Five years, man. Think about it for a second, if you feel like it. In five years, a newborn infant will be going to school. This wrinkled little mass of flesh will be talking, writing, dressing itself. Five years.
In five years, computer technology will have advanced so much that it makes the crap we use today look like…well, like the crap we were using five years ago.
In five years, there will have been another presidential election, another Olympics. Another four hundred and twenty-three movies made, and another seven hundred varieties of chips. But you’ll still have that ugly-ass shirt hanging up in the back of your closet, that one you just can’t bring yourself to wear because you think that it will come in handy someday.
My point is, five years can seem like a really long time, if you think about it in a certain context. In another context, it’s gone in the blink of an eye.
What if I told you that you wouldn’t get laid for five years? It would probably seem like that five years was eternity, right? But what if I told you that the beginning of the end of the world as we know it happens in just five years? What if I told you that it all happened because some asshole really liked dogs and really hated taking pills—even if said pills are for a very debilitating heart condition? What if I told you that in five years, a bunch of tiny little circus dogs cause the fall of humanity?
Yeah, yeah, I know—you would have me locked up and medicated, but you’re missing the point.
The point is, life went on, even though I knew it would stop doing that in about five years. And it was kind of boring, in the grand scheme of things. Maybe I could have been a little more excited when I finally got into Sarah’s pants, but the whole knowing-that-the-world-will-crash-down-burning thing kind of puts a damper on stuff, you know?
Yeah, yeah, I’m not making much sense. I’m no story-teller, I admit it. So here’s what happened: five years passed. Yep, just like that. I was still seeing terrible shit left and right (that would be the future, for all of you who just weren’t paying attention), but I kept on living. I never saw myself in the terrible shit, just those freakin’ dogs, and the clowns. I’ll tell you what, you don’t know how bad the world can be until you wake up with the smell of burning clown still in your nostrils.
I once mentioned to my mom that I knew how the world ended, and she laughed so hard that her coffee came out her nose. “Was it that guy with the dogs? And those fucking clowns?”
I tried to tell her about how it was eating me up on the inside, knowing about the circus that brought humanity to it’s knees, knowing that I was powerless to do anything about it. But she kept laughing, and it really killed the mood.
So, yeah, no help there. Sarah was the only person I could count on through those years. Aside from my mother and I, Sarah was the only other person that knew I was psychic. She didn’t want to believe it, but shit, man. You see some guy doing card tricks on the street, it’s easy to call it illusion, it’s easy to say that he isn’t really magic. When the motherfucker levitates you over the Empire State Building, it’s a little tougher to call him a fraud.
I never levitated Sarah over a building—metaphorically or otherwise—but I dumped enough of the future out on her that she finally had to admit that I was the real deal. I hadn’t ever told her about the end of the world, though, because…well, because.
As human beings, I feel that we have a certain amount of pride. Too much, probably. What I’m getting at here is that, yeah, I could tell Sarah all kinds of crap about tomorrow or the next day, or even next week, next month, whatever. “You’ll find the perfect pair of jeans when you go shopping the day after tomorrow.”
“What? I’m not going shopping.”
“You will. And you’ll see these jeans, they’ll hug your ass like they were made for you.”
And then two days later, her mom gets a bonus and takes her clothes shopping. And guess what? Sarah finds those pants (she doesn’t have to look very hard, because I’ve already told her they’ll be hanging there on the third rack in from the door—there will be a little kid standing right next to ‘em, crying because he’s hungry and his mom won’t take him to the food court).
I could tell her stuff like that, and she wouldn’t doubt it for a minute, because she knew I was for real. But nobody can believe that the fall of civilization is caused by some miniature dogs in a freakin’ circus.
Okay, so almost all five years pass, we’re getting’ right up on it, you know? I’m eighteen years old, and I’m with Sarah. I guess you could say I was in love with her. Shit, man, I was eighteen. Even if you’re a freakin’ psychic, you don’t know what true love is at eighteen. But she put up with me, she seemed to enjoy being around me. And I thought about making her happy all the time…well, just about all the time. Most of the rest of the time, I was thinking about stupid shit like wild miniature dogs, flame-plagued clowns, and the fall of humanity.
And then one night at a party, I got drunk and told her. I would like to pretend like I just had a few too many, but come on—I knew I was going to tell her three days before the guy throwing the party knew he was going to throw it.
The party wasn’t that great—some guy named Aaron, his parents were out of town and his older brother had just turned twenty-one. It was the stupid kind of party that high-school kids throw when they think they know how to throw parties. Music, booze, and people throwing up all over the place. Sarah and I had gotten tired of the scene pretty quick, and had gone for a walk. We ended up in a park, sitting on some swings and talking.
I guess maybe five years is about the longest I can keep a serious secret, because that’s when I told her about how the end of the world started.
“You told me that once before,” she said. “About the burning clowns. It was that day I first let you feel me up.”
What a memory.
“Yeah. Yeah, I did.”
“I thought you were just freaked out because you had touched my tits.”
“I feel I should be honest with you—your tits have never scared me.”
“Not even when you were thirteen?”
I smiled at her, I was all drunk and honest. “When I was thirteen, I had already seen how your tits would look when you were eighteen.”
“You knew what I looked like naked before I did!” She was laughing, but you could tell she was kind of embarrassed.
“Let me ask you a question,” she said.
“Not next week, but the next. Because the world is going to change, and we’ll feel it deep inside, and it scares the shit out of us. We do it more because of the need to feel close than because of love.”
“I SAID let me ask.”
“Oops. Sorry. Go ahead.”
“Will we ever go all the way?” She was pretty drunk, and I was pretty sure she wouldn’t remember my answer from a minute ago.
“I don’t know, Sweetheart. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
“Yeah. It’s better not to know,” she said. She kissed me, and then she passed out.
I lowered her from the swing and onto the soft grass, then I went to smoke a cigarette. Smoking was one of the things I had decided to try out. It wasn’t because I wanted to be a rebel or anything, it was just something I wanted to try. You only live once, right?
And that one time never really lasts long enough.