Ellen DeGeneres, the well known America Hater, sat in the lead-sealed nuclear attack bunker that she had built on her Malibu property. It was 10 feet underground, protected by another six feet of concrete, and the only entrance was a small tunnel bookended by two hatches with a double-key failsafe locks accessing a system of closed-circuit electronic keypads. The room was lit with a bare light bulb, but as one’s eyes adjusted, one could see the bare walls lined with gallon jugs of drinking water, mountains of canned goods, piles of blankets, every size of Duracell battery, medical supplies, propane tanks for the cookstove, and case upon case of ammunition. The gun chest was closed and locked at the moment, but it was filled with guns, as well as two live grenades, and some C4 fuses (the C4 was not kept in the gun case, obviously). Ellen sat on a metal stool at her drafting table and looked over her blueprints of America’s major political and financial institutions.
She lifted her head from her obsessive work and stared at the wall where a single image of a mushroom cloud had been taped. Her face creased with rage, and the corner of her mouth curled into a snarl. “I could really go for a croissant with Nutella right now, that would be super yummy,” Ellen spat.
She climbed the metal ladder to the hatch and punched in the secondary, interior lock code. There was a hiss as the pressurized, triple-filtered, oxygenated air from inside the shelter escaped into the tunnel. She climbed another 10 feet in near perfect darkness, keeping her eyes on a thin slit of daylight, visible through the main hatch. Here, she entered the primary code, and could hear the hatch below reseal and the lock arm itself before the ground hatch slowly swung open on pneumatic tubes.
“Hey, babe!” Portia De Rossi called from her chaise lounge next to the pool.
Ellen walked over, the fresh-mown grass tickling the bottoms of her bare, hateful feet. One day all of this would be torched to ash, a fiery wasteland wiped clean of the world’s mistakes. Ellen leaned down and kissed Portia De Rossi’s head. Her hair smelled like Kiehl’s and naivete.
Ellen turned towards the house, which stood bright and cheerful in the sunshine, in gentle contrast to the cool, glittering blue of the pool. She could almost make out the charred silhouette of her own flash-annihilated existence against the white stucco. “I’m getting a croissant with Nutella,” Ellen said, “do you want anything?”
Portia absently shook her head and returned to her magazine. “You should get them while you can,” Ellen said under her breath.
“What’s that sweetheart?” Portia asked, not even bothering to look up. She was reading an article about the latest handbags.
“Nothing,” Ellen said, and walked into the house. Inside, the air was temperate and cool to her feverish skin, which felt like ti was crawling. She padded her way into the rancho-style kitchen, with expansive views overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It would look darker under the heavy clouds of a nuclear winter, of course, but Ellen felt that if you squinted your eyes, you could just barely make it out: the dead, leaden sea of her dreams. She had an assistant, Mandy, make her a croissant with Nutella. It was just as yummy as she had envisioned. It tasted like the sweet, buttery, crumbling facade of a wicked world brought to justice.
“This is a great croissant with Nutella, Mandy,” she said. “Oh, did you ever manage to use that Bergdorf gift card?”
“Yeah,” Mandy said. “I bought my boyfriend a wallet.”
“Awesome,” Ellen said. “We just never make it in there, and all I really wanted was for someone to get some use out of it.”
“Oh, no, thank you. Brian loves the wallet.”
Beneath the weathered country-style table of beautiful cherry wood that could seat 20 people comfortably, Ellen gripped her hand into a tight, gnarled fist. Again and again, squeezing until she felt the fingers emptied of blood, her skin drawn taught against the bone. All she wanted was to return to the quiet sanctuary of her bomb shelter, return to her planning, return to the timeless, endless quiet of planning the end of the world.
But she had told Portia they would go shopping for khaki capris. It was capri season after all. Hopefully the last capri season in the history of human existence, if Ellen had her way. But capri season nonetheless. And so, Portia and Ellen put on matching sunglasses and got into their Mercedes convertible. Ellen tried to play her Bathory CD, but Portia, as always, put her foot down, and opted for the oldies station instead. As they eased out of the long, winding, private driveway onto the glittering coastal highway, the Platters’ “Only You” came on the radio, and as Ellen’s eyes filled with fireballs on the horizon, Portia reached over and delicately, ever so delicately, wiped a smudge of Nutella from the corner of her lover’s twitching mouth.