Friday, December 21, 2012

Today's Apocalypse Sign: Choose Your Own Apocalypse - This Is End!

The time has come to count down the final hours to the end of the Mayan Calendar. What will happen? Anything? Nothing?

Well this is your opportunity to share with everyone your take on the so-called End Of Days as this is purported to be. By some, anyway. Shannon and I welcome you to the Choose Your Own Apocalypse Blogfest! A once in a lifetime event.

Wednesday - Garland, TX 2100 hrs 12.19.12

As I write this I am in the throes of what can only be termed "pre-apocalyptic panic". This post will constitute my 500th on this site. Fateful or fortunate, I don't know for sure. I do like round numbers and if things have to end I'll at least feel better about some OCD-manic kind of way.

In addition to that, I am preparing for a post-apocalyptic (aka post-apoc) trip back to Ohio to visit family and celebrate Christmas. The last two or three days preparing for a trip are like ice water to the nuts...very tense. I have posted of this before and nothing has changed. I needed a verbal slap down when my wife got home from work just to get it together to work on this post. Practicing for  post-apoc food shortages, we have a meager meal of sausage and egg noodles. It gave me thoughts of crafting fake egg noodles out of some of my polyester sell on the street after the "event". I quickly quash that idea as I realize those shirts will last longer than organic material so they will be worth more to speak.

The dogs offer a distraction as they always do...because they are truly idiots and know of no other way to act. In a way I wish I could be them until this day of disaster is over. Oblivious. Sniffing the carpet. Re-licking my empty dog bowl for the 20th time in the last hour, expecting there to be a nano-crumb. Then I realize both my dogs have been "fixed" so I quickly snap out of that nightmare. No democracy in a dogs life.

Today the wind was violent and southerly. Odd for this time of year even as the sky took on the look of metal being worked by a skilled blacksmith. The dents and pocks moving swiftly by and more taking their place. The weather looked ominous in many places of the country. Snow pounding Portland (Oregon, not Maine), the mid-west wrapped in a typhoon of blowing snow and freezing temperatures. Everything became the foreboding look of the 12.21.12 apocalypse. I had a quick, irrational desire to do something regrettable knowing the end of days would wipe the slate clean, but then I realized there are probably some wackos out there who will do exactly that between now and Friday. That thought made me want to hurry back in the fortress.

It is a fortress. You see, I do not live in a normal house or apartment. And have not for over thirty years. For the last twenty years I have occupied the fortress. For better or worse it is also where I work. A walk of less than forty yards takes me from home to occupation. No rain, snow, wind. Extremely hot during the summer and frigid during the coldest days of winter, but by and large a pretty comfortable walk. I am on the second floor, 2500 square feet, 3 bathrooms, 3 or 4 bedrooms (depending on how you want to count), a room roughly 15' x 30' we affectionately term the "dance floor" because, well, that's what we made it into years ago when we still hosted parties. Windows covered with what is known as "bus window" decals for business imaging. No one can see in or, unfortunately, out. Three entry doors all metal with serious deadbolt locks. Alarm and video monitoring of the entire 80,000 square foot building...inside and out. Exterior walls are 18" thick exposed aggregate concrete tilt-wall. It is a fortress.

I have often thought of the feasibility of defending this fortress and dreamed of tactical weaponry and defense posts, etc. Then came the Doomsday Preppers reality shows and I was all about wanting everything they had. I equated my situation and walked in their shoes as I watched the shows. I had the weapons. I had the massive stores of long-term foodstuffs. I had the booby-trapped perimeter. I was bugged in to stay. I had the high ground. I dreamed the apocalyptic dream with every show I watched. Acting on none of it.

Now as I type, suddenly the thunderstorm of the century is upon us. No gradual build up, but immediate hard rain and gale force winds. I am up and out the door as it sounds like nothing I have heard in the fortress before. The crescendo of sound as the rain pounds the roof is unnerving. Every light pole is wobbling as the wind tries to rip it from its base. Parked cars below are rocking back and forth in time to the ebb and flow of the wind. The sound of pounding rain on the roof makes it hard to concentrate. Makes it hard not to think...this is how the apocalypse is going to start. Pick off the low hanging fruit of life that do not live 20 feet about the ground.

Tonight I go to bed apprehensive of the next 48 hours. Do I get up and get ready for work? Do I worry about flying on Saturday? Do I spend all day tomorrow in Walmart? Am I a friggin lunatic?


Thursday - Garland, TX  1800 hrs 12.20.12

My Mayan countdown calendar on the sidebar is now down to zero on the Days counter. Yes it is now HOURS before we find out what is to be the fate of all mankind. What a mesmerising thought when you just keep that one thing in your mind. Almost paralyzing in its overwhelming command of the brain. Synapses start retracing old acid memories and like snippets of a lifeline, odd parts of multiple ancient thoughts begin to assemble into bizarre new and stunningly familiar history. Waking up in what should be a pool of my own sweat, I am fully dry - sheets and skin. I now struggle to remember those thoughts that raced through my brain like a high-speed train and are now gone. What the hell had I dreamt? And why?

The rain has stayed with us throughout the day. Unobtrusive...slightly in the background but not panic causing. Everyone is glad for the rain as the drought has been withering the last several months and steady for a couple years now. I can't help but think this is too much rain too fast. The ground will never hold it all. I immediately thank myself for moving from Houston in the late 80's. Don't want to be a coastal dweller now. I survived Hurricane Alicia back in '83 and that was enough water violence for me for a lifetime. But now brief thoughts of Ike, Katrina, Sandy come to mind. Were these just recent trial runs for the Apocalypse?  I decide to venture out to Walmart to grab a few things. Hopefully this won't be a common thought with a wave of consumers thinking the same and I can get home before my wife does from her job. Are we still packing for the trip Saturday? Are we like mindless rodents who never know doom is upon them in the mousetrap? I think my mind should be a free and disembodied consciousness. That is my apocalyptic wish.


Friday - Garland, TX 0800 hrs 12.21.12 [The end of the 5126 year Mayan long-count calendar]

Rain, rain go away keeps running through my mind even as the swells rise outside the fortress. Cars (with and without people in them) go floating down the LBJ Freeway River, the newly created river. Debris of all manner drifts by as the rain softly falls. No lightening. No thunder. Just stealthy rain. Like a stalking butler. (Always loved that lyric.) As always I think about what I should have done while now it is not possible to do it at all. But then all people were caught in a state of paralysis. Not knowing WHAT exactly to prepare for.

Stock piles of wood and drums of gas were of no use in this scenario. Boarding up windows or training for zombies or wild packs of starving humans, dogs and other animals was getting you nowhere today. Preparation, it appears, is a roll of the dice like so many things in life. That makes me feel no better as I know the supplies we have are not near enough to survive long. The dogs have more food than we do...and that suddenly brings thoughts to mind too horrible to consider.

The dogs are oblivious to their surroundings and my wife is softly crying and rocking back and forth on the living room floor. What to do first!!...screams the mental movie screen in my brain. And then a torrent of thoughts. As a problem solver all my career I am now overwhelmed with options and choices to consider. I need to relax and think...

Slowly the realization that this is it. This is the beginning of the second coming or something similar. Jars Of Clay singing their song Flood begins playing in my head and I quickly think of the iPod fully charged and ready to go. At least I'll have some music...for a while. Then I begin to domino my thoughts to what resources I do have. Candles. Weapons. Fortification options. Food. Oh God...drinking water!!! The one thing...and then I remember we have an Ozarka unit in the breakroom next door. Eight 5-gallon jugs full of fresh water there that I immediately bring to the fortress. Then I think about the drink machines down stairs with single serving water bottles...wait if there is water rising in the building and the electrical is out...shit, no way to end...being electrocuted. So I will hold on raiding those machine for now...and maybe forever. A future of "water, water everywhere and not a drop to drop" enters my head.

I snap my wife out her catatonic state and tell her we need to get busy. The dogs are now in the way and need to be in the back room until we get our bearings on this ordeal. We begin organizing our meager supplies on the kitchen counters and dining room table. Funny we have not looked outside for a while now. Ignorance IS bliss. I then think about opening the fire escape window and scraping off the decal of one half of a window but then catch myself and think...if I can see out than someone can see in. Better to not appear occupied but simply a huge vault of a building with no real value inside.

I remain quite calm and rerun the Preppers shows in my head trying to find one that fit this scenario. No matter, even if I did there was no advance preparation for this outcome so there would be no parallel to guide me. I think random thoughts of my wife not being able to get cigarettes or Dr Peppers and wonder how the withdrawals are going to go. As I usually think many moves ahead of most people so I decide not to mention these eventualities to her.

I finally, after what seems like hours (and I oddly realize I have not gotten a text or a phone call since yesterday), walk out on the mezzanine to look outside the upstairs glass door and survey the current situation. Sadly, I see mostly the tops of the higher buildings to the east. Then panic hits as I look down and see the beginning of water seeping under the glass door...25 feet above the ground. This is bad. Once the water is in there are only 18' to the roof of the building...and the rain still falls. I run over to the roof access ladder and scale the rungs to the hatch. Shoving the lever open, I climb out into the rain and onto the roof. Afforded a 360-degree view, the site is devastating.

The only way to survive is the rain stopping before it floods the apartment. We have to stay dry. The rain is still falling. If this is a 40-day 40-night redeux, we are screwed. While standing on the roof and the raining soaking me through...I begin to laugh hysterically. This is a double apocalypse!

I am in a real life Waterworld!!! And we all know what a bomb that was...

Thank you for reading and participating in the Choose Your Own Apocalypse Blogfest. I want to thank Shannon Lawrence at the Warrior Muse for the impetus to get this thing going. An Apocalyptic Survivor badge will be forthcoming for all participants.

Please enjoy this brief muscial interlude....


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That last line nailed it! If you see Kevin Costner float by, you're screwed. Better get used to eating dog food. said...

I hope you skipped the trip to Walmart, Chuck.

Thanks for co-hosting a fun blogfest.


shahscribbles said...

Loved your post and the musical interlude! So want my badge :D X

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Trapped in an expensive movie flop!

Fortunately, the rainbow promises us it will never happen again.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chuck .. well frankly you've just sent the rain over to this little tiny island ..

We've survived 11.01 a.m. - but whether we've survived the weather is another matter .. I'm sure travellers trying to get home must think they're in apocalypse mode ..

Cheers - I think I'm going to be glad I kept to my own devices this Apocalypse day ...

Happy Christmas and New Year ... Hilary

Maurice Mitchell said...

What a great idea for a blogfest! Waterworld would be a terrible way for the world to end. Kevin Costner is so preachy...

Jolie du Pre said...

We're still here!! Damn those Mayans.

Precious Monsters

David P. King said...

That's quite the scenario. Good thing i can tread water for a long time ... if it's cold water, that's another story. Thanks for hosting this endfest! :)

Milo James Fowler said...

Waterworld! It was a comedy, right? =] Thanks for inviting me along for this fest, Chuck!

Rob Z Tobor said...

Yes it is one of those things that you cant do a lot about. they do say you cant fight nature. Here in the UK it has been raining most of the year on and off and there have been many floods so I can relate to your story. ironically today has been one of the few sunny days lately too.

Tracy Bermeo (A2Z Mommy) said...

Yes, the end of the world combined with Waterworld would really suck! Great post. Oddly enough, we spent most of last night in the middle of an intense rain and wind storm. But alas, I'm still here. For now.
A2Z Mommy and What’s In Between

Jeremy [Retro-Z] said...

Hey, I loved Waterworld... it was the future being told by the eyes of a genius...

Did we make it?
My link is dead, I ask again did we make it?

Great end of the world post!!
Jeremy [Retro]
Oh No, Let's Go... Crazy

Nancy Thompson said...

Rain, rain, rain. Sounds like everyday life here in Seattle. If that's how the Apocalypse ensues, we might not even notice it out here. Heh heh. Great story, Chuck! Happy apoc!

Shannon Lawrence said...

Love your final line! Didn't you build an ark in your fortress? Perhaps with a switch that changes the fortress TO an ark? I need to invest in a house boat.

Thank you for hosting this with me! You rock!

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Chiz said...

Awesome post, Chuck! Definitely an original submission to the blogfest. I like the way you led up to the end of days.

I've never seen Waterworld, but I'm assuming I'd have fun with such a post-apocalyptic world.

Leslie said...

I'm banging on the fortress - let me in!!!

Hope your holidays are dry!!!

Sue H said...

The rain subsided briefly in this part of the UK today - must have headed across the pond to you, Chuck!

Thanks for hosting this apocalyptic blog-fest - now that it's apparent that the possible global catastrophes have not materialised I feel safe enough to visit all the blogs and see what we've all come up with!

(and note a few ideas to have safely tucked under my belt, ready for the next predicted apocalypse! ;-p)

Monti said...

Hi Chuck,

Thanks for co-hosting this blogfest. Now what will you do for your countdown? I've been following the one that met its doom!

An 80,000 square ft. fortress sounds intriguing!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Mary Montague Sikes

Patricia Lynne said...

This was such a fun bloghop. Thanks for hosting it. =)

Chuck said...

Alex: My bad thought were even worse than eating dog food. PS. My wife would love for Costner to float by!

Robyn: I did. Too much work.

Shah: Thanks. Workin' on it!

Diane: You did get my final point! Thanks.

Hilary: I will be entering that Apocalypse tomorrow know as the DFW Airport. Wish me luck!

Maurice: Thanks for stopping and you are right about the preachy...

Jolie: Hey, it's not midnight yet!!

David: Yeah, I'm not up for treading water any length of time in that scenario.

Milo: Yes it was a comedy.

Rob: And tomorrow I get to fly into a blizzard...I might have been slightly off in the consistency of the water...

Tracy: Yes it would suck beyond Thunderdome!!

Jeremy: You are being sarcastic, right??

Nancy: You are having the snow I want for Christmas!! Thanks.

Shannon: It was a blast! Got to sign up than I thought due to holiday stuff but a great turn out. And BTW...I am starting that ark idea right after the new a resolution.

You're the best!

Leslie: Of course all are welcome who can contribute to the colony of the new world...whatcha got??

Sue: Glad we made it. I look forward to reading more of your good stuff this next year!

Monti: Yes it is intriguing...and very real. My story was 90% non-fiction.

Chiz: Thanks. Watch the movie and then tell me that.

TS Hendrik said...

Chuck, that was brilliantly written and the last line killed. I meant to link up for my 7 word apocalypse post and totally forgot!

Still I absolutely had to stop by your blog and read today of all days. You did not disappoint.

Nate Wilson said...

Quick! Fashion a raft out of broken furniture lashed to empty Ozarka containers! Then come get me.

It's a good thing I'm an excellent swimmer. But there's no way in hell I'm going to grow gills.

Arlee Bird said...

Well, that was very cinematic. Jars of Clay is a nice way to end it--the blog post, not the world.

Thanks for hosting.

Tossing It Out

Powdered Toast Man said...

Will you become the captain of an oil liner like Dennis Hopper?

I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happened. Good read, great apocalypse Chuck.

baygirl32 said...

great musical interlude! Can't wait for my badge :)

Chuck said...

TS: Thanks for stopping and enjoying "my" apocalypse.

Nate: You seem a little too hyper...we may have to lash a harness to you and let you tow us...with your excellent swimming skills!

Lee: Thank you for being in the meant a lot.

PTM: Those oil tanker captains don't fare so well...

Baygirl: Thanks for reading...your badge is here.

Stephanie said...

I'm a bit dense, since I spent the first several paragraphs trying to figure out if you actually lived in a fortress. Hope the rain lets up soon!

Madeleine Sara said...

I enjoyed this Chuck.Very gripping. It made me realise we all think about preparing for such events but rarely take the time to do so...
Have a great Christmas.

Torggil said...

See? even my preps would have accounted for nothing. No one escapes the flood. Not even vampires...


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