Young Love at the End of the World: The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker

TV News: The earth’s rotation has slowed. We don’t understand what’s happening or if it’s permanent.

Everyone: Whatevs. Hey, why are birds dying?

TV News: Oh shit, the slowdown is getting worse. Birds may only be the first animals to die off. We’re likely facing the end.

Julia (our 11-year-old protagonist): Do you think Seth Moreno likes me? If he doesn’t like me, I might just die!

TV News: Um, you’re probably going to die anyway. This is bad.

Julia: My best friend is being mean to me. And I don’t think Seth likes me. Or maybe he does! He’s actually kinda mean, but isn’t that sexy?

Julia’s Grandfather: [rants conspiracy theories]

Julia: OMG Grandpa is so great.

TV News: Yeah, guys, this is really getting worse.

Neighbor: Whatevs. How am I supposed to know what time it is if the days are 48 hours long and growing?

Second neighbor: We measure time by the length of the day, duh. That’s the only logical way to do it.

First neighbor: That’s barbaric! We should just cycle existing clocks because days are meaningless without the order we impose on the world.

Second neighbor: I would prefer to stay awake for fifty hours just because the sun is up, thank you very much.

Third neighbor: Jesus Christ, next you’re going to tell me that toilet paper rolls should be placed so the paper comes off under the roll.

First Neighbor: Let’s all discriminate against the people who disagree with us about what time it should be.

Everyone: YEAH!

TV News: Excuse me, guys? Electricity grids could fail if this continues and we’re all going to run out of food and fuel.

[No one worries about the power or food and they continue to fight over how to tell time]

Julia: Guys, I don’t think Seth likes me. But maybe he does! Also, my father is cheating on my mother and that makes me sad-face emoji.

[Everyone thinks the world is ending because there’s a solar eclipse]

Everyone: Ha, that was funny because we thought we were gonna die and it was literally just a shadow. Hey, that piano teacher is telling time by daylight hours and not the clock, let’s go shun her!

Teenagers: Lol, adults are old AF and these dead birds are crushing my vibe. Let’s all join that cult out in the desert.

Random neighbor: Hey, why is everyone always talking about how daylight hours are expanding and nothing seems to be happening to nighttime. Shouldn’t nights be longer, too, if the earth’s rotation is slowing?

[Silence]

Seth: I’m mean, which makes me instantly attractive to teenage girls.

Julia: I wrote your name all over my journal.

Seth: Let’s go to the beach to check out the dying whales.

Julia: This is the most romantic moment of my life.

TV News: Um, whales are dying and the tides are erratic. This is serious.

Julia: I think Seth likes me after all! Or maybe he doesn’t? OMG, I’ll die if he doesn’t! Why is he ignoring me on my birthday?! Do you think we should get married? What should we name our babies?!

TV News: I’m pretty sure you won’t live long enough to have babies. Why is no one worried about this?

Random Neighbor: Are we all just trying to go about our business to prove a larger point about how futile existence is, no matter how much order we try to impose on it?

First Neighbor: Jesus Christ, dude, why do you have to be such a buzzkill? And why are there dead birds everywhere?

TV News: Because the world is ending! Is anyone listening?

Random Neighbor: What if we’re all acting frivolous as a metaphor for how most people ignore the grave realities of climate change–

Second Neighbor: Can it, hippie. Stop trying to make this serious.

TV News: It’s literally serious.

Julia: I grew out my bangs! Let me tell you about this totally adorable thing Seth did the other day–

TV News: For the love of–you know what? Nevermind. You guys are on your own.

The Age of Miracles Karen Thompson Walker
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