Mitch McCrory awoke as the television roared to life. He fumbled for his glasses; sat up in bed;
stared at the screen. Pretty faces
gummed canned words, spoon-feeding glossy news to a dulled and passive
audience. Bobble head news. “Why do you watch this, Deb?” He poked his wife’s back, curved in slumber.
The newscaster reminded Mitch of his first love: Long brown
hair. Pretty blue eyes, a streak of
contrived concern between them.
“…predicting the end of the world.” From her square and scripted world, she
smiled at the audience. Three
days. What would you do?”
As he packed his lunch, Mitch wondered: What would he do if the world were ending in
three days? He kissed his wife and kids;
headed for the train, chewing on the thought like a day-old bagel.
He saw the church.
He stepped inside.
He shoved past elderly ladies in long woolen skirts who
hobbled towards the confessional in sensible shoes; pressing down hard on the worn
wooden canes supporting them.
He parted thick velvet curtains; stepped into the darkness.
He breathed dust and stale perspiration and the sins of
others quietly confessed.
He covered his nose; shallowed his breaths.
One by one, he enumerated his sins, each burden lifted
lightening his mood.
He left the church; wondered if the world would cease to
He thought about his first love.
He still had her number.
Before he died, he wanted to talk about something
interesting. Something not involving the
kids or the house. He wanted to eat
dinner at a proper table set with silver, not plastic. Set with tablecloths, cloth napkins,
wineglasses. Not tumblers.
He wanted substance.
He emptied his bank account.
He called his old girlfriend. He
arranged for a cruise.
He had a glorious time.
And when he woke, four days later, beside the curved back of
the old girlfriend, the television blaring in the background, he discovered
that the world hadn’t ended after all.
But for Mitch McCrory, perhaps it had.
This was written for the Trifecta Writing Challenge. Our prompt: The world will end in three days.
Labels: Fiction, Trifecta Writing Challenge