An Excerpt from “COG”

Set inside the Superbunker on the eve of nuclear war… Here’s a draft snippet from chapter 13:

The workers trapped inside the bunker turned away from the just-sealed blast doors and staggered aimlessly back towards their work stations. They passed through gauntlets of gawking elites, some smugly sipping their iced coffees, others casting looks of contrived concern, but most just appearing perplexed by the dazed looks on the sulking workers in gray shirts.

“Why do they look so glum, grandfather?” asked the little toe-head Prince Edward William Charles Henry, while clasping the aged hand of his great grandfather, James Edward William George, the Duke of Watford Gap, who was also the grandfather of the second-in-succession to the future King of England, Prince Henry William Edward Philip, who was already balding at thirteen years old and who himself would be crowned king in the unfortunate circumstance that his cousin, prince William George James Edward were to meet some unfortunate circumstance…

The Duke of Watford Gap patted the little prince of the top of his blond head, between the boy’s two enormous ears, while examining the throngs of trapped and stunned day workers shuffling past. “Everybody is saying we must have more people brought down into the bunker,” the Duke pondered, “But the people that are here are looking ghastly that they’re here.”

In Sector 16, the French sector, the glum procession was observed by French President Magimel and his sultry, ivory-skinned mistress from the balcony of his suite.

“Francoise?” she asked.

“Ui?”

“What is wrong with them?” she asked in French, her upturned nipples visible through her sheer robe.

“Who, my dear?”

“The workers. The Greys.”

President Magimel, who stood draped behind the burgundy silk of his curtains wearing only his silver rolex, took a long drag on his electric cigarette and exhaled the steam. “Madame,” he answered as his eyes rolled up into his bushy gray eyebrows in introspection, “it is because hope is the source of all sadness and worry.”

“I feel sad for them.”

“Don’t.”

“Why?”

“Because they are the fortunate ones.”

“But they are separated from their families.”

“My dear, this bunker— this soute— will soon be all that is left of the world.”

“I still feel sad for them.”

“Don’t. Their lives have been spared. What else can be done for them?”

“Still, we must do something to cheer them. I think that perhaps we should let them have a sherbert.”

In the southern quadrant, which was situated the farthest possible distance from the European and North American sectors, were the hostels of the Sub Saharan African nations. Sector 178 was the partition carved off by the United Nations for Zimbabwe which comprised a single suite, floored in marble and fine finishes, constructed for the elites of that country which consisted of an allotment of two PINs: one for the Zimbabwe president and one for his special guest. The Greys who worked that section— almost entirely Mexican immigrants and high-minded bourgeois-leftist coeds— appeared even more sullen than those who worked in the others. Sensing that there would be no empathy forthcoming from their African masters, the quadrant in which they were now trapped was culturally and linguistically and radically foreign to them. They had every reason to fear being permanently estranged from their loved ones in that purgatory for the remainder of their lives.

The president of Zimbabwe, himself a murderous gangster bankrolled into power by Chinese industrialists, poured back his champagne, snorted a vile of cocaine, and belched out a derisive, schadenfreude laugh at the lowly caste of The Greys lumbering past under his window.

“Attention!” came the vaguely sultry voice over the loudspeakers again. “Attention: all guest worker personnel. Please refer to lodging instructions on the Superbunker intranet home page. You are required to report to your designated Protocol 4 accommodations within thirty minutes of the end of your shift.”

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