Hello, you’ve reached the Apocalypse Hotline. First, I’m legally obligated to inform you that your call is not being recorded because your entire world is scheduled to be consumed in the all-encompassing flames of hellfire tomorrow. This is Pestilence speaking, how can I assist you today?

What’s that? Ma’am, you’ll have to speak up. War is really gearing up for tomorrow’s grand finale, and his machines are pretty loud.

Oh, hi Sylvia! It’s nice to talk to you, too.

Uh-huh.

Just confirming: you’re asking for a short reprieve from the end of all existence so that you can attend your precious grandson Tyler’s kindergarten graduation? That is sweet.

Oh, and you got him a video game console that you really want to see him play with? Oh my God, how cute! Well, on principle, we’re probably opposed to a delay, but it can’t hurt to ask my colleagues, right? Can I put you on hold?

Thanks, Sylvia. Be right back…

Ok, I’m back. Whew! It is uncomfortably hot in here. Perfect for incubating all my airborne diseases, but still…

Air-conditioning? Yes, we’ve heard of it, sweetie. But isn’t that the kind of thing that got you into this whole “end of the world” mess in the first place? Now listen, about Tyler and his big day tomorrow. Death, War, and I were fully prepared to push back the timetable on this a bit, but Famine—he’s Horseman #3, not that he would ever let you forget it—is pretty insistent that we get it over and done with. I’m sorry, but all decisions here have to be unanimous. “No horseman wants to be the ass!” That’s kind of our unofficial motto.

Uh-huh. You want to talk to Famine?

Make your case. Sure, I get it. Please hold…

Sorry, Famine says he’s too busy.

He’s eating, if you must know.

No, I appreciate the irony, Sylvia. But what you need to appreciate is that he needs to get his sustenance when and where he can. The Apocalypse is on a very tight schedule.

About a millennium now, if you must know. Lots of prep work. Destroying the entirety of creation takes serious planning, and you can’t just stop it all on a dime.

No, not even for something like Tyler’s big day, sorry. Is there anything else I can do for you today, Sylvia?

Uh-huh.

No, it’s OK. Most callers eventually end up trying to bargain with us. But, and I’m just being straight with you here, the fact that you live in Rochester hardly matters.

Actually, I’m not sure which of us has that location, but rest assured that you and yours will be utterly and completely annihilated by one of us.

You want me to double-check? OK, fine. Hang on a sec…

Hey, lucky you, Sylvia. It’s me! Just look for my signature white horse, and then expect various plagues resulting in grossly engorged boils, leaking abscesses, and plenty of mucus. I’ve got a real shitshow planned for you guys, excuse my language.

A bribe? Please, ma’am, I’m a professional apocalyptician, not some two-bit human political hack with a God Complex and access to nuclear weapons. When I bring it, it’s nothing short of biblical.

Uh-huh.

Well, what kind of game console is it?

Oh, a Nintendo Switch…nice! Does it come with any post-apocalyptic games?

Wait, sorry Sylvia, I have to stop you. That was just a little joke. Listen, how about this: I will think about sparing you and Tyler for a few hours, but I really can’t promise anything.

Suggestions? Pray. Make amends. Don’t read the Book of Revelation too closely. Maybe make sure the battery’s charged in that Nintendo. That’s about it. See you bright and early tomorrow morning!

No, you have a great final day, Sylvia! Oh, one last thing before we burn your world to its very core. Would you be willing to stay on the line and complete a brief survey about our customer service today?

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