The End By Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon "Recording on." The red LED taunts me, but it takes a moment before I can look into the camera. "I don't know who will get this message. Maybe no one. But after all we've been through, I have to make a record." I pause and take a deep breath. It hurts. "It's 160 degrees below zero outside..." A voice from under a sleeping bag asked, "Is that Celsius or Fahrenheit?" "Who the hell cares?" I snapped. "Let me get through this." "Sorry." "The windows are all covered with ice and snow -- and even the couple of clear patches are worthless due to whiteout conditions. I have half a box of saltines left, Brett has one small tin of deviled ham. We'll try to put off eating as long as possible. "The last weather data we had showed heavy bands of snow coming ashore near our position with no end in sight. The winds are picking up. In the last hour, the lights have flickered twice. If the power goes, then that's it -- we're finished. The security doors will unlock and we'll be wide open to any armed survivalist looking for shelter. Or hordes of the undead..." I paused again, shivering, and was just about to go on when the door burst open and Dick and Laramie barged in. "I'm starving!" Dick announced. "Close the damned door!" I shouted. "It's fucking cold outside." "Dude, it's freezing in here." Laramie felt the radiator, then bent down. "Doofus, you turned your radiator off." Brett's head emerged from his sleeping bag. "Oh yeah. It was banging earlier and it keep waking me up." I threw my Chemistry textbook in his general direction. "Idiot." "I'm hungry -- wanna go for pizza?" Dick asked, his invasion plan now clear. "Is Freddie's delivering?" I asked. Dick shook his head. "Two hour wait on delivery. Penny's got her car dug out. We'll just drive." "Are you crazy? It's 160 degrees below zero outside!" "It is NOT. It's like eight below." "Is that Celsius or Fahrenheit?" Brett asked. "It's fucking Fahrenheit, asshole," I said and threw Differential And Integral Calculus For Engineers at him. "Anyway, the university's closed and Highway 58 is blocked. We're in the middle of a wind chill advisory, man." "Front Street is still open," Laramie said. "It's -32° wind chills. We'll die." "We'll have pizza," Laramie said. "You're from Wisconsin!" Dick accused me. "Man up and let's head out." Reluctantly, I agreed. "Let me check to see if I have any money." "Do ATMs even work in this temperature?" Brett asked. "Of course they do. They have ATMs in Alaska," Dick said. "You coming?" "Sure," he said, unfolding himself from his nylon and fiberfill cocoon. "You?" Dick looked expectantly at me. "Sure. I'm in." I found a five and three ones crumpled in my desk drawer. Just before I got up, I turned back to my laptop. "Rescue party arrived. Looks like we're not the only ones left alive. There's hope for civilization yet." "You're weird," Dick shook his head as we headed out. "You're the one who thinks going out at night in a storm is a good idea," I pointed out, closing the laptop. As I shut and locked the door, I could hear the radiator starting to bang.
Stay warm and safe.