31 Things In 31 Days: Day Three


Sandwichboard Guy had been warning about the end times for as long as I’ve lived in my sixth-floor walkup, and he was pretty much a fixture of the day. He wore the boards every day, walking up and down the block – and they were covered with hand-scrawled notes, heavily sharpies warnings, intricate drawings and things that looked like they might have been writing if it weren’t for the fact that instead of letters they looked like stars and moons and snowflakes and sunbursts.

Sometimes I gave him a sandwich; he was pretty scrawny. Sometimes he thanked me, but usually he just nodded and kept on his decrees of impending doom, secreting the food away somewhere under the sandwich board. It was dark under there. I was okay with not seeing too much of him.

This was more extreme than his usual clamor, though; for one, he was yelling. He’d often proclaim, lift his voice for a couple people to hear, but this was a raw, desperate scream.

For another thing, it was three-sixteen in the morning. I was out on a late night laundromat run since insomnia had hit, but I was pretty certain that he wasn’t usually out this late. Or this early.

For a third, he was staring straight at me across the totally deserted intersection. I couldn’t recall him ever actually looking anyone in the eye before. His eyes were wide, and wicked blue.

“THE END IS NIGH!” he screamed again, and his hands were at his shoulders, scrabbling and picking at whatever it was that was keeping the sandwich boards attached together across his shoulders. Buckled straps, maybe? Pieces of rope, braided shoelaces? I’d never really noticed, and from here I couldn’t see. What I could still see was his eyes. They weren’t looking at me any more, but I could still see them because they were glowing.

No shit, seriously – his eyes were glowing, that eerie blue spreading out in a weird widening ray from them, as if he were wearing LED flashlights in the front of the head. And from underneath the sandwich boards, somewhere just south of his midsection, there was a reddish glow – I didn’t want to think about where that was coming from, let alone why it wasn’t actually covered up out in public.

“THE END-” his head snapped up, Sandwichboard Guy’s glowing eyes shining straight across the intersection at me, and suddenly it went intensely, painfully bright, widening in all directions from in like a glowing disc of blue, above a glowing pair of red wedges coming out either side of the boards right around his hips. It filled the intersection, and I couldn’t see.

Just as quick, it was gone, and so was Sandwichboard Guy. His boards clattered to the sidewalk, muffled by the pile of his clothing.

I didn’t go over to check them out. The end wasn’t nigh for me, except the end of the fluff cycle on my laundry.


This was written as part of the 31 Things In 31 Days project, being run on the page of the same name on Google+. For more information or to participate, go there.

Day Three prompt:


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