The ironic thing about the end of the world was that it actually occurred on the day after one of those stupid groups had predicted it would. In fact, irony of ironies, it occurred at exactly 11:13 pm, when a large group of friends and acquaintances were celebrating at an "I Survived The Apocalypse" party.
It was a not-too large but not-too small party and by nearly all accounts (though really there are no written accounts of the party, as all goers died) it was going great.
Lauren Fitzpatrick, though, was laughably bored. This party had been done what seemed like a hundred times before. In fact, it was the third end-of-the-world party he'd been to this week, and this was the stupidest yet.
It wasn't his normal crowd, but one his girlfriend, who had disappeared earlier in the night, hung around with. Everyone there seemed to be trust fund babies with varying degrees in fine arts or classical studies or philosophy or some other equally useless undergrad program. They all wore terrible metallic-looking clothing, puffy shirts and giant overcoats in shades like scarlet or indigo or maroon. You know, the color shades that are wildly unnecessary in the grand scheme of things.
He made a mental note to dump his girlfriend later.
Lauren looked up from his musings, startled to find an exceptionally ugly woman sitting beside him. He grunted, not really caring what artsy, snobby remark was about to fall out of her misshapen mouth.
She rolled her drooping eyes, the color of puke. "Look, mate, I don't have all night. In fact, I don't have three minutes. The world is ending, you know," she said in a matter-of-fact kind of way.
Lauren blinked at her and thought, Well, great, I'm stuck at a stupid party, the world is ending, and I'm spending my last moments with the ugliest woman imaginable.
He realized he might have said that last bit out loud, but she went on, undeterred, her bright red nails biting into her gnarled hands. "I'm here with three messages for you."
Lauren personally cared nothing for this woman's messages and was about to kindly tell her to fuck off, but she interrupted his thoughts again.
He thought this rather rude.
"You are Lauren Fitzpatrick, yes?"
Lauren just stared at her, trying to figure out what she was on and if she could hook him up, before nodding slowly, cautiously, as one does when a crazy woman comes up to you at a terrible party and starts speaking of worlds ending and names and messages.
She took a deep breath and looked up at the ceiling, as if she were trying to remember the exact wording of a speech she had barely memorized, about to make a fool of herself in front of the whole class. Again.
"You wouldn't be able to pick out Waldo in a street full of naked people. You're just that goddamn unobservant."
Lauren quietly twiddled his thumbs. A boy in his sophomore English class had frequently twiddled his thumbs, and Lauren had found it so irritating he'd dropped the class mid-semester and forgone the credit.
Lauren, quite clearly, had a hard time getting any sort of degree.
"You remember that poem you read me in freshman year? The one about being able to tell if someone was lying? I was lying when I said I liked it."
Lauren studied his companion, hoping to find some appealing quality in her, since she didn't seem to scare away by twiddling, and that usually worked. (It didn't actually ever work. Lauren was just an irksome individual, and people just honestly didn't like to be around him.) After a few seconds he gave up. She really was quite ugly.
"You really were a rubbish boyfriend. I'm glad you're going to be dead in a minute aaaand…." The woman glanced down at her watch, which hung loosely on her bony wrist, quietly doing the math. "47 seconds. Oh, and I slept with your best friend. He's bigger."
The woman looked back at him expectantly. Lauren stared. She rolled her eyes again. Lauren didn't care. She didn't know anything about him, his girlfriends, or any possible long past romantic trysts between Mike and the aforementioned girlfriends.
One of the metallic-clothed couples collapsed onto the loveseat beside him, sweaty and drunk and disgustingly maroon.
What an moronic color, maroon.
The woman looked down at her watch again. "Okay, time for me to skedaddle. You've got about, oh, 58 seconds. I'd break up with that girlfriend now rather than later, yeah?" She stood up briskly, smoothing out her chartreuse skirt (now chartreuse, there was a color he could get behind; a deliciously atrocious color, violent and perfectly dreadful all wrapped into one), and held out her skeleton hand for him to shake. Lauren just stared at it.
She rolled her eyes one last time, and stated simply, "Well, Mr. Fitzpatrick, it was simply dreadful knowing you. I hope you all the worst in life and many sorrows in Hell beyond."
And with that, she was gone. Lauren looked over again at the appalling display to his right, contemplating what color his girlfriend had worn tonight. If it was indigo, he'd break up with her the second he laid eyes on her. Scarlet, in front of her friends- or maybe her family. Maroon, well, then it'd have to be her birthday. That was in only a month. He could stand to wait.
Unfortunately, the man who'd been watching him watch the couple of slobbering monkeys to his right, one of whom was the man's sister, decided Lauren was a creep and punched him solidly in the face. He hadn't liked Lauren when he'd met him earlier in the night (Lauren had made some crack about his indigo-maroon tie dye puffy pants- he really liked these pants), and he would have smirked the self-satisfied smirk taught to every boy in his family's country club in the nation only rich people know about, except that the universe felt the need to explode just at that exact moment and start all over because it found both Lauren and the human race terribly irritating.
The guy with a Master's of Fine Arts' last conscious thought was, Maroon really is an awesome color. I'm awesome.
Lauren's girlfriend's was, Oh god, Mike really is bigger.
Lauren's was that the messenger-woman would have looked a strange sort of lovely under a chartreuse light.
The woman in chartreuse's last thought didn't come until years and years later, because she had safely ridden out the end of the universe in a movie theater in Cleveland. The planet, not the city. But then, her last thought was, That guy was right. Maroon really is a stupid color.
And with that 50 philosophers, 72 fine arts majors, and 104 classics majors just keeled over and died. Not for any particular reason. It just felt like a good day to die. A chartreuse kind of day, not maroon or indigo or scarlet, but chartreuse.
And somewhere far, far within good 'ol atheist Hell, Lauren rolled over in his not-sleep and smiled, his first honest un-ironic smile in a long goddamn time.