The date is Friday December 21st. It is the end of the world. 11:59. One more minute, then, nothing. Boom. Gone. Death. Everything flicked off. Everyone holds their breath. It doesn’t matter though. They should all probably breath. Hell. Or should I say heaven? It is the last time they’ll inhale this stuff. This poison: oxygen. I’m bringing the aired down kool-aid, and they’re drinking it up. We are the humanity cult; breathing all we want, dying slowly bit by bit. Shucks, this is one good party.
It is the end of the world party. Que the streamers. Make sure the music is still playing Lady Gaga. Perfect. Thirty seconds left. Where’s those damn shrimp puffs when you need them?
Who knew the end of the world needed so many party-hats, fruit-cocktails, sexual-urges, silent-thoughts, echoed-regrets and 200 boxes of cheese and crackers. Two hundred of my closest friends, two hundred of their closest friends, and some stragglers are crammed into my three room apartment. Some reek of alcohol. Some brought prayer beads. Both items are the same though; a form of dedication; a bunch of answers in one’s hand; a way to drown out sorrows; a way to remember. I prefer the latter of the two because, at least that way, you know what you’re drinking. Plus, you can always order another drink. A God is a bit more difficult. Or so I’m told.
Besides that, I spent months planning this “Grand Closing Party.” I figured it would be an event worth remembering. Maybe it would be bigger than the 4.3 billionth birthday of the earth. I hope so, ’cause only in death do birthdays gain any importance. People are chalked up in numbers. 89. Oh she lived a long life. 2. They left us too young. Not to mention all the niceties that come with death. “He was so funny. He’s in a better place. His family will miss him.” So it goes, said Kurt Vonnegut.
Sometimes, he wish it didn’t. He’s gone the way of the Earth any how.
But for all it’s worth, this party is filled with all forms of niceties! I do not even have to wait until someone dies to hear how nice of a person they were. This is what world peace would look like: people are hugging. Arms linked together in a constant love equation that just won’t end. Some are clinging on to one another for their life. Fitting I suppose. Some are slobbering over each other like dogs, their tongues out, panting inexpressible phrases like, “I love you man. You were a great friend.” and, “I don’t want you to die. You mean the world to me.” Silly. The world is ending. So will they. I guess they didn’t care about that person enough to save them from this world.
On top of all the pleasantries though, I have heard some jokes. Want to hear a joke I heard at this party? Well a lad was drinking what he called the “devil juice”. I asked him what was in it. He said, “Holy Water.” I said, “What makes the water so darn holy.” He said, “It took 13.7 billion years for this water to get into this cup and for me to drink it. If that ain’t holy, then I don’t know what is.” I replied, “Holy shit indeed.” I walked off doing a blessing and performing a prayer for the man who was downing something more powerful than the blood of a Saviour: the molecule that creates life. He was turning wine into water, the true Messiah. “I guess I’ll see him in heaven then,” I thought.
Too bad though, I am an atheist. That’s another joke. Since I am on the topic, I might as well tell you it wasn’t a choice I made willingly. It took the death of a friend, a dear friend, to convince me to turn a blind eye to my faith. It was God. He had died. I think it happened sometime in between the creation of the cosmos and my grade three birthday when my parents were running late to my own party, and they drove especially fast to make sure I wouldn’t miss my own cake, and we smiled and laughed and sang the latest hit on the radio, and we hit a guardrail, and we flipped over, and blood poured down my seatbelt. Birthdays were never filled with more celebration than that one. I even had fireworks. The car blew up as I crawled out while my parents roasted alive inside.
Snap. Crackle. Pop.
But I digress. At the end of all time, here I am talking about God and death and my parents when I should be talking about life. Safe to say, I was the life of my own party. Believe it brother. I made sure I would be. To do so, I had fruit punch, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic. I purchased a red carpet because the end of the world has to be glamorous. I even got a pinata just in case people were feeling crazier than usual. Most people were crazier than usual. Some, it seemed, came straight from the loony bin, crying and scrambling and crying some more. Luckily, I also had lots of assorted nuts, both of the food and human variety.
As my thoughts continued to come in troves while everyone was watching the clock, I instead noticed these party-ers came wearing ties. How crazy is that? Here they were wearing a noose around their neck when they were about to die. To add to that fact, the ties all appeared to have a wacky flare of strips on them. Human ingenuity at its finest. We are dangerous creatures with grey matter firing neurons like cannons. With these thermonuclear nervous bombs, people become killers and writers and beasts who think ties are fashionable. As I said before, most people were crazier than usual.
Despite the insanity though, I had to ensure that my party would be somewhat sane. I didn’t want the cops to bust the party. If the cops came on the last day of the earth and told me to turn the music down, well, that would just be an embarrassment. I have never been in trouble with the law. But with a bunch of wild animals in my apartment, I was food for the fodder. I was mince meat dressed in a non-tie platter. I was the “party-pooper”.
So party-pooper’s do, I ensured that I pooped on the festivities by keeping everything in check. In order to hold the horde of animals back from transgressing the line between domestic disturbance and end-of-the-world-nuclear-holocaust, I shuffled people around. I moved the religious zealots from the drunken martyrs, segmented the doubters from the believers, and separated the supposed strippers from the sensitive saints. Funny. My apartment became a church for both harlots and hallelujahs. Whatever. Oddly enough, this somewhat worked, and people were settling down. I still had to do better. My tactic was like trying to lasso a bull with nothing but cheese string.
In addition to separating the people, I also made sure that the end of the world clock-counters would be embossed differently and in different rooms. On the far right, in my “rec” room which was just two couches stuffed with antiquated treasures like kitty litter and pennies, I had “Clock for the Next Life”. It was for the religious. I covered it with angels and flowers and puppies and shit. They loved it. In the other room I had “Doomsday Watch” and beside it a little credo of sorts, “Thank God we’re dying!” I laughed when I wrote it.
Then I coughed and thought I was practically Shiva: I accidentally burped out the greatest thing ever. Unlike Shiva, though, who coughed out the Earth and then regretted doing it, I coughed out a clock and had it plastered into my rib cage. Every time I coughed, I was reminded of how little life I had left. I always imagined that my next cough would be shorter. The next even shorter. Until – poof – no more coughing. So in a way, my coughs became my way of having a clock counting down to death. All clocks do that though. For a clock is nothing more than the grim reaper made by man.
15 seconds left.
With time ticking away, I couldn’t help still thinking about the clocks. Their little gears tick foward. I was reminded of the words of Faulkner, “Time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels. Only when the clock stops does time come to life”; and I wondered why grade ten English was coming to me at a time like this and I couldn’t stop asking myself, “How long will it take me to die?” and I realized I should of been asking, “How many seconds of my life did I actually make use of?” Probably not enough, I answered.
In the last second, while screams heightened, while silence took precedence, while the drunks stopped their mechanical depression, I looked at the table. There on the glass pane which was brimming with cigarettes, tears, and human worries, was the food stable I made sure I had enough to go around: hummus. My thought was that you can never have enough hummus, even if the world is about to fold over. Maybe, with enough of hummus, the world would decide not to implode. That’d be nice. Then, at least, people could tell me if they liked the party or not.