amelia beamer

Worst Case Scenario

by Amelia Beamer
(originally appeared in Mythic Delirium 19)

“The worst part will be waiting,” my husband tells me
“It might take me three days to walk home from Marin if the bridge is out.”

We’re talking about the apocalypse. California is expected to have an earthquake
A Big One, within the next twenty years

We’ll meet at our apartment in Oakland
If it’s no longer standing, we’ll meet at his brother’s in Berkeley

We’re making plans now because cell phones may not work during the apocalypse
Maybe it won’t be an earthquake but a dirty bomb, or a fire

     Sitting on the couch with my ice cream, I ask what to do in each scenario:
     how to turn the gas off after an earthquake;
     how, if it’s a nuclear bomb, to tape up the windows, vents, and doorways
     It’s not the air itself that will make us sick, he tells me, but the radioactive dust. That’s why
     It’s so dangerous when it rains, bringing all of the dust to ground

“So if it’s an earthquake, I don’t have to tape up the windows, right?” I say, because you have to joke
He agrees. “You might want to tape up the smoke detector, though. It’ll be making a lot of noise.”

A fire is simple. Eventually we’ll find our firesafe box in the wreckage
Passports, social security cards, external hard drive – this is what we value
For more complicated events, we have a bottle of whiskey with the emergency kit
We each try to keep a quarter tank of gas, minimum. If we can get out of the city, we might be okay

The thing is, in video games, I always die
Poor reflexes, limited skills, plus the buttons on the controller don’t work the way I want them to
I used to worry about how I’d get seeds and land and tools to start over again
But then I realized that if the apocalypse is that bad, long-term survival wouldn’t be my problem