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August 12, 2010 / douglasnyback

10 Seconds

Here’s a short story about the end of the world!

Ten Seconds

A Short Story By:  Douglas W. Nyback

A thirty four year old moderately single male named George Allister walked into a very large building somewhere in the continent of North America, only to hear over the loudspeaker that a Rogue Government located somewhere east of the Atlantic had implanted a very large bomb at the center of the Earth.

“You all have ten seconds to live.” Is what the voice said.  In regards to why they were going to blow up the Earth, they explained with only this, “Really, what’s the point of it all? Really.”

No one could think up a decent response to this question, and as such there was very little panic.  The general consensus floating between the minds of everybody in the world (in several different languages) was, “If everyone is going to die in ten seconds, regardless of age, social station or celebrity then there’s really no point in regrets is there?”

And thus, by and large, the human race was ready to go.  No fuss, no muss.

God was only thought of once by four people in a remote stretch of Idaho, and even their prayers were wasted.  The prayers consisted of:

“Lord, please save the potatoes.”

“Dear God, please spare my hedgehog Chuck.”

“Sweet Jesus please tell me I remembered to turn off the front porch light when I left the house this morning.”

And, quite randomly, “God save the Queen.”

Thus the Almighty came and went in the Human Heart to the tune of potatoes, hedgehog’s, porch lights and a useless—if interesting—British Monarchy.

Billions of people who weren’t watching TV, or in large buildings with loudspeakers at the time didn’t even know what was happening and they all just went on with their last ten seconds exactly as they had the ten seconds prior.

People who had funerals to go to that day decided the trip wasn’t worth it, opting instead for an, “I’ll see you soon…” way of thinking.  People who were married were thinking, “Death does us part.”  Most school children were all psyched to get out of class.  And as far as the Cosmo’s were concerned, no celestial beings were so much as blinking an eye.

Oddly enough however, for all the bulk that was Humanity on the Earth, it was Mr. George Allister of the continent of North America who was having the most profound thoughts of any human being on the planet.  He produced exactly one thought per second, until the countdown was complete.

They were as follows:



“Not many people know it but I’m a champion toothpick chewer.  In fact I’m in the World Book of Records for most toothpicks chewed in a day without any pieces swallowed.  The trick is splinters in your tongue.  So long as you can chew through the pain, your tongue is a nearly 100% effective filter for small pieces of wood.  French kissing isn’t the easiest thing to do afterwards.  Drinking hot coffee isn’t the smartest thing either.”


“Speaking of coffee I wish I’d spent more time talking to the girl at the Starbucks by my house.  I always liked the way her boxy-glasses made her eyes seem so much bigger, so when she laughed she was all teeth, tongue, sound and flickering magnified mirth.  I should have learned to make longer orders.  Things with, like, half caff’s and shots of steamed exotic flavors.  Funny, even though she worked at Starbucks I always had her pegged as a quiet tea drinker.”


“In general I should have had more sex.”


“Pizza was a great part of being alive.  Not just eating it either.  The process; thinking about it all day, looking through the menu, renting a movie, calling to order, waiting for the Delivery Guy and anticipating both the movie and the pizza.  Then the Delivery Guy arrival, the feeling of a Christmas-esque exchange of boxes, money well spent, delicious privacy and magnificent gluttony.  Take that, several of the seven deadly sins.”


“When you stop to think about it, Pizza Delivery People are the true hero’s of our time.”


“I wonder if I was gay this whole time and didn’t even realize it.  Would I have been happier with a man?  Kissing someone with whiskers would have been weird.”


“Will people on that Russian space station die too?”


“It’s funny how much blinking we do.  I bet we miss a whole quarter of our lives.  Is sleep just one long blink?  I don’t even want to think about that.”


“For how many days in total did I have ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ in my head?  Does Paul McCartney know how much pull his effortless vocals have had over my thought process?  I could have done something great with my mind were it not for Sir Paul.  I could have cured world hunger, or saved a bunch of endangered sea monkeys or…”


“This building has very nice wallpaper.”

That these were the most profound thoughts in the last seconds of humanity’s existence didn’t say a whole lot for the species in general.

Then the Earth exploded.

And that was pretty much that.


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