2016

We all saw it. Whether we were watching at home, or while we were waiting to exchange our Trump Collection food vouchers for groceries, everyone saw it. The President held up the saddle that Vladimir Putin had given him as an election gift, and let it drop to the stage.

“Russia, you’re fired!”

Putin didn’t need to wait for a translation. As an avid watcher of The Apprentice, he knew exactly what Trump meant. Or maybe he didn’t. Not that it really mattered. A few more words were exchanged through diplomatic channels, to no avail. We all continued to watch. Then we waited. Then the button was pushed.

The war was brief, but the destruction was total. Those of us who survived did so merely through dumb luck; I can remember picking through the rubble of many a doomsday prepper’s compound for supplies. None of them made it, even though they had been the only ones among us who had anticipated this.

It was several days before I came across another survivor. Most of them didn’t like talking about it, and we began to wonder who was really to blame for what happened. “I voted for him because I thought it would be funny,” they often said. “I used to troll him on Twitter all the time,” others recalled. I wondered if I would ever see a GIF again.

We used to take shelter in Subways. The restaurants, that is. For some reason they withstood the attack better than anything else. I was fortunate enough to find a location with an underground meat cellar. The mildly radioactive cold cuts were a godsend in those early postwar days: the radiation improved the flavor, but the amount wasn’t lethal. The Jimmy Johns people weren’t so lucky; those poor bastards died from exposure freaky fast.

The Internet came back faster than we expected, and in a lot of places, it was better than before. With telecommunications conglomerates wiped out, Google (who had suspiciously moved all their essential operations offshore shortly before the attack) built up their fiber-optic network anywhere they wanted. By this point the cold cuts had run out and I was down to eating charred Clif bars, but my download speeds were incredible.

I was able to piece together a WiFi hotspot using a Fleshlight and a pair of Beats headphones. An intact Fleshlight was worth its weight in gold in the camps, and it was a miracle that I even got a hold of one. I had to kill three men for it, but to be fair they were already dying from radiation poisoning. Guess they wanted to go out happy.

Using my makeshift hotspot, I was one of the first to get back online. Other survivors were already chatting on IRC. They always said cockroaches would be the only thing to survive a nuclear war, and believe me, they did- but an honorable mention should definitely go to the humble Internet Relay Protocol:

<TrumpIn2020lol> hey does ne1 kno if twitter is back

<BushDid2016> yeah i think so

<TrumpIn2020lol> want 2 c if im still blocked by the prez lol

And it was then, in that moment, that I knew everything was going to be OK.