“President Clinton Rides in UFO.” I presented the ‘Weekly World News’ paper with a shrill laugh. She recoiled slightly and frowned.
“What’s with that laugh? Are you stoned?”
I was, but didn’t acknowledge the question.
“It really isn’t.”
I became self conscious, so I changed the subject.
“It’s cool you came, I was hoping you would.”
“My friends are having a party a few blocks away, figured I’d stop by.” She said with a fading smile. Something behind me had caught her attention. “What’s Liam doing?” I turned to see what she was looking at. Liam was rubbing his cheek against the wallpaper of the dinning room.
“He dropped acid. He thinks the wallpaper feels good on his cheeks.”
“How was work?” I asked, another feeble attempt at changing the subject.
“Fine.” She replied as she walked past me, deeper into the house.
I followed. “Crazy they made you work on New Year’s Eve.”
We first met at work, and I was immediately into her, but could never seem to get a read on her.
We hung out on the sofa for what felt like 5 minutes, but in reality was closer to 45. She was bored. “I think I’m going to go to my party now, it’s almost midnight. Walk me there?”
We weaved through the tangle of passed out drunks and made our way to the porch. It was freezing outside. There was a couple on a swing sharing a cigarette. “Be careful out there, watch out for the Y2K.” He elongated the final word, like it was the boogeyman. I laughed. She looked nervous.
“What do you think will happen to us?”
“Us?” My weed addled brain fired off a million possibilities of what “us” meant.
“Nothing.” I was more dismissive than I intended.
She put distance between us as we walked. Enough room for Jesus, as they say.
I followed her up the steps and she opened the door. A party raged inside.
“Do you want to come in and watch the ball drop with me?”
I did, but I wasn’t sure what the expectations were. Weed paranoia took over.
“I’m going to go.”
She tucked her hair behind her ears. “Oh. Okay.”
I couldn’t read her tone. Upset? Indifferent? I panicked.
“See you next year?”
I cringed. What a dumb thing to say.
“Yeah, sure.” She a forced smile.
We hugged awkwardly.
I turned and walked down the steps, and lit a cigarette. I should go back. I stopped mid-step and turned around. No, the moment passed.
As I wandered down the street I could hear shouted countdowns coming from inside the houses.
There was a boom and the buzzing hum of electricity. The street lights went out, followed by the lights in each house, then sound of screeching tires and shattering glass swam through the air.
Freaked out, I picked up the pace back to Liam’s house. I was stoned, in an unfamiliar neighborhood and it was dark without lights. I rounded a corner and saw a homeless man standing in the middle of the street holding a sign above his head. “The end is nigh” was hastily scrawled onto it. We locked eyes.
“Can you hear it?” He screamed. I ignored him. He persisted. “Can you hear it?”
I could hear something. A high pitched whining, like an engine, and it was getting louder. The homeless man laughed and pointed at something behind me. A 747, nose pitched toward the Earth, was headed right for me.
I took the final drag of my cigarette.