It’s the end of the world And This Time We Really Mean It

Short story first published in Dash Literary Journal (California State Fullerton), Spring 2012.

Dear Friend,

I am contacting you with very happy news. You are been chosen to be taking part in the glorious Rapture. To secure your place, please deposit $2000 into the account of details listed below. Thank you and go with God (you will be!).

 Regards,
Vice Principal Executive,
Rapture Team

 

It’s comforting to know that these fellows are still doing what they do.  It shows genuine commitment.

 

Dear Vice Principal Executive of the Rapture Team,

Thank you for your email advising me of my ascension. Is The Rapture taking place in Nigeria?

Regards,
Candice.

 

It’s never been much of a challenge to find someone who thinks it’s the end of the world. Every now and then a prophet of doom bumps up against a slow news week and gets a bit of press.

 

Dear Candice Friend,

The Rapture will be a world-wide event which is why you are able to be saved. Our technology teams operate in Nigeria as through scientific research we have decided that Nigeria suffers the least technological interference from rapturous events. Basing our operations here is the better way to be sure your ascension will continue uninterrupted. Please be sure to send your money soon or we can not be holding your place for long.

Regards,
Vice Principal Executive,
Rapture Team

 

Not sure why it’s different this time around. A better social media campaign, perhaps. Hollywood films. The fact of it actually being 2012.

 

Dear Vice Principal Executive of the Rapture Team

Thank you for the scientific explanation of your whereabouts. Would it be possible to take my little dog with me during my ascension? She is very pure.

Regards,
Candice.

 

December 21, 2012. That’s the big send off. The Maya civilisation tells us so. Some people call it the Apocalypse, some call it The Rapture, others call it rubbish. Me? I let myself get distracted by the little things. Like Nigerian scams and ironic t-shirts.

 

Dear Candice Friend,

All animals are pure and are thus eligible to ascend. The ascension of a small dog will be costing $1000. Please add this to the moneys you already owe us.

Regards,
Vice Principal Executive,
Rapture Team

 

End of the world merchandise is something of a growth industry in 2012. There are a lot of ‘Team Apocalypse’, ‘Free Doomsday’ and ‘What would Armageddon do?’ t-shirts out there. I have one with an arrow pointing straight up that says ‘I’m with Rapture’. I’m also the proud owner of the bumper stickers ‘Annihilation Happens’ and ‘Ascend This!’

 

Dear Vice Principal Executive of the Rapture Team,

Thank you so much for allowing my little dog to ascend! I have another question for you. I have not yet decided whether I am prepared to bring a child into this ending world, but if I do will my child be able to ascend with me? I realise there is not much time left in which to make a child – I’m really just asking in case there is some sort of Doomsday delay. Also, should The Rapture occur while my child is two years old or less, can I carry it with me at no extra charge like on an airline?

Regards,
Candice

 

People were generally ambivalent about the Doomsday prophecy in the years leading up to it. They got a little less ambivalent when early 2012 gave way to mid 2012. By the time we hit July there were significant increases in Church attendance and religious conversion figures. Doomsday cults had a pretty big membership boost, too.

 

Dear Candice Friend,

Your child will be an innocent and so will have a place in the glorious ascension.   However, all souls weigh the same so it would still cost two thousand dollars to ensure the safe ascension of your precious child – even if the darling one is still in you.

Kindest Regards,
Vice Principal Executive,
Rapture Team

 

It’s August now and optimists are focused on the bright side of the end of the world. If it’s via the Judgement Day exit some folks might manage a death without a death in it. Those who make the purity cut get to keep on keeping on. Not a lot of sinners out there any more. It’s easier to resist temptation if the eternal consequences are imminent.   The least holy thing I do these days is sport with the Nigerians.

 

Dear Vice Principal Executive of the Rapture Team,

It is of great comfort to me to know that you will help me care for my child – should I have one – during the ascension. I do not currently have a husband but if I want to have a child without adding to my sins I’m going to have to get one. I am wondering if I should plan for his ascension now in case I get so caught up during The Rapture that I forget to make arrangements then. Do you offer a family discount?

Regards,
Candice

 

Soooo. September. The stock market is looking a little shaky. Futures, anyone? Investment properties and collectables have lost their sheen and historians have lost their drive but there have been no significant power shifts and less chaos than might have been expected. There have been a few half-hearted riots but they haven’t really caught on. People seem to be leaning more towards apathy, breakdowns and despair. Some have been living like there’s no tomorrow.

 

Dear Candice Friend.

You are wise to plan ahead. As you have not yet finalised your husband it is difficult to know how dirty his soul will be. However, the purity of the soul of the child he will possibly have with you should help him overcome his filth. We can ascend you, your little dog, your possible child and your possible husband for the family rate of $7000. Please deposit this money to us quickly if you are wishing to take advantage of this incredible offer.

Kindest Regards,
Vice Principal Executive,
Rapture Team

 

October. Society hasn’t stopped. Regular jobs and pastimes continue to exist – though I admit I’m a little behind in my studies. I spend a fair amount of my time reading self-improvement books and volunteering at charitable organisations. Most people volunteer somewhere.

 

Dear Vice Principal Executive of the Rapture Team,

This is wonderful news! Thank you so much for all your help! It would be difficult for me to access that amount of money just now. I do, however, have a life insurance policy that would cover this. Is it possible to arrange to pay you from this policy after my death and ascension?

Regards,
Candice

 

The countdown to the end of the world has been quite lovely, all things considered. Here we are in November and everyone is being just darling to everybody else. Crime rates have plummeted and donations to worthy causes have soared. We’re all rather keen on attaining a higher plane.

 

Dear Candice Friend,

This would be most terrible! We must have your money soon or we can not make guarantee of the safe ascension for you, your dear little dog, and your possibly precious child and husband.   Please do not place your loved ones in more danger with these delays.

Kindest Regards,
Vice Principal Executive,
Rapture Team

 

Did I mention we’ve also attained peace on earth, ended starvation and taken significant steps towards achieving worldwide freedom and equality? It’s kind of like living in classic Star Trek.

 

Dear Vice Principal Executive of the Rapture Team,

Hi, Friend. Thank you for your patience with me and for answering all of my questions. I have deposited $7000 in your account for the safe ascension of myself, my possible husband, my possible child and my little dog. See you on the other side!

Kindest Regards,
Candice

 

Don’t judge me. That’s what December 21 is for. You really can’t take it with you, okay? I still have my ironic t-shirts and bumper stickers but as we enter the final month of 2012… well…you know… just in case.