Comet X42 passed overhead like lots of comets before it.
The news talked about it, like they always do, but I didn’t pay attention, like I always didn’t.
Lunar eclipse? Nah.
Harvest moon? Eh.
Pluto as close as it’s ever been? No thanks.
I just didn’t care. And besides, I had to stay up until 2 AM to see it. Who does that? Nerds, that’s who. But you know what, I should have stayed up. I should have been a nerd that day. I should have set an alarm. I should have woken everyone in the neighborhood and had a watch party. I should have circled it on my calendar and taken time off of work.
Because this comet changed the world.
I woke up that morning having completely forgotten about the comet, because again, why would I care? But the world had already changed. I don’t wake up early, particularly, but at 9 AM, I didn’t expect everything to be upside-down already.
I even made pancakes. I burned them.
When I sat at the table to eat my crispy cakes and guzzle some milk, I flipped on the TV. I was looking for cartoons, but something on the news caught my eye. It was a weird looking guy talking at a podium. I thought he was wearing a Halloween mask. His face was all droopy and his hair, I swear, was shining. Then the news ticket said: ALIENS LANDED AND BRING WORLD-CHANGING TECHNOLOGY.
I looked at the calendar hung off center above my table. I wasn’t actually sure if I had the right year anymore, but it definitely wasn’t April 1st. My eyes darted between the weird creature on screen, the ticker running across the bottom, and the calendar.
My brain short circuited.
I pinched myself. Certainly, this was a dream. But when the pancake bits didn’t disappear, and I didn’t wake up in my bed, I knew it wasn’t a dream.
I dashed over to the counter to grab my phone. I had so many notifications I didn’t even know what to do with them, so I ignored them, like other problems in my life.
I opened Twitter first.
It was all trending. Everything. I couldn’t make sense of it. I found an article outlining it and tried to understand. Apparently, they had ridden in on the comet, which I had completely forgotten about until that very moment. It was a ship, not a comet after all. I was surprised none of the nerds knew that. It was their whole species. Every last one of them. Their planet had blown up, or something, I guess. They wanted to live here and offered to share their technology with everyone.
All I wanted was a new PlayStation. Maybe their tech could finally make it affordable.
Russia had already declared war on them. China was said to do the same. Canada didn’t say much of anything. They had landed in the Indian Ocean, which kind of made sense. That ocean was huge.
Australia had taken them in, I guess. The world felt a little safer with them “isolated” there, I suppose. But with their technology, it didn’t really matter anyway. They had demonstrated teleportation, physical augmentation, and a few other things that looked cool. I mean, it would be cool if they weren’t stranded in the outback. But still, cool nonetheless.
I checked my voicemail.
My mom called panicking.
My dad called later to apologize.
My brother called to harass me (“They look like you!”)
Work called, but only left static.
I called work back first, but the line was busy. I figured they had more important things going on. They staffed a call center for a large financial firm. According to the latest text across the ticker, the stock market was going absolutely nuts. I didn’t want to go into work anyway.
I finished my pancakes, by now, a sopping mess of mostly syrup. They were okay.
I threw my plate in the sink and mindlessly scrolled my phone. Lots of texts.
“You see that?”
“Let’s fly to Australia. You free right?”
“Monique – Please tell your parents to bring the butter.” Obviously, a wrong number.
I walked over to the window. People were in the streets, yelling, mostly at each other. A man with long hair was flying a sign that simply said “Jesus.” A car was on its side. The corner store windows were broken. Flames blazed high on the horizon.
I sighed. I’d probably run out of food soon. I hoped my bike hadn’t been stolen, at least I could get to my parent’s house later if I had to. Once things calmed down. A man outside shot a gun into the air.
If this truly was the apocalypse, at least it was an interesting time to be alive.