THE END IS NEAR! LET’S EAT!

And speaking of the end of the world . . .
Here’s my apocalyptic masterpiece from 1999, right before Y2K-related disasters were supposed to plunge the world into unprecedented chaos.
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1999 © Mark W. Mayfield

Thanksgiving with my family and friends is usually an enjoyable occasion. We eat, drink and merrily devour anything that remotely resembles a large, headless bird. But something went terribly wrong this year, the year of The Apocalyptic Thanksgiving.

The commotion began when my perennially pessimistic pal, Armand Geddon, interrupted a pleasant conversation about turkey entrails by asking, “Isn’t anybody here concerned about Clinton’s secret plan to use Y2K panic as an excuse to declare martial law, take away our guns and ship us to internment camps, where we’ll be brainwashed to embrace a One-World Government and its evil leader, Regis Philbin?”

“Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!” we replied in unison.

Unfazed by our sarcasm, Armand continued. “Did any of you know that a 16th-century prophet accurately predicted the name of every pope, and that his predictions unexplainably end after John Paul II?”

Valiantly trying to derail this diabolic plot to ruin the festivities, I responded by asking, “Did Mr. Know-It-All Prophet also predict that the most obnoxious doofus in history would be severely bludgeoned by several angry friends on Thanksgiving Day, 1999?” Armand dismissed me with a smirk and segued into a lecture about the Mayan calendar, which mysteriously ends soon after the year 2000.

“MAKE HIM GO AWAY!” somebody screamed.

“Maybe those Mayan guys stopped because they were tired of making the stupid calendar,” I said, determined to reclaim the conversation for the Righteous Forces of All Who Enjoy Cheerful Holidays. “And anyway, who cares about a calendar that doesn’t include Independence Day or Mothers Day or Veterans Day or Memorial Day or THANKSGIVING DAY, which, Mr. Doomsday, we were really enjoying until your stinkin’ end-of-the-world speech!”

Armand then yielded the floor to his equally annoying wife, Irma Geddon, who bombarded us with “the truth” about Area 51, UFO’s, black helicopters, alien abductions, Stonehenge, the Egyptian pyramids, the United Nations, the Kennedy assassination, trilateralism, Gulf War Syndrome and crop circles. She provided a horribly vivid description of the Last Days, which included famine, floods, droughts, pestilence, earthquakes, biological warfare, nuclear annihilation and, worst of all, the Rosie O’Donnell Show on every channel. At this point, we were all convinced that the apocalypse was indeed just around the corner. In fact, everybody in the room desperately wanted the apocalypse to occur at that precise moment, right next to Irma’s chair.

It was Armand’s turn again, and he broached a topic that never fails to make my head spin: The Meaning of Life. Asking my mind to ponder such things is like asking a lawn tractor to win the Daytona 500. The tractor, like my brain, would undoubtedly explode before reaching the finish line.

Armand lowered his voice to a reverent whisper and presented several ominous questions: “What if our lives aren’t what they seem to be? What if we are actually unwitting cast members in a celestial play of infinite importance, a long-running tragedy with an inconceivable ending? What if we are unknowingly following a divine script that was written long before the universe existed? And, my dear friends, what if intermission is over and it’s time for the FINAL ACT?!!”

He delivered the last question with a pounding fist against the table for emphasis. The sound hit us like an apocalyptic asteroid.

Several women broke into uncontrollable sobs, afraid of being unwitting cast members in a celestial play of infinite importance. One practical friend excitedly realized that now would be a great time to buy that expensive SUV he can’t afford. (After all, the Final Act might end before the first payment is due.) Another guy, who doesn’t know the difference between Y2K and KY Jelly, muttered something about the 49er’s needing a new quarterback. My wife, who is strangely immune to apocalyptic rants, politely suggested that Armand and Irma seek professional counseling. The chaos was too much for my overheated little lawn tractor to handle. I slammed my hands against my head, shouting “BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!,” a technique I’ve used since childhood to prevent unwanted information from entering my earholes.

Obviously satisfied with the mayhem, Armand calmly sipped his coffee, wiped a wad of pumpkin pie from his chin, and happily asked, “Hey, anybody for a quick game of charades?”

That’s when I apocalyptically whacked him with a can of whipped cream.

Mark Mayfield and his terrified family await the apocalypse in a secret underground bunker, which is stocked with 175 pounds of turkey jerky, 200 liters of generic diet cola and enough Spam to gag the entire population of a small city.

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