|The Remnant by Monte Wolverton|
By Monte Wolverton
On a sweltering noon in late September of 2062, Bob Day was walking south along the narrow 2nd St. NW in Washington D.C. He was on a lunch break from his job at a small Capitol Hill publisher. He had skipped breakfast that morning and he was ravenous—seriously drooling for a California Chicken Club at Hamilton’s Bar and Grill. Bob rationalized that the avocado would certainly cancel out the bacon. Not that there had been any California avocados for the last 40 years. Now they all came from Mexico or Central America—the world’s breadbasket.
Bob was well aware of the big international standoff that had been going on for a week—something about a Russian-backed coup in Mexico City, and the Pope (who was staying there in the Western Vatican) being under house arrest. The U.S. wanted the Russians out. Other nations had taken sides. Powerful warcraft with armed particle beam weapons were cruising around the skies. It all sounded nuts to Bob, and the D.C. culture made even the most earnest person jaded about such crises. And anyway, skilled diplomats and politicians were surely negotiating some kind of truce—possibly within a few blocks.
Bob pushed open the old oak door of Hamilton’s, stepped into the cool air and claimed a table. He ordered a sandwich and a Widmer Hefeweizen (still made in Oregon, but from Mexican hops, wheat and barley). While he waited, he got involved in a holovideo of an ongoing soccer game floating in the center of the room. Coup notwithstanding, Ciudad Juárez was pummeling Atlanta.
His food and drink finally came. Darn—he had let time get away from him, and he still had 50 pages to edit this afternoon. He wolfed down the Chicken Club and quaffed the beer, scanned his ID tat for the 52 dollar tab and walked out the door. This time he decided to walk south around the block and take 1st St. back to his office.
As usual, a view of the brilliant Capitol dome in the midday sun gave Bob a twinge of pride. Funny thing was, when he looked skyward, he saw what seemed to be two suns. One was the normal sun, high in the southern sky. The other was a pinpoint of rapidly intensifying light directly overhead. Then the air began to shimmer. Cars careened off the street. Pedestrians fell limp in their tracks, and with a wave of searing heat that seemed to catch the very air on fire, the capitol dome began to vaporize.
Bob’ mouth opened but no sound came out. He barely had a chance to experience horror, sadness and pain as everything, including Bob, turned to powder. Next thing he knew, he was in some kind of different place.
|Author Monte Wolverton|
Monte Wolverton is an author, illustrator and syndicated editorial cartoonist. His 2014 novel, Chasing 120, won an Illumination book award. He serves on the boards of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and Plain Truth Ministries, where he is also as associate editor and contributing writer. His work has appeared frequently in MAD magazine and more recently in Washington (DC) Monthly magazine. He participated in the 2014 St.-Just-le-Martel Editorial Cartoon Festival in France, and in 2015 was invited to serve as a judge for the prestigious Xaimen International Animation Festival in China. He is an ordained minister and holds an MA from Goddard College in Vermont. Wolverton resides in his native southwest Washington State with his wife Kaye.