Dome Is Where The Heart Is

Browsers. Another bunch of fucking browsers.

“Good morning!” I shake hands vigorously, one by one, making sure to look each of them in the eye. They’re not serious buyers, but what the hell. I’ll still do my job, and I’ll do it well.

This lot are rabbis, or something. They’ve got the caps and the ringlets and the earnest expressions. Who knows; I was never too good with religions. Shame. If I’d known I’d be selling the Property at the End of the Universe, I’d have brushed up on my god-bothering knowledge.

I can see the question coming before they know they’re going to ask it. It’s written all over their excited faces.

“Can we see the bio-containment dome?” asks a rabbi with the most improbable beard I’ve ever seen.

I flash him my trademark whites, the smile that’s closed over two hundred deals. “You got it.”

We make our way across the sandy landscape, allowing ample time to stop and ogle the water filtration plant, deep-bore well, satellite communications tower and multi-tiered, reinforced greenhouse. They Ooh and Aah appropriately at each feature.

One of them sidles over to me. “So this was built…?”

“In the seventies, yes. It was personally designed by a former Pentagon scientist heavily involved in the Manhattan project. Sir, what you’re gazing at and standing upon represents the ultimate in small community survivability and sustainability, perfect for any post-Apocalypse scenario.”

I can tell he’s impressed, but I leave it at that for now. Better to let them mull it over. It’s that last word that gets them every time; Apocalypse. They love that word, every last one of them.

I’ve seen just about every kind through here. I’ve had your garden-variety conspiracy theorists, convinced that World War Three is just over the horizon. I’ve had Nostradamus interpreters and Kali Yuga doomsayers, Raelians and hippy love communities, and something about an Aztec god in two-thousand-twelve who’s going to open up our third eyes and turn us all into perfect energy. I’ve had millennial cults, which I don’t even understand – wasn’t that ten years ago? Are they gearing up for the next one in nine hundred and ninety years?

I’ve had Baptists and Satanists, sometimes on the same day. They dress so similarly you’d never tell the difference. Just polite, average, crazy-as-fuck people. I think they waved to each other on the way out.

I take the rabbis to the dome, the crown jewel of the property. I input the security codes and go through all the complicated routines of opening the main hatch. It swings open impressively, and they can barely help themselves. They’re inside in seconds, climbing all over the moulded steel, peeking up out of the viewports. I know what they’re doing. They’re imagining themselves as the last people left on Earth.

They want to be down here with their own kind, impenetrable, impervious. Far away from a world which doesn’t understand them and doesn’t care. They want to be right just once, even if it’s far too late to say ‘I told you so’. They want to sit safely in their dome and watch the world burn.

As far as I’m concerned, they’re welcome to it.

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Xander Bennett rearranges words for fun and profit. Read a preview of his new book at www.cagescomic.com.

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