[Incredible Diaries of the Apocalypse] — Short stories.
Chester was standing in a line of people before The Smelly Oyster restaurant known for its specialty of making an oyster stew with gorgonzola cheese.
The people lined up for the famous Oygonzola-to-go patiently enduring the smell spreading from the restaurant’s open door. Some of the folks were wiping their eyes crying from the smell. He was wearing a gas mask giggling inside.
But this story isn’t about Chester.
Duncan was also standing in the line. Maybe four or five people behind Chester. He was crying heavily and was evidently irritated.
Suddenly a scream. Like a little girl but louder. Duncan, obviously being the source, jumped high only to land on the foot of Penelope, a local veterinarian standing behind him. She was holding an alligator skin purse. Seconds later she started bashing poor Duncan with it.
“You broke my foot you animal”, she shouted, kicking him with the mentioned foot in the knee.
“It’s an alligator!”, Duncan screamed, pointing down only to be kicked in a face with a purse.
“It sure is”, replied Penelope’s friend Joy actually talking to her husband who was crying with pain caused by the smell.
“Alli. Ga. Tor”, screamed Duncan in between kicks. Then another scream, and another. “Alligator!”, now Ophelia screamed throwing her gas mask at something crawling on the asphalt.
An alligator. Not larger than a cat just grabbed Duncan by the foot and wouldn’t let go. An animal rarely seen in these quarters, obviously attracted by the smell, decided to do a little investigation.
Penelope now started to bash the alligator, Duncan and herself with ricocheting purse screaming and crying. The crowd made a circle around the trio cheering for Penelope.
The alligator let go off the Duncan’s foot and grabbed the purse. Penelope unaware of the additional weight lifted the beast and inertia did the rest. The alligator was catapulted into thin air and landed on the windscreen of a passing car driven by the elderly couple on their way to the cemetery.
Squeaking tires. A swish. A bang. A rolling wheel cap. Then more screams. The old Buick hit the sign pointing to the local pet cemetery. The purse was hanging down from the sign with the alligator still attached.
Now everybody rushed to see if the couple was ok. Duncan was limping behind. Penelope waited for him only to hit him in the face and said, “Look what you’ve done.”
The very old driver whose name was Benjamin, looked at the twisting beast hanging from the sign and said, “This is hell. We are in hell. It smells so bad, that must be it. I told you we shouldn’t have buried that cable guy in our backyard. It is our punishment.”.
The very old lady whose name was Cynthia reminded him that they’ve unearthed the cable guy and that his body was in the trunk. They were on the way to the pet cemetery to secretly bury the guy there. Their backyard was a little bit crowded with bones and local dogs like to dig out stuff.
The crowd now gathered around the car, some of them still wearing gas masks. Even the restaurant owner Milopulos or something joined in leaving his precious stew unguarded.
The scene was apocalyptic. Dust and lots of smoke from the old engine still running, some people wearing gasmasks, some crying. An alligator twisting in the air. A “zombie” arm hanging from the trunk. And a smell to kill a pig.
Then another scream. A scream of a little girl stepping on a frog. Of course, it was Duncan again. He jumped in the air and landed on Penelope’s other foot., “Dead zombie!”, shouted Duncan pointing at the dead man’s arm hanging from the trunk then crouching with pain.
He was hit by Penelope’s foot again, this time right between his legs. In high pitched voice, he just squeezed out, “Mommy”.
Now everybody looked at the trunk lid and the half rotten arm. Silence. Duncan was the only one producing sounds, something like a squeaking door. It added a horrifying touch to the atmosphere.
Then the passenger door slowly opened. A thin bony ankle. An old shoe. A squeak.
Cynthia, the very old lady stepped out of the car. Not looking at anybody. Stone faced she took the zombie’s arm, pushed it back into the trunk and closed it. Everybody was just staring. The diffusion of responsibility. No one moved. Except for Duncan, still hurting and twisting like the alligator hanging from the sign.
Cynthia the cool very old lady said to the crowd, “Could somebody point us to the pet cemetery, we need to bury our pet ape. Some 18-wheeler hit her. Never stopped. Got her on our second honeymoon in Cambodia from the gay monk. Named Sally. Not her, the monk. Her name was Spice. She spiced up our life, including our…”. “Stop!”, shouted Duncan and threw up a little.
“Anyways, here is the death certificate.”, continued Cynthia, showing her husband’s iPhone user guide.
The crowd was still staring. Duncan couldn’t hold it so he threw up a little bit more.
Cynthia entered the car and seconds later the old Buick rushed into the distance leaving the crowd staring indefinitely.
“What was that?”, asked Penelope. “It’s the Armaggedon.”, answered Duncan still lying on the road looking at the hanging alligator chewing on the purse.
Before anybody could say anything more, the purse snapped open. The alligator fell down. The content of the purse spread on the road and the animal rushed to a nearby bush.
The crowd still staring. Some wearing gas masks. Suddenly no one was that hungry anymore. Especially after seeing the content of Penelope’s purse.
“Hey, there’s my screwdriver!”, said Phil and drank it. “And my wristwatch.”, complemented Annie, “My hand grenade”, said auntie Barbara grabbing it in a hurry. “And my two, pardon, three hundred dollars and fifty dollars.”, cunningly said Jenny and picked the bills up. “My pet tarantula on a key chain”, explained little Tommy showing it to the world and then putting it in a box full of creatures on key chains including a large ameba in a jar. Imagine that.
Many other people’s belongings found their owners that day. The biggest item was the old Henry’s wooden leg. He jumped with joy when he saw it.
Penelope took the remains of the purse crying. “It’s not what you think, it’s not what you think.”, she cried further. “It’s the smell, it made me do it. It messes with your mind. I hate the gorgonzola, and the damn oysters, what’s wrong with you people, how can you eat that shit. Here I said it. And you Duncan. You smell always. Use the soap. For God sake. So what, I am a klepto. And you all? Wearing gas masks, bunch of wimps. I am only here so I can steal from you idiots. I am also bipolar. I can do whatever I want. I got my F number. Screw you, bunch of imbecilic snobs. Choke on it.”
Penelope raised her chin a bit and walked away.
The crowd slowly followed the smell and formed a line again talking to each other about the events that stole some fifteen minutes of their lives. Duncan decided to go home. He was thinking about taking a bath. Never took it though.
An old Buick passed by the crowd. This time no one noticed. They were all intoxicated by the smell of Oygonzola-to-go again. The crowd. Ultimately choose to eat shit. Because someone somewhere once said it was great. Malopulus or something grinned and poured the stew.
A guy named Chester was in the line. Giggling. He was bored with waiting, so he daydreamed a little and got carried away. Looked over his shoulder and saw a guy maybe named Duncan and a woman maybe named Penelope. His daydream felt so real.
None of this happened.
He stepped out of the crowd. He just felt bad. Never wore a mask. No one did. The smell was nevertheless real. He walked away. The smell was subsiding as he gained distance. The lesser the smell the freer he felt. He just continued walking.
Somehow the colors returned to his eyes and scents of a beautiful city met his senses. He got pleasantly hungry. For the first time in a long time.
As he walked the streets he came across another line. People waiting for a meal. Ordinary people. Burdened people. Beautiful people. He hanged around.
The sign on the trailer said “The Salvation Army Kitchen.”
“I could try that…”, he said to himself. He stood in that line. Last. Then he started to daydream again.
This time no dead bodies and beasts. He daydreamed of angels.