This is the end of the world. It surprised us all, arriving without warning or alarm. The usual heralds, the horsemen, clearly have left their steeds out to pasture and are taking the day off. From what I hear, corporate sent them off on some company retreat in the Forest of Dean. Famine and Pestilence aren’t talking to each other and Death and War have organised a conflict with some Cub Scouts.
Thankfully, we were on hand to cover for them. There’s People Faffing About, pissing about over by the Tassimo machine. I’ve not seen him manage to make a cup of coffee in the three days we’ve been here. He dresses like a middle manager, you know the type. Glasses, short back and sides, always seems to be just about to raise his hand to request that the committee reconvene in fifteen minutes. I don’t even know what he really does, he just looks really industrious about it.
‘Guyss… Shall we order in?’ Online Video Buffering asks. Honestly, you could sit and wait all day for him to do anything. Occasionally he’ll just stop, wait for a solid twenty minutes and then the second you need to do anything like ride out to an apocalypse or go to the toilet, he starts talking again. ‘I’m feeling pizza. Faff! Want a pizza?’
‘Umm… I’m not sure. We could get Chinese? Or an Indian?’ Faffing wandered aimlessly around the consoles. ‘We’ve still got… three hundred and six years on the clock. I can take my time deciding. Has anyone asked Change?’
I slurped my Dr Pepper. Everybody else had asked for Coke, but I just love that creepy unique flavour. ‘Last I heard he was checking on the bikes.’ Damn budget cuts. The Big Four all own their horses and so, Inky, Binky, Pinky and Clyde are all in the Cotswolds on their own retreat. What can I say, Pac-Man is really big here in Dimension 3.
But, as a result of this, we get the bikes because “Horses are just so expensive.” Bloody bureaucrats. Bear in mind that I’m not talking about motorbikes here, I could just about deal with that. But no, I’m talking pushbikes. Very hard to look threatening and apocalyptic when you’re half dead from pedalling three dimensions.
That Bloody Man Who Always Stands In Front Of You In Queues and Pays For Everything In Change shuffled in from the stable. ‘Bikes are fine.’ He said, plodding through the words as if he’s wading through treacle. ‘We getting food?’ He runs his hand through his grey hair and starts picking through the contents of his pocket.
‘Don’t worry about it. We’ll cover it.’ The rest of us say in unison. We’re not sitting through Change counting out his pennies again. Last time we were covering we lost three years on that. ‘So, pizza?’
‘Guys.’ Faffing said from his cubbyhole, largely ignored by the rest of us.
‘I’m feeling a curry. Maybe we should branch out and get Thai?’ Video’s interjection.
‘Oooo, no. Mexican.’ I love me some Mexican food. Quesadillas for the win.
‘GUYS!’ That stopped us. Faffing taking affirmative action?
‘What?’ I asked him, my heart beating like heavy metal drumming.
‘The… The… The clock…’ We all turned to look at the Doomsday clock. Where the green digital symbols had read three hundred and six days, it now read fifteen minutes.
‘Oh shit. What just changed?’ The sweats have started now.
My name is Mindless Panic and this is way above my pay grade and I am not equipped to deal with this and this is not supposed to happen and I really hope this isn’t in the manual anywhere because I may have just skim-read the important bits and the cute devil over in accounting told me that I didn’t even need to worry about it anyway and oh shit.
This is the end of the world. The fate of it is with us, the four Covering Managers of the Apocalypse.
The Idiot in Tin Foil