THROUGH THE FIRE: My Last Day Before the Rapture


(First published in
The Rafu Shimpo on May 25, 2011.)


The following are my journal entries for Friday May 20, 2011, the last recorded day before the Rapture.

7:30 AM: I’m awake. The sun is on my face. This makes me angry. My bed is warm and I am very comfortable. I need a miracle.

7:31 AM: I hit the snooze. I dream that I am asleep in my bed, content and happy. But my bed is a cloud. There are winged pieces of bacon flying all around me. They are singing a wonderful song. I open my mouth and three pieces of bacon fly inside. It’s heaven.

7:36 AM: The buzzer goes off again and I am awake. I force myself out of bed and into my shower. I get shampoo in my eyes and tears start streaming down my face. I curse my shampoo, which makes me feel very silly, seeing as how tomorrow is the Rapture. Then, I recall my flying-bacon dream. I start to seriously doubt my chances.

9:30 AM: I arrive at work. I open up the store, feeling the morning’s coffee slowly invigorating my mind. There won’t be any customers for a few hours. Nobody will be buying toys this early in the morning. Because tomorrow, well…

11:47 AM: Jesus walks into the store. He’s carrying two large boxes. He sets them on the back table. I ask Jesus where he’s been. He says he’s just come from the Ed Hardy store next door. Jesus tells me about how much he hates Ed Hardy. Apparently his dad bought a shirt there and won’t stop wearing it, which Jesus finds really embarrassing for a man his age. I ask Jesus about his weekend plans. Just chillin’, he says, but he might get wrecked with some friends later. I nod, sign for the boxes, and Jesus leaves. Of all our store’s delivery guys, Jesus always tells the best stories.

6:00 PM: I leave work. I’m stuck in traffic for two hours because there’s a bunch of clothes in the No. 2 lane. Why are people braking for this?

8:07 PM: I get home. My roommate is playing the New Super Mario Bros. on Wii. I grab a remote and join in. Life is amazing.

9:38 PM: We start to plan out the night. We agree we should do something memorable, something completely unforgettable.

10:49 PM: We end up at the bar. It’s our regular bar. We like it because despite the number of times we’ve been here, we still feel like greenhorns. The regulars are all pros. Think of any protagonist in a Charles Bukowski novel and you get the idea. You could tell these people that the world is ending and they wouldn’t care. They’d say they have more to worry about than the end of the world.

11:33 PM: The place is buzzing. My roommate has just hit a three-rail shot and everyone who sees it agrees that it was a miracle. Everyone sees the irony of such a statement and toasts. A man starts passing out Twinkies to everyone in the crowd. It seems odd, but fitting too.

12:26 AM: I video-chat with my girlfriend in New York. She’s still out. The quality is poor and all I can make out is that she’s about to try fugu. I show her the Twinkie and take a bite. Then I tell her I love her. She smiles.

1:14 AM: We leave the bar. We’re good to drive but very hungry. Again, something very memorable must be done for this meal.

1:22 AM: We arrive at Jack in the Box. We place our order: 20 tacos and two large curly fries. We agree this order is satisfactory. On the way home, we are amazed that this much food can cost the same as two gallons of gas.

1:59 AM: We eat the whole meal. We want to forget we did but it’s impossible. There’s no turning back the tide. We leave the living room to pray…before the porcelain throne.

2:22 AM: I reflect. If this is truly my last night on Earth, if tomorrow is truly the End of Days, then what do I make of my time here? I must say I enjoyed it immensely. I enjoyed movies and the beach and good barbecue. I enjoyed seeing a city sprawl out from the skyline whenever I’d fly. I enjoyed Oshogatsu with family. I enjoyed taking road trips with good friends. I enjoyed making breakfast with my girlfriend. I enjoyed being a speck on a rock in an ocean of gas. It was a great ride.

2:47 AM: I start to fall asleep. The ending of “Dr. Strangelove” is on TV. That perfect song starts to play. “We’ll meet again. Don’t know where, don’t know when. But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.”


Alex Isao Herbach is a freelance writer and sales director for a Southern California toy store. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.



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