Chapter 19

Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland

Joe Gillis Rating 0 (0) (0) Launched: Mar 27, 2024
Season: 1 Episode: 19

Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland
Chapter 19
Mar 27, 2024, Season 1, Episode 19
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. | S1E3 Chapter 19: Joe discovers a treasure trove of movies and TV shows in the facility, providing him with entertainment and a way to escape his isolation. | 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 19
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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. | S1E3 Chapter 19: Joe discovers a treasure trove of movies and TV shows in the facility, providing him with entertainment and a way to escape his isolation. | 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. We’re in Chapter 19 this week, but there are more chapters headed your way, 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…

The world was falling apart above and below ground for Joe. He was either cut off, or lost all his friends. His memory was shotty at best. He had nothing to entertain him. And it appeared as though he was going to have to spend the rest of his life alone. Then he discovered a secret government facility attached to his Titan One missile complex, and with that, a cloning machine.

Let’s find out what happened next…

Chapter 19

Oh, my was right. It felt like I was standing in the storage facility at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Forget the Ark of the Covenant, this place was filled with rows upon rows of the best treasures I could ever hope for: movies on VHS, DVD, Laserdisc, and even film. Heck, who knew what other artifacts might be in this place? Maybe it did house the Ark of the Covenant? I mean, this was a secret U.S. government facility with hidden alien tech. Either way, all those years working as a projectionist at the movie theater when I was a teenager were about to pay off with those films.

I finally noticed where the golden glow was coming from. It wasn’t as magical as it originally appeared; I felt as though I had just uncovered the magician’s secret to his trick. It was just a spotlight bouncing off a golden tray that was leaning against the end of the storage rack. I chuckled to myself as I thought about how some dude in the military must have done that as a joke or something. Man, who would have thunk that some government employee would have the humor to do something like that?

Good for them!

Another person was (hopefully) going to be awesome, but I wasn’t sure that another person to talk with would have been enough to stave off boredom. That didn’t matter anymore because after I found this room, I knew that everything was going to be A-okay. I wouldn’t need a Thunderdome to entertain me in my post-apocalyptic future, and I now had all the fuel I would ever need.

I smiled as I held out my arms and declared, “Welcome to my cinematic wasteland!”

Man, I felt like a kid in a candy store. The shelves were lined with what felt like endless rows of DVDs and VHS tapes. My eyes darted back and forth, unable to decide which one to pick first—there were just so many to choose from. Then I spotted a DVD laying on top of a bunch of film cans, just sitting there, calling out for me.

Oh, man, freakin’ Superman!

I snatched it up… except my present was going to have to wait. It felt like Christmas morning as a kid. But instead of waiting for my parents to wake up, I was waiting for the Genesis Process to finish building my clone.

I should really go check in on that.

My excitement was building as I headed back to the Genesis Machine. Not only was I not going to be alone anymore, we would also have something to do. Of course, I really didn’t know what was going to come out of that machine. Heck, it could be a monster for all I knew. I don’t know what I was thinking, trusting a piece of abandoned government tech to build a clone of me with zero problems. Why was this place deserted if this thing actually worked?

Maybe I shouldn’t have done this. What if it’s worse than being alone?

As I got closer, the sounds of the Genesis Machine bled into the hall.

I peered into the chamber. It pretty much looked the same as when I had left it, except the shape of a person appeared every time the laser lit up the inside.

Is he going to be naked, like in The Terminator?

Just in case it was a monster situation, there was no way I was going to leave to grab clothes, but I also didn’t want to see myself naked—which was weird since I’d seen myself naked my whole life.

Something about a clone made me feel like it was a new person, not me.

Anything would do at this point, and I spotted just the thing: a lab coat.

All I had to do now was wait, except the wait was killing me.

Finally after what seemed like an eternity, the Genesis Machine made an audible beep (or should I just say, a beep).

At that moment my clone opened up the chamber door. Smoke puffed up out of the machine, creating a dramatic entrance into the world for the clone.

I wonder if they did the whole smoke thing just for this part?

He emerged from the smoke to reveal a person who could pass for my identical twin. So far, so good—no clone attacking me, and there didn’t appear to be any other craziness that I would need to worry about.

Sure, enough, he was buck naked.

Why wouldn’t you just print the clothes? I mean, come on!

I handed him the lab coat as I turned away.

“So? How are you feeling?” I asked, feeling enough time had passed for first contact.

“I’ve got to say, I feel great!” He continued, “It’s weird because I feel like me, or should I say, you, or maybe, us, but I’m totally digging this new body.”

“Well, you look great. The only difference between us is your hair is shorter than mine… Well, that and you don’t have a beard.” I handed him a mirror. “I guess the machine felt you needed to grow your hair out naturally.”

His hair wasn’t really that short, it was more of a medium length. It was nearly long enough for a ponytail, and it reminded me of the way I wore my hair years ago. It was much, much shorter than you might expect based on my length, but way longer than it should have been for being a newborn. I would have presumed he’d either have really short hair or the same length as mine, but I guess the Genesis Machine didn’t see it that way.

He checked his hair out in the mirror. “You know what, I like it like this. I think I’ll keep it this way. Heck, it will make it easier to tell us apart once we create new clones.”

“Speaking of which, there’s one thing we need to figure out.”

“Yeah, what’s that?”

“What do I call you? I don’t think you want to be Joe 2.”

“As in Joe by itself, or too as in also, or the number 2? Never mind, either is bad since it sounds like I’m the crappy version of you.”

“I say I’m Joe, since I’m the original, and any of my clones can be any other name.”

He thought about it for a second. “Fair enough, I think I want to be called Bryan.”

“Bryan? Why Bryan?” I really didn’t understand where that came from, and he was basically me.

“We always liked the name,” Bryan stated.

“Yeah, but I never thought about it being my name.” Then again, I honestly had never considered changing my name.

“Maybe that’s because you never had to decide on a new one,” he remarked, knowing exactly what I was thinking.

“Why not use our middle name?” I asked.

“I figured since I’m a new person, why not a whole new name?” he revealed without any hesitation.

That sounded like sound reasoning to me, “True dat. So Bryan, guess what I found?” I handed him a DVD that showed the Superman cartoon on the cover.

“Where did you find this?” he asked.

“There’s a massive room of movies down the hall that I discovered while you were baking!” The find had energized me, and I knew it would have the same effect on him.

“Best day ever!” he exclaimed.

“No doubt! Do you want to go watch it?” I proposed.

“Umm, yes!” There was zero hesitation from Bryan. That was a good sign that the cloning process worked.

We decided to go break in the recreation room I had found down the hall. Bryan started to open the DVD case, but then he stopped and turned to me. “Are you ready to watch the first episode in the one-and-only Max and Dave Fleischer Superman cartoons?”

“You know it. I love me some Superman!” I shared, even though I knew he already knew this.

“Yeah, I know. We are sort of the same person and all.” He paused before asking me, “Do you remember when we were given the Superman doll after learning the alphabet?”

I thought about it for a second, “No, I don’t remember that at all.”

“Well, technically our parents gave it to us after they found out we had a hearing problem. They felt sorry for us because we tried so hard to learn the alphabet, but we were actually dropping the letters we didn’t hear.”

“Wait, I have a hearing problem?” I couldn’t believe what he was telling me.

“Yeah, we can’t hear certain sounds—”

I interrupted him. “Actually, I’m not sure if you have a hearing problem anymore. There was an option to fix physical and memory errors that I selected. If you can remember things that I can’t, then maybe it fixed your hearing, too.”

He then finished his thought. “Either way, you have a hearing problem where you can’t hear certain sounds, so you have a hard time pronouncing some words. Actually, you know what, that’s sugar-coating it too much; there are a lot of words you struggle with saying. We try to navigate around them, so we don’t have to say them out loud—oh, and uh, by the way, you’re a horrible speller because of it. Heck, we nearly failed English every year until we hit college. Wait, do you remember having to go to Special Ed for English when we were in the 3rd grade?”

I shook my head no. “Not at all.”

“Wow… Well, that was pretty traumatic for us.” And if just being traumatic wasn’t lame enough, he had more to share. “We got made fun of by the other kids at our school, calling us retard and stupid and stuff like that. What was even worse, after being bagged on that entire school year, our 3rd grade teacher still gave us a ‘D’ in English on our report card.”

“Dang, that sucks.”

“Yeah, it did. What sucked even more was that she wasn’t really our English teacher that year since our English class was really in Special Ed, not in her class. We ended up going home and crying to our mom.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “I don’t remember any of that.”

“Well, I guess there are some perks that come along with the whole memory loss thing.” He was trying to be positive about the situation. “It sucked pretty bad. However, that Superman doll was the only positive memory we had from any of our hearing problem experiences. I remember being so excited to get that doll; I flew him around our front yard for hours that day.”

It must have been an amazing memory because Bryan was beaming as he told me about it.

“Did I know that I didn’t know the alphabet yet?” I asked.

This is so bizarre; I’m asking me about my own childhood.

“No, we weren’t told that part until we were older. We just enjoyed the moment, thinking we had succeeded in learning the alphabet, and we savored the reward of all our hard work—Superman.”

“Well, at least we know how to get through the alphabet now.”

“Do you, Joe? Do you?” he laughed.

I joked back by gesturing, “Who knows?”

He smiled as he pulled the DVD out of the case. “You ready to watch this?”

“You know it.”

Bryan inserted the disc and then walked toward me before realizing that I had already taken a seat in our usual spot on a couch.

“Huh, umm, I guess I’ll sit over there,” he pointed to the other side.

After sitting down, he shifted back and forth in his seat and then crossed and uncrossed his legs. He licked his lips then spit out something I already knew. “Dude, this is hecka awkward.”

“I guess I didn’t consider how this would work out.”

“Yeah, I never really thought about how we always choose the same spot on the couch. Something just feels off about this, you know?”

“I could imagine.”

“You up for switching?”

“Oh, heck no! You look super uncomfortable right now,” I chuckled.

“Very funny!” He continued to shuffle around in his seat. “Man, I really miss my right arm having an armrest, you know.”

“I bet you do,” I tossed him a… um, throw pillow. “Try that.”

He placed it directly under his right arm, creating a pillow armrest. That seemed to do it.

“You good?”

“Yeah, I think I’m good now.” He picked up the remote and hit Play.

It began, but by the time we hit “It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!” Bryan had already paused it.

“Dude, I’ll be right back.”

“Umm, okay.”

I wasn’t sure why he stopped the movie until he walked back in.

“The freakin’ Genesis Machine seemed to have forgotten that we got LASIK,” he gestured to my old horn-rimmed glasses that he was now wearing.

I didn’t want to say it out loud, but I was thinking I probably should have read the manual. Maybe 20/20 vision was a setting or something. Like maybe different vision ratios might be better for different tasks, so you have to specifically tell the machine what you want.

“Is the prescription still correct?”

“It is,” he said as he sat down.

“Huh… really? That doesn’t seem right… right?”

He thought about it for a second before responding. “Uh, no, I guess it doesn’t.”

“Hmmm…” I just shrugged it off. “Well, I guess that’s a good thing considering we’re locked down here without an eye doctor.”

“Yeah, no optometrists or ophthalmologists down here. First, my super comfy seat. Then, my eyes…”

“Hey, at least you have your memory.”

“That’s true.”

“So start the movie. I may not remember it, but I’m excited to see it.”

The film opened with a soft, ethereal soundtrack and a voiceover detailing the origin story of Superman: a scientist sent his infant son in a rocketship to Earth just before their home planet Krypton was destroyed. But the next part threw me for a loop because the infant was found by a driver passing by and placed in an orphanage.

Wait, I thought the Kents found and raised him?

Then it kicked into another open of sorts, revealing Superman for the first time before turning into Clark Kent, who was working at a newspaper.

Man, that’s confusing. So he’s Clark Kent, but not raised by the Kents?

There were questions, but I decided to wait. Then Mr. White explained how the Mad Scientist was threatening total destruction with his Electrothanasia-Ray. Of course, they did what every self-respecting news agency does with this type of info. Instead of going to the police, Lois rushed off in a plane alone to find the Mad Scientist, and was somehow shocked when he took her captive instead of answering her questions. Then he let all hell break loose, destroying a bridge with his laser-type weapon.

Clark overheard a report of the devastation and leaped into action as Superman, just in time to save the Mad Scientist’s next target from being knocked down. The skyscraper seemed to bend and sway in a rubbery way as Superman landed, using his incredible strength to stabilize it. He then flew toward the source of the deadly ray, determined to block it before it caused any more harm. The Mad Scientist wouldn’t have any of it. He increased the intensity, hurling Superman back down to the surface. Little did he know, you might be able to knock Superman down, but you can’t keep him there.

The laser beam pelted Superman in the back repeatedly as he tried to stand. It seemed to almost do him in, but then he found the strength to get to his feet and fight his way toward the evil doer, smacking the deadly beam over and over with all his might, pushing forward until finally reaching the barrel and using his super strength to twist the barrel into a knot. After destroying the Electrothanasia-Ray Machine, he saved Lois and captured the Mad Scientist, and Lois got her byline after all.

“Wow… Just wow,” I blurted out without even thinking about it. “I absolutely love this version of Superman.”

“I know, right?”

“So what happened to the Kents?”

“Oh, that. Just like the whole leaping around instead of flying, his origin story changed some before they finally settled on Jonathan and Martha Kent finding and raising, Kal-El.”

“Well, even without the Kents raising him… That. Was. Freakin’. Amazing! So much better than if we re-enacted it!”

“Yes. Yes, it was. Besides being awesome, these cartoons made a huge change to Superman by giving him the ability to fly.” Bryan continued, “In the comics, before the cartoons, Superman could only leap 1/8th of a mile.”

Hmm, I don’t remember this at all.

“An eighth of a mile seems pretty specific,” I pointed out.

Bryan continued to throw down the Superman trivia. “Well, that’s what Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster wrote in Action Comics #1. He just jumped around saving people. And that was fine until the Fleischer brothers began working on the cartoon. They thought it looked silly with him leaping around, so they asked National—you know, what DC Comics was called at the time—if they could have him fly. The publisher agreed, and the rest is history.”

Wow, now I really wonder what other memories I’ve lost.

“So the first time Superman flew was in the cartoon?” I asked, not remembering the answer at all.

“Well, no, the radio show had Superman flying by the second episode in February 1940,” he clarified. “But I think the cartoon was the catalyst for changing Superman’s main form of transportation from leaping to flying in the comics. I imagine it took them seeing how awesome flying looked visually to make the change. They still had him leaping around the comics during all of 1940 and most of ’41, so it didn’t really change until around the time when the cartoon came out. Either way, just think what it would have been like if Superman never flew.”

“I couldn’t even imagine that...” Actually, that got me thinking. “Well, it would have solved the biggest problem we had with Superman: The Movie.”

“Turning back time?”

“You know it. First off, how the heck could you turn back time by reversing the Earth’s rotation? And how could his flying around the planet even change the Earth’s rotation? I’m no scientist, but I can’t see him flying around the planet enough to change how it spins, let alone reverse time. I don’t care how fast he flies.”

“You preacher, me choir.”

“I bet in reality Superman would have killed millions, if not billions, of people by doing that. I mean, the force of the Earth spinning would create strong gales of wind that would whip against any objects on the surface of the planet, not to mention the immense centrifugal force every living thing on Earth would be subject to from the spin. The force would be so extreme that it would make it impossible for them to stand or walk without being thrown outward. It would have totally killed billions because even the smallest item would have become a projectile, right?”

“You know, your logic seems sound to me.”

“And it was all done to only save one person.”

“Well, in all fairness, he did save more than one person.”

“True, but it was only really done to save only one person; everyone else was just a byproduct of saving Lois.”

“Fair enough. That was probably why his dad kept warning him.”

“Yeah, he was all like ‘Don’t do this, you will kill a lot of people.’”

“And Superman was like ‘I have to save Lois, so I don’t care.’”

“‘But son, with great power comes great responsibility.’”

“And Superman was like ‘Don’t be stupid, Dad, that was from Spider-Man. Totally different universe. That logic doesn’t apply here.’”

We both laughed.

“We were five or six when we saw it, and we knew even at that age that it didn’t make sense. Something that did make a lot of sense though was our Superman Underoos. Do you remember our Superman Underoos?”

“The underwear that was fun to wear? Um, yes. It’s one of the only times where the marketing truly did tell the truth.”

“No doubt. That underwear was fun to wear.”

“I remember running around, pretending to be Superman and imagining that we could fly. How is it I can remember that, and not the cartoon or some of my other memories around Superman?”

“I’m not sure. Maybe the MECHA implant fried a neuron or two that was part of the pathway for that memory. Or maybe your blow to the head was worse than we thought, and maybe your memories will come back to you.”

“Yeah, maybe. Heck, with everything I’ve forgotten, I’m just glad you got back my memories of Superman. All I could remember were his flying years. I guess through you I get to relearn what I’ve lost... which is sort of weird, since it’s me teaching me by retelling myself what I already experienced and learned.”

“What’s cool is you get to experience all these movies for the first time again,” Bryan was glass-half-fulling the whole memory loss thing.

“True dat!” The idea of that excited me.

“You know, I’d say the only bad thing is the seat.”

“It seems comfy.”

“You’ve never even sat in this seat! You don’t know if it’s comfy or not.”

“Is it?”

“Yeah, man, it is—but that’s not my point.”

“I think you proved mine.”

“Man, today’s not shaping up to be my best day, is it?”

“You were literally created from scratch today. How can this not be the best day ever?!”

“Dude, I’ve already said my piece.”

“Don’t you remember having to act out movies with Bally?”


“Not only did we find a machine that can create humans, but we now have a vault full of movies, man, and when I say vault, it’s like a Raiders of the Lost Ark sized storage facility chock-full of movies.”

“That does sound super awesome.”

“Yes… yes, it does. And I found us Superman too, I mean, come on… Superman!”

“Yeah… And it’s not Superman IV: The Quest for Peace either… even though I think everyone on Earth wishes Superman would have intervened on our behalf.”

“Don’t worry, he could still fly really fast around the Earth and turn back time to save us.”

We both laughed.

“Yeah, right.”

“Hey, at least we’re not down here alone anymore. I mean, what if I didn’t have you here to hang out with or the movies?”

“Yeah, we don’t need another Bally incident.”

“What do you mean?” I wasn’t really sure what he was getting at. “Did Bally wet the bed or something and I forgot that, too?”

Bryan shook his head in a way that signaled that he didn’t know quite what to say, then he followed up with, “Never mind, I know you miss him.”

“I do,” I reminisced. “He was one of our best friends.”

“He was. I know it’s been tough on you losing him.”

“It has. Thanks, man.”

“I can imagine, obviously, since we’re basically the same person and all.”

“Well, it does help having you around.”

“Hey, I know something that will perk you up. You in?”

“Umm, I—I guess?” I said with hesitation.

That concludes Chapter 19 of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland. Written by Joe Gillis and read by Joe Gillis.

Man, it’s been quite the journey for Joe to reach this point in the story. What will happen next? Tune in next week to find out.

So the peak behind the page on this one is probably the most person out of all of them. The hearing problem Joe has, spending a year in Special Ed, and the Superman doll story was all something that came directly from my life.

I’m not sure what it my hearing problem is really called, because all they ever called it as a kid was a hearing problem. It’s very much like how Bryan describes it in the story. But since they now have names for everything, I decided to see if I could figure out what it was called, and I think what I have is auditory processing disorder.

According to the Mayo Clinic, auditory processing disorder, also called APD, is a type of hearing loss caused by something affecting the part of the brain that processes how you hear.

I normally don’t tell people I have a hearing problem until after they make fun of me for how I pronounce something. That’s when I inform them that I have been made fun of it for my whole life and ask that they don’t do that because it will eventually trigger me to blow up at them, you know, since I have literally been made fun of for it for nearly half a century and all.

This was also what stopped me from becoming an author earlier in life. I spent years being knocked down by many of my English teachers—some of which told me that I would never be able to be a writer. To add insult to injury, I nearly failed English every year until I hit College and they removed the spelling test aspect. But even though I got great grades and did well in my English classes in college, it’s hard to overcome years of negative reinforcement and decades of being made fun of.

Eventually I did become a paid writer by hiding my written words behind the screen and coming out of someone else mouth.

After over a decade of being a paid writer, that lead to me finally gaining the confidence to throw my stories out into the world in written form with Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland. And I went full in by reading it, too—which was a whole other set of problems since I struggle to pronounce many of the words I write.

And that brings us to the end of another chapter.

If you enjoyed what you heard, hit subscribe to continue to get a new chapter every week. Want to get new chapters early? Then join Joe’s Post-Apocalyptic Army at and get up to 4 weeks early a membership. There is even a free level that gives you access to the Podcast or Web Novel one week early.

Join me Wednesdays for a new chapter of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland.

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

Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland copyright 2024, Joe Gillis, All rights reserved. This is a Jowagi Production and is distributed by Slacker Entertainment.

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