“It’s the end of the world,” he said.

That’s what the guy said. He said that. On the crippled radio in my car.

At 8 this morning, as I was dozing in Shaw’s parking lot waiting for the “old folks” hour to begin, I heard the words, “It’s the end of the world.”

The channel was full of static, and he was talking to a woman who kept coughing. I hope they were both wearing masks. Different colors of course.

Fighting sleep, I was tuned to some sort of political religious station, broadcasting out of the South. I only get three clear stations.

One other, a country western station from God knows where, and the third is Maine Public Radio here in Maine.


MPR is the only station that comes in clearly on my basic Prius radio, and they were talking about a mob of six protesters at the State House in Augusta, and not a mention of the world coming to an end. Was I dreaming? I dream a lot in this new world.

Stunned, my first thought was it’s the end of the world and I’m getting my car washed? How bizarre is that?

And I’m buying 50 bucks worth of new underwear? WTH?

I closed my eyes and drifted into a dream.

The world is ending, and my piano is only six months old, and I have three New Yorker Magazines to finish.

The world is ending, and I’m here at the market to buy food for dinner. Is there a timeline, do you think, for the demise of the planet? Will I have time to make a salad?


A red pickup roared by filling the air with gasoline fumes.

I felt comforted by that, because it means I still have my sense of smell.

Dr. Fauci says that if you can still smell, you haven’t got IT.

That’s why I keep cooking lots of cabbage with bacon and garlic, and washing my sheets in her cologne, just to make sure I’m not sick.

Safe in my car, the heater is warming my feet. I hear Lester Holt reading the latest.



He continued: “As the planet drowns in staggering numbers, hundreds of millions are dying, and Steve Kornacki will now read the new numbers.”

In the dream, Holt continued.

“With the final baguette in Paris being sold, Chinese restaurants everywhere cancelling all curbside deliveries of egg rolls, pizzerias around Brooklyn shuttered, and the last pound of veal in Rome is now on eBay, NBC declares the jig is up.”

The Holy Father just announced that the end is here.

T.S. Eliot, in his poem “The Hollow Men” once told us:

This is the way the world ENDS
This is the WAY the world ends
This is the way the WORLD ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Cheer up. It was a dream. The good news is that the numbers are receding, and more Mainers are lining up for the vaccine, Biden is president, and Megan and Harry are expecting.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 

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