The sad fact is that if the world were about to end, I'd hear about it first on the Drudge Report. I'd wake up somewhere around noon, my head still spinning from too much sleep and too many hours playing Texas Hold'em online. It would be far too late in the day to start panicking; the nuclear missiles or alien drones—or, more likely (although all the more pathetically), the Asian chicken virus—would be pecking at my door before I had a chance even to brush my teeth or wipe the crust from the corners of my eyes. I would die in my underwear, covered in cat hair, wondering if Drudge wasn't planning to print a retraction sometime after the hype had swelled the number of hits on his site to ten digits.
I wouldn't believe the news, not in my heart of hearts. But I would spread the rumour no less eagerly, copying in everyone in my address book. It would be a cynical letter no doubt—short and ironic, tinged with the self-conscious absurdity of an email that sought to warn my pals of impending planet-wide doom when they probably got the scoop from Drudge six hours before me.
Not that I was likely to connect the dots right away, but circumstances would explain the insistent phone calls—the continual ringing that only a second pillow could muffle adequately. I would like to think it was a bill collector—the mortgage company or something—trying to convince me to send an early payment, you know, because I wasn't likely to find my chequebook afterwards. But that's the stuff of farce. It would probably be my family calling, laying on something heavy and sentimental—which is the reason I never answer the phone in the first place. Just in case.
But somehow I think it would be one of my buddies, someone with nothing better to do than telephone the rest of the gang with the Big News—and by the time I finally picked up the receiver the surprise would already be ruined for him, one last disappointment before he expired along with the rest of humanity: 'Oh. You've heard... Yeah, Drudge Report. Shit, I called earlier but you didn't answer...'
There would be a few more minutes of the usual banalities, starting with the prescient: 'I knew it was gonna happen—you could just see how the world was going to shit.'; followed by the incredulous: 'Can you believe we're all gonna die today?'; and concluding with the ridiculous: 'Well... okay then... I guess you have things to do. It was nice knowing you. But listen, if we're not dead, I'll give you a call sometime next week; maybe we could hook up and watch the Monday night game or something...'
Then I would hang up, go back to bed and die in my underwear, wondering to the bitter end if Drudge wasn't going to tell us it was a hoax after all.