Sep 9, 2013

The Million Second Quiz: A Post-Apocalyptic Memoir

By Josh Oakley


"I'm sorry, sir. There is no Subway in the afterlife."
“I’m one of the lucky ones, I got to shower. Things have gotten so crazy in Winner’s Row that you don’t know when food is going to come…Please let me show, please let me shower.” – Carolyn, one of MSQ’s first victims

I recall the days before the Million Second Quiz. I remember the time before the Money Chair, before the Reign of Seacrest, before they renamed America the “Winner’s Row Sponsored by Subway”.

“I know a lot of you are playing along at home with the game tonight, with your MSQ app,” King Seacrest threatened, his smile luring the innocents in. The lines grew exponentially, eclipsing the number of citizens in New York City, then state, then the entirety of New England.

“She has no idea how much her life is about to change,” the generic white man said, perhaps a warning given far too late. People were selected, “allowed” to “line jump”. Now those words paralyze even the strongest among us.

As I sit in my cardboard box in “Winner’s Row Sponsored By Subway”, I await my turn to sit in the cold, dead metal trap known as the Money Chair. But no cash prize awaits me. My horrifyingly basic knowledge of trivia can buy me nothing but time. And then, the million seconds will be up. And Seacrest will smile, sit in his throne, and whisper, “Bring me the next contestant.”

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