Combat Zone

Exhausted, Americans Are Going to Bed

A young American male is asleep in a red netting hammock, draped in an American flag blanket. Photo Credit: American Dreams at Little Duck Key, circa 1975.

By M. Oneiros


  The last day of America was a long one. Fatigued, exhausted, worn, and weary, Americans across the country stumbled to bed. The last glasses of water were poured, melatonin gummies shaken out of their bottles, TVs switched off, and laptops shut as the incessant background hum of the internet slowly faded into silence, and the perpetual demands of Americans’ cell phones were wholly ignored for the night. It was, after all, bedtime.

  A 34 year old software engineer looks out across the San Francisco Bay, and sees the last faint glimmers of the Silicon Valley metropolis winking in the night, and wonders whether America could have avoided all this with a little more synergy and a pool table in the employee rec room.

  Tossing and turning in his four-poster bed, the fear-mongering conservative pundit sweats in the throes of a nightmare. The demons he conjured up have been let loose on his pristine neighborhood, hellbent on massacring his precious property values.

  Wrung out from a long shift, the intimidatingly cool barista of the small PNW coffee shop specializing in vegan croissants and re-caffeinated decaf oatmilk lattes, nudges the other members of their polycule to give them some space on the bed, and drifts off eagerly anticipating not having to share a studio apartment with four other people.

  Dusting his monogrammed pajamas after a nightcap bump of cocaine, the cutthroat Wall Street executive, unable to process life beyond the confines of his firm, interprets the sinking feeling about wasting his life as a deep-seated regret about not laying off more employees.

  In spite of their pre-last-night bender — consisting of one shared Monster energy drink sipped over three hours  — the middle-aged Mormon couple is fast asleep by 9:30 PM, dreaming of a Heaven where the only accessible pleasures are sugar, firm handshakes, and polygamy.

  Without a hint of guilt, the college student scans the list of assignments still inexplicably due at 11:59 PM that night, and shuts their laptop, going to bed before 2 AM for the first time since starting college, and the last time in a long while.

  As she puts her toothbrush down and turns in for the night, the biomedical researcher working on viral engineering is just grateful that it wasn’t her and her colleagues responsible for the fate about to befall America.

  The nuclear engineer feels the same way.

  Desperate for a few more streams, the up-and-coming rapper fires off another self-promotional Instagram story before crashing on his best friend’s couch, hoping that — if everyone still wakes up tomorrow — they’ll take a chance on his music.

  Donald Trump hopes everyone still wakes up tomorrow so he can pitch his latest plan to get back into the White House before 2024.

  Steeling himself for a last dance with the Angel of Death, Joe Biden desperately hopes that Mitch McConnell kicks the bucket before everyone else does.

  As his nightly cocoon hardens around him, Mitch McConnell hopes the same for Joe Biden.

  Most Americans would prefer the same for both of them, but have since come to appreciate that tonight will be the closest America ever comes to true equality, which comforts them as their eyes shut for the last time.

  A member of the covert cabal that had secretly been controlling global affairs for centuries briefly wonders whether the cabal should feel guilty about America’s impending fate, then brushes it off with “ah, apathetic bloody country anyway, I’ve no sympathy at all.”

  Long after the bombs burst, the red glare of the rockets illuminated a tattered American flag and an empty package of Oreos: the last remnants of a 247 year-long fever dream, the American Dream.