Tea Break At The World’s End


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It began – as do all the important events in life – with a nice cup of tea.

Then the world ended.

Which was a bit unusual.

Luckily, though, Ben had finished his cup of tea and placed the empty mug down on a firm surface. So, even when the world ended, he did not suffer the extra inconvenience of any residual tea spillage. This was also fortunate for Ben as he realised – admittedly sometime later – clean trousers are a bit more difficult to come by after the world ends.

Ben, of course, did not realise the world had ended at the time. He just noticed a ripple across the top of the tank, which was unusual. The neutrino detector was so far beneath the surface, so the ordinary perturbations of the Earth were not supposed to effect the tank. At least, that was what Ben remembered from his initial orientation talk when he got the job.

Anyway, once his tea break was over, Ben got on with his general cleaning and caretaking duties. Then only noticing the emergency backup generator was working when he changed a burnt-out bulb in an old indicator panel, a leftover from the pre-software days.

Then, at the end of his shift, Ben put his broom away and made his way to the lift. Even the lift was on emergency power, which surprised Ben. He assumed he’d missed the announcement about a back-up procedure test. He often did miss them. After all, he was only the cleaner and caretaker, not one of the scientists, or – even – the holiest of holies, an administrator.

Eventually, the lift eased its way to the ground floor and its doors sighed open. Ben could see the emergency generator was struggling to cope. So he went to find someone who knew what was going on.

He couldn’t find anyone.

Ben was alone.

There was no-one else in the entire facility. But, still Ben didn’t know the world had already ended… not yet anyway.


Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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