Amanda Johnson stood at the edge of the grave and smiled. She wasn’t happy that her husband of fifty-four years was gone. Far from it. She had loved him more with each passing day until he’d finally shrugged off this mortal coil. He’d been a good husband, father, grandfather, and lover. Especially the lover part. No, she smiled at the memories. They were all wonderful.
She ignored the rain that was pissing all over, rebalanced her cane, and looked out from under her umbrella. Their four children were there with their eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. They were sad now but Amanda hoped they would remember the good times as she was. Thomas had been a font of happiness and that should be his legacy.
Occasional shafts of sunlight broke through the clouds and moved across the lawn like alien beams from some cheap sci-fi flick. Thomas would have liked that. He’d loved sci-fi. Said it provided hope for the future. He prayed every day but was no fool. His belief in God was based on his love of science. He’d refused to believe he was the most evolved being in the universe. Science said he was, most likely, not and that, somehow, made him happy.
Science said cancer had killed him. It also said it was his fault. He’d ignored symptoms for years. Had he not he would, most likely, still be alive. But not even that knowledge saddened her. He’d made his decisions and lived with them. He’d never once played the “poor, poor, pitiful me” card. Instead he’d faced his impending mortality directly and with humor. He used to joke that science was going to introduce him to God. Albeit a tad sooner than he might have wished.
Just as the casket was being lowered into the ground a rogue shaft of sunlight graced the head of the coffin making it appear as if his soul was being beamed into the hereafter. That made her smile all the more. He smile widened when she heard a couple of her kids, even though they were all around fifty they were still her kids, talking about the same thing.
Thomas’ legacy would be a good one.
She clutched her umbrella tighter as the wind kicked up and headed back to the town car her son had rented. The driver opened the door and she took her seat in the rear as the rest of her family piled in.
She was pleased to hear laughter. The final shaft of sunlight had broken the somber mood. They all joked and talked on the ride back to her house.
She’d already made up her mind to sell it. She didn’t want to live out her days in a mausoleum and she knew Thomas would approve. Before she did that, however, there were a million details to take care of. Those would keep her busy for a while.
Then she would decide what the next stage of her life would entail.
Oxyl floated above the bottom of the Mariana Trench. He didn’t know it was called that, of course, to him it was just home. A place of shelter and food.
He sensed upwards and smiled inwardly as the New Gods began playing with the weather. They had been brought into this firmament to complete one task, and one task only. They were to rid the planet of the disease called humans.
The Old Gods had made them when they’d come to realize their long-game scenarios were unable to deal with the rapid evolution of these vermin.
The New Gods’ plan was insidious and glorious all at once. They would use the, planet killing, humans’ inability to care for their world as the means of their eradication. Given how quickly the Earth was heating up they figured the humans would all be gone in a hundred years or so.
A mere blink to any such as Oxyl.
Or it would be if any of them had eyes.
He let his senses revel as the New Gods used existing wind and weather patterns to create storms larger than any seen before. Those would kill many humans, to be sure, but that was just a bonus. The end game for the New Gods was to disrupt the weather patterns enough to allow the planet to heat even faster than humans could compensate. In some places they were past that tipping point already.
In less than a blink they said the polar ice caps would melt enough to release their mega-tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and envelope the planet in a shell of heat. That would be enough to trigger continent sized deserts and the resulting famine should do the rest.
Oxyl and his kin could then go above and finish any that got missed.
He would know it was time to leave his home when he heard the Dance of the New Gods.
He longed to, once again, feel the rhythm of the universe.
The three months since Thomas had died had been filled with a whirlwind of paperwork. Today, however, would be her seventy-ninth birthday. The time for paperwork was done.
She set aside the final papers for the insurance company and began prepping for the arrival of family and friends.
She passed Thomas’ Star Trek shrine in the living room and smiled anew. He’d never been one for toys, one of his many reasons for dismissing anything related to Star Wars out of hand, but he’d managed to grab small things through the years and assemble them in a display case. The top shelf was devoted exclusively to inventions inspired by Star Trek’s writers. From cell phones, to tablet computers, to translation devices, to a virtual reality simulator (as close as we’re going to get to a holodeck in our lifetimes), to a copy of Miguel Alcubierre Moya’s papers proving a Warp Drive was really possible. He even had a model of the ship, proposed by Dr. Harold “Sonny” White from NASA, that showed how such a vessel should look.
When she got to her room she set her usual cane, a simple brown thing, to the side and pulled out her black one with a silver tip and a Klingon grip. She wanted to be festive today. She chose her outfit in the same manner, eschewing drab colors for bright.
She finished dressing just as the doorbell rang. She walked over to the front door, let in the caterer, and smiled. This was going to be a fun day.
Several hours later the back yard was jumping to the sounds of the latest hip hop track and her grandchildren were happily doing the latest dance. On a whim she asked them to teach it to her. After being told she was too old to twerk she was more determined than ever to learn.
She planted her cane in the grass, bent slightly forward, and began emulating the moves she’d seen.
Left butt cheek twitched? Done.
Right butt cheek twitched? Done.
Both butt cheeks twitched? Success!
To the cheers of “Go Grandma, Go Grandma” she began to twerk.
Left, left, right.
Right, right, left.
Both, both, both.
Left, right, both.
Soon enough she was a booty shaking commando. Her ass pulsing precisely to the rhythm of the song. Her grandchildren joined in and they soon had a conga line of undulating derrières.
After a while she got tired and went to sit under the umbrella near the buffet. She was greeted by friends and family, all laughing and joking that she should take her act on the road.
“You know something,” she said as she sipped her favorite bourbon, “that’s one heck of a good idea.”
Oxyl was confused. He’d felt the tingle, savored in the call, but the New Gods were adamant they’d done nothing. The time was not yet now. They knew not where the dance had emanated but were sure it hadn’t been their doing. The sound was too distant, too feeble, to be their doing.
The Old Gods also pled ignorance. Oxyl knew none of the gods could lie so he drifted back down to his home.
To make him, and his kin, feel a little better the New Gods pointed out where humans were being swept into the seas. While the time for the large storms has passed, for now, there was still enough heat in the air to allow them to push smaller, and still lethal, ones ashore.
They kept stirring the pot and Oxyl got to dine on fine human flesh.
He couldn’t wait to go above and get it before it was water logged. Since it was something that would only happen once he relished it all the more. After all, once he was freed there would be no more humans to feast on.
He’d thought of asking the New Gods if they could keep some alive so they could breed them for food but decided against it. These creatures evolved erratically. There was no way of knowing what harm they might still cause if left alive.
Nope. Better to eat them and savor the memories.
Amanda had been touring the country, sharing her unusual take on the dance, for nine months now. Her act, a combination of twerking, liberal-ish agenda checkpoints, safe bible quotes, and a retinue of young ladies, called the Bootyquakettes, had provided the kind of fun the world had forgotten it was missing. Amanda never took any of it too seriously and neither did anyone else.
The random troupe, no one joined and no one left – they were just there or not, traversed the country and was soon to appear on an episode of Ellen. Amanda loved Ellen and couldn’t wait to meet her. She even had T-shirts made up for the dancers with BOOTYQUAKETTE emblazoned on the front and one of four bible verses featured on the back.
A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.
Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
Given that many of the young ladies were unencumbered by body modesty one could honestly be pleased to note they were, at least, girded in gladness. If not much else.
The production staff from Ellen’s show had sent a retinue of buses to pick them up in Phoenix and take them to LA for the taping.
Amanda was convinced the show would be, in the words of those hipper than her, epic.
Oxyl was apoplectic. The tingling was growing with each passing day and it had nothing to do with the New Gods. The call was becoming too strong to avoid. Something had to give.
The New Gods had an idea.
There were volcanoes under the tundra at the North Pole. They would loose them, thus releasing the mega-tonnes of carbon dioxide, and kick start the apocalypse. There were fault lies and other planetary weaknesses they felt sure they could exploit as well.
Then Oxyl and his ilk could be released to fulfill their destinies.
It meant more work for the under-beings but none minded. The Old Gods would, once again, be free to balance the world and the New Gods would retire until the next threat arose.
Oxyl, in as much as he could, smiled.
He began his leisurely ascent and mapping his path to the nearest coast.
H e would wait for his cue from the New Gods, but freedom was coming.
Along with food. Lots of tasty, fresh, human tasting, food.
Ellen lived up to her reputation. The buses were opulent, the accommodations state-of-the-art, the audience would be packed with family and friends, and Ellen, herself – can you believe it?, had learned to twerk like Amanda so she could join the crew.
Amanda made sure to get her a shirt.
They arrived at the studio at the appointed time. No way not to really. They were herded from the hotel like cattle.
Amanda loved all of it.
Team Ellen had pulled out all the stops. Dr. Dre, not a real doctor Amanda was bummed to discover, and Nikki Minaj were on hand to provide the music. There were also many prominent feminists on hand who were to join the Werk It & Twerk It episode, as it was being billed.
About an hour after they arrived a cute production assistant, named Derrick, came to their room and ran down the day’s schedule for them. He reminded Amanda of a young Thomas. Square jaw, well muscled, with a deep, kind, voice.
The thought of Thomas made her wince a little. She had been so busy Twerking for Jesus all over the country she hadn’t thought much about him. Then she shrugged. She didn’t need to think of him to have him in her heart. He was there always. His lessons, his laugh, just him, imbued all that she was.
The next hour was a blur. Cameras flashing, celebrities dancing, people asking for autographs, charities asking her to host twerking events on their behalf, and so on.
When the show aired, later that day, Amanda was sitting in her hotel room, sipping a well deserved bourbon, watching intently. She couldn’t believe how many people were spiritually helped by her, elderly, bouncing ass.
The cameras showed people gleefully dancing in the aisles and singing along with each song. There were even cut away shots of various politicians joining in on the fun.
Amanda thought that science may be dry but God sure had a lively sense of humor.
Near the end of the show a chyron informed her there had been a series of massive volcanic explosions near the North Pole. It later informed her that scientists said it would take decades to assess the damage.
She refilled her glass. Her good mood gone.
Shortly after the show ended the apocalypse began.
Amanda watched, hopelessly, as news show after news show showed giant beings, multi-tentacled and multi-mouthed, emerging from the seas to swallow humans like snacks. Earthquakes were being reported globally. Two had already caused the beginnings of tsunamis.
Several, small by recent standards, hurricanes had popped up in the Atlantic Ocean and were headed directly towards the U.S.
The monsters ignored the pounding winds, as well as all other atrocities, and just kept feeding.
Other beings, vaguely humanoid and larger than the monsters, could be seen performing some sort of ritual above the seas, moving from crest to crest. One of the stations managed to get a helicopter close enough so the cameraman could zoom in on the dancing aliens. The reporters on TV figured it out just after Amanda did. They were doing a dance.
Her special twerk.
Her twerk for Jesus.
The twerk that Ellen, and countless others, had so recently celebrated.
Left, left, right.
Right, right, left.
Both, both, both.
Left, right, both.
The dance which had brought so much joy also seemed to be the bringer of Armageddon.
People were dying by the millions while monsters danced.
Amanda pushed her glass aside and grabbed the bottle, glad that Thomas was dead. He would have been so disappointed to discover science was wrong and hope was a lie.
Twerking for Jesus © 2018 – Bill McCormick