The End of the World

1.

The world begins to end, and I read on the internet some guy ate a bat, and now I can’t go to the movies or hit up the pizza spot.

My wife says to me, ” I want a separation.”

For how long?

Might be forever, she says, and the kids are gone from my life as the world ends.

 

2.

It seems so impossibly long ago now that it was recommended I wear a mask, and somehow that gives my neighbors the right to berate me with their eyes when I forget it at home, I swear, accidentally.

Ages go, I felt invisible in my life, blissfully invisible.

Invisible and irritated and hateful and unappreciative.

Would you take it back?

Not even if the world ends, she says, and a warm hot flower blossoms in my chest, and I wish it to spread and take me, but it doesn’t because the world ends.

 

3.

Tonight my back hurts, as I read about the world ending because I hadn’t gotten around to replacing my office-chair before exit stage right. I’ve been moving it with us to every new apartment we’ve lived in for the last ten years.

Three different places in three different neighborhoods.

Four, now.

Same ole chair.

Now it feels as if I am sitting directly on the metal frame while outside my window, the world ends.

Poor George Floyd, poor us all.

I’d put the chair on the street for one of the hundreds of people sleeping outside to use, but tonight might not be the best night to do anything out there with valid social-unrest upsetting the big apple, and the world ending, and all as well. Normally the East Village isn’t such a bad place to be, with its piss soaked sidewalks dappled with fly-covered human-turds.

In the chronicles describing how the world ends, tonight, though, is different.

It’s not hard to miss the Village of yesteryear, with its open and everywhere Starbucks. To yearn for yuppies filling the air with the horrid stench of patchouli and tourist necessitating the only employment be rooted in the ability to sustain abuse. All this, while reading about how New York City is dumping criminals on the street with no clear idea of how to find them again, and give them court dates or just make sure they are staying out of trouble. Cast a pallor on the guy normally sleeping under a fleece-blanket, ten buildings down, why don’tcha.

Doubt he is there tonight, she says distractedly and in the background is the boy, screaming and bounding off the couch.

Doubt many are glad they are there at all, I think as the line goes dead, but I keep breathing.

 

4.

Tonight on, While the World Ends:

I read the city is emptying, and many apartments sit vacant.

I hope it stays this way, even after the world ends, so I don’t have to stand on the subway ever again.

That reminds me of something I meant to look-up about the world ending, and after a typo-ridden Google search, find myself reading about COVID-patients sent back to old folks homes to quarantine, killing everyone inside- like little bombs of old-people rotter.  At the time, people were thanking God, also known as Governor Cuomo, in some circles, that we had all those ventilators to put people on until it turned out that the ventilators were killing people by removing the willingness the bodies had to breathe on their own. Sad, the end of the world takes our best intentions and twists them, makes them evil.

Sometimes intentions are just evil, and there isn’t much more to it than that, she says, and I wish I didn’t hate her as the line goes silent and the world continues to scream.

 

5.

Tonight I read about the end of the world because there is nothing else to read. I read about the end of the world instead of sleeping because the world is ending. The world is ending as my back hurts, and the food in my fridge rots, and the people outside my window scream for justice and break windows and burn cop cars.

The fucking world is ending.

I want to scream, but don’t because It’ll draw attention.

The world is ending, but I am not.

The world is ending, and I read, and I wait for the microwave to ding so I can grab my popcorn, quickly, because I don’t want to miss a single detail. Hello?

Fine, “she sighs,” hurry before the world ends.

Published by Bryan Aiello

Raised on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bryan served in the Army, graduated from the University of South Florida and now calls Brooklyn home. For more of his fiction and updates on his podcasts, follow him on Twitter: @bryaiello and Reddit: /u/voyage_of_roadkill.

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