And now, another installment in our search for safe harbor during the nonprofit apocalypse…
It was 20 weeks since Jon and Sarah’s nonprofit survivalist group escaped from the Sorgan Manly-led Corporate Social Responsibility camp. The team was fading. Some were hallucinating, others were considering cannibalism, but vowed that they would only eat those that rejected their tribe: private and corporate foundation officers and financiers. They were miles from those camps, however, and with bloodied hands and feet they continued their momentum together, bonded by a mission of unity, compassion, and a quest for the common good.
Times were grim. For the past five days, in her delusional state, Sarah routinely offered the survivors imaginary expresso from Trevor’s van der Westen Speedster. They accepted every time. At week 21, a few of the survivors considered eating Sarah, confusing her love of bourgeois comfort with Trevor. Of course, the survivalists, weeks removed from Trevor’s camp, never got to enjoy his ironic comeuppance. It seems he was hitting on what he thought was an aspiring Wilhelmina model, but it turned out to be just a garden variety 80 lb. decaying zombie with a sense of fashion.
This time the gate was gorgeous. A wrought iron entryway to a resplendent garden still in bloom – one that curiously had a working fountain that was even fashioned after the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Jon hesitantly drew closer to the gate as if he were steeling himself to approach the Eye of Sauron. Sarah lithely sprinted forward and vaulted herself into the hard iron flourishes with an awkward sprawl. Less than two seconds later she was greeted by Jodi, who jolted Sarah’s exhausted corpse away from the entrance with a garden hoe. After securing an appropriate personal distance between her and Sarah, Jodi quickly turned her frown upside down and exclaimed, “Helloooooo!!! I am soooo tickled that you all have come to visit Fantastic 400. I am your host, Jodi, the first entry point to our superfantastic community. We are a group of 400 passionate women dedicated to making a difference in the apocalypse. We pool our resources so that we can leverage our impact in a highly visible way. Our goal is to welcome transformational survivors that can raise the bar for all of us, and keep us entertained while we throw fabulous parties.”
Jon slumped forward, leaned heavily on his falchion and muttered…”Oh fuck, not again.” Sarah, clutching the garden hoe as if it was a smoked turkey and Manchego panini, exclaimed with delight, “Yes! Whatever! We’re in! We’re in! What are the guidelines?!”
Jodi shifted in her Gucci loafers, threw out her hip, placed her hand squarely in the curve of her torso, and like a deranged cheerleader, preceded to share the Fantastic 400 Rules of Engagement to the plucky group of nonprofit survivalists, desperate for food, shelter and safety. “The first step is submitting a 20-page LOI. We were so inspired by the model employed by our foundation friends, that my sister-from-another-mother Ferme is letting us use her LOI template. How AWW-some! It’s like, you don’t have to do more work, right?!! We’re considering a cross-camp collaborative application process. Patricia at Sorgan Manly is thinking about it. We still haven’t heard from Trevor, though. Anyway, if all 400 Fantastic women decide that your LOI is the Best-of-the-Week, then you get to come INSIDE our gate and share your story during our evening ‘Stare.’ How amazing for you… all 400 Fantastic women will be listening to your stories of tragedy, death, and hopelessness over a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. You like white, right?” For a second Jodi stares in the distance – she drops her head downward and says quietly: “Now… I can help you craft your LOI and storyboard for the evening Stare. Normally, I’d suggest you ask a ten year old to read it first to make sure it’s easy to understand. Were any of you forced to kill a partner, parent or child?”
A trickle of blood pearls down Jon’s sword as he death-grips the hilt: “Jodi. I have three questions for you. How many zombies have you killed? How many people have you…” Sarah interrupts: “Jon! I have been serving dustachino for two weeks, and I’m pretty sure Grace and Steve are going to eat me if we leave this place. And you know how sarcastic Grace gets when she’s hungry. Who wants to be mocked while being eaten?” Sarah pulls a scraggle of loose leaf papers from her backpack: “Jodi – here’s your common application, LOI, or whatever the hell you’re calling it these days. Mind the bloodstains.” Jodi blinks, accepts the papers and lets the group know she’ll be, “Back in a Jiff… or up to 2 to 4 days!!”
16 days later.
Jodi saunters back to the gate: “Helloooo – my superfantastic survivors! Are you ready for some exciting news?!!” The group of nonprofit survivalists can only muster a collective shrug. The gates creak open and Jodi vaults through the threshold exclaiming with arms spread wide in a Jesus Christ pose: “The Fantastic 400 welcome YOU, our latest beleaguered, downtrodden-yet-fierce resisters to share your deepest, darkest moments with 400 FAAANNTAASTIC women. After we hear your story, we will then decide if your trials, your losses, your dreams, your future can transform our community and create the kind of high-impact resilience that makes the apocalypse such a special place!!”
Jon looks at Sarah and whispers, “We go in. We do the fuckin’ Stare. And then we kill them all, right?”
Sarah turns, and with a clarity belying her previous desperation, says, “Fuck yeah… and I got Jodi.”
– Sarah and Jon