“I wouldn’t fuck you if you were the last man on earth.”
Salmon-lipped Dioria could have chosen a more delicate expression, and in consideration of the events that would befall earth, should have. But Lammel was a despicable cretin, a lisping, glistening miscreant with pimples upon pimples who had forged a weapon out of his frequent rejections and taken to shaming famous women anonymously from a wired vestry that smelled of stale cheese crackers.
During the destruction that rippled across the globe on some insignificant March day that had never warranted a holiday, the vast majority of the planet’s population had been thinking about what they would eat for dinner, or what to watch on television, or if masturbation was necessary in order to sleep, or if the armed forces in their backyard would slaughter them. As with everything, there were exceptions. The implausible circumstances that spared only Dioria and Lammel from the metaphorical (and in some countries, literal) wave of destruction are undoubtedly of great interest to some readers. Quite interesting, indeed.
Anyway, it so happened, after three days of foraging through the corpses of loved ones and neighbors and contemptible strangers, Lammel and Dioria discovered that they were the only two people still alive in their town. And, as months of attempts to reach the outside world repeatedly failed, it became increasingly likely in their estimations that they were, in fact, the only two people still alive in the country. The world? Well, who could say, but if America was gone, what else could it mean?
This realization was met by both of the survivors with an assortment of emotions, none of them particularly pleasant. Even Lammel who, in solitary pre-apocalypse moments, may have indulged a few fantasies of being stranded alone with Dioria, found it hard to find the positive in this turn of events, the smell of rotting flesh something less than an aphrodisiac. Why had post-apocalyptic escapism never bothered to address what would be done with the billions of bodies left over?
Learning to suffer fools is a skill that one attains with immediacy in the absence of anything but, so Dioria came around to Lammel in time, but that doesn’t mean she ever forgave his egregious periodontal transgressions. Like a tuna left out in the sun. When they conversed, they batted against each other like teens slapping tennis balls off of the garage door, nothing ever passing through, their points of reference separated by matters of degree. For instance, celebrity dancing and celebutante flashings.
The thing about being the last two humans alive is that suddenly, unexpectedly, nauseatingly, you have one pretty major thing in common. Working lungs.
What developed between them wasn’t friendship, not exactly. Even in this unprecedented, catastrophic nightmare, Lammel fell into a subservient role to Dioria, if only because he knew no other roll to play. Dioria was prettier than him, if the sociologists were to be believed (and why not?), but even if that subjective standard were discarded, there was still the matter of personality. In his digital world, Lammel made more enemies than friends, whereas Dioria had spent a summer waiting tables and had learned to feign interest in all manner of viciously boring topics. Plus, she was in possession of 28 perfectly formed ivories and a couple of dimples that, in a less devastated time, could have graced magazine covers.
Lacking any other barometers (such as one’s ability to rescue Zelda), Lammel couldn’t summon up enough self-worth to establish equality with Dioria. How tragic that even the total and utter annihilation of the human species couldn’t level the playing field.
But despite his social, mental, physical and dental deficiencies, Lammel did have one thing working in his favor.
He was the last man on earth.