Jack is the chosen one. Of course, Jack is the chosen one. His name is fucking Jack. I mean, he was the nicest guy in school. Good athlete, not the best. He didn’t kick the most goals, but if you reviewed the plays, he was almost always had passed the ball to the one who scored. His grades were always good too. We were friends for a while. More when we were younger. Even in high school, he wanted to look out for me, I just didn’t want to be looked out for.
So, now he’s the chosen one. I don’t know what that means. There’s a prophecy, and he’s going to save the world, I guess.
“Wait, so you knew that guy? Like for real?” Gail is lying on the couch, head in my lap. She’s looking at her phone, occasionally showing me a picture while she thumbs through trending topics.
“Would I make that up?”
“You’d make a lot of shit up. But yeah, probably not that. This guy looks like an absolute tool. And what the fuck does saving the world even mean? It’s like one catastrophe is averted and there’s a new one the next day. Is he going to stop global warming? Can he cure a pandemic? But sure, let’s pick the most Aryan looking motherfucker to be the chosen one.”
“Gail, you’re very cynical,” I bend over to kiss her.
“Maybe if you’d stayed friends, you could have been his sidekick.”
“Stop looking at your phone. I’m going to get up,” I make the slightest effort to stand.
“No, I want to lie here forever, and you’re so comfortable. It’s why you’d make such a good sidekick. Captain Chosen would come home after a long day’s work of punching volcanos, and he’d be able to rest his head on your lap, and all his cares would disappear.”
“You’re going to make yourself jealous, talking like that. He never rested his head on my lap.”
She sits up. “But you two kissed, right? He’s the guy you told me about.”
“Yeah. But we were kids.”
“I’m not jealous. I’m just thinking that I got the guy that slipped through the Chosen One’s fingers. Shit, he should be jealous. Come on, bedroom, now.”
Things get weird over the next couple of days. Unusual lights in the sky. The president gives a strange address about the end of days which ends with him foaming at the mouth. There are a lot of car crashes, and something makes the birds confused. I stay home from work, and while Gail has already been working from home, she logs fewer hours.
I’m in the kitchen, cooking dinner. Chicken parmigiana. I’m aware of Gail entering the room, but she doesn’t say anything until I put the pan into the oven.
“It’s over,” she whispers.
“Your friend, Jack, he succeeded. He’s averted the end of the days, but he…he died in the process.”
My first thought is, “Of course he did. That’s so like him. Not just to save everybody, but to die doing it.”
“There’s a candlelight vigil,” she says, “We should go.”
“What happened to the world still needing saving tomorrow?”
“We go tonight, and then we fix the world tomorrow,” she hugs me. We stay like that, embracing, until the chicken is ready to come out of the oven.