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Home: The Toast

Hello? My name is Naomi Brattner.  I’m using the last of my walkie-talkie’s battery life to reach out to my best friend in the whole world, Jenn. Hey, lady, if you’re out there and can hear this, I just want to know, are you avoiding me? Or are you so busy dealing with the nuclear disaster that scorched our planet and extinguished most of humankind that you can’t return my broadcasts? You have a lot going on. I get it. But still, why don’t we ever hang out anymore?

Ever since the collapse of civilization, I feel like you haven’t made an effort to fit me into your life, Jenn. A life that, sure, now mostly consists of acid blizzards and roving cannibal camps. But in the midst of your never-ending daily fight for survival, maybe you could spare a few minutes for your BFF, Naomi? A person can only hear “Maybe next time” or “Sorry, I have to find food and shelter” so many times before they start to take it personally. I know the world has been plunged into a darkness and despair so deep it can only be described as post-nuclear fallout meets the scary parts I used to fast-forward through on Walking Dead, but I miss your face, girlfriend! I would kill for some quality time. (I am not exaggerating. I’ve killed for bottled water.)

It’s just been FOREVER since we last talked. Not that I can really measure time very well, what with the earth still being shrouded in layers of smoke and ash like some doomsday napoleon. The only way to distinguish days now are by Ashy, Sooty, Charred, Permanent Midnight, and Volcanic. But let’s catch up soon! We can gab over cans of government-rationed corn and I can tell you how hard this apocalypse has been for me.

Oh, Jenn, what I wouldn’t give for one of our ladies’ nights, when I’d pour my heart out over margaritas. Now most of our old hangouts are makeshift shelters for an alternate society of survivors and their brutal warlord. But it doesn’t matter where we hang! I can even make the trek and come to you. A journey through robber-infested roads is really no different than showing up on your doorstep unannounced! That’s what best friends do.

The real catastrophe is that I have no idea how you’re doing. I don’t know where you live. I don’t know if you’re getting my messages. It’s not like the good old days when I could just text you. And then FaceTime you to see if you got my text. Or post quizzes on your Facebook page so that you were held publicly responsible for answering my messages. (We never did figure out which celebrity best friends we were.) I can’t even use Instagram to check up on you, like I did that time you didn’t text me back because you were having rosé with Cynthia.  A co-worker.  It’s fine. Totally cool with you meeting new people to watch The Fall. That’s why I binge-faved all those photos and commented that Cynthia’s hair looked amazing. How is Cynthia, by the way? Is her hair still amazing? Are you guys having government-rationed corn without me?

I’m trying to organize a lady survivor meet-up, but I know you’re probably not coming. I’ve been leaving trails of friendship emojis made out of bones, but you’re ignoring me and hanging with your new survivor friends and you don’t even care.

Oh, Roger says I shouldn’t waste the battery life. Yeah, we’re still together. I’m trying to be nice to him since he’s literally one of the last men on earth and we might be the last hope for repopulation.

[Radio static]

Ohmigod, Jenn? Is that you? JENN! Yes, I would love to stop by and see you. Today? Oh, today is tough — I mean, I have a baby now, my life isn’t as easy and carefree as it used to be. One day you’ll understand when it’s your turn to repopulate the earth. Is your refugee camp far? You should totally drop everything and make the trek through robber-infested roads over to me!

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JiJi Lee is a comedian in New York City. She hosts Split Personality, a weekly storytelling and sketch character show, in Brooklyn.

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