D Minus 39

Dante Yardas´s poem, a winner in the Parallax-Online Apocalypse Writing Contest, takes us to the depths of the apocalypse.

Visual Art by Austin Starr King

Dante Yardas is student at Idyllwild Arts Academy. His poem was selected as a winner in the Parallax-Online Apocalypse writing contest.[/box]

— Dad?
— Yeah, buddy?
— How many stars are there?
— Eight hundred thirty-two.
— That’s a lot of stars.
— The people at the star factory put them there.
— The star factory?
— Remember how there’s the food factory, and the clothes factory, and the water factory, well, there’s also a star factory.
— How do they make them so bright?
— Just like how they make fireworks.

— Dad?
— Yeah, buddy?
— What makes the grass green?
— Pixie dust. Magical pixies sprinkle shiny dust on the grass to make it green.
— How come I haven’t seen them before?
— They always do it in the nighttime, when everyone’s sleeping.
— Well then, why is the grass so brown then?
— They’re on vacation.

— Dad?
— Yeah?
— How come we always eat food out of cans?
— Because the best kind of food comes out of cans.
— How come we used to eat food from the market, but now we don’t?
— Because the market closed down.
— How come we didn’t eat food that came out of cans before the market closed down, but now we do?
— …
— How come we aren’t magical?
— We are magical. We are very, very magical.

— Dad?
— Yeah?
— Why don’t you work any more?
— I don’t need to.
— Were you fired?
— No, the boss decided to shut the whole thing down.
— I don’t understand.
— You don’t need to understand, it’s adult things.
— Well, then why don’t you work any more?
— Because I wanted to spend more time with you.

— Dad?
— Yeah?
— Where’s Mom?
— She left. She couldn’t take it anymore.
— Where did she go?
— We don’t know.
— Why don’t we know?
— Because she hasn’t contacted us since she left.
— Will we ever see her again?
— Yes.

— Dad?
— What?
— What’s the day today?
— D minus 39.
— D minus 39? That’s as old as you are!
— Tomorrow it will be D minus 38.
— And the next day it will be D minus 37, and then D minus 36, and then D minus 35…
— Yes.
— What does the D stand for again?
— It stands for days.
— But days don’t go backwards. They go forwards!
— It depends on how you look at it.

— Dad?
— Now what?
— How many stars are there?
— I just told you. Eight hundred forty-two.
— You said there were eight hundred thirty-two. Where do they come from? They don’t come from the star factory, do they?
— Who knows.
— Have you been lying to me the whole time?
— Not the whole time.

— Dad?
— Yeah, buddy?
— Will I ever become a star?
— Soon. Very soon.