Author : Jedd Cole

The hours have become mere tick tocks of clock hands since Lonny flipped ahead on his desk calendar this morning, noting with some surprise that the pages stop tomorrow with the End of the World.

He eats his bowl of wheat puffs contemplatively. On his commute across town, he calls his mother, waking her up. They talk about the year since he saw her last, and Lonny’s breakup with Veronica last week, and his sister Fawn’s new baby. There’s a car accident that holds up traffic. He wants to ask her if she’s looked at the calendar, but doesn’t. He arrives and has to hang up.

The stack of forms on his desk is taller than it was yesterday, and he gets to work, sipping coffee. He imagines himself throwing the coffee all over the paper and laughing maniacally and jumping out of windows and running naked through the domed city.

At lunch, he listens to Greg from Marketing while eating his peanut butter sandwich and looking out the window at the dome and the orange sky on the other side. Greg goes on and on about his dogs, how Jupiter snuggles with him in bed, how Smoky pees on the carpet, how Dakota jumps through sprinklers and humps the neighbors. Lonny wants to ask Greg about the End of the World, but the guy won’t stop talking.

There’s still a stack in Lonny’s inbox by five-thirty. The elevator down is full of silent people who don’t look at each other. In the car, Lonny calls his sister Fawn. They talk about the End of the World a little before the topic of her children comes up, and she can’t get off it. The drive back is slow, and he passes two accidents.

When Lonny gets home, it’s six-thirty. Time for Hours of Their Lives on channel four. He turns the screen on and heats up a frozen dinner of fettuccine alfredo.

He feels like he should call somebody else, but can’t think of anyone. The show is over at seven, and he throws away the empty foil container. The next show is Extreme Starbase Makeover and he turns it off. He spends the next hour on the net, browsing the updates, and thinking about the End of the World.

At eight-thirty, a knock on the door wakes him up. He had fallen asleep at his desk, and probably has a red spot on his forehead. Lonny opens the door and sees that it’s Veronica. They say hi, and she asks if she can come in and talk with him. Tenderly, they apologize for the fight last week and settle down with some vanilla ice cream. They watch a movie about promiscuous city people falling in love, and laugh a little at the funny parts.

By midnight, Veronica is asleep, and Lonny is thinking about the End of the World. He checks his watch. Only a few more hours. Looking out the window at Earth’s bright spot in the sky, he decides to step outside to sit in a lawn chair and observe. It happens about three in the morning, and he starts to get tired before it’s over. He reflects on the loss of sleep, but then remembers it’s a long weekend, and tells himself not to worry.

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