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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Comedy · #2203314
A man builds an ark in his backyard

Songwriters sing of precious things and how money can't buy a single one. Well, I hope they're right since money won't be relevant after this coming Wednesday. And as for musicians, I really can't see them making the survivors list. In the end, it's up to me to decide what will be precious or valued on Earth 2.0. Besides, the last thing my new society needs is false-idol pop-stars and their noisy amplifiers, although I doubt there'll be a post-deluge abundance of electricity anyway. All the more reason to exclude musicians; there's nothing worse than a metal-head with nowhere to plug in.

Let me back up a little here. It all began last Saturday with an intrusive News bulletin by a stern looking TV reporter who delivered the means of my ascension directly into my popcorn-covered lap. There I sat, cartoon-interruptus, jaw open and speechless, like the time I received a surprise present from aunt Audrey, the surprise being that we thought she'd been dead for six years. Storms and torrential rains for weeks on end, said the TV man. Fate had instantly validated my percolating dreams of apocalyptic retribution through the very proclamations of Jupiter and his benevolent thunderbolts of justice.

It was as clear as day (except it was actually cloudy and dull) that very soon, I would stand as curator of this planet - what's left of it - and begin the job of transforming her to new heights of splendour and unmolested grandeur never before imagined. Yours truly, standing at the literal helm, delivering the seeds of humanity to a resurfaced land, scraped clean of evil, jealousy, hatred, and personal income tax.

The very skies would bless me with the ultimate opportunity for self-promotion. They darken as I speak, a grey ceiling, descending like a massive coffin lid. Sadly, there isn't much time left for this dysfunctional society. I'll miss Todd Waghorn least of all. Back in school, he wedgied me too many times to count. Last I remember, Todd couldn't swim.

You see, I'm building an ark in my backyard. I always knew this time would come again and thankfully, I have a talent to see opportunities where others see hopelessness.

I plan to run a very tight ship, (pardon the pun), with little compromise on my part. However, I did promise my neighbour salvation in exchange for his secrecy, (I have no building permit), silence and the use of his circular saw. I had to settle for pressure treated green lumber from the local hardware store since my creation will get wet, but I simply don't have enough money to use quality cedar.

Design-wise, I'm going from pictures I found in a children's bible, so I may be off a little with the scale. Since I couldn't find any pictures of the interior, I chose to decorate with neutral tones, providing a feeling of serenity. Oh, and I used smooth floor tiles in case there's a spill or unfortunate accident.

Selecting the animals was much harder than I first anticipated. Very early in the process, I elected to play God, dictating a pared-down passenger list. Otherwise, the loading would have taken weeks and, let's face it, resulted in the same basic ecosystem we have now, which is shit.

Even so, I tried to keep some semblance of pecking order or food chain in mind so the survivors would be safe and harmonious in my new world. I'll use the time at sea for retraining the animals to eat whatever I make them for dinner, and not each other.

I like dogs and cats but not necessarily every kind, so I chose the breeds carefully. For instance, there will be no Greyhounds because they look strange and seem somewhat elitist in nature. There's absolutely no room for class systems in my Eden. I went with non-allergenic breeds because I have terrible reactions to dog dander and no desire to sweep up shedding hair throughout the voyage. I'll have enough to do just keeping us afloat and making life or death decisions about acceptable landing sites. Oh, and I'm pretty much ok with most kinds of cats as long as they've been declawed - I have a lot of good quality sweaters, gifts from my grandmother, and I don't want to see them damaged.

I hate bugs; I think everyone does, so I elected to exclude them from the list. I suspect some might be on board anyway, maybe ticks on the dogs or unauthorized ants. If discovered, I'll eject them immediately and without mercy. My world will not be buggy. I don't think spiders are technically bugs, but I included them in that doomed category, condemning them to suck on the waves of justice. Nothing worse than walking through a spider web, then spending the whole day feeling like you've got candy floss all over you but can't friggin find it.

Without bugs, I assume I won't need anteaters or lizards or even Chinese people who seem to enjoy them with spices or chocolate stuff, so none of these made the cut either. I know there are many bug eating races, but I'm not really sure which ones, so I'll narrow my human selection down to rural Americans.

I will not have any bears because a big brown one scared the crap out of me at the zoo when I was eleven. So they can all just fucking drown! For that matter, no lions or tigers either, although I never found any in my neighbourhood to speak of.

Birds don't need my help since they can fly and float, I think. Do birds float? I know swans do, but I couldn't find any swans in the usual swan places around town. There was a duck, but just one and, short of eating it with orange sauce, I didn't see any sense in trying to mate it with something else on the ark.

Whales and dolphins will be quite unaffected by the deluge, so I don't need to deal with that, which is good since I've no idea how to tell the difference between a male or female dolphin or whale, much less get them into my backyard.

I thought of getting some monkeys since they're funny and a lot like people, but monkeys don't grow in Chicago, and I don't own a zoo pass because of the aforementioned bear incident. So sadly, we humans will be all that remains of the primate lineage after the flood.

My new world will be free of rodents like rats and moles - no space allocation for skunks or hedgehogs or sloths - totally unnecessary animals. My long list of pointless animals also includes; hippos, giraffes (low ark ceilings), snakes, broccoli, cows (I mostly eat chickens), veal (see cows), sheep (I already have many sweaters as mentioned), zebras and polar bears (no ark electricity, ergo no freezers, therefore no ice, you get the picture).

I assume that natural selection will kick in again once we land, but if not, I'll use selective breeding, the cheater's method to evolution, to speed up the process. The elite cargo I carry must someday repopulate an entire planet, including those places overseas - not just with variations of their evolutionary ancestors, but entirely new species, with never-before-seen capabilities, like breathing underwater and then flying up into the trees to mate. Perhaps I should've got a few rabbits, after all, they can't fly or breathe underwater, but they breed like, well like rabbits, and I'll need something to kick-start the process within my lifetime.

As for human passengers, well that was a lot easier than expected. My neighbour was the first to sign on, and his knowledge of power tools was crucial to the success of the project. He's a bachelor with no current girlfriend. Strange fellow; likes to exercise in his underwear in the backyard, but that's ok, he tells good jokes and comes from a small town in Idaho, so we concur on my anti-bug eating policy.

I too am without girlfriend, but I suspect, as the waters rise, many young ladies will be banging at the ark door, and I'll make a last minute selection from the terrified applicants. Rest assured, one female will be sufficient - I'm not a pervert or into orgies, and I'm not a Mormon or Stone Mason or whatever those greedy guys call themselves.

Family wise, I'm not too concerned. I come from a long line of very inventive and self-sufficient people who are more than capable of weathering the oncoming storm and finding ingenious ways of benefiting from the aftermath. I have a cousin who invented that Swiffer mop thing - so he should be fine.

Other than that, I think I have everything I could personally want or need. I did two Costco runs last week alone - they have everything you could want in huge multipack sizes, from candy bars to soup, vitamins to cheese. Tons of frozen food too, but I didn't partake for obvious reasons (see polar bears). I highly doubt we'll ever barbeque, but I couldn't resist the deal they had on this jumbo ketchup and mustard combo.

So here we sit, my neighbour and I, a Giant Schnauzer, a Portuguese Water Dog, two tabby cats, both male, and my sister's hamster that I'm caring for while she's on a cruise.

The future indeed looks promising, and a brave new world awaits us. I will be King of this utopia, and my neighbour wants to be Vice President.

Above me, through the open hatch I made from a garbage bin lid, the sky has darkened, and tiny drops of rain hit my face.

I nod at my neighbour, and he smiles.

The dogs are restless and pace about near the water jugs and supplies. I'll feed them soon after I'm finished my jumbo Snickers bar and Mountain Dew.

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