Red and white, blood and bandages. The twisted remnants of a whole hospitals' worth of doctors, interns, residents, deans. For it was the final day of the great Health Care War, when the common people had finally found their weakness: apples. Many apples a day, fired from makeshift fruit mortars, applepults, and Super Soakers filled with hot apple cider.
"Do you think today will be the day?" A respected intensivist, carefully removing hypoallergenic gloves, finishing an autopsy of the last pathologist.
"It's just a day like any other." I try to smile, but it looks grotesque, as if rigor mortis were setting in prematurely, leaving my face no pliability.
"I'm tired, Will."
"Look here. We're doctors, dammit! We still have authority. The people still believe in us, and what we tell them has to stick. Do you recall the story of the British Navy, long ago, when scurvy was still barely understood? Lemons were a great cure, but they forgot along the way, and tried to use limes, which were ineffectual."
"That's not quite right. The lemons weren't as easily obtained, and the limes were juiced, and then the juice oxidized."
"Point is, pears are kind of like apples. We can convince the masses that they'll work just as well, since no one knows exactly why apples can kill us so violently. We just need a way to disseminate misinformation from within their ranks."
"Their ranks? We're talking about literally everyone in the country without a lab coat and stethoscope. My sister threw an apple grenade at me last week. I gave her a new kidney!"
"I'm sorry, Carl. I still think if we recruit a charismatic mole, maybe get some posters put up in bars and Wal-marts, maybe it could save our lives."
And so they did. They recruited Zach Braff, who - despite having an annoying voice, a bad haircut, and being a horrible person - was able to persuade the people with his campy antics and constant reminders that he was not in fact a doctor, but had played one on TV. No one would ever suspect him, being so non-threatening, incompetent, and kind of a weird fucking choice. He became their Hitler, promising to expunge the lab coat wearers, the bringers of debt and illness and the hoarders of sweet drugs. He soon grew a little square mustache on his lip, finally having enough support to do so. Plus, his life partner, Donald Faison, vouched for him being "totally not racist."
Soon, The Braff had the power to convince everyone that pears were the word. As the commoners attempted to fight with inferior fruit, the doctors had found enough time between their daytime talk shows and prime-time dramas to weaponize HeLa cells into a contagious airborne cancer.
And that is how all life on Earth ended in a single generation. The moral of this story is, take your vitamins. Pills were made so we don't die from scurvy or apple shrapnel ('apnel, or shrapple).
"Is that really the end?" His big doe eyes stared up at me, his mother's eyes, creepily possessed in an otherwise ugly head.
"Well, yeah. I said it was, right?"
"Then why are we still alive?"
I stared away for a minute, wishing I could crush that ugly head like a grape.
"And what about non-medical scientists? Wouldn't they have researched pears and apples, looking for why they work?"
I walked outside without a word, got into my car, rolled down the windows and drove into the sunset, breeze whipping through my hair, awesome ripping through my shades. I would find a new life somewhere, anywhere, wherever I ran out of gas. It wouldn't be easy, but I would manage, finally having the freedom to live, just to enjoy making my own choices and mistakes, just to enjoy the simple pleasures. Alone. Finally. It was finally over, and I was free.
Fuck that kid.