The Moments After

November 20, 2009

ANDY climbs on the top of a tattered remains of a brick wall.  The red clay squares are still slightly warm to the touch.  Since the blast, everything seems just a bit warmer.  The air tastes like charred atoms and singed hair.  The city doesn’t look the same.  Although, in a larger sense, the world itself probably doesn’t look the same. 

He peers out over the small group of survivors that have gathered before him.  He has elected himself as leader simply because no one else has.  ANDY was certainly not a leader before the Moment.  But necessity is a strong motivator. 

ANDY: OK everyone, the way I figure it, we need to band together and start getting some order established.  We’ll set up camp around here and hopefully we can become a base for other survivors.  We need to be able to provide some basic needs though.  We’ll need to find some food, build some shelter and make sure we’re giving medical attention to anybody who needs it.

There is a murmur from the handful of disheveled people that neither affirms nor denies their support.

ANDY: First I think we should take stock of everyone’s skills and see how they can help us out.  You know, if we have any engineers we’ll put them in charge of building houses.  If we have doctors, they’ll be in charge of medicine.  Any farmers will be put in charge of food production.

ANDY points at the first person, BRIAN, a fat red-head.

ANDY: What was your job before the Moment?

BRIAN: I was a professional athlete.

There is a pause of disbelief.

ANDY: Well…that’s great.  Maybe you can help with the security of our camp.  What sport did you play?

BRIAN: I was a competitive eater.

ANDY: Uh…that’s not exactly what I expected.  Do you have any skills that might help us survive?

BRIAN: I can eat a lot of food really fast!  Will that help?

ANDY shakes his head and asks the next person, a gothic girl, FRANCINE, with every conceivable part of her face pierced.

FRANCINE: I was a Cashier at Hot Topic in the mall.

ANDY: So, what did you do there?

FRANCINE: I pretty much just stood around and listened to Killswitch Engage albums all day.

ANDY is starting to get frustrated. 

ANDY: Maybe we can use that lip ring to catch some fish.  What about you?

PERSON 1: I was a yoga instructor!

ANDY: Hmph…and you?

PERSON 2: I was a Lobbyist in Washington D.C.

ANDY: Grrr…What about you?

He asks an attractive woman in her mid-30’s, BECKY.

BECKY: I’m a doctor.

ANDY is ecstatic.

ANDY: That’s fantastic!  What type of doctor are you?  Pediatric, orthopedic, neurology?

BECKY: I’m a doctor of Philosophy.

ANDY: So you’re not really a Doctor then.

BECKY: Uh, there’s a diploma in my home office from the University of Phoenix online that begs to differ.

ANDY: But I mean you can’t really help anyone medically.  You can’t bandage wounds or perform simple surgeries?

BECKY: No, but isn’t the more interesting question: ‘Why do I feel obligated to help?’  What is it about the human condition that compels me to value the lives of my fellow man?

ANDY sighs heavily.

BRIAN: I’m hungry.  Does anyone have 30 hot dogs?

ANDY: No.  No one has 30 hot dogs.

BECKY:  Do you need the hot dog to exist?  Or does the hot dog need you?

The group is astounded at BECKY’S profound question.  ANDY is fed up.

ANDY: OK That’s it!  This is ridiculous.  How the hell did you guys sustain yourselves before the Moment?  You all are essentially useless to the world.  You provide no meaningful contribution to human society.  You produce no tangible services or products.  You don’t make food, or fire or water.  Yet, somehow you made money enough to survive.  Well guess what?  Maybe the Pakistani’s were right to bomb all of the countries in the civilized world!  I’m starting to see what they see.  That people in the developed countries have become so specialized in their jobs that they’ve forgotten how to survive at the most basic level.  And despite that ignorance, we’ve got a higher standard of living than 90% of the people on Earth.   It’s disgraceful.  You should all be ashamed.

There is silence in the group.

FRANCINE: Well…what did you do for a living before the Moment?  Before all of our lives were turned upside down?

ANDY: Unlike you, I produced a tangible product.  My contributions to society were concrete.  I did something important.

He pauses for effect.

ANDY: I was a blogger.

40 minutes later they were all dead.

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