One day the sun died. It wasn’t due for another five billion years. Some say the Russians nuked it when no one was looking, sent a killshot straight into its heart during halftime of the Super Bowl, while the woke stared down at their feet, peeing, due to fear or beer, and the asleep made Lemonade into a religion. Some say the man with the jackal teeth and wildly fake beard did it. Say he gambled his country away before he was even in charge. Say he bet with the promise of his first son, but paid with the blood of our sun.
As the world shivered and starved, the man used the last of the earth’s resources to feed every home in the world with his face, live from Akron, Ohio, for a five minute broadcast. With forked tongue, the man spoke of his approval ratings amongst 18-35 year old male Inuit (statistically the most likely to survive these frigid, new times), spoke of how he was bringing jobs back to the Rust Belt by rendering all technologies useless without electricity. He more than once shouted that “Darkness is the great equalizer!” Then, lastly, the man wished to show the world that his great country would lead the way back to light by a breathtaking show of strength, by launching a fleet of blimps into the sky, live, on this broadcast.
As the silver balloons rose into the dark sky, lit only by pillars of spotlight, a questionless hush fell over the professional actors with fake press credentials at the airfield. Across the world people could not take their eyes off the screen, cameras switching between the man smiling his jackal smile and the fleet of blimps growing smaller in the earth’s atmosphere.
Off-camera, a woman’s voice was heard warning, “Thirty seconds.”
The man stared straight into the camera, exuding self-importance, his beard flailing wildly as the spirit gum slipped and wind picked up, before pushing an absurdly large red button with a great flourish.
On cue, spotlights shut down. The world stared into black screens. Out of the darkness, the man’s voice spoke, dramatically, “To a new dawn.”
And there was light.
Overhead, the blimps ignited. First small like a distant star, then bright as Venus on the horizon, then full like the moon, then bright as our dead sun.
In the heat of the TV screens, the man’s eyes grew wide as the flames continued to grow, streaking across the entire sky, the earth’s upper atmosphere igniting.
People watched as the sunless night over Akron turned into a blazing hellscape, the man presiding over it all like a frightened devil, before the last volts of the earth’s power drained and all the TVs went black.
Outside, across the world, people left their homes and gathered in the darkness. They nervously chattered amongst themselves, watching the star-spangled night, for the wildfire’s red glare to reach pure oxygen overhead, so they could reunite with our dead sun for a moment, before night again extinguished all hope.
Ron Gibson, Jr. has previously appeared in Stockholm Review of Literature, Cheap Pop, New South Journal, Jellyfish Review, Whiskeypaper, The Bohemyth, Easy Street, Noble / Gas Quarterly, Harpoon Review, Spelk Fiction, Entropy Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, etc… forthcoming at (b)oink, Heavy Feather Review, apt, & Glove Lit Zine. He tweets at @sirabsurd.