Awaiting the End of the World (For Fun and Profit)

Contributor: Joshua Dobson

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"What do you do?" the bar slut asked in an absurdly affected doll voice.

The question used to make me wince and gnash my teeth, that dismal afternoon in the dingy dive bar it made me giggle dementedly. The sound of my desiccated cackle disturbed even my jaded self, the bar slut was so stunned she stopped prosti-jecting, the flawless porcelain of her carefully controlled facade cracked for the briefest of seconds and she regarded me with utter revulsion in her dead doll eyes. She caught herself slipping and jerked immediately back into "sell" mode, twinkling her dead doll eyes twice as hard.

"I am a waiter," I said hollowly.

"Oh really, that's kewl. Where at?" she asked, back on script, but noticeably creeped out by me.

"Near here . . . the big black glass domes down by the highway."

"I didn't even know that was a restaurant and I love eating out . . . tee hee," she tinkled.

"No," I said, "I am not a restaurant server, I used to be, but now I am a waiter. I made the same mistake when I first read the ad headlined, Waiters Wanted. But when I interviewed with the man who is now my superior, a nondescript black man named Mr. Blackman, I learned that the opening the Black Dome Limited Liability Corporation sought to fill was that of Waiter, whose job description is nothing more nor less than sitting motionless, though an exception is made for blinking, yawning and the occasionally involuntary twitch, in a black chair, in near total darkness under one of the seven identical black domes for seven hours a day. I thought the whole thing sounded absurd, but when Mr. Blackman told me what the Black Dome Limited Liability Corporation paid Waiters, I . . . "

"What does it pay?" she demanded in her real voice, which didn’t sound the least bit like a cartoon bunny.

I told her.

"Wow! That is crazy. So you get paid for doin' nothing?" she asked incredulously.

"Essentially,” I said, “I get paid to wait."

"For what?" she asked.

"I don't know, and I don't think any of the other Waiters know either, though I can't be sure as we aren't allowed to fraternize or even speak to one another, however when I occasionally lock leprous eyes with another Waiter, they seem as clueless as me. But I do know that I will recognize that which we waiters await when it comes," I said.

"Must get pretty boring," she said.

"It gives me time to think." I gulped down my shot of rotgut. "There are things I think about only in my black chair, #327, one of seven-hundred-sixty-five identical black chairs in black Dome #7."

She arched an eyebrow as if intrigued.

"While I wait in the darkness, I have extremely vivid daydreams about faceless grey humanoids with no genitalia building some sort of huge irregular tower of ashy grey volcanic rock, it's getting bigger and bigger, stretching higher and higher into a grey sky that grows slightly darker with every block that is added. There are millions of the faceless grey things crawling all over each other like writhing maggots. They smash themselves between the rocks to make the mortar for their chaotically designless tower. They’re full of grey sludge inside. There’s something inside the crooked tower, something living and horrible, and it’s growing bigger with each second that passes."

"That's pretty weird, but it still sounds better than this," she said wearily in her real voice.

"What is this?" I asked disinterestedly.

"Oh, I'm not supposed to say . . ."

"What is this?" I asked disinterestedly.

"Okay, I guess I can tell you, but don't tell anyone," she said, glancing over both shoulders to see if anyone was listening. "I work here, well, not just here, but all kinds of dives like this. I work for Pine Barrens Vodka; they pay me to flirt with losers . . . no offense, in dumps like this to sell their shitty booze."

As my buzz was sufficient to clock in and start my shift in chair #327 under black Dome #7, I donned my sunglasses and made to take my leave from the gloomy confines of the dingy dive bar, but before I did, I set on the bar before the weary professional bar slut a black business card that read in red:

Mr. Blackman


The Black Dome Limited Liability Corporation

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Joshua Dobson likes to make his own fun.
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