March 17, 2027
Whenever the Pink Shirts come by for a check, Inez hits the discreet button beneath the kitchen counter that releases the trap door into the cellar where she now keeps her most expensive shoes and we’ve got about 30 seconds to get inside.
Inez tells us much about the outside world that we’ve missed for so long. That the Pink Shirts are now knocking on doors daily to ask if any Deplorables live there. If so, they are immediately taken away to one of the Cal State campuses for reeducation but Inez says no one has ever returned. We fear only death awaits us at Cal State.
They often have lists. Inez says the Beverly Hills Autonomous Zone District Commander is the foulest person she’s ever seen. A creature of pure sadism called Zirm Jxcksxn, who they say had his genitals removed, put back on, then removed again before getting into amputeeism. He now only has one leg. He’s got a horseshoe hairline dyed pink, with pink eyebrows and even pink nose hairs creep from his nostrils like neon spider’s legs.
Inez says it’s only the movie stars keeping Beverly Hills from being evacuated the way they did in Palm Beach, but everyone knows that’s only temporary. Soon they’re going to need these houses for the migrants, too. And all those dutiful celebrities aren’t any safer than the rest of us. The Party still won’t acknowledge when the Pink Shirts dismembered Ellen DeGeneres outside her own home after one of them mistook her for Lindsey Graham. Same with Cher’s disappearance, one day after she tweeted about migrants hunting her pet peacocks for meat. And no one believes Alyssa Milano actually committed suicide after a copy of Sexual Personae was spotted on her bookshelf during a livestream.
Around three in the afternoon yesterday the doorbell rang and we got into the cellar. We didn’t sleep much last night. The trucks were out blasting the usual dictums, ‘diversity is our strength,’ ‘love is love,’ ‘hate has no home here,’ ‘no human is illegal.’ There’s six of us in Inez’s house and Raphael has a cough, probably MARS — Mask Acquired Respiratory Syndrome, the superbug bacteria that popped up a couple years after the federal mask mandate. All eyes are on Raphael, pleading that he doesn’t make a sound.
Inez says they’ve been watching her closely. They see she doesn’t post enough on YouBook or FaGooTer. She’s not watching enough television. Her phone is never on. Phones is how they get you. We began sounding the alarms just two months after her inauguration, when President Admiral Vice Commander Stacey Abrams began giving herself military titles and the media pretended this was all normal. ‘Mostly True,’ wrote Snopes, ‘after all, she’s literally commander-in-chief of the military.’ When we heard rumors they were rounding up Deplorables by our phones, we got rid of them. Then they instituted stop-and-phone checkpoints, but that didn’t do much. They already knew for years who most of us were. They were only waiting for the right moment.
When the Pink Shirts came in immediately we heard the menacing clomp…clomp…clomp of a peg leg on wood floors and knew Commander Zirm was here and this wouldn’t be good. They stayed for what seemed like hours but it was maybe only 20 minutes. Inez wasn’t on her toes, probably from the lack of sleep.
‘We’ve heard reports of some Deplorables in the area, have you seen anything suspicious?’ Zirm asked her.
‘No, I haven’t, sir’, Inez said and we winced. The gendered ‘sir’, how could she be so careless?
‘What did you call me?’ Zirm hissed back.
Just then we heard one of the Pink Shirts run in from the living room, ‘Commander, I think you should see this’.
The silence was pregnant with death. We turned white with fear. Raphael nearly passed out.
‘Economics 101?’ Zirm finally said, gleefully and serpentine. ‘What is Economics 101? Why do you have this?’
‘Oh, Commander’, Inez stumbled. ‘That was just an old textbook from college, before the Revolution. I didn’t even realize I still had it. I’ll get rid of it right now’.
And that was it. We don’t know what happened after that. We heard a shriek and scuffle and then, silence. Inez was gone.
I’m leaving behind this diary so that, perhaps, one day in the future, the world may know that people like Inez existed. That we existed. Inez had planned for this day and left maps and instructions. Tonight we leave for Donaldalia, a rebel settlement and casino in the Badlands. Inez left us with a list of other safehouses from here to Boise, but after Boise we’re on our own. We’re not sure if Donaldalia even exists, but at this point, faith is all we’ve got.