John Witherman woke with a start. 6:30 am. He groaned as he got out of bed. He changed out of his pajamas and combed his hair. He slipped on his crimson-lined silver watch, then he neatly folded his pajamas on his bed, pushed the nightstand, alarm clock and all, onto his bed, and took the picture hanging on his wall down to lay it on top of the nightstand. He carted his bed over to what looked like an overlarge laundry chute, and with one little push, the bed rolled down into the darkness at the bottom of the laundry chute.
He yawned and walked away, as if this were perfectly normal, which it was for him. He then went into his kitchen, leaving behind an empty bedroom, like a jail cell with no furniture. He fried some eggs and made himself a cup of coffee. As he was about to dump the coffee maker, he heard a friendly honk. He looked out the window. It was Paul, the stuff-delivery man.
The government provided a program where, if you paid $100 a week, they would have beds, clocks, and all of the knickknacks and items important to life delivered to your home every week. John paid Paul for the delivery and took the knickknacks into his room to be sorted later.
He returned to the kitchen, grabbed his coffee, and headed into the living room. He clicked on the TV as he sipped his coffee. There was some news of a man arrested for trying to use a table twice. Nothing interesting. He clicked the TV back off, threw it down the chute, and sat at his table, still sipping coffee, waiting for the Apollo 2000 to come up.
The Apollo 2000 was like the sun. They couldn’t use the old one because it was blotted out by trash. In fact, the whole galaxy had been filled by trash. The black holes were jammed. The stars were being crushed left and right. Even the great and mighty sun couldn’t burn its way through all that trash. So they used a fake sun. It came up and went down at exactly the same time each day. It was never too bright, too dim, too cold, or too hot. It was perfect.
But on the downside, there was so much trash that Earth would be squished if it weren’t for the Bubble. The Bubble was a government project. The townspeople all had had to pay 70% tax for it, but it had been worth it. The government built a huge bubble around Earth to protect it from being destroyed by the trash pressing in around it. They named it the Bubble, because that was the most creative name they could think of. Nobody knew exactly what it was made of. The Bubble was held up by pillars in Japan, Brazil, Canada, Antarctica, Peru, and Vietnam. They were called pillars, but they were more like steel towers.
John glanced at his silver watch with crimson lining. 7:00. He still had time. He decided to walk to work that day. He would be able to watch the Apollo 2000 rise as he walked. The walk was pretty short. John lived on Sun Street, on the Pacific Ocean. Although it wasn’t really an ocean anymore. It was just another piece of land. It had long since been filled up with trash, all of the water sucked up like paper in a glass of water. Same as all the other oceans. What was the use of oceans when they could have land there instead?
John stopped. Before him lay a mound of trash. It had sharp turns and angles at the edges, but overall its effect was smooth as silk. It was silhouetted in the dim morning air. As he watched, the Apollo 2000 rose, illuminating the scene. The pile of trash grew darker, until it looked as though it were made of black velvet. It was a sight to behold. John watched all of this in awed silence. This was not new to him. He saw this same sight nearly every morning. Yet it never ceased to amaze him.
His experience was cut short by the sound of a truck coming up the street. The truck drove up in front of the mound. It was a garbage truck, piled high with chairs and tubs and other things like that. It wasn’t rare to see garbage trucks driving by. In fact, there were now probably more garbage trucks than normal cars driving around. As the truck passed, a single piece of trash blew off of it. John could make out the words “We’re lovin it, M” on the plastic container. Underneath it was a picture of a clown. The piece of trash landed softly on the mound.
There was a tense silence as the garbage truck drove away. Then there was a rumbling. A deep rumbling, coming from nowhere and everywhere. Then fine lines seemed to break through the mound. The light streamed through these lines, nearly blinding John. He stumbled backwards. Then the mound began to crumble, first little bits, then bigger parts. The other mounds nearby began to crack also, as if in response. As far as the eyes could see, mound upon mound cracked and crumbled.As he saw the mountain of trash rushing upon him, John was not afraid. The world would be built over again. The survivors would gather together to start another world atop the trash now cascading towards him. They would do it again. And again. Until there was nowhere else to go. This was his last thought as the trash came rushing down upon him. And in the light of the dawning sun, you could just see something silver skidding away from the mound. If you looked closer, you could see that it was a watch, a silver watch with crimson lining. And on it were the numbers 7:23.