NEW STORY: "One Life," by Kevin Brown
Every ten years, we panic and shriek that the world is coming to an end. Pestilence, plague, famine, and war: these are universal human problems that have no solutions. But every ten years, we mathematical animals look at the world's odometer and tell ourselves that THIS IS IT, this is the mile where everything rolls over back to zero.

It is the end of 2009. The end of the oughts. The beginning of what? The teens?

A new decade looms. The BLACK ANTICHRIST ("dies irae...dies dum dum irae") is our president ("is he even AMERICAN?") and our schools and hospitals are overwhelmed with sickness. Wars ravage the Middle East, political unrest burns along the equator, and the death clock is ticking down to a new decade.

We generalize from the personal to the global, recoil from the horror of our own annihilation, and shriek, and shriek, and shriek about the world's end. But the truth is that despite what we may fear about the world, our own death is always imminent, and nothing will follow us except what we drag behind us with the tendrils of our love like a mad squid.

This year, 6,483 people have already died from the H1N1 virus alone: the weak, the young, the old, and the unlucky. What plague will next year bring? And what will happen to the strong, the ripe, and the fortunate ones who are left behind?

In Kevin Brown's "One Life," we meet one such plague survivor. He is not holding up very well.

Posted by miracle on Mon, 09 Nov 2009 23:18:40 -0500 -- permanent link

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