Lance Dean dove down.

He was swimming in the harbor, but now it was a watery grave—the place ships go when they die.

He remembered when his days were occupied by email.

He put his spaghetti into the microwave, and it didn’t heat-up. He depended on smoke breaks, to parcel-out his days, but he had to give that up as well, because it wasn’t health-friendly.

Eventually, progress got interrupted by nuclear weapons, thank God. The oceans rose, and the sky became black with radioactive dust. Those that weren’t wiped-out by water and fire got liver cancer.

Dean never went to the doctor, and he knew to take iodine tablets. Despite getting burned, he lived on.

Crops failed, people lost hope, but Dean relished the end of the world, with a sunset that never stopped glowing.

It’s tragic, that a man must die, while others live, he thought.

Now, he might be the last man on earth.

Before, there were too many annoyances, too many celebrities, too much traffic, too much that got between survival, and everything else.

Now, there was silence.

At first, he used a mask, but wearing one, got in the way of his breathing. Besides, his lungs needed to acclimate to the toxins in the air.

When the blue sky was clear and the green lawns were cut, Dean was depressed.

The working world ran on a clock, and the people in it, weren’t much different. They were little hands and big hands, running around and around, like cogs in a machine with no purpose.

Dean had stepped out of time, into a world that was going to die.

He was sure, that the nighttime was the daytime, and the nightmare was the dream he had been looking for all his waking life.

Dean got out of the water and adjusted the sail on his skiff.

The solar winds would be kicking-up soon.

The harbor was a chemical pink color, which reminded him of Double Bubble Gum.

If he could only find a shipping crate full of cigarettes, he would be set for life.

His entertainment, the last few months, had been Maxime Magazine and Vogue. Women in weird clothes, didn’t do it for him.

They looked too much like space aliens, rather than a body he wanted to…

and the articles were on female power and domination.

“What utter hogwash,” Dean said to himself.

He hadn’t seen a female in over 8 days.

The last one, told him she would do anything to please him, if he would let her on board,

but Dean didn’t.

It was impossible to live with a woman when the world wasn’t burning. Now that it was, it was a foregone conclusion. Humanity was doing all kinds of unspeakable evil in the name of love.

Now, it had loved itself to death.

Dean laughed.

There were still fish to eat under the chemical spill, but the ocean currents were several degrees warmer, and the ecosystem was dying.

He looked at his maps.

Getting to the Florida Cape, was his goal.

The only way to survive was to escape the planet.

The sky was on fire, and the smoke made it impossible to breathe. He needed a bigger boat.

The woman he met last week was surviving on a shipping container at the other end of the harbor.

Dean thought about her. She was completely naked— undoubtedly, trying to flag-down the next available man who would fish her out of the water, but it wasn’t going to be him, or so he thought, but the nagging thought wouldn’t go away. He was already feeling guilty. There was a woman in his head, and the only way to get her out, was to pick her up.

II. A Bigger Boat

Dean considered coffee dates—how fruitless they were. He had been on many of these so-called sophisticated soirees before the world exploded and drown in its own vomit.

He began rowing towards the shipping container, where the naked woman was tanning herself against a red radiated sky.

Now, it was burning, and it gave him a warm feeling.

“Miss, would you like to step aboard?”

She looked at him, expectantly. “Okay, but I’m not going to sleep with you.”

“Baby, if I want it bad enough, I’ll take it.”

“You won’t!?”

“What do you think?”

“I think you’re a gentleman.”

Dean rolled his eyes, until they rested permanently inside his skull.

“Have you ever had canned caviar?” The woman asked him.

“No.”

“Go ahead and try some.”

“No.”

“You’ve spent too much time alone, haven’t you?” she said.

“And you’re going to cure me of that.”

“What do you think?” She laughed. “Let me put-on my bathing suit, and I’ll join you.”

She had blond hair.

Women had vanished from Dean’s head since the world ended. Now, they were back—or at least, one of them was.

“Not a very sea-worthy craft you have here,” the woman suggested.

“It’s my boat.”

“Sure, it is—what did you name her?”

“The Bitch.”

“You don’t have good social skills, do you?”

“No need. Look around.”

She did. It was like someone had spilled their microwave soup, and it was boiling-over, and catching fire.

“What’s your plan?” She asked him.

“What makes you think I have one?”

She looked at him as if she thought he thought she was stupid.

“I’ve got to find a bigger boat. Then, we’ll go down to the Cape.”

“My name’s Kara.”

Lance looked into her eyes. She wanted him, but there was no place to do it in his skiff. He needed a bigger boat.

Lance knew he was close to the Everglades.

How did he know? Simple. There were crocodiles. Everywhere.

He was a long way from Louisiana.

“Why is it, that when you need a bigger boat, you can never find one?” Lance asked.

The woman looked at him, like she didn’t know what he was talking about.

He pointed.

A tail, 30 feet long, was following them, like a ship’s rudder.

She screamed. “Take us out to sea!” She started to mess with the sail.

“Keep your hands to yourself. Those things do better in the open water. We’re going to have to fend them off.”

“With what?”

Lance grabbed a harpoon from the bottom of his boat.

“With this.”

He had confidence that he could keep them from biting his bitch in half—just as long as he didn’t fall asleep, so staying awake, was going to be the hard part.

He kept alert, and the night fell like a blanket. There were monsters under his bed. Yellow eyes, everywhere.

“Don’t make a sound,” Lance said.

The eyes were getting closer.

He reached under his seat and pulled-out a stick of dynamite. Then he plopped it in a bucket, lit the fuse, and threw it behind them.

It got eaten, almost before it hit the water.

BOOM!

“That’ll teach ’em.”

Lance was tired of killing Crocs, but fear kept him awake.

He jammed his harpoon into their brains, one by one, until strawberry filling came out. It wasn’t appetizing.

If done correctly, their eyes turned milky white, and they sank beneath the surface.

Then, they got eaten.

Lance stared at the shore.

Miami looked like hell.

There were no palms on palm beach.

Cape Canaveral was a primitive launch site, with a rocket pointing to Mars.

“Are we there yet?” The woman asked from the bottom of the boat.

“Nearly,” Lance said.

“Hey, that’s a big spaceship.”

“I know.”

“What’s your plan?”

“We get off this rock, before it burns up.”

She looked at him. “You can’t fly that thing.”

“There’s no need. It’s automatic, right down to the delivery.”

“You trust that?”

“No choice. The atmosphere is burning up. It’s hard to breathe, because the ozone is on fire.”

Lance helped her out of the boat and they waded to shore.

The red launch tower took them up to the driver-side door.

The problem was, getting past the magnetic locks.

“What happened to the astronauts?” Kara asked.

“They went to Mars,” Dean said. “This rocket is much older. It hasn’t been approved for lift-off. Let’s hope that I can jimmy the lock.”

“You can do that?”

“I’ve stolen enough cars in my day. The trick will be, making sure the door stays closed when we leave earth’s atmosphere.”

Lance did something to the rocket that the woman didn’t understand. Then, the door popped open.

“Welcome to my bigger boat,” Dean said. “Or should I say, space ship.”

Kara walked into the cockpit. She knew, she was rescued.

“Do you see the over-ride, here?” Dean asked.

“Yes.”

“We’re lucky. Somebody setup Freedom 1 to launch without mission control. All we have to do is press the red button.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

Dean made sure the door was closed. He strapped in, and the woman did the same.

“How do we know this ship is ship-shape?” Kara asked.

“We don’t,” Dean said. “I would give us 20 percent odds that we’ll be okay when we exit the atmosphere, but I’m not going to stick around and be a rocket mechanic. This place could blow at any moment.”

He pushed the red button, and the booster fired.

“This missile was put together by engineers who got a C in calculus and a D- in astrophysics,” Dean said.

“That’s a comforting thought.”

The Rocket achieved lift-off. Kara looked out their window.

The earth was turning red. It was dead.

“We’re passing through the ionosphere now,” Dean said. He pushed the green button, and the rocket separated. “Now, we wait until the on-board computer plots us a course to Mars.”

“How long will our trip take?”

“6 Months. Would you like to explore the ship?”

“You don’t have to ask,” Kara said suggestively.

They floated into the bowels.

“There’s the captain’s quarters.”

“Captain Lance Dean, and there’s the bedroom,” Kara offered.

They floated inside.

Lance noticed a gravity button next to the ceiled door. He pushed it.

The woman fell onto the bed and the ship jolted. “I don’t weigh that much,” she said.

“Oh—that’s just the booster taking us to Mars,” Dean assured her.

“You can take me now, if you want.”

“We have 6 months to do that. Why don’t we play scrabble instead?”

“But I’m not a good speller.”

“Excellent.”

The End

2 thoughts on “Lance Dean (Full Story)

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