by Lester L Weil
“Oh, I—-can’t find nobod—dy.” He sang at the top of his lungs as he walked down the center of Park Avenue. His voice echoed off the buildings lining the empty street. How odd it was to be alone in New York City.
“Not a bad town now that all the assholes are gone.” He talked to himself a lot lately, talked to himself because he was the only one left. He had driven up from Texas after everyone there had died from the virus.
It had been a lonely trip as Sam zigzagged up the eastern seaboard, looking in vain for any sign of people. The CB radio scanner remained quiet. At night the shortwave radio produced only static. Highways and city streets were empty. Everything looked normal, except for the lack of people. The buildings, however, were beginning to acquire the dusty and neglected look of unused structures.
At night there was darkness. Sam had forgotten how dark it can be without electric lights. Every evening he found a high vantage point and looked for lights. Lights which might indicate the presence of people. Always the dark.
Early that morning, Sam had entered New York City, hoping that here, in a city this size, someone might have survived. He driven through the streets, seeing no sign of anyone, this city as empty as all the others. Now he walked, stretching his legs.
“Yes sir-ree bob. Not a bad town at all. Still can’t get a cab when you want one though.” He laughed uproariously. “Oh Sam. You’re such a card. Never a dull moment when you’re around.”
As he turned right into Central Park, he sang. “Oh, I—-don’t need nobod—dy…”
* * *
She strolled down the empty street. Her dress was the latest designer chic. Thrown carelessly around her shoulders, a mink stole. Her hair was long and blond. In her hair she wore a diamond tiara, around her neck a diamond and emerald necklace. On her fingers were jeweled rings and diamonds studded her bracelets.
In an earlier world, the clothes and jewelry she now wore would have cost a working man the wages of a lifetime. She wore the clothes because she had been unable to buy them before, and because she was lucky enough to have a body such clothes fit. The jewelry…because they were pretty. While strolling, she paused often to look in shop windows.
She paused before the window of a jewelry store. A pretty necklace caught her eye and she tried the door. Finding it locked, she took a revolver from her purse. Holding it like a hammer she broke the glass and entered. Moments later she emerged holding the necklace. She looked at it in the sunlight. Taking off the one she wore, she tossed it back into the shop. After putting on the new one, she continued down the street, admiring her reflected image in the shop windows.
At a sidewalk café, she went inside and came out with a bottle of champagne and a glass. She sat at a table, opened the bottle, and sipped the drink. The afternoon sun felt good, but soon she would have to go back to the apartment. She hated the nights. She hated the dark. How she hated being the last person alive.
Leaving the café, she continued down the street. Turning the corner, she crossed into the park, taking off her shoes to feel the grass between her toes. She looked over the tree tops at the Eiffel Tower. What a splendid view.
Published in riverbabble #26 2015