Nathan Kitzmann column: Day the world ends
It wasn't the bombs dropping or the women wailing or the ocean rolling in that told me this was, indeed, the end of the world.
It was the music -- a soft, jazzy number that sounded like it might have been from the '40s -- beaming in from the heavens, projecting itself into every set of ears on earth. Above the silky instruments I heard a soft, female voice, singing in a way that seemed both mournful and full of hope. I strained my ears to hear the words, but it was too noisy. There is a lot of commotion, after all, involved in the dismantling of civilization.
Still, I thought it was interesting that God would choose a number like this to play as the soundtrack to his Day of Reckoning. Maybe a creepy Bach organ number would have been more appropriate, or, if God felt like ending things on a more glorious and optimistic note, Handel's "Messiah." A decades-old pop tune would have been my last guess. Then again, He always has worked in mysterious ways.
No time to dwell on this, though. I had a lot to do before the end. Close friends and family to bid farewell to ('til the next life), old enemies to reconcile and a laptop to rescue for the afterlife. As I struggled to push in my door, hoping to reach my computer before the waters did, I stopped dead in my tracks, remembering 1st Timothy 6:7: "For we brought nothing into the world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."
Certainly, though, God could make an exception for me and my computer. If God had anything to write on in Heaven, after all, He wouldn't have had His people dictate the entire Bible.
More than anything, I needed to have a little fun before The End. Certainly God had already reviewed my application by now, had made a final decision as to whether or not I would be admitted to Heaven. My fate had been decided, and with every trace of life on earth being gone by tomorrow morning, I had no reason to protect or preserve anything. It was strangely liberating.
I made my way up to high ground, where I walked to a Food-N-Fuel, which I figured would be a good place to get in some final earthly kicks. A young man about my age was standing outside, contentedly spraying various gas-station windows with a gasoline pump. I grabbed a nearby gas-line and sprayed him with a thick stream of Diesel fuel. "You're it," I shouted, with a friendly chuckle, and so began the game of Tag I never got to have as a kid.
Unfortunately, I had failed to notice a smoldering cigarette butt lying nearby, which combusted the mist of gas in the air and set my new friend on fire. I almost felt obligated to help him out, as he rolled in gasoline in a vain attempt to douse the flames enveloping his body. But really, he probably wouldn't want to survive after those burns, and we'd all be dead before the day was out, anyway. So I kept moving.
I walked back down the hill and jumped into a floating casket, which thankfully had been emptied, and explored the last vestiges of civilization. This is what hundreds of generations of human accomplishments and ideas amount to, I mused, thinking of all the Smart phones and Da Vinci originals floating around under me, mingling freely with the stray dogs and false teeth and jars of canned goods.
The Apocalypse, for all its problems, is really an equalizer. The first wave of hydrogen bombs and earthquakes had instantly erased wealth, poverty, good art, bad art, the National Debt and any conceivable reason to start a war. Peace and Equality were finally getting the chance they have long deserved.
The current led me to Detroit Lakes High School, from which I would never be able to graduate. People held onto floating cafeteria tables or upturned recycling bins as I paddled on by. The 2nd floor appeared to still be dry, so I headed upstairs.
Students huddled in little groups, some crying and others staring absently in shock. I had no time to feel sorry, though, neither for myself nor anyone else. Impulsively, I grabbed the nearest folding chair and sprinted down the hallway, smashing lockers and fluorescent tube-bulbs and laughing maniacally. I felt a little sheepish after that, secretly wondering if I could keep it together for even a few more hours.
Luckily, I never had to find out. For, above the sea of nasty stares and gasps came the loud noise of the world breaking in two, splitting in the direct center of the upstairs hallway.
In the silence of my half of planet earth hurtling into oblivion, I finally made out the words to the beautiful jazzy melody I had heard all day:
We'll meet again,
Don't know where, don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day
I soon found myself in complete nothingness, which was nice in light of all the day's events. Then, I was mysteriously transported to St. Peter's Gate, where I received the welcome news that God had, indeed, seen it fit for me to enter his Heavenly Kingdom and live there for all eternity. Better yet, He let me keep my laptop.
Nathan Kitzmann is a senior at DLHS.