* * *
Bermuda and Steve are a two-headed naked monster. Bermuda is on the right half of the body, and is the “mean one.” Steve is on the left, and is the “nice one.” They will never Win Fabulous Prizes or Get Stabbed in the Chest.
* * *
Bermuda and Steve are slogging down Main Street, waist-deep in flood, with a sandwich board that says, “There Is No Universe.” They are passing out pamphlets. Scared families huddle close on homemade rafts. Things explode nearby, sending ripples through the water. No one is interested in anti-Universe propaganda, no one takes a pamphlet.
“The Universe is a Hoax!” Steve yells and shakes his fist. “No outer space! No Moon, no Mars! No Universe! It’s what They want you to think! It’s all what They want you to think!”
“Hey,” Bermuda calls to a fat woman trying desperately to balance herself on a floating picnic table. “The Universe is a hoax.” Her small white dog yaps at the two-headed monster as he tries to hand her a pamphlet.
“I don’t want one,” says the Lady. “Look, I’m just going to paddle away. Okay?” the fat woman wobbles forwards, almost loses her balance, catches it. She paddles small circles with the tips of her fingers.
“Here, let me give you a push,” offers Bermuda, his mouth smiling like he doesn’t know if he should smile or not. He gives the picnic table a little shove.
“Don’t touch my boat!” shouts the woman. She and her dog slowly float away.
“Hey guys,” says Howie the Little Girl. She is sitting on the trunk of a very large oak tree. She holds her best friend--a shriveled Old Man Head--in her arms. “I want a pamphlet.”
Steve looks up at Howie and sneers. “Nice tree, jerk hole.”
“Hi, Howie,” says Bermuda. “That is a nice tree.”
“Can I have a pamphlet? What’s it about?”
“These cost money to print and we can’t waste them.” Steve hands a pamphlet to a Business Man dog-paddling nearby. The man takes it without looking at what it is, and paddles on. “So get lost, jerk hole. We got stuff to do.”
“We really do have stuff to do. Like, handing out these pamphlets.” Bermuda holds up a handful of pamphlets and wiggles them so she knows which pamphlets he’s talking about. Just then a huge gust of tornado wind blusters by and steals the stapled sheets of informational paper into the sky.
“I can’t believe this!” shouts Steve in Bermuda’s ear. “You lost the pamphlets. This is so like you.”
“It was the wind! I was holding them tight like you say to.”
“You can’t blame the Coming of the Whale Wars every time you feel like messing up.”
“But this really was, and you still have some left…”
“I don’t need to hear it again, Bermuda. There’s only so many times I need to hear it. Geez.” Steve sighs.
Bermuda sags his shoulder, chin dropping to his side of the chest.
“Head says The Midnight Mailman is the Chosen One,” says Howie.
Steve squints up at the pamphlets now only tiny dots in the sky, blending with the dark black clouds of impending prophecy fulfillment. “What? That guy’s a jerk. No way. I’m probably the Chosen One.”
“Yeah!” Bermuda’s head pops back up. “You could totally be the Chosen One.”
Howie shifts her shriveled pet in her lap. “That’s not what Head says. He says it’s The Midnight Mailman who’ll stop the Flood and bring peace to the Whales.”
“Whatever.” Steve turns around to face the other way. He watches as a group of yellow Cutes swim past.
The Cute in front of the group turns around excitedly to the others. “Don’t get lost! Don’t fall behind! Remember, don’t get separated from the rest of us!”
“Well,” Bermuda looks up at Howie and her pet severed head. “Say Hi to your Mom for us.”
“She died,” says Howie. “Plague. But Head says she might come back when this storyline is over.”
“Yeah, maybe,” snorts Steve. “Like some head could ever even tell what’s going to happen in the next story. Maybe They’ll kill you off. Maybe you’ll never come back. Maybe it’s all just a Fake story with no Happy Endings to propagate Perverted Myths of Parents and the Post Office and how great it all is, aren’t we so happy just to be here?” Steve throws his handful of pamphlets, which catch in the steadily increasing winds.
“I’m sure your Mom will come back,” says Bermuda. “Sometimes we disappear for a long time before we show up again. Sometimes a really, really long time.”
Howie looks at the two-headed monster as she holds her best friend in the whole world tighter to her chest. “I know. Us, too.”
The water level rises. Countless masses of Locusts swarm through the air. People swim and float around in hopeless circles, crying, yelling, dying of Plague. The air, slippery with hot, grows hotter and hotter still. The rumbling of the civilized world lazered into nothing by cold-hearted vampires is a constant.
And it has only just begun.