Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (May 23, 1962)
THE DAILY NEBRASKAN SCRIP
WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 1962
He had even wrapped himself a present . . . two years of hair clippings
lo stuff a pillow with.
The Last War came somewhere between
Man and God.
It followed the Era of the Empty Word.
An Era of much for some, of little for most,
of power and fear. Truth was replaced by
propaganda, honor became a word in Web
ster's and justice a hollow chuckle.
High ia the sky they came. They came to
a world which could em longer trust. They
were missiles. Or were they meteors? Or
perhaps falling satellites? It didn't really
matter. Not ia the Era of the Empty Word.
Hal must have been a pleasant place!
The green earth rolled and shook under
many mighty explosions. It heaved and shud
dered in agony, its face twisted and con
torted in pain. The great cities, the pride
of a foolish race, flashed white beneath a
sun-dimming glare, then smoldered, only to
burst forth into red flame before crumbling
to ash. In an inconceivably brief moment of
time, the work of generation upon genera
tion of mankind ceased to be.
As the earth trembled with the throes of
racial suicide, long dormant energies deep
in the bowles awakened, and roared forth to
exterminate the parasite that so desecrated
it. The core of the earth seemed to panic
upward, and flame-topped mountains were
born, mountains that dwarfed the towering
Himalayas. The oceans steamed and attacked
the lands. Australia and most of Europe dis
appeared. North and South America were
The entire crust of the earth, ripped by
countless vents, shifted once, then again,
cracking and straining and crushing. North
was south, and east was west, and some
where became no where. The sky blackened
with radioactive debris, throwing a veil of
darkness across the face of the sun.
And the ant called man perished into the
hell of his desires.
h, but the statistician were right. S very
right. They who smugly quoted charts and
Figures to prove a nuclear war would leave
most of mankind alive to bungle their way
into another war were right. Some did sur
vive. Jast a few. Jast a pitiable, meager
Rake cracked his lips in a toothless grin.
It was a town. Or at least part of what used
to be a town.
That meant, with luck, food. And perhaps
some guns, or knives, or clothes. It also
meant taking a chance of meeting something
alive ... human or otherwise. Rake had
lived through the Big Blow, as he called it,
and didn't intend to die now. He figured life
wasn't much these days, but it was still bet
ter than dying.
It wasn't safe to go prowling, but he would
risk it for the sake of food. God knows, be
thought, might be something valuable.
Slowly he crept nearer the group of ram
shackle buildings, carefully dodging -from
boulder to boulder, creeping down gullies,
and peering cautiously over low rises of
Suddenly a harsh voice shattered the still
"Hey, you out there. Stop."
Rake froze, hugging the ground.
Other voices joined the first.
' Don't shoot I saw it It was a human."
The voices edged closer.
"Fella, where's you?"
"God, a new face! It's been five months
since we saw a new one."
"Come on out We's friends."
The voices spread out, drew close to the
huddled Rake. As he was about to be discov
ered, he clutched a large stone and slowly
stood. A few feet away five men and three
women saw him, their faces lighting up. As
one, they rushed toward him with out
Rake noted with relief that they had no
Again his lips parted in that toothless grin.
It had been o lonely ... so lonely.
His new friends gathered around him.
They invited him for dinner.
In fact, Rake was the main course.
Harrington Edwin Byrd lowered himself
slowly to his cot while dinner cooked.
It was going to be an old fashioned Xmas.
Harrington's mind strained for recollections
of how it had been before. Xmas had lasted
about two months then, he recalled, from
Halloween to New Year's.
Harrington hadnt liked those days, but the
memories seemed to soothe him.
The main purpose of Xmas, as he remem
bered, was to get everybody to boy some
thing for somebody else that they didnt need
. . . and thus keep the economy going. It
worked well, too. The buying season had
been expanding, so that one Xmas was 'run
ning into another, making for a very healthy
It also kept the common people busy rush-
ing off to buy things all the time and kept
them from meddling in things that didnt
concern them, like government r"
There was also some custom of sending
. messages to all your acquaintances. Just
why, Harrington couldn't remember. Perhaps
if they answered next year it proved they
were still alive.
In those days Harrington had been a studi
ous chap, mostly ignoring such trivial as
pects of a well rounded life. He had a good
job, but never spent much money. He now
felt rather guilty because be didn't help sup
port the economy. Perhaps that's what caused
everyone to go crazy and prove that they
had all those bombs they said they had.)
Anyway, be' had gone out and bought himself
an - honest-io-goodness bomb shelter. Never
being one to do things halfway, he stocked
it with food and water and everything else
the pamphlets said to keep.
Ignoring many implications on his mental
health, Harrington lived in his shelter ... he
ate in his shelter ... be slept in his shelter.
He was in his shelter when everything out
side when crazy. That's why he was still
The more Iiarrington thought about it
(though he didnt think very much these
days) the more he became convinced that
he was the last man on earth. But he didn't
really mind. It had been too crowded any
way. Harrington looked at his bookshelf, then
scowled. He didnt read much anymore. The
books were getting too hard to understand.
Maybe be had been inside too long. But to
go out was sure death. The gismo that meas
ured radiation showed it No one could live
out there. So these many years, Harrington
Byrd had never peeked outside. The sum to
tal of his universe was a concrete room, four
teen feet by eight feet by places he could
even stand up in.
Reluctantly be set aside his thoughts, and
shuffled a few steps to where his Xmas din
ner was cooking. Yes, sir. It was going to be
an old fashioned Xmas dinner with all the
trimmings. He had even wrapped himself a
present . . . two years of hair clippings to
stuff a pillow with.
He leaned over to smell the bubbling dish.
The smell ticked his nose, and salivated his
It had been his last shoe, but it would
make a grand old fashioned Xmas dinner.
In the middle of what used to be a desert,
or perhaps a tundra ... a small group of
men and women still lived in a well-stocked
underground launching base. This part of the
world was relatively unharmed by the brief
but violent conflict Even the tough, rugged
desert shrubs had adapted to a new way of
life more easily than the planet's other
After watching their death-dealing missiles
roar away into the sky, the group had waited
'and listened to the destruction of their world.
They had felt the angry pulses of the ground
beneath them. They saw the sun hide its
face in shame, never reappearing.
And they had wept
The pride of a fallen nation they were . . .
young, physically tough, and intelligent They
-were also humble, and responsible for at
least part of that war-torn world. After their
first despair came determination. They would
create a new world . . . one of peace, of
honor, of happiness, of freedom.
One man objected. He called them traitors
Powered by Open ONI