Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Apocalypse: An Alt-Christmas Story

Just before 7 this morning, I turned fifty-one. Before the end of the day, actor Denzel Washington will have done the same. Anyway, instead of writing about my holiday, which really isn't finished yet for reasons I've already explained, I'm including a piece written late last night by Paul David Alexander. The title is mine, but the piece itself is his -- right down to a near-aversion to the use of the shift key. – DLA

i got a lot of good stuff for christmas... but heres what i really wanted.

secretly, i was hoping that the morning of the 25th would start out something like this dream i had:

wake up. the power is out. for the first time in forever i have to lift up the curtains to see whats going on.

nothing, i soon find out. its not immediately discernable due to the sunlight, but the power is out, everywhere. houses are unlit. streetlights have stopped working. the parking lots are emptied on my street and i assume people left to find out if their neighbors had power, or to get a better idea about what is going on.

i get in my car and drive around the block. cars are stopped in the middle of the road with no occupants. wouldbe victims of fender benders and head-on collisions, of multi-car pileups and t-boned passenger side doors have, for one reason or another, disappeared. ive read "left behind," so i figure instantly that the rapture has come, that the righteous have been taken and the forsaken have been forced into earthly exile. then i see the wreckage of the buildings around me. layers of gray dust and debris cover the scorched buildings like in news footage of ground zero. it is at this point i remember that the rapture was an invention of fundamentalist christians in the 1850s and is not specifically mentioned as a literal occurence in the book of revelations. also, it was a bunch of bull****. it now seems far more likely to me that al-Someone destroyed my neighborhood; vengeance struck down upon citizens of my street, merely because we let totalitarian dictators make all the most important decisions for us. the punishment, although certainly justifiable, doesnt seem to fit the crime.

as i weave in and out of crowded traffic, strewn bumper to bumper across the beltway, each car empty, i realize thered be no way of knowing what happened if i wanted to. cell phones, televisons, even my car's radio-they arent working. luckily the cd player is.

i begin driving towards fairfax. thats always felt like my home base, ive always felt like "when in doubt, go to fairfax." so thats what i do. along the way, i see roaming strangers on bikes, some in tatterred rags for clothes, too confused and dumbfounded by the situation at hand to shed any sort of light on what occurred while i slept.

i begin knocking on friends' doors. they, too, are just as surprised by what has happened as i was when i looked out the window. i can offer them no answers, just things that must be done to ensure our survival. i knock on door after door. by midday, there are more than a dozen of us, all traveling by caravan through lonesome suburbia.

we have to make sure we have clothes and food. we are raiding convenience stores. we are breaking into tj maxx for some reason. the few store clerks who bothered to show up for work on this of all mornings can do nothing but watch as the crowd and i run through the aisles taking everything and running around like little children. despite the destruction outside, i cant help but feel a sense of optimism. the group is getting larger. suddenly i recognize fewer and fewer people.

if there is ever another history book, than today will be marked down in those books as Consumption Day. batteries for ghetto blasters and flashlights. beef jerky. 97 different kids of gum. sweaters and scarves and cds and tapes. we are selfish, but now it is justifiable, unlike those long lost days when we had it all and wanted more. now we have nothing, and all we want is something.

we are running through the mall. we are changing everything.

we are sitting in the library. we are taking time to read.

as night falls it becomes clearer that things may be this way for a long time. today we survived with a mob mentality. we could all agree without saying a word what the good of the people would be. this is how it will be until the lights come on again.

we are starting fires in the community center to keep warm for a party. since there is hardly any music with us, we are grateful for the songs that are played. we remember ones we forgot. i take a deep breath and exhale, relieved. there is no stench of tribal hippie bull****. this is the real deal. we are helping each other and we are happy to do so. we say please and thank you. we give and take, we laugh mostly. about what used to matter. long lines in stores and tempter tantrums and letting the fact that the guy in front of us on 95 is only going 10 miles above the speed limit instead of 15 get to us - these things didnt just happen. they ran our day. we loved our commute, once. now we are content with no place to go...

i would have also liked an xbox 360. and a bajillion dollars.

1 Comments:

At 12/28/2005 03:24:00 PM, Anonymous Bob Frank said...

Your son may have a future as a science fiction writer.

 

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