Awake. Another day in my house watching after my son while my husband does generic important things outside. Never mind the fact that we have a fully- functioning household robot who could watch our son Shaun instead, or the fact that I’ve got a law degree on the shelf perennially collecting dust. I like to walk past it to remind myself of all the nights I spent on it only so I could live in the Boston suburbs wearing nice dresses and cool makeup that no one else here likes.
As I’m trying to get ready for the day, my husband storms into the bathroom to practice his speech on me for the hundredth time. I let my mind wander, imagining his words as a strangely high production value black-and-white film instead of paying real attention.
I’m impressed that none of the neighbors never make fun of my appearance. I’d been ratcheting it up lately, almost daring them to say something. I certainly don’t look like I fit in with the rest of them, but that doesn’t stop them all from being nice as can be. Makes me sick sometimes. A salesman comes by, saying a bunch of nonsense about the end of the world and that big dumb vault they’re building up the street. I answer his questions so he’ll go away, then I go to the end of the hall to check on my closet. I keep all the important things in here, right next to my boy: tin cans, metal chairs, metal tools, my bucket, and a couple of cardboard boxes.
Suddenly, while I’m playing with Shaun’s rocket-shaped mobile that emits a strangely- familiar tune, the TV anchorman starts shouting. This is it. The bombs are here. Rather than turn to fear, I realize this is my time. I scream at my husband that we need to go, and we run faster than everyone to the vault. That stupid salesman is there and they won’t let him in.
We make it into the vault just in time and they hand me a weird blue suit. I find myself wishing it came in black. I put it on and follow a doctor down a hallway to a room full of boxes. I get inside a box, saying goodbye to my husband and Shaun. I think about how Shaun really should have been given a suit as well. It gets very cold.
I wake up in a cold sweat, unable to tell if I’m dreaming. A man and some others come into the room. They shoot my husband. They take Shaun.
Awake. I fall deliriously onto the floor. I get up and the nightmare is real: I’m still in the weird suit, and my husband is dead. I take his ring, and swear vengeance. I sprint down the hallway, gathering up every loose coffee cup and security baton I can find. I find a pistol, and after several misguided attempts to kill the giant roaches that now run the place, I somehow learn how to be a decent shot.
Seems that in the last few days between the bombs dropping and now, there was a mutiny. The guards tried to take over the place and everyone died. Are the people I’m after guards? Were they in on this? I find an old model Pip Boy computer on a skeleton’s arm, and I try to tell myself not to think about why everyone is a skeleton. I get the door open and the fresh air outside smells alarmingly pleasant.
Things aren’t as irradiated as I thought they would be. But what do I know about this, I’m a lawyer, not a scientist. I rush home, and Codsworth our robot is still there, dusting things, shouting something about how I’ve been gone for 200 years. I push past him and open my closet…or I would have, if the doors had survived. Almost all of my important things are gone. Only one metal chair remains.
I’m going to find the people that did this. I’m going to get all of my metal things back for my closet if it’s the last thing I do. They don’t stand a chance.
I search some bodies in the street and find a better outfit, though it’s still not black. I finally feel like all of my rebellious makeup choices were justified. It’s up to me now, a lawyer who only learned how to shoot a gun three minutes ago and has a weird snarky attitude, to search the land, defeat the bad guys, and get back my wrenches and my bucket.
Oh, and I’m also going to find my son.