Joe Ray Ws
Apophis is coming, that’s what I heard on the news. The meteor is set to swing on by in 2029, and
maybe it will collide, the scientists weren’t so sure. I asked my uncle if the meteor would kill us all, and
he just shook his head and told me he’d be dead long before 2029 anyway, so why did it matter? He
made some toast cut into the shape of a dinosaur, telling me how great it was to be worried by such
things, and I thought of mass extinction events as I ate.
I sit on the battered back-seat bus chairs, I’ve been looking down at my filthy shoes since getting
onboard. All the time I’d spent cleaning them just the night before had been a waste. Mud cakes the
soles, and it makes me think back to what my Dad used to say. ‘Those with dirty soles will never get far
in life.’. I try to wipe some of it off with my spit, but people are watching, more focused on my mucky
presentation than the glowing asteroid which glimmers in the sky. The job interview is in half an hour,
and Apophis glides on by. It has been doing so for quite some time.
I put on the cardboard glasses so I could stare straight into the sun. Wearing these, the total eclipse
couldn’t total my eyesight, though I felt the whole concept of the moon swallowing the sun to be
incredibly foreboding. My uncle just shook his head and told me nothing could hurt me whilst he was
alive. And after? He just replied that he didn’t believe in heaven, but would try and work something out.
He lifted me onto his shoulders so I could get a better look at the eclipse. It didn’t seem so impressive
from atop my perch. But still I held my cardboard glasses tight over my eyes.
I feel pains in my chest as I try to find Lot 2068. It’s somewhere within a labyrinth of identikit business
park office blocks, but all I can see is a wall of grey in every direction I go. I can only look to the sky for
some respite, but Apophis looks down upon me, most likely wondering how many job interviews I’ve
had in this past week alone. If I wasn’t successful this time, well, it may as well fall.
‘It’s like the world is on fire today.’ Someone says to me as I continue to squint. A man stands by lot
2068. He studies my sweat patches as I follow him in. He tells me I’m late by the way he aggressively
opens the front door.
I spent the night watching the sky through the slits in the blinds, but there wasn’t much to see. December
21 st 2012 came and went, and not a star to be seen. I’d been anxiously awaiting this day all year, it all
started after seeing the ridiculous John Cusack movie, I swallowed all the on screen earthquakes and
tsunamis whole. I closed the blinds, and lived to see another day.
I dreamt of my uncle swatting the mythical planet Nibiru away with his hands. He wore a cape made of
stars. He was the apocalypse hero, and he looked nothing like John Cusack, just my dear old uncle.
‘Shouldn’t you be more worried about cancer?’ Is how he’d always end these perilous planet dreams.
‘The apocalypse hero?’ My interviewer replies in confusion, he rubs his scalp, I’ve given him a migraine.
He’d just asked me who my hero was, an ice breaker opener, and I just let it slip out. For some reason
when I closed my eyes, I saw my uncle sat there.
‘Well, that’s what I called my uncle growing up. He always put my mind at ease when I read the news.
He helped me get over my fears of the world ending before I could achieve all my social obligations in
life.’ Just a load of babble.
‘Well, we were thinking more of a professional hero for this question. Heroes like Elon Musk, or John
Cusack. Those sort of heroes. Unless your uncle has a successful career that you can talk to us about?’
‘He never worked.’ I can feel the plastic chair melt into my back. Their lip starts to curl into a smirk,
and I want to curl into a ball and cry. ‘Yeah, those guys too.’ Is all I can muster in response as the
windows began to shake.
I was already on a plane to the other side of the world when my uncle died. It would be hours later until
I read the text messages on my phone to tell me so, but it came as no surprise, for I felt the plane
turbulence was his way of saying the skies were no longer safe from rocks and solar flares. I knew from
that point on, that no matter what, Apophis was coming. But my girlfriend said only one thing when I
told her this.
‘That isn’t going to stop you from getting a job.’
I lit a candle on holiday at the local Buddhist temple, praying that my Uncle would save us all from
beyond the grave. The candle wouldn’t light, but I was starting to feel the heat.
The world shakes as Apophis hits the Earth’s surface. As the walls around me crumble and groan, I can
only fall back on old memories, of the times I used to think of mass extinction events whilst eating toast
cut into the shapes of dinosaurs. My uncle, the apocalypse hero, is here too, with his cape made of stars,
wrapping it around my body to shield me from the worst of the world’s destruction.
As my skin burns, I hear one last thing from behind that cape made of stars.
‘Maybe this job just isn’t for you.’