Morton Penwinkle stood watching the skies. He wasn’t so much watching them as waiting for them to fall and he wanted to be sure he was looking when it started.

He shoved his hands deep in his pockets, it was after all fairly cold, and stamped his feet to make sure he stayed warm. In all honesty he wasn’t really expecting the skies to fall. That would have meant something went right, and based on the fact this was the fourth time in as many months that the end of the world had been predicted, yet had failed to happen (after all, if it had he wouldn’t be here waiting). The doom sayers were starting to get as bad as the weather men.

He shook his head remembering the global pandemic that almost was, but wasn’t. Supposedly Mad Cow disease had become so pervasive and stubborn this past winter that it was going to hit everycow all at once, then mutate into a new strain. Some CDC researchers predicted it would re-animate the cows after killing them creating what amounted to zombie cows. It didn’t sound so bad considering that people had gotten really good at killing cows over the last few hundred years until he realized that it meant no more steaks or hamburgers. He still wasn’t sure how that was going to ‘end the world’ (and yes, he used air quotes every time he mentioned it) but it definitely would have meant dinners would be a tad less interesting. Although on the whole, it was better than zombie squirrels. At least regular squirrels stopped chattering long enough to sleep.

Then there was the comet that was going to pass extremely close to the moon, shifting it out of it’s orbit and, at the very least causing all kinds of destruction as the gravitational forces worked to balance themselves. Worst case scenarios had it crashing into the Earth itself. All the scientists were in agreement that everything would work itself out and harmony would once again reign, but there was a very likely chance humanity would not survive.

Then of course the comet missed. Later it was discovered that there was a rounding error and that it had missed the moon by several million miles instead of the predicted few hundred feet. Morton always shook his head at that one. Being an accountant for the Fifth National Bank of Wellington he always had a profound respect for number and tended to guffaw at the mistake whenever it came up in conversation. Which it did. A lot.

And who could forget the alien invasion. Millions upon millions of alien ships had suddenly appeared in orbit just above the planet. It was certain doom or so the pundits had proclaimed on every talk show they could squeeze themselves onto. No chance of humanity surviving this, it was most certainly an invasion, then had pictures of the ships and everything.

Until one researcher had discovered that the alien ships were in fact nothing more than space fleas and that the original discoverer had simply mis-focused his telescope. Then every one that went to verify it and discovered the mistake decided that since the gentleman who had made the discovery was so well respected and so very popular that it must have been they that had made the mistake and so proliferated the false claims for several days.

So it was with a shake of the head that Morton turned around and shuffled back into his house when the PA system started to chirp to life and the announcer came on and stated that the launch of the nuclear missile aimed at the enemy had been cancelled due to a mechanical failure. He had hoped all along there wasn’t going to be yet another postponement but had put a pie in the oven, just in case.