Fireworks, Sabotage, and the End of the World

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“I’m having trouble,” I said to myself.

“With what?” I responded.

“I’m having trouble understanding at a base-level that I am an adult. I am in charge of my life. I do whatever I want to do. Whenever I want to do it. However I want to do it. There is no audience. There is no one to hold me accountable (except lawfully and even then, really?). I am my own person for my own decisions.

My parents? Their job is done. They raised me to honor my values and be a reliable and responsible, kind and compassionate member of the community. So, they did great, and the fact I ignore half of that is despite them.

Anyway, I don’t have to answer to anyone, and for some reason, I’m having a hard time processing that information. I hold myself back on, probably, every single level one could hold back.

I’m not letting myself do what I want to do because the implications of success are too overwhelming, and they reverberate back and scare me when I’m doing what would get me there, in the first place. I choke. (Thanks, Siri. I typed “chicken out,” but siri typed “choke”), and she’s right. 100%. I choke.

Like right now, I have this amazing idea about a quick cut back-and-forth from the day the world blew up and a year before it: same day.

It’s a devastating display of lights as the bombs drop and the buildings crumble or explode, and those that don’t, catch fire.

A year before, it’s an impressive display of fireworks over the ocean. surrounding them. They’re at the Rockaways: a thin island. Fireworks all the way around.

A year later, when the world ignites: there’s smoke in the streets from rubble dust and burning buildings. Sounds of people whimpering. A distant scream. Sirens. Lots of sirens.

A year before, a firework explodes, and it leaves behind a smoky ghost in its silhouette. Sounds of people cheering. A distant shriek. Sirens. Lots of sirens.

A year later, someone stands on the beach away from the burning buildings and the smoky streets and the lots and lots of sirens. They(singular) pull their dress-wrap to knee level to attempt not to get it wet. They look out toward the horizon where the dark water meets the black sky. Where waves meet stars.. We hear a booming airplane overhead and scan up. As we scan, we pass a fighter jet before landing on

a commercial aircraft from the year before, and we scan back down to same beach, different someone, the year before. They watch the tiny fireworks displays across the water in NJ. and the stars. They watch the stars. As many as they can see. Behind them, sit three teenagers on an empty lifeguard station, using their flash on the night beach, which illuminates their smiles and poses as they snap for Instagram.

A year later, three teenagers’ faces are lit up by flash bombs as they hide beneath an abandoned lifeguard station.

A voice-over conversation from after the end:

HER

You have no idea that the world is going to end when it does decide to end itself. Even as it’s happening, you don’t recognize it; you can’t. That’s against survival instinct. Hope is intrinsic in that.

SOMEONE ELSE

That’s what apocalyptic stories are about: the people who live beyond the moment of hope. Past the worst nightmare, the left-behinds with a helluva fuckin responsibility. Short straw, anyone?

HER

It’s just another day, another BBQ, another fourth. A bunch of suuuper illegal fireworks in the neighborhood. I was fewer than 25 feet from one! It was terrifying. I never want to do it again.

Separate, ish

HER(cont’d)

You missed the train you needed, so you improvised. jumped a few buses, got hassled by the transit authority, and finally made it to his house. 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 (chandler voice) Can he BE any cuter?? (normal) Four coronas, two joints, and a cheddy-brat (cheddar bratwurst) later, and the fireworks begin.

(beat)

*we hear fireworks in the distance *

(beat)

*people cheer and yell, shriek and shout *

HER

except it wasn’t fireworks

(beat)

*we hear the “fireworks” just like before. We hear the cheers.

The hell. The shriek. The shout.

We realize they’re not celebratory. They’re terrified.*

HER

This is the day the world blew up.

==SHhFFFISSHHHHHH==

We pull out and see the city of NY aflame .

Jets and drones and helicopters and cars sirens. Lots of sirens.”

Tell me that’s not Something.

So, why the fuck am I not writing this right now?

Because I self-sabotage, and the other birches won.

The get-drunk birch

and the get-stoned birch

and the it’s-ok-you-can-write-it-tomorrow birch.

They won and here I am, the last birch, just finally getting a word in because I got the others drunk and stoned and tied them up and took over this keyboard.

Hope it makes sense.

xxSam

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