After the Great War of 2016, America became a devastated, post-apocalyptic wasteland, ruled by an authoritarian overlord with limited language skills. But then the Resistance rose up. This is a first-hand account from the front lines of the guerrilla army of social justice warriors as it fights back using every tool at its disposal, from social media accounts to self-published books. But will they be able to overcome their internal divisions long enough to #resist? Ugh, I can’t believe I just used a hashtag like that. I’m so sorry.
They call it the “March Madness.” People suddenly collapse on the street. Their eyes close, they stop breathing. To onlookers, they appear dead. But then they wake up, groaning, with a blank stare. Their arms reach out, as if they’re trying to hug something, and they moan, “Mueller.”
Don’t touch them. They’re dangerous. Many people need a hug these days, but now is neither the time nor place for hugs.
No one knows where the disease came from, or how it spreads. Maybe the March Madness is transmitted through the air. Or maybe there was something amiss with the last shipment of ahi tuna sent to that hip new poke restaurant that Resistance fighters like. Or maybe there’s a third reason that we’re not considering. But it was probably the poke.
The older ones among us say that “March Madness” used to refer to a college basketball tournament. People would make brackets, they say, placing bets on who would win, usually on a team from North Carolina or Kentucky. But now we’re all losing.
In either case, baskets aren’t for holding balls anymore; they’re for holding secrets.
For example, as I was walking past an abandoned Starbucks one evening this week, I saw a basket sitting in the doorway. “Looks like I found some secrets,” I declared to no one in particular. There aren’t a lot of people to talk to in this post-apocalyptic wasteland, so I’ve started saying my thoughts out loud in order to hear a human voice. This is a thing that happens in many post-apocalyptic situations.
I picked up the basket and peered inside as, in the distance, some of the infected began their nightly wandering, groaning, “Mueller, collusion, obstruction…”
In the basket was a slip of yellowed paper, which read:
Resistance Communiqué No. 1636
If you are reading this, then the Senior Administrative Council is asking you to stop whatever you’re doing and start working to halt the infection. Because we’ve tried, and we can’t. And now some of us are shouting about the special counsel investigation over and over again. Like, we can’t think about anything else. Is that really the only thing that can save us? Mueller? Mueller?
“This is not an encouraging message,” I both thought and said out loud.
The moans of “Mueller” outside were getting louder. It was as if all the infected people could think of was this one man. Everything else about the Resistance — the other battles, the other priorities, the other issues that people were fighting for — it all died away whenever they contracted the March Madness. Not that he wasn’t important, of course. But for them, he became everything.
Suddenly, I heard shuffling footsteps enter the Starbucks. I retreated into the darkness of the coffee shop, tripping over overturned cups and stale, overpriced cookies.
“Stop right there!” I cried, hugging my basket of secrets. “Who are you?”
The ghostly blue light of a phone lit up Robert Mueller’s face. He frowned. “I thought this place would be empty,” he said. “Are you—?”
“I don’t have the March Madness,” I reassured him.
He held up his phone’s light towards my face, inspecting me cautiously. I squinted. Finally, after a pause, he lowered it. The voices outside were getting louder.
“Don’t tell them I was here,” he whispered.
“I won’t,” I said. “But maybe I’ll try to distract them? How’s this: I’ll distract them with other political debates, like immigration policy, or gun policy, or opioids, or foreign policy, or education, or—”
“Don’t talk,” he said.
I nodded. He was a wise lawyer who knew as many secrets as a basket of secrets.
Someone banged on the window and groaned, “Impeachment.”
“I have to go,” Mueller mumbled, and then he turned and ran into the darkness. I waited for a second, and then I ran too. Behind me, the window shattered as the infected crowd staggered inside.