#267 To Share or not to Share
Jim and I claimed to be studying global warming when we trekked across Antarctica. We used it as an excuse to be alone and away from all who hated the fact we married as soon as same-sex marriages became legal. It had taken six weeks before we returned to McMurdo Station on the southern tip of Ross Island. No one greeted us, and when we went inside any structure, we found nothing but skeletons. All equipment remained intact.
“Must have been an epidemic,” Jim said as he dragged bones from the radio room.
I poured gas into the emergency generator that had run out of it when it kicked in during the power interruption. I prayed the battery wasn’t dead as I hit start. It turned over slow. I pressed the start button again, and the engine roared to life.
“Good job,” Henry, said. “Now we can tell the world what happened here.”
He tried for two solid weeks without receiving an answer from anywhere in the world. We watched old newscasts still being broadcast from satellites orbiting the Earth and saw the war as it raged. We listened to the commentary and learned that the war started in 2028 because of the Federal mandate that all states must allow same-sex marriages. It was between North and South “The South Rises Again” was the cry that joined Texas and seven Southern states in rebellion against Washington.
The newscaster told how Mexico jumped in with the promise of annexing Texas. Russia intervened on the Northern side with the intent to get Alaska returned. Washington never intended to allow that once they won, but it turned out there were no winners. China released a plague designed to kill every human with non-Chinese DNA.
It worked as expected. Populations around the world began dying, uninfected countries nuked China and every city worldwide in an attempt to stop the plague. It didn’t stop. Governments then nuked their populations until the disease killed those running the government. It mutated and infected Chinese as well as the rest of the world’s population. The last broadcast had an announcer who said, “It’s possible that, I’M THE LAST MAN ALIVE ON THIS PLANET.” He put a gun to his head, pulled the trigger. The picture faded.
“Henry, I love you with all my heart, but I need more,” Jim told me. I can’t believe it’s only you and me that survived. It’s great we’re married, but unfortunately we can’t have kids. Get on the radio. Maybe there’s a woman somewhere that survived,”
“What if there were, Jim? Would you father a child with her?”
“Of course. We have to continue the human race.”
When he said that, rage burned through me. “You’d cheat on me?”
He fell into my arms, “It’s you and me.” He choked out the words, “I’ll never let a woman come between us.”
“Don’t worry Jim, looks like it’s only me and you that inherited the world.”
“Yeah, let’s get off this iceberg and go to a city where we can drive on sidewalks and run red lights all day.”
We flew an LC-130 Hercules to New York.
“Great not having to wait for clearance to land isn’t it?” Jim asked as he guided the huge plane to a long runway.
Inside the terminal, there partially preserved mummy’s filled seats and lay all over the floors
“Let’s get out of here,” Jim said as he barged through a pile of dried out corpses.
A row of cabs sat in front of the terminal. Jim opened the door, dragged a skeleton from behind the wheel, jumped in started the car. “Why aren’t there rats, birds, dogs or cats eating the dead?”
“Plague probably killed them too.” Just then, I spotted a cockroach crawling on the seat. “There’s hope. Something else is alive.” I pointed to the roach. Jim smashed it with his fist.
“Never could stand those fuckers,” he said as he drove toward Manhattan where we decided to spend our days living in a penthouse overlooking Central Park. We’d stroll peacefully through the park hand in hand because there wasn’t any homophobes left to taunt us.
Canned food was plentiful along with fuel for running generators if needed, but Niagara Falls continued to supply power to the grid. Elevators in many buildings continued to be serviceable once we emptied them of corpses. We lived happily for four months. Then one day as we strolled through Central Park we stopped in disbelief.
“Am I seeing things?” Jim asked.
“I see a couple walking hand in hand. Is that what you see?”
The couple stopped to stare at us as we did them. Then we ran toward each other, and when we got close, I saw it was two women. Turned out that Eunice and Mary had spent months in a cold war fallout shelter located under Eunice’s grandmothers Minnesota cabin. When they depleted their supplies of food, they came out and drove from Minnesota to New York.
“Did you find any signs of life anywhere?” I asked. “Animals or anything?”
“Nothing,” Eunice said. “We’re probably the last four survivors on Earth.”
“Looks like we don’t have a choice,” Mary said. “I have to get pregnant to save our race from extinction.”
Eunice turned red and tried to object. Before she could, I said, “Do you know how to do it artificially?”
“No, but I’m willing to sleep with you two until I get knocked up.”
Eunice slapped her hard. “You’re never sleeping with a man.”
“Hold on there, Eunice. I believe Mary’s right.” Jim said, ”We need to do this to carry on. I’ll sleep with her.”
As soon as the words were out of his mouth I hauled off and punched Jim. Unfortunately, I knocked out his two front teeth, but that’s what he gets for even thinking of playing with the other team. Eunice and I agreed we’d rather let it all end than share our partners. Next morning we waved goodbye as they drove away