Chan Lowe: Overheard at the apocalypse
PITTSFIELD — The woman sat with her husband in the great room of the mansion in northern Maine and mopped her brow. "Good grief I think it's even hotter than yesterday," she sighed.
"Turn up the A.C.," the man said. "It's almost February. Things should start cooling off in a few weeks."
"And the mob outside," she said. "They've been especially loud lately."
"You could move to the safe room," he said. "It's soundproof."
"Why can't they just leave us alone?"
"The guards can only do so much. They can keep 'em out of the compound, but they can't run the poor beggars off. They're hungry."
"I hate it when the mothers climb up the walls trying to get something for their kids and get all cut up on the razor wire. Why don't we move farther north, where it's cooler?"
"You remember when the Robinsons tried to escape to Labrador in an armed convoy? As soon as they got outside the gate, their guards turned on them and took all their food."
"How much do we have left, anyway?"
"Enough for seven years — three if we keep feeding the security staff and their families."
"Why don't we just pay them more?" she said.
"What good is money since civil order broke down? Food is the only currency we have.
"At least my father had the sense to cash in his petroleum and coal investments before the crash of '32 and use the money to buy up all those canned and freeze-dried rations."
He continued. "He was smart to install the solar panels and the wind turbine, too. The wine cellar is still half-full. Other than the fact all our friends are gone, we're living practically normal lives."
"Yes," the woman said, "but sometimes I miss being able to go out for a walk. The last tree died a couple of years ago, and when the lake dried up ."
"Why don't you watch some of those wildlife movies we stockpiled? They always put you in a better mood."
"I've already looked at them hundreds of times. I'm bored, and the constant roar from that crowd out there is giving me a migraine."
"Well," he said, "thanks to my dad, we have this wonderful place; nice, solid walls to protect us and a few years to go before we have to take the pills."
"Yes, I suppose. I realize your dad wanted to amass as big a fortune as he could because... well, that's what people did back then. As smart a businessman as he was, though, I can't help but think his money would have been better spent if he'd just paid people to work with one another while there was still a slim chance of turning things around." She shook her head. "Instead, he bribed them all to push that idiotic notion that climate change was a hoax."
"You have to admit setting up that false conflict between the environment and jobs was brilliant," the man said smugly.
"Just like you said, though what good does all his money do us now?"
The man swept his arm in a wide arc across the room, with its filtered air vents and the hologram screens that cleverly mimicked windows, sliding doors and a panoramic landscape. "Don't be silly," he said. "It made all this possible, didn't it?"
Chan Lowe is the deputy editorial page editor of The Eagle and a syndicated editorial cartoonist.
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