Sounds of chagrined agreement came from around the table.
John tried to go to his happy surrounded-by-women place and pulled out his phone out of habit, but there was no escape. He sighed. “Where’s Pat tonight?” he asked.
Pamela’s husband usually accompanied her to a whiskeyknitting so he could hang out with John, but on this occasion he was absent.
“He had a gig, but I’m going to need to go find him soon enough,” said Pamela.
“Should any of us go too far alone if it’s the end of the world?” asked Kate.
“Yeah, I mean – hordes, y’all,” said Shannan.
“Well, I have to go home,” said Mera. “Darren’ll expect me to head there.”
“And I have to let the dogs out,” Pamela said. “And meet up with Pat.”
“We need a plan,” said Allison.
“We need a multi-stage plan,” said Shannan, going a little dreamy. “We need to take into account pets and husbands and stockpiling and our longterm survival. I have post-its in my bag. Anybody have multi-colored sharpies?”
“Well, hold on,” said Rachel, rummaging in her bag. “I have some multi-colored pens, but I also have a new wrinkle. If it’s the end of the world, I’m going to need to head out to Minnesota sooner rather than later. I’ve gotta find my folks.”
“Ooh! Apocalypse road trip! We need to Mad Max your car!” said Shannan. “The wagon, I’m assuming?”
“Well, I can’t take two dogs and all my yarn across the country in the convertible,” said Rachel.
“Good point,” said Shannan.
“Focus, y’all,” said Allison. “First things first. We need to figure out if cars still work. Then we probably shouldn’t send anyone off by themselves right off the bat –“
“I mean, you can come with me to Minnesota if you want –“ said Rachel.
“You could give it 24 hours, can’t you?” asked Kate.
“Oh, fine. But no more. If it’s the apocalypse, I want to get on the road early while there’s still gas to be had.”
“Rachel brings up an interesting point, guys,” said Kate.
“Checking on our parents?” asked Shannan. “My mom doesn’t have a landline, but she goes to a megachurch the size of a small city, so I’ve always figured she’ll be okay at the end of the world. And my aunts live right near her, so they’re probably okay, too. Provided this is only an earthly apocalypse and not The Big One.”
“Oh, do you think it’s the Rapture?” asked Kate. “That might explain the lack of horde.”
“Could be,” said John. “It’s not like any of us would be getting summoned abruptly to the side of the lord.” He snorted a little at the idea.
“Good point,” said Allison. “Shannan, you start making a list of possible apocalyspses for process of elimination.
“I say we see if the cars work, and if they do, we divide up responsibilities to make sure no one goes anywhere alone. At least two of us should go with Pamela, Mera, and Kate to make sure they all get home.”
“Two, so the person accompanying us doesn’t get stuck driving home alone?” asked Pamela.
“Yup,” said Allison.
“I can check on the Wild Kingdom along with the twins,” said Rachel, referring to Shannan’s dog and three cats, as well as her own two dogs. “I have a key, and I need to get started packing, anyway, so I probably shouldn’t be one of the ones to go.”
Shannan nodded assent distractedly, already hard at work on her list.
“I can see to the Dorks and Bonnie and the chickens,” John said to Allison.
“Thanks, sweetie,” she replied. “I guess that settles part one, at least. Rachel and John will take care of pets and houses down here. Shannan and I will go with Kate, Mera, and Pamela to make sure they get home.”
“You should probably be prepared to spend the night out there and come back tomorrow morning if the roads are bad,” John said.
“I have plenty of beds,” said Pamela.
“Same,” said Mera. “I’d like to head out soon, though. I don’t like not knowing what’s going on.”
“Well, let’s figure out the cars and then stop at my place first and pick up some supplies,” said Allison. “If it’s the end of the world, I’m sending you home with some butternut squash from my garden.”