“Good afternoon, Madam. I was wondering if I might have a few moments of your time to discuss your rescue plan.”
“Sorry?” said Carol to the salesman before her. “My what?”
“Your rescue plan, Madam. You do have one, don’t you?”
“No. No I don’t… rescue from what exactly?”
“Oh, Madam. I’m so glad I called. Can I come in?” Carol stumbled back against the wall as the salesman pushed his way past her. “May I?” he said as he sat on the sofa and proceeded to spread a raft of papers out on the coffee table. He patted the cushion beside him. “Please.”
“I still don’t know what we’re talking about,” said Carol.
“One day all this,” the salesman spread his arms out wide, his face full of sincerity, “all this will be gone.”
“Gone where?” said Carol.
“The end of the world, Madam. Armageddon. It has many names.”
“You can’t insure me against the end of the world!”
The salesman lifted a finger in pause and picked up an information sheet. “No,” he said, “but we can ensure you have the very best chance of escape.”
Carol’s brow furrowed. She stood, ready to shoo the salesman out the door.
“This is a one-time-only offer. Space Rescue Corporation is the only private organisation in the world with a fully actualised space rescue development plan, to enable the ordinary people of the world, like you and me, to have a chance of escaping such a disastrous situation.”
“You’ve built a spaceship?”
“As I said, a fully actualised space rescue development plan has — ”
“You’re building a spaceship?”
“Not exactly. We intend, with the support of people like you — ”
“Ah, you want me to pay so that you can build a spaceship.”
“Madam, this is a rescue plan for you, your family — ”
“I’ve heard enough,” said Carol, “you can leave now.”
Carol chivvied the salesman out the door and watched as he walked up the path to his car.
“Aren’t you going to call on my unsuspecting neighbours with your little moneymaking scheme?” she called after him.
“Oh no, Madam,” he said as he belted up, “they were not selected. We won’t be able to rescue everyone. That would be impossible.”
He closed the door. Carol shouted, “No! Wait!”
The salesman lowered his window. “Madam, as I stated earlier, this was a once in a lifetime offer. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a long journey ahead. Have a good day.” He rolled his window back up and Carol watched as the car disappeared down the lane.
Juliet Boyd lives in Somerset, England and enjoys writing a shorter kind of fiction.