Snowcase #37 • 31 October 2007 • The SnowBlog
A special Snowcase today, for it's from one of our own: KatharineC, who keeps our comments rate so buoyant. Katharine is a Snowbooks devotee. Sooner or later she'll actually buy some of their books. (She wrote that, not me.)
The Apocalypse Experiment
This is the story of the last days of the human race, and a scientist's attempt to reverse disaster. It bears less resemblance than you'd think to the film Children of Men. The Apocalypse Experiment
I woke to a phone ringing, and an enthusiastic female on the other end of the line saying "Is this Mr. Jason Geist?"
"Yes," I said. I rubbed my eyes. "Who's this?"
"This is Bonnie Smith from NewsWorld," said the voice. "I understand this is your fiftieth birthday?"
Still half-asleep, I looked at the window, where the date was glowing faintly. "Yes, it is."
"Wonderful!" cooed Bonnie. "I'm calling because I hope you can appear on our program, Mr. Geist. We're doing a special on the Last Babies."
Her tone turned serious. "It's about the youngest people in the world. The last people born before...you know." She went bright again. "And I was hoping you'd be willing to appear!"
Damn. Not again. Every five years they pulled this. "No, thank you, Ms. Smith. I've been on enough of those things. Why don't you cobble something together from 2116's Last Babies special? I think it's still out there somewhere." I was about to hang up.
"Oh, please, Mr. Geist, won't you? Our viewers want to hear your thoughts on the--"
"No." I hung up.
My thoughts on the--disaster. On the--tragedy. On the--annihilation.
"I don't have any thoughts," I mumbled. "Is that good enough for you?"
All my life I'd been getting attention for the goddamn Invasion, and for twenty years I'd been doing Last Babies specials (and turning them down). I didn't understand why they wanted to hear from me, because I felt like I was one of the least qualified people--along with all the other people turning 50 today--to talk about it. I didn't have a life Pre-Invasion. What was I supposed to think about it? A world of adults was all I knew.
I got up and pushed the shade button. Light flooded the room, and as soon as I got over cringing I looked out the window. Roger was already up, and he was walking around the spinach garden, pulling the occasional weed, Rusty trailing behind. He looked toward the house and saw me. We waved at each other.
Roger should be the one to appear on NewsWorld, I felt. His opinions on the--whatever were actually meaningful. He spent hours every day browsing the net, reading the old news briefs and watching the old footage. He loves all that history stuff, but I just can't get interested.
I went to the lav and odor-removed, and then I vacuumed my teeth and splashed some water over my eyes. My face was scruffy, but I didn't feel like a shave. When I got back to my room, I switched on the viewscreen and turned to NewsWorld. The same old statistics rode by on the ticker below the male anchor's serious face: 87% OF PSYCH CENTERS ABOVE MAXIMUM CAPACITY...6,000 SUICIDES IN THE LAST FIFTEEN DAYS...TRI-US POPULATION AT 2.6 MILLION...3/4 OF CONGRESSIONAL SEATS EMPTY...LIFE EXPECTANCY 124.4 YEARS...BIRTH RATE ZERO.
kcoldiron [at] gmail [dot] com
http://www.kcoldiron.com (very out-of-date but it's all still true)