Saturday, November 12, 2011

202/365 --Playlist Story-- inspired by "Paris 2004" by Peter Bjorn and John

The bell over the shop door jangled. The pair entered sending up a mini-maelstrom of dust. The door slammed shut behind them and they surveyed the shop's offerings.

"All the fruit is moldy," said Caitlin. She scratched underneath her braids then leaned over the counter by the register. "I'm so hungry."

"Some of the bread might still be okay," said Kai. He opened a glass case with various pastries and rolls and shone his flashlight across them.

"We shouldn't be wasting our time with this," sighed Caitlin. "Let's just pick up some cans of something."

"I'm tired of cans," said Kai. He picked up a hard roll and knocked it against the edge of the shelf, then placed it in a large canvas bag that was slung over his shoulder. "I want real food."

"None of this is any good anymore."

"Well, I want it while I can still have it."

"I'm leaving," said Caitlin quietly. She retreated back outside and sat on the curb next to an abandoned car.

Kai cleared out what was still remotely edible and then stepped outside and watched the back of Caitlin's head. He lit a cigarette. Caitlin turned around at the sound of the lighter clicking.

"That'll kill you," she said. She turned back and watched the empty street. A pair of cats were watching back from the other side of the road, but otherwise there was no sign of life.

"I think the asteroid will get me first," said Kai, sucking in a drag of smoke.

"Ughhh, the asteroid," said Caitlin. She leaned back and tilted her head skyward. "We should have left with everyone else."

Kai sat down next to Caitlin. He wanted to touch her hair but didn't. He watched the cats and burned up his cigarette.

"I'm not sure it's coming," he said.

"Of course it's coming. All the experts confirmed what the aliens said. You're just paranoid."

"It's supposed to come tomorrow. If it's big enough to destroy all life, why can't we see it yet?"

"Too far away still? I dunno. It doesn't take a big rock to wipe out everything. Just a fast one. You originally said you just don't trust them."

"We're a stupid, brawny species. Perfect for enslavement. It was a ruse."

"Good grief."

"Nobody helps anybody else just because. There's some other motive--we just don't know what it is."

"Oh give it up," sighed Caitlin. She sat up and drew up her knees and clutched them. "God, what are those cats staring at?"

"Probably wondering what the hell we're doing here."

"If anything, they're wondering where the hell everyone else is gone. 'Who's going to open my tin of food? Who's going to change my litter? What do you mean I have to forage for myself? That's so bourgeoisie. Where did my human go'?"

Kai laughed heartily. He snubbed out his cigarette on the curb then flicked the dead butt into the street.

"Why did you stay with me?" asked Kai.

"Dunno. Guess I'm not keen on the idea of being up in space. Might as well go down with the ship. We'll get to see what the dinos saw. That should be interesting. Besides, we're not the only ones who chose to stay behind."

"Oh, maybe one out of a thousand. Don't you think it's curious so few people stayed behind?"

"I think the survival instinct is pretty strong in most people."

"Not us?"

"You don't think it will happen. You're betting that they're going to eat everyone else for dinner, or turn them into slaves. That's survival instinct."

"And you?"

"I dunno. I guess it's just plain old fear. Or maybe I just don't want things to change. A universe without the Earth? Just doesn't seem right somehow."

"An asteroid isn't going to get rid of it. Earth is tougher than that."

"It won't be the same after." Caitlin relaxed and sat cross-legged. "Got another cigarette?"

"You don't smoke."

"We're going to die in a few short hours. I don't think the tar will kill me, not to mention I won't have the time to form a habit."

Kai smiled broadly.

"I'm still betting the Earth will be here the day after tomorrow. I'm not going to let you pick up such an abhorrent habit."

"Oh geez. If the Earth is still here in two days, then we'll have cause to get really depressed. Canned food, fighting with wild animals for resources, trying to figure out fire like our cave-dwelling ancestors. No internet, and no indoor plumbing...ugh, that's bleak."

"Fresh air. A good, clear view of the stars. Lots of free-time. No one to boss us around, no schedules to keep. No more Monday mornings!" He paused and looked at the pavement. "We'll have each other."

"We'll be at each other's throats in no time."

"I'm not so sure about that."

"Keep dreaming lover boy."

Kai blushed, and Caitlin laughed. She shoved him gently in the shoulder.

"Aw, maybe that wouldn't be so bad," she said.

"The day after tomorrow can't come fast enough," said Kai, smiling.

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