Somewhere in America, 2012

Speeding through dark prairie with only the pale green glow of the dashboard, I listened to a midnight preacher rattle and roar, talking about how the Apocalypse is near, how the mark of the beast is everywhere you look, and yes, it’s possible to believe these are truly the end of days. And demons and hexes would nicely explain why some people behave the way they do. It would certainly help account for 2020. But it seems like we’re always bracing for the end of the world. We’ve been doing it since the beginning of time. It’s a cheap yet effective way of feeling special, maybe even chosen.

At three in the morning, I briefly considered buying a product that will convert stagnant pond water into fresh drinking water for my whole family. “The coming economic disaster will transform the globe,” said the pitchman. “Are you prepared?” This commercial’s been on the air since at least 2010. A retired general talked about remote viewing, and a young man from Cleveland worried about the kill shot from the sun. I lost the signal before I could find out what he meant. And beneath the static, I swear I heard a woman whispering, “You need to hide your mind.”

Each night in 2020, I wrote a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I wanted to etch these days into my memory. Before the world changed completely.
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