There’s no such thing as dogs today.
And another thing: where have the cats gone? And the zebras? And all the other people? There used to be all kinds of things, but pigeons rule the land now, and the sky—everything but the sea, which no one can rule because the fish and whales and mermaids have disappeared also. It occurs to me that every living thing besides me and these pigeons might have boarded a spaceship together, a kind of Noah’s Ark. It must have been invisible for them to have gotten away with it, while also being roughly the size of planet Earth, although wait, hear me out, what if there are two Earths, or at least an original and a perfect replica, and what if the replica was created solely for the purposes of storing me and all these pigeons, and every other living creature got together and conspired to totally screw us over by stranding us here like a bunch of bullshit sad-sacks? I can see it all so clearly, now. I yank my head out of the lake and feel worse than ever.
I am in a bad way. I roast a pigeon as an experiment, but it tastes horrible, and it was rough to throttle. And although now I can do strange things like take my clothing off in darkened arcades or drive a tractor on the interstate, without anyone to share these moments with, such actions feel lonesome beyond comprehension. On top of all, there is no one left to cut my hair. What will I do once it grows out? What would my father say if he could see me? My god.
And so, at the end of the Earth, there’s just me and all these pigeons who shit like there’s no tomorrow because maybe there is no tomorrow. Maybe there’s just us on this city street for the next several eternities, wondering how the dogs and the cats and politicians and the zebras and all the other motherfuckers managed to take the future with them, too.
Chris Vanjonack is an M.F.A. candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a reader at Ninth Letter, and a former language arts teacher from Fort Collins, Colorado. His fiction has appeared in One Story, Hobart, The Rumpus, CRAFT Literary, Carve Magazine, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @chrisvanjonack and read more stories at chrisvanjonack.com.