Humanity’s last ship, Our Finest Moment, began burning less than twenty minutes after leaving the port. We all knew we were dead meat when we boarded the ship, but we were expecting to at least get a little sea-sick before being massacred. The end began when the Captain announced that the island paradise he had been promising to take us to over the duration of the last six months, through the radio, and thousands of thirty second video clips on tiktok, and millions of one-sixty-character tweets, did not in reality exist. He added that he had done what he had done because he was a pessimist. He berated us for having taken him seriously. He shook his head as if disappointed with us and told us that only children would take him seriously.
We had walked the length of a continent to get on his ship.
“You are a pessimist?” someone shouted from the crowd.
“Yes, I am.”
“But you gave all of us optimism. How?” the man asked.
“My pessimism told me that you idiots would fall for the bullshit optimism.”
“But if you were intelligent enough to fool all the survivors of the planetary apocalypse,” the man paused socratically here before going on, “shouldn’t you be optimistic about your own intelligence?”
“Are you saying there is no food here for my kids?” one of the women screamed, interrupting the back and forth.
The Captain shook his head and went back to his intellectual enemy.
That’s how the killing began. It had simple origins, first hand-to-hand with a smear of stabbing. But then blunt instruments cracked open skulls. Someone threw a grenade, and that really got the party started. In a few hours, Our Finest Moment was almost sunk, with the Captain’s mouth just above the water.
“I am about to die. I knew all my life this moment was going to come and it has—”
The Captain began gurgling.
“Know what, you are right. This sucks. Pessimism is tight, the rest is shite,” the man said, jumping in and out of water like a playful fish, “But can’t you be optimistic about— ”
The man began gurgling too.
Ranju Mamachan got his Masters in Thermal Science from the prestigious National Institute of Technology, Calicut, India. He is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Department of Manipal Institute of Technology. He sometimes resurrects dead writers in his class to the amusement of his students.