It started the way many office distractions did: One person more interested in surfing the Web than working would come across an unusual/amusing/shocking headline/video/picture, say “Oh my God!” loudly enough to draw attention to him/herself, his/her neighbors would start rubbernecking to see what the fuss was about, they’d look it up themselves, make their own exclamations, and on it would go down the rows of cubicles until whatever it was had diverted the attention of most of the workforce.
The closer it got to the holidays, the more of these there had been at Barry’s office, and the dumber they seemed to get every day. It was to the point where a video of some guy slipping on the ice would be enough to prevent anything from being accomplished post-lunchtime.
And so it was with the news of the meteors. The difference being that this particular event warranted distraction.
Because, you know: The end of the world and what-not.
It was a curiously well-organized Armageddon. It started in the Far East and then made its way across the planet, a few time zones at a time in a remarkably orderly fashion. Throughout the day, the headlines rolled in, starting with “Meteors May Be Headed For Earth”, which was followed quickly by “Meteor Lands In Pacific, Triggers Massive Tsunami”, then “Meteor Hits, Obliterates Australia”.
From there, in fairly short order, it was “Western Asia, Eastern Europe Destroyed”, “Meteors Hit Iranian Nuclear Facility, Cause Worst Meltdown Since Fukushima Dai-ichi”, “Meteors Wipe Out Rest Of Europe, Most Of Africa”, “South America Destroyed”, and then, as the meteors closed in on North America: “That’s All, Folks”.
Barry’s colleagues were–understandably–freaking the heck out. Barry, however, just sat there amidst the sobbing, screaming, looting, and flying papers and debris. It had already been confirmed that the next meteor–the one that would likely take all of them out–was going to hit within minutes. Sure, he wanted to see his girlfriend, get drunk, have sex with a stranger–whatever you did when the end of the world was imminent–as much as the next guy, but the meteors had come out of nowhere and had come too fast for anyone on Earth to do anything about them but report the damage. So he wasn’t going to do any of that end-is-nigh stuff, and he decided he sure as heck wasn’t going to have a mental breakdown about it.
Instead, thanks to the song playing over the office Muzak system (barely audible above the weeping and gnashing of teeth), Barry found himself, in his last moments on Earth, preoccupied by a single, chilling thought:
If there’s an afterlife, will “Hey Santa!” be stuck in my head for all eternity?