“Oh.” Not ohm. Oh. Ernie never fancied himself the metaphysical sort. However, he did spend this moment enlightening himself to a few of the inner mysteries of the scene before him. For instance: no one was sleeping, they all happened to be dead. They were dead. Their dogs were dead. The fleas on their dogs were dead. The microscopic beneficial bacteria that infested the fleas’ stomachs were dead.
“Oh,” he said again. Another flash of intuition as the silence of the outside world came suddenly crashing in on him with brutal, ruthless efficiency. “I believe I might be the only one left.”
There was, of course, no one to explain to him that yes, yes you are the only one left alive, probably. That’s because no one, probably, was left alive to explain that simple fact to him.
“Well, what the fuck am I supposed to do now?” He said to Thelia’s corpse, laid out on the little lawn strip outside their apartment building, today’s paper in her outstretched hands. Thelia, the prostitute that lived next door. Thelia, the corpulent prostitute that lived next door, who would happily divest Ernie of a few hundred dollars every other payday for a sweaty, labored, metaphorical roll in the metaphorical hay. Thelia who—
“Wow, she reads the paper?”
It occurred to him, then, that surely an event of this magnitude would be preceded by some sort of news. A viral outbreak. An alien attack. Something. With extreme care so as not to touch Thelia’s corpse, at all (God knows what viral or bacterial corpses might be piled up on her unwashed body), Ernie dislodged the paper from her grip, wiped it on the grass, and picked it up.
“Barack Obama… Bush… war crimes… Britney Spears’ nipples… Israel… Gaza… Pakist- Wait, Britney Spears’ nipples?!” Flipping back, Ernie discovered, unfortunately, that the story was about some new, named line of baby care products. “Bah. Nothing. Nothing at all to explain… this.”
With a sigh, Ernie looked around and made a decision. “I’m going to have to try and see if I’m maybe the only person left. That means travel. That means—“ He took one look at his beat-up little 1995 Ford Ranger with the cavalcade of Florida Fraternal Order of Police stickers covering the entire back window except for the little space he used to look out of for backing up and nodded resolutely.
“I believe I’ll just use someone else’s car.”