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A Matter of Timing
I wrote this 10 years ago, in November 2009, when the "Maya Calendar Ends the World in 2012" craze was still in fashion. As such, it is somewhat dated as 2012 came and went without a whimper, so the vehicle for the tale has been debunked by Time itself. Still, I think the underlying premise of the story holds true in all times, in all places, and in all circumstances, so rather than re-working it, I'm going to post it as-is. At it's heart, it's just Man vs. Adversity, and how some folks choose to handle that.

It was previously posted, when written, at another forum which is now defunct, and has been for years. Now it is a Rogue exclusive.


A Matter of Timing

04:00, 23 December 2012
Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia, USA

Walter reached into the fire and retrieved the ancient enameled coffee drip pot, and poured himself another cup. Facing eastward, he sat, anticipating the coming sunrise, and thought. From his perch atop the mountain, he could see for a distance of nearly 50 miles eastward, into the foothills and flatlands.

He had wandered into this wilderness alone for this camping trip. "Everyone dies alone, in the end" he mused to himself. He watched, and waited, for the coming dawn to begin lighting the vista below. To light the retreat area of his rival, Wilson the Proud. Wilson had argued and dogged him every step of the way, in their clash of theories. According to Wilson's reading of Mayan relics, the Mayans believed the world would end in cataclysmic destruction on the 21st of December, of this year. Of course Wilson, being a modern, rational, professor, didn't believe that nonsense. Be that as it may, destruction or no, he was certain of the dating. It was set in stone. Literally. He had a PhD, for God's sakes! There simply wasn't any way he COULD have misread it!

It was now the 23rd, and nothing. Not a peep. Wilson was no doubt drowning his "victory" in copious libations of... something. Certainly not the coffee that Walter was addicted to. The world had not ended on the 21st, exactly as he had predicted.

Wilson had been so sure of himself, so sure he couldn't be wrong. After all, he had a PhD beside his name! Walter had no such academic accolades. Walter was a self-taught man, therefore not to be trusted in the halls of Academia. His theories were beyond unmeritorious. Nevertheless, just in case the outcome were uncertain, Wilson had taken a leave of absence at the proper time, and run off to his retreat.

Walter was a nobody, academically speaking. What he DID have going for himself, however, in place of a PhD, was field work. LOTS of field work. Walter had logged more hours stomping through jungles and brush lands in Yucatan and Guatemala than possibly any academician on earth. All in the pursuit of truth. Walter was never one to just take the word of another for anything. He much preferred to find out for himself. To that end, Walter had spent years poring over Mayan glyphs, number systems, mannerisms. He had spent years, in short, teaching himself and immersing himself in a culture that was nearly extinct.


Walter had found that in some of the more remote byways of his study area, the Old Ways were alive and well. They just weren't trumpeted about, or recognized for what they were, by and large. After learning the language as if it were second nature to him, Walter had logged in all those hours, stomping around in the middle of nowhere, in quest of ancient writings. He found them. In spades. Over the course of time - Mayan time, modern time, time is time - Walter had made a startling discovery, piecing together all those ancient pearls of wisdom.

He approached Wilson, the professor, with his discoveries. The reaction would have been predictable, had Walter spent more time studying academia, and less studying Mayan glyphs.

Wilson rejected the notion out of hand, as it conflicted with his own theories and interpretations of the writings, and of course it included the ridiculously deluded Mayan notion of an "end". Moreover, he used every ounce of his stature to ridicule Walter, and relegate him to obscurity. The battle was epic, as Walter sought vainly to gain an independent hearing, but short-lived. In the end, Wilson had figuratively shouted Walter down.

In the end, Walter had skulked off to lick his wounds, to live out his days in obscurity. Walter KNEW, PhD or not, that those days were numbered. Walter had read the glyphs. LOTS of them. Furthermore, Walter knew there were very good physical reasons for what they predicted, if one just translated the predictions properly.

When Wilson had gone off to his retreat, just in case, safe in the knowledge that, whatever came, it would be far enough inland to keep him safe, Walter had done likewise, heading off to camp alone, because, in the end, everyone dies alone. Walter had meticulously selected his campsite, poring over maps, making certain of visibility parameters, the whole nine yards, after he had ferreted out the location of Wilson's retreat.

Walter's chosen campsite overlooked Wilson's retreat. In his bitterness, Walter wanted to SEE it happen. Walter knew what was coming. he'd read the glyphs. Wilson would have known, too, had he heard Walter out. He couldn't do that, though. He had a PhD. Walter had none. Walter HAD to be wrong. It was the nature of Academia.

The eastern sky, imperceptibly, had been lightening up as Walter bitterly mused. It turned from a deep , star studded black, to a deep crimson, through a beautiful shade of red. The sun was just about to peek over the horizon. Just as it did, something else came along for the ride. A thin, sparkling, silvery thread, all along the horizon from north to south, as far as the eye could see.

As the sun rose higher, the thread grew, and grew. In a matter of minutes, it could be seen, nearly 40 miles away, to be a thin, brown, roiling monster, relentlessly advancing, a hazy mist being borne along above it. When it had approached to within 20 miles of Walter's campsite, it could be seen to be a wall of brown, angry, churning water, over a mile high, even this far inland.

Still it rushed onward, devouring everything in it's path. Shortly thereafter, Walter watched as the ugly, rolling monstrosity of a wave churned right over Wilson's retreat, 7 miles or so away, adding everything there to the boiling maelstrom. Everything including Wilson.

Walter didn't feel the vindication he expected to. as a matter of fact, he felt pretty much nothing. A hollowness in his very soul. His only real thoughts were "Damn! That thing is moving FAST!" and other thoughts, such as "Was that really a whale I saw break the surface of that?" The churning, roiling, angry wall of brown water and debris rushed on, heedless of the one tiny human who stood observing it in bemused defiance.

Just as the wall of filthy brown trash-ridden ocean reached his position. Walter screamed at it, as if Wilson could still hear him.

"I TOLD YOU, YOU SONOFABITCH! I TOLD you it was just a matter of timing!"

Then Walter joined the Universe, and the wall of ocean rolled onward.

" I don't mind killin' a man in a fair fight... or if I think he's gonna start a fair fight... or if there's money involved... or a woman... "

 - Jayne Cobb, Hero of Canton
minusculethumbsup  Nice yarn.
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oh, I LIKED this one!
Human enmity over global catastrophe! haha.
Nice one Nin,
tinybighuh Being Rogue is WEIRD, But I LIKE IT!tinyfunny 
@Ninurta  Great One  minusculethumbsup
Once A Rogue, Always A Rogue!
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