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The 20th

Kesha's "Die Young" blares through my headphones. It doesn't matter how loud she is; this song is great, and less intimidating than the rest of her music. Besides, it seems appropriate.
After a long, hard day, I like to have my iPod to relax me on the bus. Remember that movie, “2012”? When on December 21st everything in the world was supposed to fall apart? Apparently, all of that was based on real Mayan predictions. And today is the 20th. Anyone alive December 31st, 1999 would understand the craziness that has transpired today – or that would've happened if my school wasn't so safe, with nothing really to be afraid of.
Although, I'm actually starting to worry.
The school day itself was a joke. In most of my classes – all but Mrs. Greenfeld in Chemistry and Mr. Jacobs in P.E – end-of-the-world inspired music was played as we worked. In English, Mr. Relk was awesome enough to play "Skyfall" by Adele.
Then, in Mrs. Georgia's World History, "Die Young" was played, thankfully. Then there was lunch, followed by an impossible Chemistry test and several laps around the gym. P.E was actually halfway entertaining, with my little group of friends making cracks about 21-12.
The last hour, with Mr. Soverman, the best Algebra teacher ever, was a sweet wrap-up to the day. We did those Christmas-related math puzzles while jamming out to "It’s The End Of The World As We Know It". I only know that song from the movie “Chicken Little”, which I used to watch all the time.
Once the bell had rung, I got out of there, ready to put this Thursday behind me.
I got my things together, and made it to my locker. Tori was there waiting to walk out to the bus loop. We basically talked about the musical coming up – I was thankful "Fiddler on the Roof" wasn't amazing enough for her to drag me into. Being each other's best friends, we know important things about one another. I know acting and performing is very important to Tori, and she knows which specific plays – "Greece", "The Wedding Singer", and even "High School Musical" – could be appealing to Carrie.
The bus certainly wasn't as empty and soundless as it is now. It was jumping with conversation. I remember looking out the dreary window, like I am right now, and saying something like, "It doesn't look like meteorite-weather." It still doesn't. In my mind, the world wouldn't end in chilly, rainy weather like this. I always assumed that if it did happen, we'd have an asteroid shower, or something involving fire. It's too wet right now for that – and yes, I just used the term "wet" to describe December. It hasn't snowed all month, and that's just wrong.
A few other fellow sophomores were already there: Erik, Rebecca, Jeff, and Maggie. We got into some heated discussions. Rebecca suggested dying right then and there, in the midst of all our friends, and Jeff said he'd laugh if they actually closed school tomorrow. Through all the kidding, there was this one guy who chimed in occasionally: August. He's in half of my classes, but he doesn’t talk very much. Today, I don't know, he must have been feeling chatty. He brought up some logical points, but not so much that he seemed like a nerd. For one thing, he mentioned that dying on a bus wouldn't be a fun way to go. Then he said they probably would close school, just so they wouldn't have to deal with any "problems", whatever that meant.
By the time we all had our own seats and could stretch our legs, August was at the center of our conversations. When someone brought up something, they might as well have been shoving a microphone in his face saying, "Your thoughts on this, August?" Once he said he had to get off in five minutes, everyone makes that seem like the end of the world.
"You're leaving?"
"Awe, we'll miss you!"
"Good luck stocking your basement."
In the middle of all the goodbyes, I raised my voice. "I got a question for August." I didn't mean to sound critical, but the awkward silence fallowing told me I should've toned it down a little.
He acted like it didn't faze him. "Sure, what?"
"Don't take this the wrong way," I said, "but are you at all nervous about tomorrow?"
When he was awkwardly hesitant, I quickly threw some of my own logic out there. "See, you don't talk a lot. I was wondering, why would you be all of a sudden talking more? Maybe because you're nervous about tomorrow? I'm just curious."
Instead of looking disturbed or offended, August gave a small nod, like he understood what I was getting at.
"You want the truth?"
I shruged.
"Well." He rested his elbows on his knees. "If you’re asking if I'm afraid of getting hit by an asteroid tomorrow, I'm not."
That was a good sign – there were no Crazies on this bus.
As if reading my thoughts, he adds, "I'm not one of those psychos. I don't believe in the end of the world. But, the thing is, I do believe in psychos." We all gave him questioning looks. "Just because we take it lightly," he went on, "doesn't mean there couldn't be some people who are willing to get themselves into a pickle so they can use the date as an accuse. ‘It's 21-12; I should get away with robbing a store.' 'It's 21-12; I could crash my car and it wouldn't matter.' 'It's 21-12; I wouldn't bring a gun on any normal day, but – "
"You think there'll be a shooting?" Tori sounded shocked.
August shrugged. "It's possible. People can be really stupid." With that, the bus skidded to a stop, and he hopped out of his seat.
It was kind of quiet after he left, before Rebecca spoke up. "So, what's everyone doing on Christmas Break?"
Time flew by even quicker. We talked a little faster because people were starting to leave. Tori, Jeff, and Eric got off in Friendly Acres, along with a few younger kids. Rebecca and Maggie eventually left too, leaving me alone with my iPod.
Now it's just me and the handful of fifth graders who need to be dropped off. Two stops later, we arrive at the beaten-up, three-story house where three older siblings have already lived, and where the youngest is currently being raised. My house.
I grab my bag, and jog to the front of the bus with it still partially in motion. Sue be mad, if she hadn't decided to go home to stalk her basement (it wouldn't surprise me, she's a lunatic) and leave us with a subsatute bus driver. This bus driver seems to know where she's going, thankfully.
The sub wishes me a good weekend, which I've never heard on a Thursday before. It occurs to me that this isn't a normal day. It's the day before the end of the world – or before someone makes it end. I hear August in my head: "I do believe in psychos." "People can be really stupid."
Walking up the driveway, my heart beats faster. Everything in my head goes into overdrive, imagining unrealistic scenarios that could happen tomorrow.
As soon as I open the door, I throw my stuff on the couch and retreat to my parents' room. I don't usually use my dad's laptop, but I spilled pop on mine last week, and this is an emergency.
I bring the computer to the island in our kitchen. I type in "21-12 End of the World" in my Google Search bar. Mostly I find some articles, containing words like "phenomenon" and "doomsday". For the most part, NASA assures the public that nothing is barreling towards earth and the Mayans shouldn't be taken seriously. Okay, I know that much. I add "school shootings" to my current search.
I get better results. Schools across the country say they'll be closing school tomorrow, to be safe. Others think it's all a bunch of nonsense, and are promising school tomorrow. Some have even had threats for a shooting already, which I think is a pretty good excuse to close down. In the midst of my search, I see some rivaling schools I happen to know – Riverside, Flickamore, and Leesville are just north of my school. Leesville and Riverside have been threatening each other, which doesn't surprise me. Those schools are really tough.
My heart drops down to my shoes when the headline "Possible Terrorist Attacks" appears on my screen.
I force myself away from the computer, stumble to the fridge, and chug orange pop straight out of the bottle to calm my nerves. I wipe off the nozzle of the pop bottle before returning to Dad's laptop.
I can't even think about anything as major as terrorist attacks. I must be blowing this way out of proportions. I go back to my previous search, with the NASA articles. I look closer, and learn that various "doomsday"s have been predicted since the Roman timea. I read how everyone was so panicked when 2000 rolled around, and how the "doomsday date" was moved to 2003. After that didn't work out, the date was moved to –
I snap the laptop closed.
This is utterly ridiculous. People just can't move the day that we're all supposed to die. I say, if you survive the so called end-of-the-world, you're in the clear. It's pointless to come up with a new "doomsday" just to freak everyone out. People are insane. Iditoic. Stupid.
People can be stupid...
No. I refuse to worry about this. The end of the world is a joke. A laugh. And it will be treated as such.
I pluck my list of chores off the refrigerator. I throw myself into the work, starting with dishes. I scrub each of them individually, not bothering to put them in the dishwasher. Once that's done, I rotate laundry, collect garbage, make beds, sweep and vacuum. I get it all done while singing the songs played at school to myself.
I bury my ridiculous nerves in house work, and Mom and Dad seem impressed when they get home. My parents are appliance salesmen - not very impressive, but they can get the bills paid.
"Thanks, sweetie," Dad says. "The house looks nice."
"Look, Honey," Mom pulls out something from her bag. "We grabbed some Chinese takeout for dinner."
"Oh, awesome! Thank you." I take my chopsticks, and start to dig in, only to be interrupted.
"Carrie, help your mother set the table." Dad thrusts silverware at me.
Mom and I organize the table cloths and silverware, and before long the three of us are sitting down to enjoy our lovely meal of Chinese takeout. Sometimes it's weird, eating in silence, but you get used to it after a while. Only now, I need something to distract me from the thoughts of earlier today. They haven't entirely gone away, I've just stored them in the back of my head, and suddenly they're creeping back up on me.
After dinner, I run off to my room. Hands in hair, elbows on knees, I desperately try to think of something sane. It's no use. Seemingly logical headlines flash in mind like warning bells. Shootings, threats, terrorists... I don't believe any of it, and yet I can't stop thinking about it.
Stupid August! I think. This is his fault! If he hadn't put all of this in my head, I wouldn't be so worried about nothing. Maybe he meant to poison my head. Maybe everyone's head is poisoned. Maybe I just need to go to sleep, or –
My restless head snaps up when mom knocks on my door. She asks if I'm okay, I say I am, and she leaves. But her coming in has distracted me, has brought me back to the present. My eyes thoughtlessly waunder around my room, until they find the window. I slowly walk over to it, and pull back the curtain, revealing the white flurries in the sky.
Hope. That's what I feel. I don't know how I can feel like that when the beginning of winter is before me, but I don't care. I'm smiling in my epiphany.
Everything goes away. All the worries, all the predictions, all the "logic". It's gone. All I think about is how pretty it looks outside.
Well, maybe there will be a shooting tomorrow. Maybe there will be a terrorist attack. Maybe the world will end by asteroids. But based on the sky, maybe we'll have a Snow Day. Maybe this will last for ten minutes but they'll close school anyway. Maybe they won't close school. I don't know. I don't care.
That catchy song from "Chicken Little" goes through my head, and I really hear the lyrics this time.

"It's the end of the world as we know it
It's the end of the world as we know it
It's the end of the world as we know it,
And I feel fine..."




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This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

JRayeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Feb. 28 at 10:15 am:
Thanks so much! :)
 
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Laugh-it-OutThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Feb. 27 at 7:42 pm:
Great job! Personally, I am rooting for the end of the world. I am not a phsyco or am I insane, I just like the idea of the thrill and wonder that goes into a catastrophe that big. I love the feelings you expressed in this, and the different songs, because being a music lover I have listened to all of them. I think you did a really good job and now ill go check out some of your other work!... thanks for looking at my stuff to!
 
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paigeschraderThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 6 at 5:09 pm:
I am a major fan of music. I absolutely love how you incripted music and current events into this piece. 
 
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