New Star in the Sky


A lit match streaked toward Earth. For nearly two years, an alphabet soup of acronym named government agencies were aware of its trajectory. Math was verified by billboard size equations at NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Cal Tech, MIT, Stanford, and a handful of Ivy League schools. Attacking the meteor with black book military deep space anti-aircraft weapons failed. Joint efforts with Chinese and Russian space programs to stop the meteor didn't have any luck, either. Speaking from behind the Oval Office desk, the President revealed the meteor's existence in a solemn broadcast that concluded with a carefully chosen scripture verse. The President urged the entire world to unite in peace and harmony. She practically told six billion people to finish up strong. Earth was put on a week's notice.

*************

Sergio took hearing about the end of the world well. "Damn, this sucks," he nearly laughed, lighting up a joint. "I really would've preferred an earthquake," Sergio said, blowing smoke toward the open window. He handed the joint to his roommate Leo and leaned forward on the couch. Sergio stared at the President's life-sized lips on the big screen, focused on each pixel outlining the apocalypse. They got quiet and just listened for a minute before either spoke again.

"Earthquakes just happen, unexpectedly," Leo sighed. "Like, boom, shaking, L.A. sinks into the ocean, it's over. This is way different. This is fucked, man."

"Yeah, man, this is so much worse than an earthquake," Sergio agreed.

"Having a warning like this means we get time to think about how meaningless this has all been—was—is—whatever. This lets us have dread. That's fucked. I hate dread."

"Guess all the religious nuts are getting what they always wanted," Leo observed. "God's bowling ball is rolling this way—"

"—And it's a strike," Sergio said flatly.

"It's what they always dreamed of," Leo said venting emerald smoke rings. "People have always wanted the world to end in their lifetime. There's literally no better way to make us feel special."

"Goodnight and God bless us all," the President signed off before releasing control of the airwaves. The network news logo replaced the President's seal on the screen, dissolving to reveal a distraught looking news anchor who straightened a stack of sky blue paper leafs and coughed. He faced the camera and couldn't speak.

"What are we gonna do?" Sergio asked.

At that moment, Leo's phone vibrated on the coffee table. He handed the joint back to Sergio, picked up the phone and took it toward his room. "Yeah, I heard," Leo said closing the door behind him. Sergio returned his attention back to the television, sucking on the joint and waiting for anyone in the doomed planet to call.

*************

Shelly was celebrating her favorite West Hollywood bar's drag night with her roommate, who went by the name Mary Hamburger when daily made up in wig and heels. Televisions strategically placed around the bar were all ironically turned to ESPN. When the President appeared at the Oval Office desk, hissing got everyone quiet.

Someone in control of the soundtrack turned off the Rhianna song grinding on every taut body in the room.

"Our joint effort with the governments of China and Russia to destroy the meteor cu