The Final Day

I’m a security guard. If I ever pass the police aptitude test, I’m going to be a full-fledged peace officer and then I can carry a gun.

Just around midnight I was patrolling the South end of the city’s main nuclear generation facility when I observed this dude, dressed up like a friggin’ ninja, all in black, scaling the 15-foot cyclone fence, the one with razor wire along its top. “Hey buddy, you lost?” I yelled.

The dude gave me a nasty scowl, eyes looking green but that was because of the mercury vapour lights. “Concern not yourself with elements you know nothing of, puny mortal,” he said.

“I don’t tell puns. My girlfriend always said they were stupid,” I said.

The dude actually growled, wiping his lips with the back of his hand.

“Your mouth is bleeding,” I said.

“Owl blood. I just ate,” he said with kind of a hissing sound.

“We have laws about eating owls and it’s illegal to climb that fence. You have any idea what’s on the other side of it?”

“Man’s instrument for his eternal destruction,” said the dude.

“No way. That’s a nuclear power plant and no one is allowed inside except employees with badges.”

“I don’t need no stinkin’ badge,” said the dude.

“I saw The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, too. But this isn’t any movie. You’re trespassing on federal property and you’ve confessed to eating endangered species. Come down now or I’m going to get angry. You don’t want to see me angry, buddy.”

The dude did a double back flip and landed on his feet, his green eyes glaring at me. I have to admit, he was better than any gymnast I’d ever seen. “How the heck did you do that?”

“I am the Avenging Angel of Death.” He kind of puffed himself up.

“Right, I know – that guy who wrestles on TV. That’s where you should stay, I mean, you could get into serious trouble here. The way I see it, you’re a young man with a lot to live for.”

“I am billions of years old, born before time existed, for I am the Avenging Angel of Death.”

“You’ve had a little too much to drink but you’re still one heck of an athlete and you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. Now, forget about silly stories of eating owls – “

“I can destroy you with my thoughts, puny mortal.”

“Oh, sure. I’ve listened to all of Tony Robbins’ self-help tapes, too. And knock off those comments about my doing puns, like I told you, my girlfriend, actually my ex-girlfriend, was always complaining that I never got them right.”

“I will destroy Susan too,” said the dude.

“How come you know her name? Ah, I get it,” I said. “The guys at the station put you up to this, didn’t they? Just because it’s New Year’s Eve.”

“It is your last night in existence, puny mortal,” said the dude. “I shall visit destruction on mankind. At midnight you will be obliterated and then the city will be vaporized.”

“Okay, I’ll play along with you. How come?”

“The Book of Prophecies foretells that I, the Avenging Angel, will begin the destruction of mankind with fire. Darkness will rein supreme for a thousand years, starting at the stroke of midnight on the millennium.”

I glanced at my Timex. “It’s five minutes past midnight, dude, guess you missed your deadline.”

“It is one minute before midnight, puny mortal.” He held up his wrist to show me his glistening gold Rolex.

“Your watch is slow. It’s all that electromagnetic static in the air from the nuclear plant. Screws up wind-up watches by 10 or 15 minutes a day. We wear battery powered around here.”

“No!” screamed the dude. His eyes rolled back into his head. He did it pretty good. “The Supreme Master of the Universe warned me about being late – “

I turned as an owl flapped by and then I looked back at the dude. Gone. He had left a pile of ashes on the concrete. What a litterbug. Supreme Master of the Universe, indeed.

Happy New Year; we made it into a new millennium.


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