she said, the earnest elderly woman putting a Mystery Drinking Jug
into her display at the antique mall.
“I know because my son told me. Our country is doomed.”
she carefully arranged another of her deceased husband’s smoking pipes
in the rack with twenty others.
“There will be rioting, the banks will fail, it will be chaos next Tuesday.”
Her eyes sparkled at the thought of it, the images of collapsing buildings
and people wielding knives reflected in their cloudy depths of cataracts,
while she continued to place items carefully in the case.
She appeared to be just another woman,
another woman like me but with a few more years on her.
I considered her son who would frighten his mother so,
who told her to pull all her money out of the bank,
to get ready for the coming collapse.
“There was a prophecy,” my neighbor whispered, “that the last President–
the last President, will be tall and black with curly hair. You see how it is,
how it has come to be.” She nodded.
“How much,” she asked, “for those little Coca-Cola juice glasses?
I think I’ll mail them to my grandson who lives in Maine.”
As she handed me the currency of our doomed nation
I wondered why she was buying them,
when apparently they would never reach the little boy in Maine
who looked forward to boxes from his grandmother,
who believed the end was near, but mailed the glasses anyway.