Joel is a twenty-eight year old travel agent in a sleepy midwestern city. There are plenty of people, but no one seems to do anything. That is, until an emergency broadcast comes through on the radio that the world is ending. In a month. There will be nothing. Joel knows the world isn't going to end, but that doesn't help him stop his little sister Reagan from stocking her bedroom i with a world's-end supply of food. She stocks it with so many emergency supplies that she has to move her bed into Joel's room, precluding his semi-non-existent, but still slightly-stewing love life. All of a sudden, given the apocalyptic news, half the people in Joel and Reagan's sleepy town decide to pack up and take the one last trip they'd always been wanting to take. Joel ends up working hours upon hours a day booking one-way flights; trying to convince people to make better, cheaper choices; and calming his hysterical sister who spends her days either sitting in his office or calling him from the apartment with the latest update from the radio. Joel never turns on his radio at work. Even when his customers ask him to. The ones who don't/can't leave form support groups, counsel each other, start building basement shelters, form a commune of sorts.
As the city becomes emptier, Reagan starts begging Joel to put them on a flight. Everyone else is doing it. Does he want them to just get left behind? Joel knows the world's not going to end. People start to see him as an outsider. They stop trusting him. Reagan doesn't call him as much anymore. She doesn't spend much time at home. Finally, Joel starts playing along with Reagan: stockpiling food with her, helping build the shelter, going to the meetings. He starts mentally preparing for the end of the world. He imagines living underground. He assesses who of the remaining women would be the best mate. He starts stockpiling soap and shampoo, along with the food. The radio broadcasts keep coming, more and more urgent, projecting the same time of doom: three weeks, two weeks, one week, 5 days, 4...." Joel becomes a believer. He fears the end of the world like everyone else. The end of the story brings some kind of non-world ending resolution. Perhaps the people in the town are disappointed by the lack of the end of the world, and the people who had left start coming back and disrupting the balance. Perhaps the world does end (but that seems to obvious and somehow unsatisfying). Perhaps they find out the source of the signal, and it's all a big fluke, but they want to know why someone would do something like that. I don't know where this story should. But I do like the idea of the world ending. And what to do about it.
The three possible forms my story could take:
1. Interview madness. This could be an oral history of Joel and Reagan together, disagreeing with one another, telling the story from different angles at the same time. This could be like that Katrina project that tells many different stories from many different people re: the same event (but that was a bit hard to navigate). It could be a couple who didn't stay in the town telling it like a funny anecdote at the dinner table: "Remember that time when we honestly thought the world was going to end. What were we thinking?? (laugh laugh laugh)"
2. It could also be an interesting hyperlink site with all the different places people decided to travel to and the things they did there. Little stories from their point of view given their life history and why they wanted to go to those particular places. It could be a map fo the world with little stars/dots where different people went and when you scrolled over those places a short summary of the people would pop up and you could click on it for more information. The story of the town would be on the map too. But, this would be a "closed" map, such that you could only have access to certain people's stories after you had read other people's stories. Then things might start fitting together in some brilliant and sneaky way.
3. This could be Joel's autobiography/biography as a graphic novel. It could be made far more gradiose than his life actually is. Like, Joel Flier and the End of the World! The moral could be all about him deciding to believe. It could be some metaphor for religion or self=confidence or something deeply and pungently thematic. His sister will inevitably play a guiding role. Although she seems hysterical, she actually has the right idea. Her light will guide him. Or something like that. I think graphic novels are so haltingly beautiful, but they seem so labor-intensive and daunting. Nevertheless, this idea could possibly be cool.
Thanks for reading, y'all. I'll see you in two weeks.