The Last Lunch

As the meteor that would end life on earth hurtled toward the Miracle Mile, I called Judy at work and asked her to pick up Chris at Fairfax High. I’d get our usual sandwiches at Canter’s and we’d have a last meal before the world ended.

“Why should I get him from school?” she demanded. “It’s stereotypical to assign childcare duties to the woman.”

“OK, I’ll get him,” I said. “You buy the sandwiches.”

“Yeah, right,” she said, “woman as goddess of the hearth. Bo-ring!”

“It’s gonna press me for time,” I said, “but I’ll pick him up and get the sandwiches.”

“Well aren’t we the macho overachiever,” she said.

Things had been like this since she started working on her doctorate in gender studies. But the meteor astronomers had somehow managed to miss meant she’d never write her dissertation, I’d never make full partner and we wouldn’t have to go into debt to send Chris to Stanford.

Judy finally agreed to get him. The streets were a mess. Looters were starting to pillage Canter’s, but I pulled out of the parking lot just as a brick sailed through the plate glass window by the bakery counter.

Over the Pacific, the meteor was glowing like a welder’s torch as I pulled up and ran into our apartment, an upstairs unit in a Monterey-style duplex. Judy and Chris had beaten me home.

“Maybe it’ll get stuck in the La Brea Tar Pits, ha-ha,” Chris said and then there was this flash.

Jon Krampner’s short stories and flash fiction have appeared in Across the Margin, Eclipse, and Page & Spine.

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