in forty-eight hours the sun will explode (which i really think may be true, since i'm writing on topic on time. granted, it's corny &kinda silly, but, eh.)
She turned from the hot stove and peered into the other room. Her son, still clad in his baby blue spaceman pajamas with feet, raced in circles behind the sofa, a red sheet tied around his neck. His arms stretched out to maximum width, he tipped from side to side as he rounded corners. With puckered lips, he made soft puttering sounds.
Diana laughed, a warm stir rousing from the pit of her belly. "What are you doing, buddy?"
He leapt into the air, his fist held high, and landed back on his feet with a loud thump. "The sun is going to explode in forty-eight hours! I have to save the world." His words morphed from frantic to matter-of-fact.
"Real-ly?" Her interest was exaggerated. The smell of burnt sugar taunted her from the kitchen. She shifted weight to the other foot. "Who told you that?"
He shrugged, his lips jutting in a pout. "I dunno, Mom. But it's the truth." Indignantly, he crossed his arms, daring her to challenge his solid word.
"Well, listen. Since you don't have very much time to save the planet, maybe you should eat breakfast before you go. What do you think?"
For a moment, he bit his lip. Then his hand moved to his stomach, which let out a low grumble. He jumped into motion and bounced into the kitchen, where his eyes came to rest on a wire cooling rack.
"YEAH!" he cried. "Cookies!" Again, he sprang into action figure stance, his fingers moving for the confections. With a laugh, Diana pulled on her oven mitt and drew down the oven door, a wave of heat rushing to meet her cheeks and taint them with a red-hot burn against the morning chill. She removed the pan of honey-golden cookies and brushed a hand through her little boy's ginger hair.
"Even though you're going to save the world, I think you should have something other than these." She took his hand, untangling his fingers from a cookie already moving toward his chocolate-stained mouth. His lips formed a sullen pout; again, he crossed his arms.
"Mo-om!" He heaved a sigh. "You're no fun." He slumped into a seat at the kitchen table, resting his chin on his arms. His little feet kicked into motion and began a forward-backward swing.
"I know, baby. It's hard being a super hero."
In 48 hours, the sun will explode.
She likes to think of it.
A huge, cosmic sunburst, frothing into shockwaves that will envelope the earth, in warm, heated force.
So today, her second to last day alive, she skips everywhere. Why shouldn't she? And when she feels like singing, she belts like Judy Garland and Ethel Merman, like Bernadette Peters and Eartha Kitt.
She calls her friends. She writes letters that may never reach their recipients. She does her homework, cooks a meal from scratch. She says what she thinks.
The puppies and kittens, dogs and cats at the shelter love her. She visits those in homes who don't get visitors. At the gym, she tries yoga, and then kickboxing, just because she can.
And when someone stops to ask her why she is always moving forward, always smiling, always breaking new ground over the horizon line, she stares them straight in the eye and says,
"Because if it all ended tomorrow, I could die knowing I lived."
In forty-eight hours, the sun will explode. Everyone on Earth knows this.
And in a small American town, Carla sweats in a sweltering kitchen, something chimerical steaming from her cooking. It's the idea that if she makes enough food to last the entire week, there will be a week in which to eat it. Of course. There always is. There will always be someone to eat her ham, her turkey, her potatoes. When has there not been?
Carla is a woman in denial.
Her husband Lionel lights his cigarette in the living room today. Years ago, after she failed to force him to quit, Carla simply (grudgingly) forbade smoking only inside of the house. "Second hand smoke kills," she recited. "And it doesn't do much for the scent of the carpets either."
Lionel smiles. For so long, his wife and the media have been telling him that he would die of lung cancer, and he'd almost started believing them. Now he wants to laugh in all of their faces -- the last laugh. He would die laughing, and he wonders if he would be the only one. Doubtful, he muses, but his thoughts disappear upward like the wisps of smoke that curl from his cigarette.
Lionel is man who is helpless.
"Carla," he calls, his back to the kitchen door. "What are you doing, cooking all of that food?"
Her dress rustles and he knows that she is standing in the doorframe, hair in her face, impatience in her mouth, maybe sadness in her eyes.
"Lionel. Put that out right now."
"Does it really matter, Carla?"
"Why wouldn't it? You're going to die if you keep that up." Her hands are on her hips: he knows this without seeing. He likes to think he knows her well.
"I'm going to die anyway. It doesn't really matter," he says, and takes another drag on his cigarette. "What are you doing?" he asks again, his voice worn and calm.
"I'm cooking," she says.
"For the week?"
It's the same old conversation on the home stretch, for the last forty-eight hours, between two people who haven’t communicated in years. This is the time for setting things right, to live at least their last two days together: not she in the kitchen and he in the living room chair, but he and she facing each other, with something as simple as eye contact communicating more than the millions of words they've said over the last ten years.
You would think that now would be the time. You would think that something would have changed by now is the thought that now lingers above Lionel's head, but with the smoke from his cigarette, it rises toward the ceiling and is gone.
In forty-eight hours, the sun will explode. But, like all other days, God was in a good mood -- and like all other days, God had plenty of things to do....
For example, welcoming the innumerable departed souls that fly into Heaven like vicious tempest hail.
Of course, by the time John Jessie arrived, God was already taking a breather, which is God on a barstool, sipping prune juice and soda water from a paper cup. 10 minutes later, John Jessie will wake up, and God will not only shake John Jessie’s hand very sternly but he will also smile the most delicate, calming smile John Jessie has ever seen. Nevertheless, God already knows this.
Obfuscatory nothingness and then indistinct shapes / ear ringing silence and then soft rock radio. Later: Hints of nature humming outside and then the image sharpens into reds and yellows screaming for attention from every piece of furniture and shoddy tile work and an aluminum kitchen. But now it's little more like a McDonalds but with some additional booths and fewer tables and row after row of overbright skylights. Now: An inescapable musk of fried things, three cash registers, and a set of bathrooms that most likely require keys.
(The flicker of a lantern somewhere in the far distance?)
11 minute’s later, the first thing John Jessie remembers is his wife’s pleasant simper -- 2 parts tickled pink to one part dazzling sunrise, topped off with the slender trim of snow-white teeth and just a pinch of timidity -- but God’s smile is incomparable to hers and all others. It is perfect, which isn’t surprising. God searches for a place to set down His cup but ends up resting it between His legs and shakes John Jessie’s hand.
six years old. She's the scrawniest
kid i ever saw. After school she sits
on the grafittied bench outside and drinks
from a bob the builder flask.
Don't think she has many friends.
The ice cream van, always trundling past,
bang on nine p.m, rain or snow
for the resilient boys and girls
to shiver and gulp down 99s
as they run back to warm fires
and reruns of 'Power Rangers'.
Bernice had to settle for
low fat chocolate mousse
ice cream van driver commiserating
with his loved ones, or alcohol
or no one, wondering if his life
was as pathetic a waste as it seems just now.
And Bernie wonders why her stories
are no source of comfort
when her mother cries in the next room
and there's nothing but prayers and
violence on the television.
In forty-eight hours the sun will explode.
What's still here
Everything is gone already.
Didn't it leave when he walked out the door?
Didn't it leave with the trail of crimson liquid from the bedroom door?
Didn't it leave when the lies escaped
From their hollow cave
In the vast, empty darkness?
The earth is ending,
But her world was already dead.
In forty-eight hours the sun will explode.
Microcosmic athmospheres will not
keep you or me alive,
I delegate responsibility
to those who'll die or thrive.
Let us build the rocketships
Let us leave the home
make the sky a steel-filled place
as we rush and roam
fill the seas with boiling foam.
Hydromatic cold fusion reactant
electromatic hot seperationisim
I am alive here and now
Let us watch the sun blow.
let us watch the ages go
make human life that much more