The Rich and The Perks of Being Rich

“How much time?”

The two men stood looking at a large metallic structure that looked like a reentry capsule from the Soviet Union. This one was slightly modified with a large drill at the top.

Edward looked at his watch. “13 hours left.”

Both men continued to stare at the capsule with an unusual silence as if they were both hiding information from one another.

“Alright, I guess I should get going.” Sam said.

The two hugged.

“I’m going to miss you. I wish we had more room.” Edward said sympathetically.

It wasn’t all that sincere. Ever since the announcement Edward and Sam started to grow apart. Their friendship had completely vanished and all that kept them together was their shared last name.

“No relation” they used to joke with people. It got old pretty quick because everyone knew they were brothers.

They always laughed.

“Yeah. Us too.”

At that point Sam turned around and began walking away from his brother. Never would the two see each other again. They both had more to say but what’s the point? This wedge took 4 years to drive them apart, little did they know that some acknowledgement of the past they once shared would bring them back to where they once were.

They will never see each other again.

Sam reached the end of the 1/4 mile driveway and looked in his rear-view mirror as the dust danced behind his car and fell to the ground revealing his brother in the distance growing in size.

Sam slammed on the brakes and waited 27-seconds until Edward reached the driver’s side window.

“I just wanted to tell you that I love you.” Edward said.

“What?” Replied Sam who then rolled down his window. “What did you say?”

“I love you. I know we’ve grown apart but I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

The brothers sat there in silence again as each of them searched for the words to say.

“I have to tell you something.” Sam finally broke the silence.

Again silence fell between them as Edward waited to see what was to be told. A few seconds passed by when a sharp alarm went off on Edward’s wristwatch.

“I must go. What did you have to say?”

“Mom and Dad would be proud of all you accomplished.”

Sam lied to his brother. He’s been lying to him for months but this time was…different. This was the last lie he would ever tell his brother. The fact that he would never see his brother again was caused by a lie.

It wasn’t a lie he made up but it was certainly one he was proud to share.

Edward put his hand on Sam’s shoulder and held it there for a moment as they locked eyes. He squeezed down, in a loving manner to show affection, and then began to run back toward his estate.

Sam watched him shrink in his rear-view mirror.

For a moment as he sat there contemplating what just occurred, Sam battled back and forth whether he did the right thing. He then looked at the dash and discovered it was only twelve- and-a-half hours until the event.

A three-and-a-half hour ride home meant it would be nine hours until the event took place. Everywhere he turned there were signs on the road.

“Repent!”

“Forgive!”

“Sell Your Gold Here!”

On the radio each station aired static, unless they cleverly put on a playlist.

The most popular song of the day was “It’s the End of the World.”

Sam arrived home at his split-level in a suburban cul-de-sac, pulled into his garage, turned off the car, and then sat there for a few moments. He was in desperate need of decompressing the entire day and what it was like seeing his brother for the last time.

He opened the driver’s side door and began whistling the R.E.M. song that he had heard at least 5 times on his way home. He flopped on the couch in the living room and focused on the black television screen and imagined a time where his family used to gather around it and bask in it’s warming glow.

Eventually he got around to turning it on. All that was broadcast were CCTV feeds from various neighborhoods. Some showcased nothing, some you got an up close and personal view of riots, and some you got to see families gathering into their drills.

The sun woke him up when it hit his face through the slit in the curtains that covered his windows and he jumped up, checking his watch at the same time.

“2 minutes!” He screamed out.

Sam ran like a maniac around his house. He woke up his wife and two kids and hurried them down to the living room where they parked themselves in front of the T.V.

“You’ll never forget this day. No matter what!” Sam said excitedly.

A countdown started at 1:00:00.

The red numbers ticked down furiously. Each second that passed Sam got increasingly more anxious and elated.

If anyone knew any better they would think he was going insane.

At 30-seconds you could start to hear the roar of engines as the wealthy turned on their drills as a measure to preserve themselves by digging into the ground.

At 15-seconds a doomsday siren filled the air. The shrieking sound was a warning that impending doom was on its way.

At 5-seconds the drills were deep enough into the ground that the sound was pretty much muffled, however vibrations through the ground let everyone know they were still digging.

At zero-seconds Sam kissed his family and said, cherish this moment forever.

A loud boom echoed through the air and on the television a flash appeared on the CCTV system. One camera was recording a mushroom cloud and others cut out.

Two minutes after the event Sam started to laugh.

“It worked.” Sam said.

His wife smiled as well.

“IT WORKED!” They both screamed in unison.

“What worked Daddy?” Christie, Sam’s youngest, asked.

“My project. My dear project worked!”

“I’m so proud of you, honey.” Sam’s wife looked him in the eye and kissed his lips.

“Why are you so happy, Dad?” Bradley asked with some concern.

“Because, son, I’m finally validated. I proved that just because you’re rich it doesn’t mean you’re smart.”

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