A Glibertarians Exclusive – The River III
The old friends now had a time for the impact: The World-Killer was now due to arrive in their vicinity the next day, Wednesday, at 2:24PM.
“Leastways it’s supposed to be a nice day for it,” James pointed out. “Sunny and hot.”
“Yep. Like today. Sure is a good old hot day,” Ty agreed. “Ain’t it?”
James nodded. It was only a little after ten in the morning, but the two old friends were already back in their lawn chairs on the sandbar, and well down another bottle of Rebel Yell bourbon. What the hell, James justified it to himself, ain’t like I’m gonna lose my job for showing up hung over. If I’m gonna go out, I’m a-gonna go out good and drunk.
“My Ma,” Ty said, “she’s saying now that the meteor is God’s judgement. Says we all too fractious, too busy fightin’ amongst one another instead’a lovin’ each other like Jesus wanted.”
“She could be right,” James replied. He shrugged. “We are a fractious lot, and that’s the truth.”
“Always have been. Can’t see why God waited so long if that was his beef with us.”
James shrugged again. “If’n we knew that, reckon we’d be God.”
“Maybe.” Ty, clearly a little uncomfortable, changed the subject. “See y’all brought your fishing gear down again. Ain’t usin’ it though.”
“Yeah. Thought about tryin’ to catch a catfish for supper. Just can’t see the point, you know?”
Ty took another drink. “Lots of folks just not seein’ the point in keeping things up n’more. Jus a day or two after we find out about the meteor, they was still goin’ round, trucks movin’, café open, all that. Then comes yesterday, an’ it’s like folks jus’ stopped. Seen old man Baker sittin’ on his front step yesterday. Tougher ol’ fella never lived, but there he was bawlin’ like a little kid. Asked him if he was OK, and he starts to showin’ me pictures of his grandkids. Cryin’ about how unfair the whole thing was. Says, ‘I’m an’ ol’ man, don’t care what happens to me, but why does this thing have to come ‘long and wipe out all the little children?’ That’s what he said.”
“It’s a giant rock from space,” James pointed out. He reached out for the bottle and took another slug of Rebel Yell. “Ain’t no fair or unfair to it. Jus’ is, that’s all. Folks beginnin’ to get it, is all. Figurin’ they are gonna die tomorrow, so what’s the point?”
Ty pointed at the river. “Like you and them damn catfish?”
“Yeah. Like me and them damn catfish.”
“So you don’ reckon God sent the meteor?”
“No,” James said, a bit more sharply than he had intended. “No, I don’t reckon God sent the meteor, and I don’t reckon God is a-gonna save us at the last minute, neither.”
“So, you jus’ think that a one-in-a-gazillion chance rock from space is gonna hit us, wipe out the whole planet, for no reason a’tall?”
“Yeah,” James grumped. He took another drink of Rebel Yell bourbon. “That there is exactly what I thinks.”
Ty made as though to get up, out of his lawn chair. His face registered anger, then confusion, then resignation. At last he slumped back down in the chair.
“Hell,” he said at last, “Guess it don’t really matter either way. We’ll be jus’ as dead. And we’ll either meet up at the gates of Heaven or we won’t.”
“Han’ me that bottle, will ya?”
James handed Ty the bottle of Rebel Yell. Ty took a long drink.
“Tell ya what I think,” James said suddenly.
James pointed at the river. “Look yonder. You and me, we grew up ‘long this river. Fishin’ in ‘er, swimmin’ in ‘er. Kissed my first gal right on that sandbar downstream ‘bout half a mile. Kilt my first deer in ol’ Thompson’s pasture just upstream right on the bank of ‘er.”
“River don’ care about no rock from space. Don’ care about God, or Jesus, or nothin’ else. Don’ care about whose fault the rock is or ain’t. She just keeps on rollin’.” James was well into his cups, and uncharacteristically loquacious. “Rock come, she don’ come, river don’ care.”
“Can’t rightly argue wit’ that,” Ty agreed.
“So, that’s how I’m goin’ out. Tomorrow afternoon rock’s supposed to come. Supposed to hit right’chere,” James waved at the ground in front of them. “After that, no more river, no more Pollard, no more Alabama, no more people. End of the world. End of days. So, since I can’t do nothin’ ‘bout that rock no more than this here river can, I figure on goin’ out jus’ like the river. Long as the river is flowin’, I’ll sit right’chere with it.”
“Well,” Ty said, “I got no problem with any of that. ‘Spect Ma will drag me to services in the mornin’, but once that’s done, I’ll slip out. Get my stuff. Got ‘nother bottle of Jack Daniels I can bring ‘long. Come right on down here and wait it out with ya, if’t you don’ mind the company.”
“Proud to have ya,” James agreed.
Ty looked down at the ground. “I ain’t got no girl, no more than you do. Ma, she’ll be with the ladies at the church. Reckon if I’m gonna go out, I may as well go out like you said, watchin’ this here river. With my bes’ friend,” he added.
“Ol’ buddy,” James said, “I can’t think of no better way t’go. Leastways,” he grinned, “Not no way that’s ‘vailable to us.”
“You got that right,” Ty laughed. “Han’ me over that bottle, will ya?”
People disagreeing on all just about everything, yeah
Makes you stop and all wonder why
Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street
Who just couldn’t help but cry
Oh, this ol’ river keeps on rollin’, though
No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow
And as long as it does I’ll just sit here
And watch the river flow