When the world ends, there will be no more brunch. Dirty mimosa glasses will lie shattered on the sidewalks, cloudy with bits of orange pulp and the rubble dust that comes from the inside of walls. Uneaten bits of orange glazed brioche french toast will grow stale underneath piles of dry wall and brick, the hollandaise sauce splattered across the concrete pillars and grown crusty on exposed rebar.
The walk-in freezer full of organic and free-range meats will be cracked open, exposed to radioactive air and the never ending orange glow of fire. The wait list – a plastic dry-erase board with “Kelly – 3; George – 4; Emily – 3, etc. etc.” will be melted to a rock, no names to be crossed off again, no one to be relieved from their waiting ever again, never to sit down and get hot cups of organic locally-roasted coffee while looking over the freshly-printed paper menu, chatting excitedly about who will order what and can we split and swap and shouldn’t we have something sweet and something savory.
All of the coffee cups are broken, the wooden tables burnt up, the lighting fixtures exploded and the windows blown in, the electronics equipment completely melted into a more original, more natural form.
Vapors and ash gust through the empty streets of the city, no thing moving, no dogs barking, bits of charred paper taking wing and landing in charcoal squares that used to be parks, little mounds of dog poop turned into lumps of coal.
The sun rises red and sets red – like the homemade berry syrup the sous chef had drizzled over buckwheat pancakes. And then the endless poison clouds come, no longer rich and white like the home-made whipped cream that came on the belgian waffles but smeary and rust colored – like the milk that’s gone sour and molded in millions of fridges across the entire earth.
Aside from the fires, the only sounds are the settling of buildings as they move inevitably closer to the earth, something snapping and then falling, a creak and then a crash, and then more silence. Fire is the only living thing, except for the swarms of insects that breed in the burnt waste of mankind and thrive off the radioactive decay of the earth, relishing the noxious winds.
They grow strong, scorning the brunch remains of humankind, the arugula, the oats, the goat cheese. They bite into the concrete itself, into the tempered glass and the computer chips, devouring and digesting all physical things humans created, the monuments to themselves and their achievements, their books and park benches and bar stools, until nothing remains.
And then they turn to the earth itself and start digging down, down and down, with insatiable appetite they slurp up the mantle of the earth and bite into its tectonic plates, savoring the magnetic buzz they get as they get closer to the core of the earth. Millions of them, trillions of them all tunneling deeper until they reach the very center and, upon seeing their destination, they lick their lips and dig in until it is all gone.
And the earth, having lost its heart, is conscious that it is very sad about that and wishes it had it back, but now there’s nothing left to do, nothing left to feel, and so it sighs and then falls back into orbit, staring out into the endless universe and wondering what comes next.