you’ll probably get away with it. You figured out a pretty good little scam
here. But Dee, maybe that’s the problem: you’ve been getting away with
shit for way too damn long.”
I bawled some more and plotted his slow murder all night long, but I
didn’t go out and get alcohol. The idea was too exhausting.
I watched a bunch of episodes of a History Channel show called Life
after People. It was life fifteen years after people, thirty years after people,
one hundred years after people. It was about the Earth with no more
people. How as the years went by, all the people-made shit fell into ruin,
everything breaking, collapsing, rusting and rotting, disintegrating. The
planes on the runways at JFK and LAX rusted away. The Washington
Monument broke in half. The Eiffel Tower collapsed; the unmaintained
Hoover Dam cracked and flooded three states. Then there were more
subtle things, like how over the years nature took over, reclaimed everything. Vegetation ate up roadways, buildings, entire towns. Animals
survived and reverted to the wild; domesticated dogs turned to pack
behavior. Rats and roaches thrived. It was like we had never even been
here. The Earth did not miss the people. I fell asleep in front of the TV
and dreamed of empty cities.
The next day Jesse picked me up, and we went to three meetings: at
noon, at five o’clock, and a late Christmas Eve service at Morningside
Baptist. I wasn’t angry anymore. I was quiet and ashamed. It didn’t matter; he treated me like precious glass. It was a sober Christmas, the first
I could remember in many years.
He unwrapped my online-ordered presents: the bot-
tle of gin, the bottle of tequila, the bottle of vodka.
The champagne too. “You got some peculiar friends,
Dee, sending you these kinds of presents.” And stood
there, fixed as a Roman ruin, until I poured them all
down the drain.