Love in the Time of Apocalypse

Submitted into Contest #60 in response to: Write a funny post-apocalyptic story.... view prompt

67 comments

Funny

(This story is dedicated to Laura Clark who knows exactly what she did. None of this is my fault.)



Willy was in a pickle.

As what remained of the electrical grid sputtered and flickered, Willy desperately tapped his computer to see if his blind date had received his spasmodic messages. 

Jay, the hopeless romantic from Willy’s work, had set Willy and Barbara Jean up before the remaining Arctic ice caps had melted. With all the rationing and breadlines and air raid sirens going off, causing pandemonium, it had been hard to find a suitable date and time to meet.

Things had been chaotic at Willy’s work as New York City had just been attacked by long-range nuclear missiles and eleven Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes were currently beating the Eastern seaboard to shreds. 

At least the forests on the West Coast had finally all burned to the ground. Although wood would be hard to come by until next spring, at least the air quality would improve. 

Did Barbara Jean—who went by her initials in social circles—know not to go to the last remaining coffee shop in town, as it had been looted that morning? 

Would she arrive at his apartment before curfew, avoiding the jackbooted thugs who served as a makeshift paramilitary force for the Washington American Neutrality Gangs? 

More importantly, why was he wasting his last good can of SPAM on her when he had an untouched kielbasa that needed to be eaten before spoiling? Perhaps he should serve smoked sausage or some bratwurst? 

Willy worried the night would be a complete disaster. 

Ding Dong.

The apartment’s doorbell chimed, startling Willy from his musings. Odd, as the darn thing only worked half the time, due to faulty wiring. 

He shot up quickly to open the door. He put his hand on the knob and slowly turned it, putting his one eye to the peephole to see who had come.

“Barbara Jean!” he cried out. 

He threw open the door, hearing the spattering sounds of gunfire from off in the distance near the capitol.

“Barbara Jean! Come—come in quickly!” 

“I told you to call me B—”

“Jay mentioned he saw you at work today. I had hoped you received my messages about the change of location.” He smiled stupidly at her. 

She looked so pretty in camouflage.

“The coffee shop was on the news. I tried to reach you at the office before you left,” Barbara Jean replied. “I did leave a message with someone.”

“Who was it—Rod? Peter?”

“That doesn’t sound familiar. It’s on the tip of my tongue—”

“John? Thomas?” 

“Maybe Richard? Oh, it doesn’t matter. I’m here, but I might need to stay the night. The WANG is rolling out razor wire to choke off the crowds. I heard they are using some sort of military heat ray on protestors.” 

“Yes, the Washington American Neutrality Gangs aren’t messing around tonight. It’ll be hard for anyone trying to get anywhere. The city is pulsating, throbbing with built up tension. You are welcome to stay here. I can sleep on the couch,” Willy offered diplomatically. 

Barbara Jean walked over to his small window garden.

“Are these—?” 

“Yes, those are eggplants.”

“I’ve never seen them so—”

“Purple?” Willy smiled. 

“You have quite a hydroponic setup here. So many vegetables! You are quite prolific . . .” 

“Oh yes, you just need to douse the root with what it needs and it’ll produce.”

“I can see that. Look at these—cucumbers? Asparagus?” Barbara Jean smiled with pleasure, fingering the stems of the now-rare delicacies. The tomatoes were swollen, ready to burst. 

“I try to grow a variety of things. You never know what will tickle your fancy when you work up an appetite,” Willy bragged, proud of his container gardening. “Shall we harvest?”

Barbara Jean giggled as they selected their crops, plucked them off the vine, washed them in boiled water, and diced them into satisfying cubes. 

Willy lit the can of sterno, tossed the last of his olive oil into a pan, and began to stir fry his assorted root vegetables with cubed SPAM. Meat and two veg. A classic meal. 

“Willy, we are feasting like kings tonight,” Barbara Jean luxuriated on his sofa, removing her heavy steel toe boots. “Thank you for making what may be our first and last meal together such a delight.”

“Hope springs eternal, Barbara Jean. Hope springs eternal.”

“So formal, Willy. I told you I normally go by B—”

“Jay was right. I’m so glad he thought we’d get on. It would be so hard to go through all this alone. This may be too soon, but you are exactly the sort of girl who I’ve imagined I would spend the rest of my life with.”

“Well, how long can that possibly be? Another week or so?” They both laughed. 

It was funny because it was true.

“Barbara Jean—”

“Yes, Willy?”

“Please call me William tonight.”

“Of course, William.”

The glow of the sterno made his eyes all the more blue. Barbara Jean opened her backpack and wrestled out a bottle of vodka, the president-for-life’s favorite Russian brand.

“How about a stiff drink before dinner?” she asked. 

“I’m in,” Willy replied, taking down two mason jars, since the other glasses had shattered, falling off the shelves during the earthquake caused by the president-for-life’s pension for fracking. 

“You’ve set a lovely table,” she said. “A tablecloth and matching silverware! I almost feel like a member of some private club,” she grinned, though the tablecloth was ripped and stained. 

Still, Willy had lit a shard of candle which made the table all the more inviting, barring the hysterical shrieks coming from the alleyway. Though they died out quickly enough.

In the following quiet moments, Willy and Barbara Jean ate their fill, content simply sitting next to one another. 

Outside the window, the darkening sky grew orange. 

“That’s quite a sunset,” Willy wistfully said, clearing the cardboard scraps they used as plates.

“That’s not a sunset,” Barbara Jean remarked. “I'm fairly certain that’s the nuclear plant melting down.”

“You’re right,” Willy smiled. “Well, that blows. I’m guessing too much buildup of hydrogen gas. Quite a letdown when it all deflates.”

“Absolutely. Zirconium in the fuel rods will get you every time!” 

They poured each other more vodka. 

“So radiation poisoning?” Barbara Jean asked. 

“Most likely. Or thyroid cancer, if there's time. Tomato, Tomahto.”

They laughed as Willy put his arm around her as they watched the evening shadows finally extinguish the light.


September 20, 2020 00:48

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67 comments

Jonathan Blaauw
17:34 Sep 22, 2020

Your comments, scattered around Reedsy in the most unexpected places, keep popping up and giving me such delight. You are amazing. Also, I'm glad this story is still up. It had better not go anywhere.

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19:24 Sep 22, 2020

Same. Everyone needs Jonathan Blaauw and his cat in their life. :)

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19:25 Sep 22, 2020

Highly recommend Phil Maunder's latest gore fest. Grisly good.

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15:40 Sep 23, 2020

Darling, guess who are #28 and #29 on the leaderboard? We may as well get married right now. I will need South African citizenship in November, should our authoritarian win and/or we kill off another 200K Americans because masks are against our Constitutional rights to spread disease.

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15:41 Sep 23, 2020

Maybe we should get Aerin to bogus us up some points....? Or those 12 year olds who manipulate the Reedsy system?

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Jonathan Blaauw
06:05 Sep 24, 2020

The good news is you can probably find SA citizenship as a prize in a cereal box. Failing that, a pack of smokes offered to the border guards will get you over no problem. Remember that movie 2012, where the world kind of ended and SA was the only safe place they could go? God help us if it ever comes to that. You’re one of those people who says stuff everyone else is thinking but no one dares say. That last comment had me on the floor, because it is so accurate! But, don’t worry. I know a guy who deals points under the table. You have to ...

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Elle Clark
06:33 Sep 20, 2020

This is my favourite thing that anyone has ever written in the history of ever. I laughed all the way through and I don’t think you could’ve stuffed it any fuller with innuendos. Absolutely magnificent, thunderous applause! I said my love was conditional and my goodness you’ve earned it. I love you!

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Jonathan Blaauw
07:08 Sep 20, 2020

If you hadn't commented before me I'd've gone out on a limb and predicted that this would be your all-time favorite story. There's an important lesson here - ask, and you shall receive. When you guys get banned, Thom and I will divide your points between us. I know it's what you would want.

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Elle Clark
08:01 Sep 20, 2020

Once again, regardless of the fact that the guilty party has blamed me, I have done nothing wrong. This is the epitome of my mum’s repeated, “If your friends told you jump off a bridge, would you do it?!” She had quite the surprise when I called her after bungee jumping off a bridge in my early twenties. But at least I took responsibility for my bridge jumping ways!

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Jonathan Blaauw
08:25 Sep 20, 2020

Oh, no, you can’t get out of this one. You loaded this willie gun, you all but instructed Deidra to pull the trigger, so your culpability is undeniable I’m afraid. That’s how the judge will see it. What do you guys call judges again? Baristas? Something like that, anyhow. Gosh, you really do get up to mischief on here, don’t you? While I have you on the line, I solved the WriMo mystery. Message notifications don’t work, you have to go hunt for the message. So I saw yours just now only. I don’t know why you’re trying to confuse me with M...

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Elle Clark
09:21 Sep 20, 2020

Nope nope nope. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him write 1000 words about willies. Story is on pause as I seem to have written a novel idea instead and I can’t figure out how to stop it. Also, I’m on baby duty and she is being too adorable to spend time writing.

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12:43 Sep 20, 2020

Order of importance: 1. Baby 2. Working on a novel 80976653. Anything work related 80976654. Willy jokes 80976655. Loading willie gun and COCKING it 🥁 Thank you! That’s all my time. Tip your waitresses on the way out.

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Elle Clark
13:41 Sep 20, 2020

Jonathan - you'll be pleased to know I've finally uploaded the story. Please give me some improvement points though as I've been working on this one for about 4 times longer than I normally work on stories and I'm going cross eyed. I actually redrafted and properly edited this one. You can probably tell with how disjointed it is. Please help me fix it.

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Jonathan Blaauw
14:47 Sep 20, 2020

I don’t think it needs much fixing. I think maybe you just need some distance from it. That happens to me – sometimes I spend too long on a story and it begins to look worse every minute. Next day I see it’s not quite as bad as I thought. So here’s what I suggest – put it out of your mind for the rest of today. Enjoy what remains of your Sunday (there’s plenty live sport on, I can give recommendations if you don’t know where to start), come back to it tomorrow, and when you see all the positive comments and reread it yourself, you’ll see th...

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08:24 Sep 20, 2020

Before I take this embarrassment of riches down to preserve my remaining dignity, I want to thank you both for your support of my adolescent offerings. I do think the four of us should write a piece together on google docs, alternating paragraphs. Oh what tonal shifts there would be...

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Elle Clark
09:18 Sep 20, 2020

We should DEFINITELY do that! But also, don’t you dare take this masterpiece down!

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Phil Manders
11:50 Sep 22, 2020

Oh Deidra...oh no, what have you done here.....this made me cry with laughter. Having read all the comments so far I feel like I’ve arrived late for a party. Interesting that my latest story was also about a date night, but my attempt at humour, compared to this falls short again. Please keep up the good work.

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14:19 Sep 22, 2020

Phil, I need to start going back to church. This is all just pure delightful evil. :)

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Phil Manders
14:35 Sep 22, 2020

I feel it might be a bit late for church. Just a hunch.

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Rayhan Hidayat
16:32 Oct 05, 2020

Oh my god why didn't I follow you sooner? Was this one an innuendo as well?--> "He put his hand on the knob and slowly turned it, putting his one eye to the peephole to see who had come." Because this is so gross but that's why it's the best one. Easily one of the funniest things I've read here. Oh, and do you happen to remember someone called Aditya Pillai? He's no longer active but his latest story has exactly the same kind of ridiculous humor as this--though I will reward points in your favor because it doesn't get any better than ding...

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20:03 Oct 05, 2020

Ray Ban, Literally every sentence has phallic imagery. Just put your mind into the gutter. Then roll around in the gutter and find a sewer.

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20:03 Oct 05, 2020

I'll check out Aditya :)

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Rayhan Hidayat
20:34 Oct 05, 2020

He’s in my following list! 😙

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Rayhan Hidayat
20:36 Oct 05, 2020

Wise words. Laura better know how lucky she is to have a friend that writes peepee stories for her

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Elle Clark
20:59 Oct 05, 2020

I absolutely do!

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Rayhan Hidayat
21:20 Oct 05, 2020

😂

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Bianka Nova
18:25 Sep 28, 2020

So, did EVERYTHING in this story have double meaning, or is it my dirty mind? 🤣🤣🤣

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19:21 Sep 28, 2020

E V E R Y T H I N G *thing (snicker) It was a bet. And I'm competitive...

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Bianka Nova
19:45 Sep 28, 2020

Haha, I've missed something, but by the look of it you won! 😅

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19:56 Sep 28, 2020

Did anyone REALLY win? This is just awful and I'm almost embarrassed. (Not really, though. It's all great fun.)

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Bianka Nova
20:42 Sep 28, 2020

If you are embarrassed of this, then you haven't read my last story 😳😂 In truthfulness I think everybody wins, because IT IS great fun both reading and writing those 😁

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20:43 Sep 28, 2020

OOoooooOOooOooOOooooo I'm intrigued. Heading over.

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Sampada Sharma
05:52 Sep 26, 2020

Oh this was such a wonderful read! It's another of my favorites from you. ❤️ Your story always has a good spin and I love reading your works.

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05:56 Sep 26, 2020

This was terribly silly.

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L.A. Nolan
01:59 Sep 26, 2020

I'm quickly becoming a fan...

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05:54 Sep 26, 2020

I’m a fan of your bio. What a life!

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Doubra Akika
21:00 Sep 24, 2020

Loved this, D&D! Laughed all the way through. They’re having dinner and the world is falling apart. Your writing is always so lovely. This is not an exception. Hope you’re staying safe!

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23:12 Sep 24, 2020

D&D 4 EVAH

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Corey Melin
22:32 Sep 21, 2020

Very well done on the dark humor. It was hilarious. To have a nice little dinner as the world is falling apart. Including events going on in reality. Scary. Well done.

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23:16 Sep 21, 2020

It's pretty much 100% phallic humor wrapped in end-of-the-world bathos. Somewhere RBG is laughing. I miss her already.

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☆ Ariadne ☆
20:43 Sep 21, 2020

This was such a funny story! I read through the comments and well, my suspicions were confirmed. Love the innuendos. I don't think I can enter a grocery store (or look at any vegetable, really) without dissolving in a fit of giggles. You can work wonders with a pen, my friend. Keep writing. ~Adrienne P.S. Mind checking out my stories? Thanks!

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23:14 Sep 21, 2020

Thanks for the encouragement! I'll be happy to read your work :)

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Katina Foster
10:01 Sep 20, 2020

I am at a loss, this is a true masterpiece. I'm not even joking a little. What's that thing the pope said the first time he saw Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel painting? Something like, "this is awful." Indeed.

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12:15 Sep 20, 2020

Thank you?

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Katina Foster
14:34 Sep 20, 2020

I mean that in the old world understanding of the word - as in "I'm full of awe," awful. I just love everything about it.

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16:20 Sep 20, 2020

Much like my 1000-word "pull my finger" elevator story, sometimes I just have to WTF it. Nothing particularly edifying or ennobling about this, except to lament the sorry state of affairs. And show Laura Clark that phallic humor comes in all sizes. Pun intended. I'll write something uplifting at some point. Just not in a week when another iconic moral figure in America dies.

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Katina Foster
18:20 Sep 20, 2020

It was perfect. It also prompted one of the few genuine smiles I've managed since the news. For that alone, I'm indebted to you. 😊 Muchas gracias. Hope is great, but more suited to pre-2016. These days, I find humor is essential. Now, to check out your elevator story.

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Katina Foster
18:23 Sep 20, 2020

Also, you and Laura could go on a comedy tour. 🤣

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Jonathan Blaauw
07:05 Sep 20, 2020

Oh. Oh my. This was an unexpected treat. I saw your and Laura's little agreement, but I didn't think you would actually do it. Mainly because I thought doing that, plus meeting a prompt would be very, very har- sorry, very difficult. But you did amazingly, and in such a short time, too! I wonder, if I hadn't known what you were up to, how soon I'd've caught on. I think after giving us Barbara Jean I would've started to suspect. Even though I was looking for them, each new one made me laugh. It would actually make an interesting English cl...

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08:28 Sep 20, 2020

If I’m purged from Reedsy for being too naughty, I can always go under the pseudonym Johnny Bloouw. (Too soon?)

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Jonathan Blaauw
08:36 Sep 20, 2020

Ha! You are too sharp! Joe Blob would also work, for when you get banned under your pseudonym as well. I’m sure you could come up with a whole list of naughty names, actually.

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13:59 Mar 13, 2021

You had me at WANG. Thank you for the laugh and for sharing your brilliance! You have a new fan, Deidra Lovegren!

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15:37 Mar 13, 2021

Not my best story, but definitely the raunchiest 😜

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Black Rose
13:25 Feb 13, 2021

Best story.

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01:40 Sep 25, 2020

Hey, Deidra would you be kind to watch the first video it's on Harry potter. https://youtu.be/KxfnREWgN14 Sorry for asking your time, This my first time to edit video

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