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The Beginner’s Guide to the End

How to Survive the Apocalypse

By Ian VincePublished 3 months ago 3 min read
A typical apocalypse

For forty years, the world awoke each morning relieved to be alive and undisturbed by any of the twenty-two thousand warheads pointing this way and that in the Cold War. World leaders played nuclear poker while booklets told us how to survive the fallout with bin liners, masking tape and interior doors, swiftly unhinged during the three-minute warning. Secret tunnels, chambers and shelters were dug for the lucky few while the rest sweated it out from crisis to climb-down and back.

So now that we no longer have to choose between instant vaporisation and living with the family under a door for five years, you would think that playing the end game had lost its appeal. Not so.

In fact, not only is the end of the world still very much nigh but, here in the Twenty-First Century, it has become the latest thing. Armageddon is the last word in fashion, meltdown is hot, the Apocalypse is the new Rock ’n’ Roll. Rock stars, movie stars and fashion models pass in the twinkle of an eye, but prophets of doom keep going to the end. Here’s our guide to accruing real cult status.

Give us a clue

Every great apocalypse starts with a sign. Signs come in many different forms, but warnings of doom are never literal. You won’t get a telegram from Mother Earth that looks like the following:

You're all shafted STOP

I warned you not to put fish genes into cucumbers STOP

Just wait till your Father gets home ENDS

They are much less specific than that. You might find a Golden Graham that looks like the Antichrist or hear a Blackbird whistling the new Shania Twain single.

Out of the blue.

Portents always involve something in the sky. Don’t ask us why, they just do. It could be an eclipse, a shower of Burt Bacharach albums or a bird flying backwards. This is why all mystical types spend a lot of time gazing upwards which, in turn, is why so many of them fall over things or have difficulty tying their own shoelaces.

Faith in no future

Only when there has been a really good sign, will it be time to start gathering the virtuous so that they might be saved. This typically involves a lot of fast talking and hard selling to get the message across and for this reason, it’s usually best to start with the gullible and work your way up to the merely incredulous. At this point you should think seriously about a name for your cult. It needs to be catchy, urgent, yet optimistic in tone. Calling it the Society for the Easily Swayed or The Grift might not win you many supporters, but something like The Eleventh Hour Brotherhood of Infinite Jam could be just the ticket.

The Eleventh Hour Brotherhood of infinite Jam

Buy the book

Your cult must have a sacred text for members to turn to in times of doubt, confusion or during criminal prosecutions for fraud or indecent exposure. In general, all sacred texts should contain parables about rams and virgins, and reflections on the nature of reflections always go down well as they temporarily implant a Möbius strip of perception into the reader that enables you to remove their wallet without challenge.

Numerology plays an important part too. You will need a unique sacred number: With so many cults around, each with its own number, you’re talking telephone numbers already, so why not make it the telephone number of your credit card donations hotline.

The Society for the Easily Swayed

The Money

Money oils the wheels of universal consciousness. It’s true. All your disciples should contribute accordingly. As you have taken on the burden and self-sacrifice of extensive foreign travel and sun cream to spread the word, it’s the least you should expect.

The Time, The Place

Try not to be too specific about either the time or the date of the event that defines your apocalyptic vision. Better still, predict a nice long period of time and pick a good name for it that suggests it is the first phase of a process. As with the name of your order, try to make it sound vaguely threatening, yet somehow upbeat and not quite final.

If quizzed closely by the media for a location and date, or indeed for any specific information, put them off the scent by alluding to a secret ceremony that involves naked women. It works every time.

The Journey

Every apocalypse is a journey of sorts, but you need a psychic destination that sounds like it’s worth the astral plane ticket. If in doubt, use something that sounds a bit Aztec or Mayan like The Glory Passage of Quatzahumba (pictured below).

The End

Last, but not least: In the words of our sacred text May Your Glory Always Be Golden, And Your Grahams Forever Be Green.


About the Creator

Ian Vince

Erstwhile non-fiction author, ghost & freelance writer for others, finally submitting work that floats my own boat, does my own thing. I'll deal with it if you can.

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