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The End Of The World Is Near 

(Kaldi's Coffeehouse, DeMun Avenue, Clayton)

Anthony believes the end of the world is upon us and it isn't even nine in the morning yet. He's read the book of Revelations several times; he's read it backward in the reflection of a mirror, he's read it with a magnifying glass, in Braille, he's read it upside-down and in a multitude of yoga poses. He's cross-referenced it with the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle and it all boils down to one thing: The end of the world is upon us. We, all of us, have much to fear.

Now it's nine o'clock; no time to be talking about the Apocalypse or Human Salvation or anything else that requires use of the uppercase alphabet, and Tyrone points this out with some disgust. "You're always talking about this end-of-the-world shit, but it doesn't do anybody any good. All you're doing is spreading fear," he says.

Tyrone's an agnostic and a pacifist and an extremely well-groomed man. Eventually the conversation tumbles over. The credibility of the Bible as a single source is questioned. "What about other ancient cultures? Do you think about what they have to say?" Tyrone challenges. The Aztecs are mentioned, the Mayans are brought in, extinct African civilizations the names of which don't even ring the remotest bell, are resurrected from their sleepy graves and dusted off under the syllabically heroic umbrella "indigenous peoples." And so the argument grows magnificently verbose.

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