2012: After the apocalypse
The Maya got it spot on; this is it for us. But the story of what happens next brings with it an eerie sense of deja vu, and perhaps a lesson at the end...
Eventually, gradually, the flood-waters began to subside; but by this time there was only four of us left in the boat.
The Italian had been fretting for the last month persuading himself that no woman could possibly have survived the Rapture. Whilst we slept he had succumbed to his desperation and had silently slipped into the waters. It was a sad start to the day and we missed him.
Our conversations during our time afloat ranged widely – how unprepared we had been; why quite so many had disregarded the Mayan prophecy; how the nut-jobs who’d believed the warnings had been right all along; how foolish we had been to ignore the predictions of global devastation that would engulf the earth on the 21st December 2012; how the Mayans had been correct and how ashamed we were of our cynicism.
But mainly we talked about food.
When we needed to laugh we conjured up the enduring image of George Monbiot being swept away by the waters screaming “I told you so”.
It wasn’t much but it kept our spirits up.
The Belgian was the first to spot land and by mid-afternoon we were standing on terra firma at last and hysterical with relief and thanks for our survival. It was not much of an island in truth but there was at least rudimentary shelter in the form of caves, and abundant wood to burn and fruit to eat.
I set about building a more hospitable shelter, the German designed and made a most clever rainwater reservoir, and the Frenchman came up with an almost competent means of harvesting and storing produce. The Belgian wrote it all down.
I found the bottle on the third day and ran back to my colleagues with the news. Inside it, wrapped tightly and tied with a rubber band was a piece of paper on which was written
“We are four women who have survived. We have made a community on an island due north of yours. We have many foods in great number. We saw your boat”.
We at once fell into excited conversation and the questions came thick and fast. Could we somehow navigate our way to them? Would our boat be stable enough for the journey? What would we need to take? Was this to be the beginning of the next phase of human life? Could we, in this joyous happenstance, save our species from extinction? Were they lookers?
They came the next morning. A robust little boat, expertly controlled by a large Swedish woman we would get to know as Helga, beached itself on the shore and we ran down to meet them.
All at once there was an excited hubbub; we all told tales of our survival and of our hopes to found a new society and of how we could join our forces and organise. We talked of the future, of sustainability, of how we could live at one with whatever was left of our planet and how we could plan things so much better than had been done before.
“There’ll have to be a monetary system”, cried Yolande, the rather lovely Spanish girl, who even at this early stage seemed to have eyes for me.
“Ah yes” said the Belgian. “I’ve been having some ideas about that”.
I felt the German sitting beside me stiffen.
“What I see is a common currency between all communities. We, who have much, can support the currency of communities less fortunate and…”
In the briefest moment it took me to frame my doubting words the German had uttered a strangled scream and thrown himself upon the Belgian.
I caught the odd word. “Never” was one of them, “Again”, was another I think, although given the ferocity of the attack it was difficult to tell.
The Frenchman, who to my mind had looked to be on the verge of agreeing with the Belgian, got up from the sand and suggested that, as it was time for lunch, we’d probably be better off leaving them to it.
So we did.
We never saw the Belgian again and Schmidt certainly never talked of it.
Adrian Moss is a screenwriter and a chapter-contributor to "Prime Minister Boris and Other Things Which Never Happened..." He Tweets at @akmoss
We are wholly dependent on the kindness of our readers for our continued work. We thank you in advance for any support you can offer.