Fable, With Apocalypse

IN THE MIDDLE OF A flat grey wasteland, under a grey streaky sky, a handful of figures warm themselves at a snapping fire.

“Hey! What are you doing?”

One of the figures has turned to gape across the waste: a vast landscape of broken dryers and tumbledown swingsets, with here and there half a gas station or bowling alley.

“Don’t do that,” says the speaker. He takes the gaper and turns him tenderly toward the flames to warm his hands again.


“It’s why I’m here. And that” — a sweeping arm — “is why that’s there. The wasteland is only good for wasting you.”

“Thanks again.”

“Don’t mention it. Just keep your hands warm. Even when you’re the last one here.”

4 comments for “Fable, With Apocalypse

  1. Gabriele Caswell
    2011.09.04 at 1116

    Love this……..

  2. Alana
    2011.09.13 at 2319

    Wow. I hope we’re never in that place. Really touching, Neal!

    • 2011.09.14 at 1241

      Thank you! This was another of those reverie stories, like For Franz Kafka, where I closed my eyes and started seeing images. Then I wrote them down verbatim. I hope the trend continues!

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