“This is quite the bomb shelter you have going,” Tom Cunningham said to his neighbor, Arlo Reynolds.
“Thanks. It’s been in the family for generations,” Arlo said in return. “My grandfather built it when the Nazis and the Japs were after us. My dad kept it going when he inherited the old homestead, back when the commies were starting to become a pain in the ass. Now it’s mine to use in case the turban heads or Chinks get their way.”
Tom couldn’t help but to wince at Arlo’s litany of racial slurs, but he also didn’t think it was the time to give his crusty neighbor a lesson in social equality or how to better race relations. People who feel the need to have a bomb shelter might not think twice about doing in a liberal neighbor. He wasn’t afraid to ask questions, though, about the stock pile of canned goods, bottled water, batteries, and firearms before him.
“What happens when you run out?” Tom asked.
“Run out of what?” Arlo asked in response.
It was a valid question. Eventually all the beans would be ate, all the water would be drank, and all the flashlights would burn out.
“I’m good for about a year. After that, I’ll just go back into the outside world and see what’s left.”
“I don’t imagine there will be anything,” Tom said. “I mean, if we’re bombed to bits or have chemicals dumped on us, how will anything new grow or get manufactured? Wouldn’t it all be gone? It seems you’d just be delaying the inevitable.”
“Was there a reason you stopped around to my place, Tom?” Arlo asked in a tone that suggested it was time for Tom to leave.
“I was hoping to borrow your weed trimmer.”
“Sorry, it’s broke.” Which, of course, it wasn’t.
Two weeks later, Arlo’s apocalyptic visions came true. The country was bombed to bits. Not by any of the countries that Arlo’s racist heart disliked, but by a young intern at the nearby nuclear power plant. He had accidentally pressed the red button instead of the blue button. Kids today, what are you going to do with them?
Arlo was the next county over, picking up more supplies when it happened and died before he was able to make it back to his shelter. Tom, though, made it inside just fine.