Prompt: It’s the perfect party for the end of the world. Who throws it? What’s going on? From: 250 Writing Prompts by You Can Write It.
Leo knew how to throw the best party. There were a few reasons. The first is Leo himself. Leo was known as an extremely sociable man around town. Bartenders knew him by name, the police appreciated his help occasionally, and everyone felt a connection to him. Leo once took the Myer-Briggs personality test and came out ENFP, if that says anything.
Leo’s job as a real-estate broker (#1 in the region for five years straight) led to great wealth (which was put into “Leo’s Corporation” or tied up in other investments). Leo had a sweet house too. He hired a contracting company to convert his 3-car garage into a bar. He bought a liquor-license and opened it to the public. But he only worked when he wanted, so the bar was open at odd hours, but always with an hour’s heads up. Finally, Leo’s girlfriend. If Leo was the town celebrity, Leo’s girlfriend, Barbara, was the quiet hermit. Most in town never heard her speak. Many wondered if she was mute. Few knew she preferred smaller parties, events hosted by Leo for particular people.
That was not the case tonight. Leo posted early in the morning he was opening the bar at 3pm. By noon, folks were already lining up to party. The garage was capped at 50 people with a two-hour time limit (for 95% of customers). Groups visiting were allowed in every fifteen minutes to keep the line moving. Leo had considered expanding, but he liked the idea of a special place. High demand, low supply.
An hour before the doors opened, Leo met Barbara in their kitchen. Leo poured them both a shot of Jamison. He looked briefly around, admiring his work so far, acquiring 60% of the neighborhood. He had done so slowly, since he first received his broker’s license 15 years ago. Now he raised his glass.
“To the end of the world,” Leo toasted.
Barbara smiled briefly. And she replied.
“May it not be the end of us.”
They dropped the Jamison in their mouth and swallowed. Leo guided his wife into the basement, which had been turned from a gaming center into a classical library, complete with bookshelf walls and a small bar in the far corner. In years past, Leo invited the closest of friends down here. Often times, they used it as the private club. Sometimes they read from Leo’s massive collection of political science and history books. Leo stepped behind the walnut bar and pulled up on the jar of olives. The glass olives, much like marbles, tinked against each other. One of the bookshelves heaved itself out of the wall. Barbara pushed it aside and flipped on the lights by her side. Leo joined her.
The two stepped into an elevator and tapped the descend button. The metal doors closed slowly. Leo grabbed Barbara’s hand.
“Barb, how long until the impact?”
“Eight hours. We have touch down at 8:21pm, dear.”
“And our plans?”
“Secure. I’ll show you now.”
The doors opened to a completely darkened room until Barbara clicked the light button. An overhead porch light came on. Ahead was an oak door, much like the one to their main house. Leo turned the handle and offered Barbara the first steps into their home. Their underground home had been designed to impersonate their above ground house. Every room was identical, including the basement library. The difference was hidden supply stores in every room and a large supply store behind the pantry. Supplies for five years had been purchased slowly to elude suspicion of a build up. A gun cabinet included some antique fire arms, something Leo enjoyed. And in the entry way to their bedroom, Barbara had requested an office of her own to continue her writing.
Leo and Barbara were not the conductors of world’s end, but they hid the cause after discovery. Dr. Martin Nomed worked at the observatory station near Mount Hope. When Leo was in college, he briefly interned under Dr. Nomed. During a night exploring the night sky, Dr. Nomed noticed an unusual heat flare far in the cosmos. He made note of it in his journal and continued on. Over the course of a month, Dr. Nomed made entries in his journal of this unknown thing in the sky. It seemed to be moving a little bit closer. Dr. Nomed found no mention of it in issues of the electronic planetary newsletter he received or in the scientific forums he was a member of.
Dr. Nomed studied his unidentified object for a year. He traced it’s trajectory, size, and composition. It was an asteroid, the size of Denver, Colorado (10 miles wide). Dr. Nomed expected it to be an extreme, Earth shattering event. When he concluded his studies, Dr. Nomed discovered his asteroid (“Denver” A-15K) to be headed for the Western United States.
Leo was one of the first people Dr. Nomed shared his information with.
“This event, Leo, will destroy the entire North American continent and rain dust and ashes on the rest of the planet!”
“What can be done?”
“NASA can try to destroy it or push it off course, but I fear that is unlikely. An asteroid of this size is unstable. It has a 1 in 5 chance to hit the earth.”
Dr. Nomed wrote his discovery in an article for publication. Leo read it for him. After proofreading the article, Leo offered it to his father. Leo’s dad was the head of a tech company. This company, small, but profitable, gave Leo’s dad a good lifestyle. And his father used his money to research conspiracy theories, trying to prove or disprove these ideas.
When Leo gave the article to his father, Leo’s dad double-checked with a scientist friend. They decided that this was a perfect opportunity to start the world over again. Leo strangled Dr. Nomed before the doctor could post his research. The observatory caught fire due to an “electrical short” and Dr. Nomed’s body was burned up, along with all evidence of “Denver”.
After college, Leo earned his broker’s license and began his real-estate carrier. Along the way, his father and Leo began preparing. They told few people of their knowledge and created a small association for their future. The association, naming itself “Denver Assoc.” kept tabs on other observatories and ensured that no news of the asteroid got out.
Leo’s father died of a heart attack, placing Leo as head of Denver Assoc. Leo took charge immediately and began not just researching conspiracy theories, but creating them too. Leo put his best friend, Barbara, in charge of designing theories that would orchestrate distrust in the government. Barbara and Leo worked closely, spending many nights drinking and forming new conspiracy theories that Barbara posted in various chat forums to sow dissent.
Now, in their underground home, Leo picked up the phone.
“Party is on tonight. Meet me at the door.”
There was a response, but Leo was so excited he barely heard it. He kissed Barbara hard. She grinned and slapped Leo’s ass. Leo guided Barbara on one last tour of their future shelter. They made love in each room.
At 2pm, Leo met four of his associates at the door. Charles and Rachael were the oldest at 40. They were young apprentices of Leo’s father and invested heavily in Leo’s underground house. Charles and Rachael were unmarried, waiting for the asteroid to strike, before their ceremony. Charles was a craftsman by nature, gardener by occupation. Rachel loved guns and would serve as gunsmith. Tim and Wes were the last two, gay and married. They were part IT support and part engineer. In order to survive after a massive impact, Denver Association would need their capabilities. Leo served as Chairman and cook, while Barbara was quartermaster.
The six core members of Denver Association entered the underground complex and laid claim to the rooms designated to them. Leo called for a meeting at 2:30pm. They met in the complex’s kitchen. Leo, Barbara, Tim, and Wes stood around a marble island. Charles and Rachel sat on stools nearby. They shared a small glass of red wine.
“I am ready to start this journey with all of you. I hope you found your rooms as you’d like?” Leo asked.
“Yes. Just as expected,” Charles said.
“Enjoy yourselves this evening. But indulge lightly. We truly celebrate after the strike,” Barbara said.
Charles raised his glass, “To us.”