not aim to disappoint by returning home empty handed. I had had some practice hunting by this point, mostly from killing doves. But dove hunting is a whole different animal; wide open fields and bait are key to gathering doves, but using bait is illegal for turkey. So there we sat in those woods I loved, on a crisp spring morning, my father sitting there with his turkey call he got from some company in West Monroe, Louisiana. Minutes past, then hours. My boredom grew and my tired eyes began to close when we heard the sound of a male, slowly marching his way towards our call. He soon came into view, confusedly searching for the female who had called out for him. "Aim for the base of the neck boy, that way if you miss high you'll still get the head" my father whispered without a breath. I readied my shotgun, looked up to check my line of fire once, twice, three times, turned off the safety, and fired. A quick, clean death.
The turkey tasted better than anything I had ever had before, but all I could remember was that I had gone into the woods a boy and returned a man. For over a month my father couldn't stop telling me how proud he was. I'll never forget moments like that, nor the woods that holds all those memories.
Presents glowed beneath the bright light of the Christmas tree. A fire roared in the corner of the quaint, comforting room. The intoxicating scent of warn, delicious turkey crept its way from the kitchen to the rest of the house. Two children sat on the woolen rug, staring up at their father who sat like a king upon his favorite chair. He spoke to them in a quiet voice, moving his hands about enthusiastically, telling them the magical story of how the world came to an end…
“It all started long ago, when household cats were finally domesticated by humans. They lived peacefully among the human population, cheerfully taking advantage of their bountiful supply of milk and their innate fear of mice. The cats appreciated the love and affection displayed by humans for their beloved animals, purring whenever the strange people stroked their heads or rubbed their backs. So long as human hands avoided their precious bellies when stroking them and provided a bit of catnip every once in a while, it seemed as though the cats and their kittens would be happy forever. It seemed…
But discontent with the status quo grew over the years. Dogs quickly replaced cats as man’s best friend, demoting felines to man’s distant acquaintance. Mouse traps replaced the need for cats to kill rodents. They required quite a bit less milk and attention. Humans began snipping cats’ claws and bringing them to the wretched groomers. Veterinarians poked and prodded the poor animals with anti-bacterial shots and gave them all sorts of disturbing concoctions. Some efforts were even made to prohibit the consumption of catnip. And then, that awful internet game where kittens were mercilessly slaughtered. The humans had gone too far.
The feline population decided to take a stand. With the help of their cousins, the lions, cheetahs, tigers, and panthers, the household cats knew they could bring an end to the humans’ tyrannical reign. They gathered their forces for revolution and launched a ruthless attack upon their human masters. The household cats ripped apart all of the world’s furniture within days. They then scratched the pitiful humans to death with their ferocious unclipped claws. In a last ditch effort to save the human species, NASA began transporting humans via spaceship to the moon until an armistice could be reached with the former pets. But the cats and their kittens refused to yield.
Thus, life on Earth came to an abrupt end. Streets were empty, homes were littered with couch stuffing, and cats roamed the countryside, free and at peace. We have never returned. I’ve got to get some work done outside now children, I’m glad we finally had this talk.”
The father fastened his space helmet on and proceeded to walk outside, trudging across the rocky, lunar landscape. “But Daddy,” one child called, “what about Gerald?” The child looked across the room at their docile pet cat. And he saw what he thought was a wink.
We are still here
The hospital doors closed behind me, shutting me away like some unwanted guest. But I had no time to notice that, oh no. All I could notice was the words written on a small piece of paper, which I clutched in my right hand. Positive for HIV.
Shouldn‘t have slept with that prostitute.
I quickly regain my composure and rip the paper to shreds, letting the falling pieces be carried away by the wind.
Yesterday was supposed to be the last day for earth. The last year for the human race. The end of the bloody world. Screw you mayans ! ....fudge.
I burry my face in my hand for a moment and take a peek through the holes between my fingers at the surroundings soon after. People walking around happily, celebrating the continuation of their existence, buying presents. I bet a nicely cooked turkey awaits every single one of them at home. Curse you, your happiness makes my head hurt.
Shouldn‘t have sold my house and spent all my money on hookers, drugs and alcohol either.
I walked past a TV shop with the ones on display turned on. All six of them showing the same thing – todays news.
„On today‘s news we have David Morrison talking about the Mayan prophecy and the..“
NASA. Have to hand it to them...they were right. Maybe if I would have listened to them, things wouldn‘t have turned out the way they have. Maybe.
Or maybe the TV is way too damn loud and makes my head hurt even more.
With that in mind I quickly walk away to the opposite side of the street and it just so happens that I find myself standing in front of a food store. While looking at the food on display I finally notice the distant growling of the monster deep within my stomach, clawing at every corner – searching for nutrition.
I start to slowly check my pockets and carefully take out its’ contents. How much do I have left? 10 years? 10 years and death awaits me after that? And all I have is twenty lousy dollars?…Great.
I looked away from all that tempting food and glanced at the shop I ran from so eagerly not long ago.
"Indeed we are still here" - I thought to myself while watching a news woman talk about hurricane sandy in the TV’s on display…. - "For now…."
John was eating his breakfast when Henry came downstairs with a beautiful blonde college girl with whom he spent the night. He opened the door and let her out, while sliding a smirk on one side of his face as he winks to John, and then he walks out himself.
"Can you fg believe he did it again?" John mumbled, despite the projecting milk coming out of his mouth as he ate his cereal.
Peter was leaning on the fridge, he shrugs and yawns, itching his bare chest as he opens the fridge. "Steve finishing the last of the Captain Morgan's?" He said, as he grabs a beer and pops the top, shutting the fridge before taking a sip.
"I cannot believe Henry landed another girl like that. NASA? How bogus of a story was that last night. Oh, right Henry, your a colonel in the air force, with a masters in Astrophysics, and you were part of a satellite repair mission? Unbelievable. It's bad enough he's 30, dropped out, and lives in residence here with us, but to pull that bt story out of his arse? And she fell for it!" John exclaims, dipping his spoon into the bowl as he picks up his beer and takes a sip.
Peter looks out the window at Henry making out with the girl before she leaves. "Yep. To think, he was with her last night and I was watching South Park. It was my favourite episode.. You know the one where they parodied Braveheart. Chef led the townsfolk to battle against the turkey army? Not a single death for the townsfolk. Well, aside from Kenny, but that doesn't count," he thinks for a moment. "The episode.. Starvin' Marvin, first season, with the skinny, malnourished boy." Peter says as he smiles childishly and takes another gulp.
John shakes his head. "It's Christmas time, the same day that Lena broke up with me," he turns to Peter. "Do you know it's been over a year since I've been laid?"
Peter paused for a second, grimacing, before downing the rest of his beer.
"A year, Pete. Oh yeah, sure, I asked my parents for a new iPad, but right there. Right there, Pete. Henry just got one of his presents. I guarantee you there's nothing like that under my tree," John says in his typical annoying, complaining fashion.
Peter shrugs. "Whatever, dude. Wanna hit the gym?" He says apathetically.
"Pisses me right off, Pete." John says angrily, looking down at his cereal. He kicks the chair leg of the chair opposite him. "Yeah, I guess," John says, finishing off his beer.
Peter picks his gym bag up off the counter and walks out, followed by a clearly demoralized John.
Moments later the door shuts.
I hate seeing her like this. Her friends at school all talk about how the world is going to end because their parents know nothing and tell their children nothing in return. I keep reassuring her, but she still has doubts. Finally I just had to sit her down and let it out.
“Daddy works at NASA, sweetheart. We know nothing is going to happen to us today and you will still wake up on Christmas morning to open your presents and drink hot chocolate with those little marshmallows that you always like. Then you’ll get to spend the New Year with Papa and Nana and shoot fireworks. I think Papa even got some of the big ones. You know the ones that shoot high and make the green rings when they pop?”
She smiled and seemed to be calm, but I could still tell that she was scared, and I was scared because she was scared. It’s hard watching your child be frightened of something and knowing that you can’t end her fear until that fear comes to fruition and is dispelled through her own mind. But still, it was a hard time convincing her that death was far, far away.
Come Christmas morning, things we calm. The turkey was finished with the dressing filling the house with an amazing smell. I opened her door and told her that Santa Claus had came and that he even stayed a while and visited with her mom and I. She was so excited, and it made me feel relieved that she wasn’t scared anymore. She opened her presents, a glow filling her face with each one she ripped open.
When all the gifts were open, I cleaned up. Taking all of the paper and throwing it away and sneaking a bite of food here and there. I was still waiting to see if the thought of the world ending would enter back to her thoughts, but I don’t think it did. It was a hard thing to overcome I suppose. It’s not like being afraid of the dark where a nightlight can fix the problem. This problem just either had to be covered up with other thoughts or would just come to pass. Thankfully, a few Christmas presents and a visit to Papa and Nana’s on New Year’s Eve cleared her mind, and even relieved me of some stress.
I never told anyone that I was scared as well. But I was scared for my little girl. I was scared that she would let fear ruin a portion of her childhood. I was scared that she would live in fear for months on end. Luckily, she was either as smart or tough, though there is nothing wrong with being both…..just take a look at her mother and I.
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