The year is 2020. Tensions between the Trump administration and North Korea climb with ferocity to nuclear boiling point. With the slam of a few fists, missiles streak across the pale morning, mere dots against an infinite and cloudless blue sky. Soon other nations join in the fray, and a radioactive hellfire sweeps mercilessly across the planet, engulfing the civilised world, nature and all.
But somehow, you survive. Emerging from the ruins of your once proud office block, you stumble over the charred pencils, blitzed computers and melted coffee machine. Wandering through the empty streets, you search for others.
After days of no luck, surviving on only a few drops of water and an empty stomach, you see a campfire burning in the distance, and hear the muffled sound of voices. Your heart leaps. Survivors! Your mind and mouth excite with the promise of food and drink, so much so that you can feel a desperate sliver of saliva collecting on your parched tongue.
Clambering over the mountains of rubble, you speed towards the other survivors, wildly swinging your tired arms and legs as if dancing a mad tango in celebration. Then it hits you. You freeze, and gaze upon the ragtag camp of survivors in despair.
You didn’t attend the people skills seminar in the office last month! Not only that, but you even phoned in sick - said you had been on the toilet all night, that you couldn’t possibly make it in. Then you spent the whole day just lounging around the flat in your pants eating ice cream. Oh how you miss ice cream.
And it was true: you should have attended! You aren’t a great people person, you come off as rude and impatient, you don’t like communicating with others, you’d rather listen to the voice in your head than the voices of others, and the word positivity was certainly not in your vocabulary.
Panic runs through your veins - how will I relate to these other survivors? How will I strike a conversation, share with a smile, listen to their stories of old, and help out others in need?
You collapse to your knees, on a heap of broken glass and jagged stone. Clutching your fists, you cry out in anger to the grey and hopeless sky. Bringing your head to the floor, you wish that you could go back in time, to that fateful day of the people skills seminar. Then you would not phone in sick, nor lounge around in your pants eating ice cream all day (oh how you miss ice cream!). No - you would attend!
You’d sit on the front row, shoot your hand in the air to answer every question, take the lead in team building exercises - and all with a smile of positivity on your face! Then you’d walk out of that seminar a new man, a people skills man, ready to make the world a better place.
But you can’t go back. The seminar, the office, civilisation as you know it is gone forever. Standing to your feet, you shoot one last look at the campfire and walk away, the sound of laughter disappearing into the air.