We were all up for whatever. That’s the one thing I keep coming back to. What were we up for? Whatever. Were we up for it? We were.
In the end, there is no one to blame. When you’re up for everything, sooner or later, everything will happen.
We were up, once. Are you up for whatever, they had asked us, and to the ones who said Yes they had said Then come.
What’s the first thing you teach children, about what happens to everything that goes up?
We were Whatever, USA. Let me tell you a story.
We’ll take over a town, they said. As if it were that simple. As if the town existed merely than to be taken.
As if there was nothing that would take us, in return.
The Mayor was a useless figurehead, a blue-suited obsolescence. He was one of the first to die. I saw him wandering the streets, without hands, mutely stretching out what remained of his arms, as if to catch the blood that vomited forth from his stumps. He died without words. He had always been weak, but we had pretended not to notice because it suited us at the time.
When you’re up for whatever, you consent to everything. There is nothing forbidden. A yes cannot be traded for a no.
We had promised each other that when the time came, we would hold each other, if we had eyes left to see one another and arms left for holding. She had died screaming. “We agreed to this,” she screamed again and again. “We agreed to this.”
I wanted – I wanted her to die faster, so she would stop screaming it. I couldn’t bring myself to hold her, and she was too busy screaming to ask.
There are enough of us who have been left relatively alone that I fear we are being saved for something.
Whatever it is they have planned for us, I will have already said yes to it.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.