Post-Apocalyptic TP Blues
A short story by William Hrdina
Even as a small child, I knew something was coming. The fear had always been in my bones. I had my first apocalyptic nightmare when I was five and my first bomb shelter by twelve. All my life I kept telling everyone that something bad was coming. But no one ever believed me- not even my parents.
I know most people just wanted me to shut up and stop talking about it- but I wouldn't. At every opportunity, I said, "You have to be ready, you have to be prepared. At least squirrel away some canned goods and some bottled water."
They said, "Chill out Norman."
They said, "Shut up about your paranoid fantasies Norman- and pass me a beer."
They said, "The world isn't going to end Norman- you're just a guy with a bunch of crap in your basement."
They called me ‘kook' and ‘wacko.'
Well, then that evil lunatic from Iceland mutated the bird flu and 94% of the planet's population later, I was right and they were wrong.
Somehow, this particular ‘I told you so' was never very satisfying.
From the outside, my survival doesn't even have anything to do with all of my preparations. I know my friends would say my survival was just luck. They would say all of my planning would have been pointless if I didn't happen to be immune to the flu. In a sense, I suppose they are right. But mostly, I disagree. I think God rewards those with foresight. I say- I was immune because I was prepared to be immune. They didn't prepare and they all died. I did prepare and I lived. I don't know what more proof I need.
In the old world, I worked at the post office. People used to joke that I was going to end up 'going postal' if I didn't lay off the apocalyptic stuff. But I never thought that was funny- a lot of those guys had legitimate beefs.
Anyway, civilization collapsed and just like I knew they would, those of my friends who remained when the epidemic ended all gathered on my front lawn, begging me for help. And they didn't come alone either. I counted about 20 of the leaches milling around. I didn't cache food, weapons and other luxuries, for years- just to waste it all on a bunch of idiots with no foresight or appreciation.
I told them I couldn't help them. I was very clear. I told them they had to go away. When they didn't leave, I fired a few warning shots. They still refused to believe I was serious. They imagined I was some kind of fool, willing to sacrifice my well-being for the good of people I never liked or didn't know. They thought their begging- or their children's begging- would change my mind. It didn't. I demanded they leave- and they wouldn't go. In the end, I had no choice but to mow them down with the remote controlled machine guns I had mounted on the corners of my house. I wanted to clean up the dead bodies and give them the proper burial they probably deserved, but I was afraid to go out. It turned out it didn't matter, after a few months, their bodies melted back into the earth from whence they came. I didn't have to do a thing.
I felt a little bad, but one has little room for pleasantries in the world I knew was coming.