“You want another shot, buddy?” my roommate amiably asks. Hell yeah I do. I grunt, which means “yes,” these days.

Lockdown used to be only for prisoners. We had rights, given to us by God, defended by the Constitution, once upon a time. Now, I hold my leatherbound copy of the Constitution to my chest and cry. You see, I knew that this would happen, but I was off about the time.

“Bring the prisoner another shot of whiskey,” I say between sobs, holding up my empty shot glass. She takes it from me, gently, and I worry that she’s about to cut me off. I look down at my phone—6:08 PM—an hour and eight minutes since the official night curfew was called in Great Falls. Here we are now, hiding out in an abandoned shack in Sweetgrass, Montana, just in case we need to illegally cross the border into Canada.

Roomie steals my shot, downing it in one gulp. And the sound of sirens, blares in my head as I’ve become an enemy of the state, just for trying to live my life. I think up scenarios in my head—I’m hauled off to one of these quarantine camps like they have in Australia, only to flood the toilets and outrun the golf carts and cut holes in the chain-link fences, leading a prisoner rebellion out of the sterile camp and out into the wilderness of the high plains, to run wild and free like God made us. But that imaging is clouded over by the sounds of bombs and drones. The bastards always win in the end.

An old TV sat in the corner, propped up on a wooden crate. “I wonder if this works…” said roomie, who began fiddling with cords. I idly stare out of one of the windows, seeing no movement down the dirt road leading to this place. Outside, the landscape is flat and desolate, but also has a beauty of its own. It’s like the surface of the moon.

We can’t just sit here drinking all night, I think to myself. Besides, the solid folding chair is starting to cause my bum to ache. I set the Constitution down slowly, reverently, next to my chair and then walk over to the window. It’s only a matter of time before they catch us. At first, we’d thought it was only a California problem. Boy, were we wrong.

Peering out the window, you’d never know that this was a country under siege. The birds were chittering to each other, the sun was shining in what seemed to be a loving way, and the trees lifted their arms up to the heavens in reverence. From behind me came the churning sound of static as my roommate managed to get that junky old TV to start working.

There appeared the president Joe Biden’s punchable face as he stumbled and mumbled through another incomprehensible speech, something about needing F-16 fighter jets and nukes if you want to take out the U.S. government. Meanwhile, he continued to wage war against the American people.

We hadn’t wanted to leave California, the day that we did, but the sound of screams still echoed in my ears. An unconstitutional curfew had been called by mayor Darrell Steinberg, a guy we now referred to as the Sheriff of Nottingham. I’d wanted to sleep in the 100-degree weather when our apartment’s A/C was out and the landlord who’d refused to fix it had spent the past couple weeks and a small fortune renovating the backyard we weren’t allowed to use.

That’s when I heard it—the screams came blaring through my bedroom window issuing from the random black man they’d snatched off the street for violating curfew. “You are stepping on my ankles! You are stepping on my wrists!” I’d been horrified, sneaking out of my room to alert my roommate.

America was supposed to be a place of laws, and justice, and above all else, freedom. But in that instant, we knew the truth: America wasn’t the same place anymore. The TV blared again as my roommate turned the channel knob: we saw a rerun of Ren and Stimpy with a commercial within the show, touting all of the wondrous properties of a log. I searched the hut for any useable items and found only a broken dresser sadly leaning on one side.

So I began dragging it across the room and over to the door, propping it up against it for some basic measure of protection from the world’s chaos. The channel switched again, and this time it was CNN with the scrolling headline “Bringing the Unvaccinated to Justice.” Roomie and I were both unvaccinated and the fear ran so rampant and so high throughout the country, spreading just like a—dare I say it?—virus. We’d committed no crime—but if we were going to be punished anyway, I reasoned—we might as well do something to make ourselves guilty.

We’d already sent our list of perpetrators to the Hague and accused them of crimes against humanity. But thus far, I’d received no reply. And now, we had no address for them to get back to us with. Any moment, we’d be sure to be rounded up by the local police or the National Guard to be hauled off to a quarantine camp in Cut Bank for the crime of refusing the government’s shot.

“Gimme another shot,” I said as I saw the police lights down the road and checked the monitor in my pocket, hooked up to a button camera. They were coming for us, like they’d been coming for humanity since the dawn of time, with their batons and their jackboots and their disregard of the Constitution. I adjusted my button cam and smiled as they parked, exiting the vehicle and walking toward our shack. Dumb fucks.