Sally and Mary Jane were huddled around a candle in the kitchen, whispering.
“I think you should call a doctor,” Sally said. “There’s obviously something very wrong with him.”
“Look, he’s got this mental thing, it’s not a big deal,” Mary Jane said, trying to deflate the issue of Jack’s state of mind.
“Not a big deal?” Sally protested. “I’m afraid he’s going to kill me for that Francisco remark.”
“He’s not going to kill you,” Mary Jane assured her, and she put her arms around Sally’s delicate frame and hugged her. “I won’t let him kill my best friend.”
“Thanks,” Sally said, and a few tears came out of her eyes.
Sally suddenly moved her hands to Mary Jane’s frightened face and kissed her on the mouth.
“What was that all about?” Mary Jane asked, a bit bewildered, a bit turned on, as she stepped back a bit.
“I’m sorry Mary Jane. No, I’m not. Look, this may be our last night on Earth, and I wanted to kiss you. I just did. Like I wanted to kiss Ollie. Oh my. You must find me crazy as well, but it’s almost as if I want to say goodbye.”
“It’s okay Sally. I think I understand… And I kind of liked it.”
“Yes, I did.”
Mary Jane moved closer to Sally, ran her fingers through her long, blonde hair, and passionately returned the kiss.
“Where’s my dinner!” Jack suddenly blurted out from the other side of the wall.
Mary Jane broke her embrace with Sally and stormed into the living room.
“All right Jack, I’ve been nice up to this point, but you really got to stop being a complete A-hole, okay?! Everyone is under a lot of strain and stress right now… Please don’t add to it.”
“I want a meat pie! Make me a meat pie! Make me a meat pie now damn it!” Jack screamed.
“I don’t have any bloody meat pies, so if you want a meat pie go down to your own place and make yourself a meat pie! And stop acting like a little schoolgirl!” Mary Jane scolded.
“I don’t have to do what you tell me! I have my rights! I have freedom of speech!” Jack crazily retorted.
Mary Jane moved toward the telephone and picked up the receiver.
“Do not call anyone!” Jack screamed.
“Damn it. The phone’s dead,” Mary Jane said, and she slammed the handset down on its cradle.
“What’s going on in here?” Sally asked as she threw herself into the couch.
“I want a meat pie and she won’t make me a meat pie!” Jack screamed.
“I’m trying to call the police, but the phone’s dead,” Mary Jane said with utter frustration.
Sally stood up and pointed her finger at Jack.
“Now listen here Jack, the party is over. You have to leave now, or you’ll be in big trouble! We’ll get the police.”
Jack lifted Copernicus’ head to his ear and was acting like Copernicus was whispering secrets to him.
“Uh huh, yes Copernicus, she is a bitch, I know,” Jack said in a mumbly wumbly childlike voice. “Uh huh, yes Copernicus, she is ugly. Uh huh, oh Copernicus that’s terrible, but I bet you’re right, she does look like a street walker.”
Sally angrily rushed at Jack and snatched the stone head from his hands.
“Hey!” Jack yelled. “Give me that back!”
“You either get the hell out of here or I’ll throw Copernicus right out that damn window, and you won’t be too far behind!” Sally screamed.
“Do not throw Copernicus out the window!” Jack commanded in a robotic voice.
Jack glanced over at Mary Jane with a sad and confused look on his face.
“Please leave,” she said sternly. “We’ll talk tomorrow. Maybe you’ll feel better then.”
“But there may not be a tomorrow,” Jack said, nearly beginning to weep. “We could all be nothing but cinders by the morning. That makes me a sad panda.”
Jack reluctantly got out of the chair and walked toward Sally who was now standing by the open front door of the apartment cradling Copernicus’ head in her hand. Jack snatched it from her and barked in her face like a dog as he walked out. Sally slammed the door behind him and then there was this terrible yelp and the sound of Jack crashing down the stairs.
“Oh my God!” Mary Jane yelled. “I think he fell down the stairs!”
Mary Jane grabbed a candle and went out into the hall.
“It’s too dark. Grab another candle, Sally!”
Sally came out into the hall with another candle and together they carefully went down the stairs, saying: “Jack, Jack, are you okay?”
There at the bottom was Jack. His body was cocked in all kinds of unnatural positions. It looked like his neck had snapped. They looked closer and there was blood, and they looked closer again, and there was the head of Copernicus cracked in half just like Jack.
Sally and Mary Jane just stared at each other in the glow of the candlelight.
“It’s my fault, you saw it,” Sally said, tears starting to roll down her face. “I slammed the door, and it must have hit him and knocked him right down the stairs.”
“It’s not your fault. It was dark. It was an accident.”
“Oh my God Mary Jane, I killed someone.”
“Come on, let’s go back upstairs and wait for Ollie, he’ll know what to do.”
Ollie Oxenfurd stuck his hands in his pockets as he walked down Castlebury Street, now dim, quiet, and desolate with some ash whirling around. All the shoppes and restaurants seemed to be shuttered and he worried his favorite Chinese joint, Bamboo King, would be as well.
He turned right at Bonberry Street and jiggled the handle. The door opened and he stepped inside. The bright lights were a burning contrast to the dead of the streets. A neatly groomed Asian man came out of the back wiping his hands on a towel. He pumped some hand sanitizer in them and rubbed.
“I’m so glad you’re open,” Ollie said. “Looks like everything else is shut down, and you’ve got power too.”
“We always open. Even when war come. Everyone else scared, not me. I got generator. I’m an animal. People still need to eat. So, what you like?”
“Pork and snow peas. Veggie Lo Mein. And… I’ll have the orange chicken.”
“What kind rice?”
“Fried rice… And throw in some crab rangoons too.”
“Okay, you wait. I go cook now. Won’t be long.”
Mary Jane sat with Sally on the couch, and they smoked some more grasspot to try and calm their nerves. Sally kept wiping tears from her puffy, blue eyes and saying: “I killed someone. I killed someone.”
Mary Jane didn’t know what to do. She tried the phone again. Still dead. “Where the hell is Ollie?” she wanted to know.
They heard fighter jets roaring overhead.
“I’m really scared Mary Jane. I mean, what if this is it? What if tonight is our last night on Earth, and I killed a guy.”
There was another explosion in the distance.
“Then, I guess it doesn’t really matter, does it,” Mary Jane answered.
Ollie nearly dumped all the delicious Chinese food when he tripped over Jack’s lifeless body at the bottom of the stairs.
“What the bloody hell?! Mary Jane! Sally! Get out here!”
The girls rushed into the hallway with their candles.
“What is this then?” Ollie asked from the bottom of the stairs.
“There was an accident. He fell,” Mary Jane answered.
“I’m coming up.”
The three of them sat at the kitchen table in Mary Jane’s groovy pad on the Isle of St. Manitou quietly slurping away at their Chinese food.
“We ought to call someone, we just can’t leave him there,” Ollie said, breaking the silence.
“The phone is dead.”
“Well then I’ll walk down to the police station and tell them,” Ollie said, stuffing a piece of delicious orange chicken in his mouth.
“No!” Sally blurted out. “No police.”
“What? Why? You said it was an accident.”
“It was no accident,” Sally said, and she began to cry again. “I slammed the door on him and that made him fall down the stairs.”
“I’ve been trying to tell her it wasn’t her fault, but she won’t listen to me,” Mary Jane said, slamming her fork down in frustration. She got up, walked into the other room, and lit up some more grasspot.
“Well, if you ask me, he had it coming to him. That bloke was a real A-hole.”
“Ollie! That’s a terrible thing to say, even if it is true.”
“Whatever. The only thing I know is we can’t leave him there. Why don’t we just move him into the street or something.”
“I won’t have anything to do with such a horrible thing,” Sally pouted, crossing her arms.
“Fine!” Ollie yelled, and he stood and threw his napkin down onto the table. “Mary Jane and I will do it.”
Ollie peered out onto Castlebury Street. It was eerily quiet and still; there was a strange-smelling soft breeze in the air.
“OK, are you ready?”
Mary Jane nodded and then they lifted him.
“Good gravy he’s heavy,” Ollie said, “must be all those damn meat pies.”
“Hush now. Let’s just get this over with,” Mary Jane scolded.
They got him out onto the sidewalk and had to set him down.
“Why don’t we just stuff him back in his shoppe?” Ollie suggested, breathing hard.
Mary Jane looked over her shoulder.
“That’s not a bad idea,” and she went to jiggle the handle of the gallery shoppe door. “It’s locked,” she said.
“Well, look in his pockets. I’m sure his keys are there.”
Mary Jane reluctantly rummaged through dead Jack’s pockets going “Eww” and “Gross” while she searched.
She went to the door and unlocked it and they carried him into the gallery and laid him out on the floor.
“Well?” Mary Jane asked, wiping at her sweaty brow with her forearm.
“Well, what?” Ollie asked.
“Are we just going to leave him here on the floor?”
“Yes, we are. It’s too dark in here to be messing around. We can figure something out tomorrow. It’s getting late.”
“Wait, we forgot something,” Mary Jane said, and she went out the door and then came back in holding the two halves of the stone head of Nicolaus Copernicus. She set them down near Jack and they went out, locking the door behind them.
The air raid sirens began to wail before Mary Jane and Ollie could get back inside. There was thunder in the sky, but it was not natural.
The three of them sat quietly in the darkness — the only light being from the scattered candles, the orange glow of the grasspot in the pipe, and the sparkle of bombs bursting outside in the air above the Isle of St. Manitou. The sirens were still roaring. The Amoopikans were coming.
“Wait, what is that?” Ollie asked, suddenly perking up and shifting his head around.
“Stop it Ollie, you’re scaring me,” a tearful Sally said.
“No, I think there’s someone in the street. I thought I heard voices.”
“Please Ollie, just stop…”
And then there was a loud banging on the front door.
“Amoopikan Marines! Open up!”
Sally screamed and then the door was kicked in and men with guns in their hands and lights atop their helmets and waving the Amoopikan flag came storming in.
“Nobody move!” the Amoopikan captain yelled, and he motioned to his troops, “In! In! In! Take a look around, see if there are any more.”
A moment later, a young trooper came up to the captain and saluted.
“Sir, they’ve been smoking grasspot in here.”
“Whaaaaaat!” the captain screeched. “I thought I smelled something illegal.”
“I have the device right here sir,” and the young trooper handed the captain the glass pipe they had been using to smoke the grasspot.
The captain looked it over carefully; he sniffed at it. Then he looked at the three of them, Ollie, Sally, and Mary Jane, being restrained by other troopers, bodies shaking and faces looking scared to death.
“Well, well, well,” the captain said as he strolled around the place. “Looks like we got a bunch of grasspotheads here.”
“It’s just grasspot sir,” Ollie spoke up, “This is the future and it’s allowed everywhere here in our part of the world.”
“Well, it’s not allowed where I come from punk, and you know why?”
“Because it’s evil. It’s devil’s lettuce punk. It makes people go crazy in the head and want to kill other people.”
“That’s not true sir, it does nothing like that at all,” Ollie said.
“I don’t care for your ways in your part of the world, and that’s why we came here — to make our ways your ways because our ways are the right ways and if anyone tells me different, I’ll just blow their fucking head off.”
The captain turned and walked toward the door.
“Boys, you know what to do.”
And then Mary Jane Hankerbloom’s apartment on Castlebury Street in a quaint village on the Isle of St. Manitou was suddenly filled with a relentless barrage of gunfire directed straight at Mary Jane herself and her two friends, Sally and Ollie.
When the firing finally stopped, their bodies had been reduced to ragdolls askew and full of holes. Their eyes were open wide, for they were still in shock; their lifeless souls stared upward at the skylight, and the bones still rained down upon them.
“We’re done here,” a young Amoopikan soldier said, and he stomped on the grasspot pipe with his heavy boot and crushed it into the floor before walking out.