What? Who’s there?! Let me see you!
Oh, you’re just a kid. No harm, I guess. And you wouldn’t hurt an old man, would you?
What, this thing? Oh, it’s not loaded. Just for show. Keep the thugs and punks and energy-vampires away from my shack. Nothing to steal anyway but why take chances, eh?
But – hey, you’re cold. Come here and warm yourself by my fire. Have some beans. Sit down and I’ll tell you of a time when we had electricity and gas heat and light – so much light – and didn’t have to scrounge the wastelands for food like scavengers.
What are you – 19? 20? Then this Hell is all you’ve ever known, isn’t it? Seems like forever but we use to live in comfort. Indoor air conditioning. Ample food supply. Instantaneous communications – oh, the wondrous Internet – Lolcats and pron! Man, those were good times.
But, of course, we got stupid. Dared to believe we were invincible. All that innocence was – was before those Europeans sent a probe to that damn comet!
Oh, sure, they claimed it wouldn’t do anything bad. They claimed it was all in the glorious name of science. Science – pfah! Hubris! See where it got us?
First the probe stuck that comet – and the comet was pissed! It rained clouds of debris over the earth, sterilizing 90% of the population. Then it hit us with that alien pathogen, mutating the insects into what you now know as the kill-beasts. Next, the comet slammed into the moon and blew it up! We lost most of the major cities then, destroyed when the moon rubble fell on us. Knocked the planet off its axis. Nuclear winter set in. The civil wars, the plagues, the radiation, the enslavement of Canada. Now we live in the horrid post-apocalyptic world.
Damn it! Why did they fire those rockets at the bloody moon? Didn’t those sliderule-usin’ geeks ever see a sci fi film? Damnation Alley? The Omega Man? Anything?!
Ah, sorry. I’m old, I ramble, it’s what we before-timers do.
But stay. I could use the company. And I’ll regale you with some of the greatest tales humanity has ever known, like – I think this one was by a man named Shakespeare – my memory’s a big foggy these days – but it’s one of my favorites. It’s the story of two brothers. A tragic tale as their sires did go the way of all flesh, passing into the hereafter. But it’s a comedy as well for they were taken in and given shelter by a goodly man by the name of – Drummond. Sing along with me, youngling: “Now the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum! What might be right for you, may not be right for some…”
Hey, wait! Where are you going? I’m not crazy! I’m not crazy! I’m – well, maybe I’m a little bit crazy. But you would be too if you’d seen what I’ve seen in the last 30 years!