Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Chris Farren “Whole World Is Celebratin”
 Skip Adams “Trouble”
 Tami Holbrook “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”
 Diana DeWitt “Hard Act To Follow”
Screw you comet! 65 million years pass without a whiff of incident and you just have to fuck it all up and wave your tail in our faces. I find it mighty suspicious that dinosaurs conveniently ceased roaming the Earth around the time that you last paid our planet a visit and just wish it to be known that I’m onto you. Granted, my view appears not to be shared by the rest of the population who are lining the streets as we speak, pointing their fingers excitedly and generally being in awe of your radiant glow. They’re quite entitled to their opinions and I hope they enjoy the brief time that you get to spend together. Alas, something way down in my water tells me that the fun stuff will be rather short-lived. Pay me no mind, I’m likely just being paranoid and there’s no reason for you to take a solitary word I say as gospel. It’s been nice knowing you, that’s all I’m saying.
If there’s one thing that pleases me less than being the one to say “told you so”, then it’s not actually having a living soul around to tell. Let’s not heckle the hermit here, I happen to pride myself on my self-sufficiency and enjoy nothing more than being left to my own devices with a pot of deep cleansing moisturizing lotion and rolled up copy of National Geographic. But looking out solely for numero uno grows tiresome after so long and I find myself yearning for any kind of interaction to stop brain freeze setting in. Right now, it’s looking decidedly slim on the pickings front and I’ve never known California to be so deathly quiet in all my twenty-one years. My mind is racing wildly and I can feel the cold breath of grim reality on the back of my neck as it gallops in my slipstream. I mean, what if I am the only one? Should I be feeling sad, mad or glad? Having always considered myself a people person trapped inside the shell of a recluse; my feelings are decidedly mixed.
On one hand, I’ll be permitted to do whatever the hell I want without fear of being frowned upon or burned at the stake. Should the urge to skip along Venice Beach in just my left sock singing “I’m So Pretty” grow too strong to ignore, then it’s not like I’m going to get wrestled to the sand by lifeguards is it? I’ve always fancied taking a dump in my neighbor’s geraniums and could now upgrade that to two shits and a piss. Who’s gonna stop me? My conscience? Who needs one of those when you’re the last man on the planet? Actually, that last sentence just sent an icy chill down my spine and reminded me of the other hand I’ve been avoiding. I was quite happy with the one I was dealt thanks and already planning a road trip to Ontario, Canada, just to punch Justin Bieber in the larynx and steal his wallet. Must I really consider the other hand?
Fine. On the other hand, I’ll soon grow desperately lonely. Happy now? Should I wish to make high-pitched fart sounds with my armpits, then who’s going to be around to egg me on? Nobody, that’s who. I may be rather partial to a round of solitaire and spot of rigorous masturbation but, while that’s the first thirty minutes sewn up, I’m sure it won’t be long before the clouds roll in or I run out of tissues. And what am I left with then? Eerie silence followed by extinction. It’s hardly worth getting out of bed for is it? I wonder if that’s how the dinos felt 65 million years ago – “Sorry lads, I don’t think I can bothered today. Think I might just have a lazy day”. I reckon I just talked myself out of my stinking bed you know. I mean, all this rumination is fun and all, but I’m actually starting to get a little concerned now. I’m not sure I’m ready to be the last man standing.
In addition to the eerie silence and very real threat of extinction, I now have to contend with the rather grim realization that the entire population of California, and quite possibly the world, have been turned into piles of red dust. I knew that comet was a wrong ‘un, could tell as much the very second it began hurtling towards the Earth’s atmosphere screaming “fuck you mankind, I’m gonna mess you up good bitches”. I guess I should be counting myself lucky for escaping such a powdery fate but, for as much as my fellow humans have been known to dumbfound me, I wouldn’t have wished dissolution on them. Actually scrap that, I would have wished it on the kid in school who made my life a living hell and perhaps Donald Trump but, other than that, I’m more the live and let live kind of nobody. I’d repeat my opening statement and cry “Screw you comet!” at the top of my lungs, but get the feeling it’s the comet that has been doing all the shafting.
It has now been seven minutes since I registered the unfavorable data and, just as projected, I’m bored shitless. In that time, the closest I’ve come to an intelligent conversation was a rather close call with some zombiefied nut job wielding a pipe wrench. The upshot to this little rendezvous is that clearly I’m not the only one out here in this barren urban wasteland.
The sucky part is that his breath smelled like unwashed ball sweat and he attempted to bludgeon me to death with a blunt object. So all in all, a mildly terrifying experience and not one I wish to repeat any time soon. Fear only has a tiny window of opportunity with me and, on this occasion, said window was seven minutes. Now I’m piss bored again. What I’d give for a dash of excitement. Fuck it, at this point, I’d take a slither.
I could head on down to the arcade and attempt to beat the top score on Tempest again. There’s some chick who goes under the initials REG and I’m sick and tired of her hogging the leaderboard. Just the other night, I waited for this pretty young joystick grappler to surrender her last quarter, then snuck in and managed to scrape the No. 6 position unbeknownst to her. While I’m being honest and there’s nobody present to call me a shitty person, I only do it to teach her a lesson about grace in defeat but I’m not entirely sure she’d welcome the tutorial. In the long run, she’ll thank me I’m sure.
But it’s not actually Reggie’s gratitude I’m after. It’s not that she doesn’t have it going on in all the right places, more that her younger sister Samantha is a little more geared for hijinks and my knee trembles like a Cosby every time her very name is mentioned. I might have been stalking her from an unthreatening distance and may also have a photo here to show you. One moment, let me just wipe it down with my sleeve.
Whaddya reckon? Is that your knee trembling too I hear? Silly me, it’s just my other knee. Do you see what Samantha does to me? Makes me come over all unnecessary, is what she does. I would snarf down a thousand bowls of tepid puke just to taste those rosebud lips the one time. I’d insert a golf umbrella deep into my bottom and open it to capacity if it made her smile just a little wider. I’d superglue my ball skin to a mouse trap and yank back the crank if the reward was one nibble of her cheese.
So you see, for as much as Regina is an absolute knockout and sorceress of Tempest to boot, a mild hell raiser like myself is just better suited to one more adept at causing mild mischief. You may wonder what all this has to do with my current plight. Rather a lot as it turns out. You see, Reggie and Samantha are very much alive, and down at the local radio station as we speak. I was just flicking through my dial when, all of a sudden, I heard that unmistakably purty voice sending out an S.O.S.
My first thought was to hop into my sports car, high-tail it down there, scoop her up with my strong arms, and whisk her away to a far distant land, where we would live off twigs and berries and make love deep into the night to Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”. But there could still be other players involved too and it may be advisable to bide my time a little and see what I’m up against.
The last thing I want to is to come across overly needy and wind up being informed that “I wouldn’t go for you if you were the last man on Earth”, regardless of the fact that I damn well may be. Playing it cool is the shrewd move here and, failing that, I believe I have some chloroform and an oily rag in the glove compartment. Please ignore any sinister undertones, you know I’m starting to wonder whether I may have been partially exposed to the comet after all. Is it normal to sneeze out moth larvae?
There’s no time for that eyewash now, I need to make it over to the shopping mall post-haste as something terrible has happened. Reggie and Samantha decided to blow off a little steam and catch up with some girly antics, while there was no one on hand to tell them they couldn’t. You know, the usual sisterly shenanigans. Dressing up in outrageous clothing, pretending they’re movie stars, arousing the unwanted attention of a band of villainous mall rats.
It was all going so well to begin with and a spot of harmless retail therapy was doing wonders at helping the girls archive their woes. But that’s precisely how Dawn of the Dead started out and we all know how that little spree turned out. Actually I’d rather a bunch of brain-dead meatbags than potentially the most active threat in eighties tyranny – new wave scoundrels. The girls should really have known better than to linger in cosmetics when this flock of rancid seagulls are running low on mascara.
Anyways, long story short, Sam’s only gone and got her sweet cheeks nabbed by these fop-shirted fashionista fucks. If one of those greasy stranglers touches a solitary hair on my Samantha’s head, there’ll be hell to pay and yours truly collecting the arrears. Of course, I would’ve prefered the Pretty Woman approach – lurking on the fire escape with rose between my teeth, outstretched arms and doe-eyes – but if this is how I am required to secure the affection of my fair lady then so be it. I shall ride in on my faithful steed, strike down any straggling freakazoids with anger most furious, rescue my damsel in distress in the nick of time and then do you think it’d be a good time for the chloroform? No need to grace that with an answer; my presence has been requested in metropolis.
Fiddlesticks. I’ve often heard it commented that word travels fast but guess that depends on how many vessels of transportation one has at their disposal. As per bleeding usual, I’m the last one to find out that Reggie and Sam are no longer kicking about at the mall and, once again, I’m left chasing my tail like a ferret on a spin cycle. It’s not all bad news though as the girls managed to escape their date with danger unscathed and crisis has now been averted. But I’m not convinced about their fresh coordinates as they appear to point straight to the Nevada desert of all places. Please stop me if I’m being pernickety here, but it’s not like they have to go that far afield to build a sodding sandcastle is it?
Credit where it’s due, Reggie and Sam would have been stone cold dead by now had it not been for a group of gun-toting scientists turning up on the scene and executing their captors. Moreover, they’ve been kind enough to shed a little light on the bigger picture. According to head doctor, Audrey, partial exposure to the comet does indeed transform you into a mindless zombie and they’ve offered to treat the girls at their secret underground headquarters just to ensure they haven’t become infected. Am I just letting my mind run away with me here or does it all seem just a tad fishy to you? Me too. A knight in shining armor’s work is never done it seems. Anything for my beloved Samantha.
Fret not Reggie as I’m coming for you too but will leave it to your new flame Hector to sweep you off your pretty little feet. You two really should get it together you know. Sam and I have far more pressing matters at hand like making high-pitched fart noises with our armpits and gazing adoringly into one another’s eyes while she blows pink gum bubbles and cheekily allows them to pop into her cute little chin dimple. To anyone dimwitted enough to attempt anything distasteful or sinistrous, I reiterate – if one of you scientist slags touches a solitary hair on my Samantha’s head, there’ll be a shit storm blowing in from the south and I’ll be the embittered peanut right in the eye of it.
Keep your filthy paws off Reggie too as she and Hector have finally consummated their relationship. They actually make a pretty sweet couple and I’m getting the mama and papa bear vibe from our two love birds. All we need now is to locate a couple of stray kids who happen to have spent last night in a steel booth and not been partially exposed to the death rays and we’ve got ourselves a ready-made family here. And do you know the first thing I plan to say as we sit down for our nice Thanksgiving meal like a real family would? Screw you comet! You may have managed to get the upper hand with the dinosaurs but 65 million years of evolution later and I’ve got two dry palm slaps for you and a poke in the eye for the inconvenience you’ve caused.
This is starting to grow somewhat aggravating. I just wasted half a tank of gas high-tailing it to the underground bunker and there’s nothing left here but blazing wreckage and an overturned armadillo. Turns out I was right about those pesky scientists as they had every intention of using the girls for their own treacherous gain. I shouldn’t be too dismayed as the main thing is that Reggie and Sam are alive, well and on their way back to the big city as we speak.
I only missed their grand getaway by a matter of minutes so reckon it’s high time I put foot to pedal and introduce myself first hand. I might not get another opportunity like this as, just as projected, Reggie and Hector are now officially an item and were fortunate enough to stumble across a couple of ankle-biters whilst making their last-ditch escape. That’s mommy, daddy and brood sorted which just leaves Auntie Samantha to find her happy ending and that’s where I come in. Buckle up!
Made it. Finally, I get the chance to lay some moves on my beloved and hope that she’s either instantly attracted to me or too worn out from all her excursions to fend off my advances. You ready for some good news? As blind luck would have it, it would appear that I fit the criteria for boyfriend material. Who would have thought it? I guess something good did come out of the comet after all. The dinosaurs would be so proud. As for me and my new girlfriend Samantha, well I wouldn’t wait up for us as we have rather a lot of shenanigans to catch up on.
I promise to have her back by midnight and, just so mom and dad don’t worry, my name is Danny Mason Keener but you can call me DMK. Better hit the skids now as I just spotted Reggie’s temple vein bulging and, if she wields a semi-automatic like she bosses Tempest, then I don’t fancy sticking around for that one. Oh! and one more thing before Sam and I burn some asphalt and go make high-pitched farting sounds with our armpits. Screw you comet!
Click here to read Night of the Comet Appraisal
Great story, Rich! I loved the imagery and the way you explained how walking around a desolate landscape would feel. Well done as usual.