Monday, July 13, 2020

THE LAST DAY Jack Blanchard's Column July 13, 2020


Thousands of intelligent     good-looking readers


Simon Lescart woke up on his last day,
plugged in the coffee maker,
and sat down at the computer to check his email.
There was the usual spam and forwarded jokes,
which he deleted without reading.

The sixth message subject line read "Final Notice",
and the sender was an acronym, "T.P.T.B."
He started to dump it as spam,
but, for some reason he clicked it open.
The message was this: "NOTICE OF EXPIRATION.

"Dear Mr. Lescart,

"This is an automatic reminder that your life expires at midnight tonight.
Please do not try to reply to this email.
Have a nice day.
Very truly yours,
    The Powers That Be."

Simon tried to reply anyway,
but his email bounced back from the "unknown recipient".
He knew it was most likely a stupid joke,
but he couldn't stop thinking about it as he fought the city traffic
on his way to work.

What if this really was his last day?
He'd often heard the old saying,
You should live every day as if it were your last.
What should a person do on his last day, anyway?
Get drunk? Smell some flowers? Confess his sins? What?

He didn't have much of a family to visit,
just a brother up in Akron, and an ex-wife in Atlanta.
They hadn't spoken in years.
He couldn't think of any old sins offhand.
Maybe he should commit some?

He knew that the weird email was a fraud,
but he decided not to go to work today, just in case.
He pulled off at an exit and got back on the expressway going the other way,
toward the ocean.
This is nuts, he thought.

He couldn't think of anything really important to do,
befitting a persons last day on the planet,
so he just sat on the beach for most of the day,
and drank a few beers.

He felt a little nervous, like a high school truant,
but he also felt something else he couldn't define.
Was it freedom?
He had some guilt too for wasting the day looking at the ocean.

Someone whose approach he hadn't noticed sat down beside him.
The man was obviously homeless,
in his ragged black suit and dirty torn sneakers.
The man said, "Are you okay, friend? You look kinda lost."
Simon said, "That's an odd word... 'Friend'.
Now that you mention it, I guess I don't have any of those.
Just a bunch of acquaintances."

"Maybe you never really tried", said the man.
"I've been pretty busy", said Simon.
"You must have accomplished a lot of great things,
being so busy", the man said.
"No great things. Just keeping even. Paying the bills", said Simon.
"Do you think you have any great things in you", asked the man?
Simon said, "Maybe. I've been doing a lot of thinking.
If I had the time I'd do things differently."

That's when the chest pain struck and the world faded to black.
He vaguely heard voices. "What Happened?" "Get back!"
He was being carried.
Then a blinding light above. People working over him.
"We're losing him!" "Clear!"
Then a huge shock and the world was gone again.

The smiling nurse said, "Welcome back. You've had quite a day."
"What time is it", he asked?
"Almost midnight", she said.
"I have to call my brother", he insisted.
"We'll contact him for you. You can talk to him in a few days."
"I wish I HAD a few days", he said!

A cell phone rang.
"That sounds like mine", he said. "Where is it?"
"It's beside your bed, but you need to rest."
He tried to reach for it, but she stopped him.
"I'll answer it for you", she said. "Lie back down!"

She said, "It's just a text message."
"What does it say", he groaned?

The letters on the cell phone screen said this:

Jack Blanchard