A Date at the End of the World – Neil Clark [Fiction]

Society seems on quite the downer about the apocalypse, but I’m thinking maybe it isn’t all doom and gloom.

The torturous dwindling of our food supplies? Not the cheeriest of times. The fact that hallucinogenic fungus has become the sole surviving food source on this whole entire planet? Every mushroom cloud has a silver lining!

Because there might be no tomorrow, I finally plucked up the courage to ask you on a date. We’re at the restaurant with the mind-bending mushroom stew.

“They say you should only ever eat magic mushrooms on an empty stomach,” I say. “But given the circumstances, that’s kind of our default setting anyway!”

I’m enjoying my stew like I enjoy life – loudly. You’re moving your food around the plate.

You tell me my optimism is getting a little grating. I respond with something positive. I’m not sure what. The words disintegrate as they come out my mouth, falling onto your meal like cheese.

I ask you why the long face. You say it might have something to do with the world ending.

“No seriously,” I say. “Your face. It’s stretching. Stretching around the perimeter of Earth, tying itself in knots. It’s a lasso. Your face has lassoed the world. Your face has latched onto the globe’s dying corpse. It’s reeling it back in. Your face is saving the planet!”

You don’t seem impressed. You’re probably too busy saving the world to be impressed. 

A glass comes to our table and pours me a waiter of mushroom wine. My empty plate (oh how I wolfed down that glorious stew!) turns into the moon. I lick the craters off it until the surface is smooth like a blob of vanilla ice-cream on a hot pre-apocalyptic day. 

I grab the moon. I take you by the hand. We dance. Me, with the melting moon in one hand. You, with Earth lassoed in your beautiful face. Our candle-lit table, the Sun. You circle it and I circle you and this glorious restaurant is the Solar System in a galaxy of onlookers at other tables.

“Oh what a wonderful evening!” I say.

I ask you why you haven’t eaten your stew. You tell me you’ve always been more of a carnivore. “In fact,” your long face says. “I’m thinking cannibalism might be a good option for me, given the circumstances.”

You snatch the moon from me and throw it into the sky. It smashes and splits into the type of meteor shower they’ve been warning us about. Your face tosses the husk of Earth to the side like it’s of no use to you anymore. You kiss me on the neck. My vocal chords tingle with glee.

“I’m hungry,” you say. “I don’t want to die hungry.” You kiss me again. You kiss me hard. You kiss my lips off. When you pull away, your teeth are the surface of Mars and your chin is speckled with Jupiter’s spots.

“Tilt your head back,” you say. This time, you kiss my neck even harder and there truly is no tomorrow. The air gets harder to breathe, like they’ve been warning us about. The sky turns a shade darker than pitch black. Forks form shooting stars and collide with my eyeballs in stabbing motions.

In spite of all this, I remain an optimist. My eternal wish has been granted.

To have you hold me, for better, for worse, in sickness, in health, ‘til death do us part. I pledge myself to you.

 

By Neil Clark

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s