M.P. Armstrong: "Black Thursday" and "Labor Day Weekend"

black thursday

mother nature, with her office-walls of melting icebergs and burnt amazonian boughs, will not negotiate on this: eventually the eleventh hour will peek over the horizon and streak the apocalypse across the sky. your ceo’s checks cannot slow the cavalcade and your union cannot meet to discuss the terms. this is the end of the earth and contracts do not apply. you can file grievances, but the beached whales and dead bees will laugh at you. you are the one who pulled the bottom line to the top of your mind, to float there like the oily blanket over the ocean, and plunged the planet into its place, the very last of your priorities. you were too busy waiting for a cough from the mill to realize that there are no bonuses for being the last one standing next to the skeletons, no overtime for waiting to believe in your own doomsday, and no jobs on a dead planet.

labor day weekend

on labor day weekend we go to the town grocery store: to the right, seven brands of oatmeal and ten of laundry detergent; to the left, a monochromatic rainbow of coke and pepsi. each aisle is named after a building where we will go to classes in the morning. we drink it in, our own carbonated addiction outside the confines of campus. yes, we have markets there, buried in the basements of dining halls: dimly lit rows of pop-tarts and twelve-packs of pepsi (only pepsi) and when december comes, when we haven't seen another store since september, we'll start believing that money is inferior to meal swipes. remember the time we sold our souls to aramark for 24-hour grease and mottled oranges? remember how we curse the meal plan, the bill, and the dull spots on the forks that we hope are just from water? in december, our memories will have dimmed. but for now, we at least have the luxury of saying no, we have the freedom, want to buy a two-liter of fanta.

M.P. Armstrong is a student at Kent State University studying English and United States history. A native of Warren, Ohio, they enjoy traveling, board games, and brightly colored blazers. Work published or forthcoming in Neon Mariposa Magazine, Riggwelter, Thimble Literary Magazine, and others. Find them online @mpawrites and at mpawrites.wixsite.com/website.