Chapter 11

Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland

Joe Gillis Rating 0 (0) (0) Launched: Jan 12, 2024
Season: 1 Episode: 11

Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland
Chapter 11
Jan 12, 2024, Season 1, Episode 11
Joe Gillis
Episode Summary

"Every chapter gets better and better. Can't wait to read more. Have no idea where this is going and loving it." - Ryan McKinney, Writer and Director, The Invited | In a world on the brink of destruction, Joe continues his journey in an edge-of-your-seat adventure as he faces the desolate aftermath of a global cataclysm head-on. | S1E2 Chapter 11: Joe wakes up and goes through the decontamination process, realizing the extent of his injuries and memory loss. | A humorous sci-fi serial fiction podcast from author Joe Gillis. Catch a new chapter of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland Wednesdays. Join Joe's Community at Read this chapter at

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Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland
Chapter 11
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"Every chapter gets better and better. Can't wait to read more. Have no idea where this is going and loving it." - Ryan McKinney, Writer and Director, The Invited | In a world on the brink of destruction, Joe continues his journey in an edge-of-your-seat adventure as he faces the desolate aftermath of a global cataclysm head-on. | S1E2 Chapter 11: Joe wakes up and goes through the decontamination process, realizing the extent of his injuries and memory loss. | A humorous sci-fi serial fiction podcast from author Joe Gillis. Catch a new chapter of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland Wednesdays. Join Joe's Community at Read this chapter at

Welcome Wastelanders to the Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland Audiobook Podcast! My name is Joe Gillis, and I’m the writer and narrator of this Serial Fiction Series. This week, we’re in Chapter 10, but there is a new chapter every Friday, so be sure to subscribe.

Also, if you stay until the very end, you’ll get a peek behind the page with a quick tidbit about this chapter.

The story so far…

With nuclear missiles headed towards America, Joe’s Titan One missile complex construction night crew rushed out to be with their families, leaving him alone in the real world. And after he lost connection with Maya and Sanjay in the MECHAverse, he found his only hope of not being alone through the apocalypse might be the possibility that one of the crew would return—however impossible it seemed. Even though ALFINA urged him to go into his underground bunker, Joe didn’t listen and found himself above ground when a nuclear bomb went off nearby. Knocked down and out by debris, he awoke to find that his only way out of this disaster was blocked.

Alright, let’s find out what happened next.

Chapter 11

“You have got to be kidding me,” I grumbled to myself as I staggered toward the blocked complex entrance.

I was pretty sure that the wreckage before me was the remnants of my above-ground house.

Time was of the essence. I had to move quickly to remove all the debris blocking the entrance to my new home before it was too late.

Hmm, wait a second. How long can I be up here before the radiation causes permanent damage to me?

Before panic could set in, I remembered the story of the guy who survived two atomic bombs. His name escaped me, but I recalled that he was working in Hiroshima when the first atomic bomb was dropped during World War II. He was only two miles away from ground zero. His face and forearm were badly burned, and his eardrums had ruptured, but he lived and made his way home to Nagasaki. Little did he know that the U.S. would drop another bomb a few days later in his hometown. He ended up surviving both atomic bombings—and a double dose of radiation, living a relatively normal life until passing away at 93 years old. That gave me hope. I knew little about radiation. What I did know, was the longer I was outside, the worse it was for me.

Oh wait, wasn’t the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated 3,333 times more powerful than the Little Boy bomb that destroyed Hiroshima?

Oh, crap. That guy lived through something much smaller than what might have just gone off. The Russians created a bomb that had a 50-megaton blast—and that was back in the ’60s. So who knows how bad this thing is? It could be worse, or it could even be less than what we had in WWII. All I could hope for was that North Korea was only up to the levels we were at when we first started our atomic program.

I really doubt it, but one can hope, right? Ohhh, crap, the freakin’ Russians launched theirs, too.

There was no time to worry about it; I needed to keep moving debris away from the door like my life depended upon it—because I was dang sure it did.

My hands plunged into my pockets, and I pulled out a pair of gloves, slipping them on over the hands.

With determination and focus, I started throwing pieces of wood and rubble out of my way.

The strain in my arms was intensifying as I shifted the large chunks of debris. I gasped in pain as I moved the large pieces. My breathing was heavy, my heart beating rapidly, but I was determined to keep going no matter how tired I was… except there was another problem.

The air is toxic. How could I have not freakin’ thought about that?!

Quickly, I searched through my pockets on my hi-vis vest for the mask I kept in there.

Come on… come on… it’s—it’s gotta be here.

Why is it when you need something, it’s always in the last place you look? Bingo!

Wasting no more time, I pulled it out of the wrapper, unfolded it, pulled the elastic straps over my head, and turned my attention back to the major problem at hand.

A faint orange light from distant fires helped light my way. Shadows of me working danced along the large stack of junk blocking my escape, which made my exhausted self appear to be moving way faster than I knew I really was moving. It was like playing a game of life or death Jenga, hoping the removal of the next object didn’t send the wall of debris ruins tumbling down on top of me. Gradually, piece by piece, a glimmer of hope began to emerge out of the darkness as the entrance slowly began to be revealed. I felt a massive wave of relief wash over me. It gave me the burst of energy I needed to keep going. Every ounce of me screamed out in pain, but determination fueled me to keep moving forward.

Finally after what felt like an eternity, but was probably only a few minutes, the entrance was cleared, and I stumbled inside exhaustedly.

Breathing heavily, I quickly closed the door of the bunker and spun the handle wheel to lock it in place. The pain in my body was unbearable, and I collapsed to the floor as I let out a deep sigh of relief.

I’m safe… for now.

Movement in my peripheral vision caught my attention, causing me to glance down at my watch, where light reflecting off glass fragments of the smashed clock face was bouncing right up into my eyes. The clock hands were no longer moving. The blast had broken my watch and now the clock hands rested permanently at 10:47.

The end of the world happened at 10:47. I chuckled to myself, as I thought, Wasn’t that the time Bruce Wayne would set the clock to access the Batcave… or was it 10:48 PM?

It was like the answer was just a bit outside of reach. All I knew for sure was that it was the exact time that all hell broke loose in the outside world, but here I was, safe and sound in my underground sanctuary—well, sort of safe.

Even though my head was still pounding, I knew I needed to make my way to the Decontamination Room. I pulled myself back up using the handrails and mustered up the strength to keep moving.

The Decon Room wasn’t something that was originally a part of the complex; I had it built right next to the entrance because I thought having a working Decon Room would be cool—and for the life of me, I never thought I’d actually use it.

The lights turned on once I stepped inside in the Decon Room. They were motion-activated, which was the type of switches I had added to all the rooms in the retrofit. Now that I was most likely radioactive, I was really glad that I had done that. Man, I was feeling pretty out of it, and couldn’t really remember what I needed to do, so it was nice to have the CDC’s Decontamination for Yourself and Others infographic on the wall to tell me what to do.

“‘Step 1: Take off outer layer of clothing. Taking off your outer layer of clothing can remove up to 90% of radioactive material.’”

Well, that’s good news.

“‘Be very careful in removing your clothing to prevent radioactive dust from shaking loose. Put the clothing in a plastic bag or other sealable container.’”

I grabbed a plastic bag from the box sitting on a shelf nearby and carefully removed my clothes before shoving them into the bag.

“‘Put the bag in an out-of-the-way place, away from other people and pets.’ I really don’t think that last part will be a problem,” I joked, before I deposited the bag into the incinerator meant to permanently dispose of the clothes. Then I moved on to the next step.

“‘Step 2: Wash yourself off. If you can take a shower: use soap and shampoo. Do not use conditioner because it will cause radioactive material to stick to your hair. Do not scald, scrub, or scratch your skin. Keep cuts and scrapes covered when washing to keep from getting radioactive material in open wounds.’”

“Psst, I don’t even know where my wounds are,” I shrugged off my concerns.

Oh, well, I’m sure this is going to be better than doing nothing.

Stepping into the decontamination shower, I turned it on, letting the water pour over me before pumping some shampoo out of the wall dispenser. There was grime covering me wherever my clothes weren’t, and the shower felt amazing, and somehow seemed to lessen the pain a little. After washing off my hair, I soaped up and cleaned completely off. After I was done, I just stood under the showerhead and enjoyed the peace for a moment.

Except I couldn’t stop thinking about rad. Not the short version of radical, instead I was locked in on the version of rad that was the unit of measurement used to describe the radiation absorbed dose AKA rad. Most likely, I had both external and internal contamination, and I didn’t know what 2 of the 3 basic things were that could have determined my dose of radiation.

Both time of exposure and distance from blast were unknown since I had no way of accessing my MECHA tech. The only thing I did know was that I didn’t have any shielding from the blast, unless you consider the chunks of building shielding me as they hit me, which, of course, made my time of exposure unknown after knocking me out.

Man, radiation is everywhere; it’s the dose that makes it dangerous or lethal. If ALFINA would have stayed on, she’d be able to tell me how long I was out there and how far away I was from the explosion. Instead, I couldn’t even guess what my rad numbers were. More importantly, it wasn’t rad—far from it.

During the points where I’d go down the rabbit hole of radioactive research after buying my “nuclear facility,” I came across rad, and all I could think was, Why would you give something so horrible the awesome acronym of rad? Here I was again, thinking the same thing.

After I was done showering, I headed into the Clean Area, and read the next obvious step on the sign in there.

“‘Step 3: Put on clean clothes’… Uh, like no duh,” I quipped as I scanned over the options.

The rest of it dealt with not having clean clothes, and the next step that included helping others and pets. None of that was applicable, so I toweled off. Boy, did that hurt. Every muscle ached as I dried myself, and it was worse as I struggled to put on the scrubs I grabbed off the shelf. Luckily, there was a pair of slippers I could just step into on the floor.

I slid into them and walked over to the sink, checking out the damage in the mirror. There I stood, staring like it was the first time I’d ever seen myself. After spending years trying to conform to what everyone else wanted me to be, I had grown out my hair and beard. My hair hadn’t been long since I was a teenager, but times had changed and I no longer got made fun of for it or followed around in stores because they thought I looked like a thief. I checked out the scrubs I was wearing and got a slight chuckle on how non-threatening they seemed on me. I don’t think the clerks at the stores would worry about me stealing while wearing this. It was certainly less threatening than the leather jacket, jeans, and tee shirt that I usually wore—and a little less rock-n-roll, too. I stopped caring what people thought of me a few years back, after I realized I was at a point in my life where I could just be me, not some version of me that people wanted me to be. I had become successful enough to do whatever I wanted, so I did.

Not that self-confidence meant anything now. I might be the last person alive on Earth, and I don’t feel well at all. If anyone else had been around, they would have noticed that something was wrong with me. It wasn’t so much the outer wounds that were the problem; I mean, I definitely had a few cuts on my face and arms, and there was a whole lot of bruising and swelling, but none of that compared to how horrible I felt. It was as if a piece of rebar had pierced my head or something.

Of course, I was staring at my reflection in the mirror, so I at least knew it wasn’t that. I was never a fighter, but I imagined this is how I might have looked if I was part of a fight club—not that I’d ever tell you if I was in a fight club. I had without a doubt lost that fight, and by the looks of it, I didn’t tap out either. No, whoever it was must have felt like destroying something beautiful, and knocked me the heck out in the process—which now that I think about it—I’m pretty sure that’s what actually happened.

Interestingly, the green flecks in my hazel eyes were really beginning to pop as the coloring from the shiner filled in. My eyes and nose were swollen. It looked like I had just gone 12 rounds and didn’t block a single punch. I lifted my shirt and saw that it wasn’t just my head that took a beating. I was pretty darn red all over. I’d bet that I would be heading toward a nice black and blue color in a day or two. All in all, the outer injuries weren’t too bad for someone who had just been smacked head on by a nuclear blast—that and a few of my own buildings.

I spotted a medical kit on the shelf and grabbed it to patch up my cuts. As I worked, I had to use the sink to brace myself. My head was still pounding, and I was really feeling light-headed.

“Oh, come on, aspirin,” I mumbled as I thumbed through the kit. “Oh, potassium iodide.”

On the wall next to the med kit, there were two posters from the CDC: How Potassium Iodide (KI) Works and How Prussian Blue Works. Both were pills that could be taken during radiation emergencies. I knew I didn’t have Prussian blue because that required a prescription, whereas KI was an over-the-counter drug, and I was holding a pack of pills that I had purchased. I read the Potassium Iodide (KI) poster out loud.

“‘KI is a pill or liquid that can be used in radiation emergencies that involve radioactive iodine. KI contains non-radioactive iodine. Non-radioactive iodine helps prevent radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland.’ Hmm, well, I’d say this qualifies as a radiation emergency.”

I pushed the pill out of its blister pack as I continued reading. “‘How does KI work? The thyroid gland cannot tell the difference between non-radioactive and radioactive iodine. It will absorb both kinds. KI works by keeping radioactive iodine out of the thyroid gland where it can cause damage. When a person takes KI, the thyroid absorbs the non-radioactive iodine in the medicine. Because KI contains so much non-radioactive iodine, the thyroid becomes ‘full’ and cannot absorb any more iodine—either stable or radioactive—for the next 24 hours.’”

I reached for a cup at the sink by the posters and filled it with water. “Um, yes, please,” and then I downed the KI pill.

I turned my attention to the much needed aspirin and popped a couple before stumbling my way out of there and down the stairs of Silo #1. There was an elevator, but that seemed like a bad idea with everything that had just happened.

The handrails helped me stay standing up, but it still wasn’t an easy task. I finally made it down to the level that had my entertainment system and parked myself in front of the TV to see if I could get any more information on the incident. I started flipping through channels, hoping for any news on the world above. Unfortunately all I got was static. I opened my laptop and checked the Internet. No connection. I double-checked the radio—zilch, nada, nothing.

“Oh, yeah…” I declared as I suddenly remembered that my crew had rebuilt the Control Center which included communications—AKA my Ham Shack.

Maybe I could contact someone that way? I thought as I got up with a renewed sense of hope.

I made my way to the Personnel Tunnel that led to the Control Center Operations Room. The Control Center served as the command post for the complex, so I had the two-story, dome-shaped structure fully restored with retro ’60s military style consoles, except I had upgraded it with modern tech.

The Personnel Tunnel was attached to the lower level of the Control Center. I entered through the open doorway and slowly made my way to the stairs in the middle of the level. There were and still are, 14 rooms total on both floors. This level was 100 feet in diameter and had everything the complex had when it was in operation: kitchen and dining room, a place for recreation, sleeping quarters, and bathrooms. I had intended to use this as a guest apartment, but I couldn’t think about that at the moment. Right then I needed to focus on the upper level where the Launch Control Center and the Operations and Communications Equipment Rooms were located.

As I headed up the stairs, the stenciled sign outside the door at the top of the stairs caught my attention:




Man, the sign hit home. Strategic Air Command, AKA SAC, instituted the No-Lone Zones where there always had to be two or more qualified people in those areas. It was used as a safety precaution in dangerous parts of the facility, like the silos where there were missiles loaded with rocket fuel and a nuclear device. Not to mention it was a way to keep people from tampering with or damaging the nuclear weapons, critical components, or nuclear systems by not giving them an opportunity to be alone to do anything unauthorized in any of the No-Lone Zones.

“Well, I’m just going to have to violate SAC policy, aren’t I?” I remarked as I entered.

The door to the right led to the Communications Equipment Room, straight ahead was the latrine, and the door to the left was the Operations Room. I chose left. The moment I stepped through the door, it felt a little like I was in the middle of an earthquake, or at the beginning stages of vertigo. I stumbled some before catching myself. At first I thought I might be getting dizzy from the blows I received earlier, but then I remembered that they had built the upper level with a one-foot clearance all the way around with shock mounts that created a shockproof level. I guess the shockwave from the blast was enough to get things moving up here.

Although the room was barely moving at this point, it was enough to make me extremely nauseated, and I sprinted to the bathroom to throw up. After I expelled my dinner, I recognized that I was exhibiting signs of a concussion.

Headache. Check. Vomiting. Check. Memory loss… um… let me think… uh… I mentally listed off.

I realized that I could remember almost everything about my underground lair. Heck, I remembered a ton of the nuclear facts I had read or watched, which had been one of my favorite pastimes once I had started focusing all my time on my reconstruction efforts.

The surroundings of the underground lair stretched out before my mind, each detail clear and familiar. The nuclear facts I had studied were like a mental movie playing in my mind. But as I tried to recall other memories from before the blast, everything became hazy or distorted, like a blurred photograph. I was catching glimpses of things from my past, but so many things seemed to be blurred.

“Memory loss… check-ish. Oh, man, this is not good,” I noted as the room began to swirl around me, with each object blurring into the next. My vision tunneled and faded with the colors melting together like a watercolor painting left out in the rain. Suddenly, everything went dark. I had lost consciousness.

That concludes Chapter 11 of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland.


Man, things still aren’t going Joe’s way, are they? Do you think he’ll be okay? Tune in next week to find out.


So you might be wondering if the story about the guy surviving both nuclear bombs in Japan was real? Why, yes, it is.


As for the all the CDC infographics in Joe’s Decontamination Room, those are real, too. I found those while researching what it would be in a Decon Room. I incorporated them into the story because I would totally need something like that myself, and I placed them by where I would need them if I could afford to build said Decon Room. By the way, those are the real directions, so if you find yourself in the unfortunate need of those type of instructions—they are solid. Well, I have to image they’re solid since the CDC said so, but for all legal reasons I can’t say that I know for sure, since I just play a scientist when I write and all. I am married to a scientist, but sadly that doesn’t make me one.

Alright, that brings us to the end of another chapter.

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Thanks for joining me on this crazy journey! See you on the flip side!

Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland copyright 2023, Joe Gillis, All rights reserved. This is a Jowagi Production and is distributed by Slacker Entertainment.

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