Millicent, At The End Of Days

and — Wednesday, April 27th, Personal

Today, the Goats watched an internet video in the vein of “what we made you think while you were on copious pain meds” oeuvre, which is quite popular! People enjoy imposing confusion and subterfuge upon their loved ones, and why wouldn’t they? When are you going to get another chance to terrify and bewilder your family while they are under the influence of medical grade mind altering substances? I mean, just another weekend at Capra Cove, but maybe these opportunities are thin on the ground where you’re from.

Generally I don’t go for these types of videos because I don’t like pranks, you guys! Pranks are always mean. I don’t know how the people who are getting pranked always seem to be able to laugh it off at the end. I would have feelings of deep shame and resentment. I hate being scared while sober, nevermind after I’ve just had minor dental surgery. When I had my wisdom teeth out they had to put me fully under anaesthetic. When I woke up I wasn’t capable of much more than letting my dad navigate me to the car. I was foggy for a few days afterwards, too – during that time I watched what I thought was the entire first season of the very episodic, very case-heavy show House. It was months later when I discovered the DVDs where double sided and I had only watched every OTHER episode. Whoops!

If you haven’t seen this particular video first, I’d advise it.

THIS video is different from the others. Cha girl Millicent is ten times more legit than I could ever hope to be in this situation. When she hears the fake radio broadcast, she might not fully understand the width and breadth of what’s happening to her, but she knows that her brother needs to drive them home immediately. The FIRST WORDS she says, post prank liftoff, is “You’re driving like a slug, get to the house.”

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Solid suggestion, though? Your town is under attack and you’re doing the speed limit? Seems unwise. Shortly after that we find out that the mom is in on the whole thing, which, granted, this video is funny, but that’s some rough mom-ing. That is definitely some “third child” mothering right there, my mother worried over me constantly when I had my wisdom teeth out, this mom is like “she’s tough, lets goose her!” The thing is, though, it DOES really lend an element of reality to the situation. So what do I know about pranks?

In the time between 1:19 and 1:33, Millicent is left alone in the car while her brothers, I don’t know, clap each other on the back and snort audibly or something. For Millicent, however, time stretches out before her and she is suddenly eyeball to eyeball with the frozen, skeletal face of her own mortality. “Like, cannibals?…” she mutters to herself with a mouth full of bloody cotton. “Zombies?…” she asks of no one. Could it be real? Everything seems so unreal right now, the car she’s sitting in, her mother’s voice on the phone. Everything else in this video might be fabricated, but these minutes are real footage of a girl, albeit a stoned one, really coming to terms with the reality of the zombie apocalypse.

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You can see it in her eyes. What’s next, Millicent? What’s next for us?

Millicent decides, in that moment, that she will not be going down without a fight. She starts paging out: she gets on the phone to another person (in on the prank) who confirms that the Zombie stuff has been all over the news. She then stops her brother as he is placing a garden rake into the back of their SUV. She asks him why he’s loading up on garden supplies when they have real guns at their disposal.

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Such a good question! “A garden hoe ISN’T what we want,” Millicent tells him. This brother is cobbling together some makeshift weapons in the face of their imminent demise, which is cool. However, Millicent says, why cobble when you have access to real, actual weaponry? Let me save you some time, dear brother, as you assemble your militia. Allow me to suggest we just blow our enemies fully away, do you agree?

THEN this brother tries to confuse her further with some sort of pushy-pully-grabby-holdy device  he is trying to, I think, pass off as a gun. Millicent is having NONE of it however, she knows what a gun looks like, and she’s outraged. “What is this supposed to do for me? Get me a knife!” she implores, “How am I supposed to defend myself?” Dude? Is this some kind of fucking joke? Get her a knife! Get the woman a knife.

After we’ve suffered that foolishness long enough, an additional brother appears. At this point Millicent has been denied a weapon to defend herself with despite the fact that weapons, real weapons, exist within this families arsenal. In addition to this she’s been subjected to a parade of bizarre smoke and mirrors as her brother tries to convince her a pully-pushy is a gun, when we have confirmed that Millicent already knows what a gun looks like. These chuckleheads deliver the news that there’s only room for one animal in the car, and should they take the cat or the dog. There is no hesitation in Millicent’s voice as she screams “THE CAT, YOU IDIOT”.

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Listen, people love their dogs, and I get it. I understand. People get close to their animals, it’s totally natural. However, when you’re on the front lines of the zombie apocalypse, when the chips are down and time is of the essence, you are going to want someone in your unit that’s willing to make the hard decisions for everyone. Does Millicent want to leave the dog behind? That’s not for us to know. Whatever Millicent’s personal feelings towards the dog might be, her choice is mathematical: “He’s the worst, he’s already dying. Leave him, get the cat.” In this moment, Millicent performs triage on their household pets. The dog, as sweet as it may or may not be, is just not the economical choice out here in the barren wasteland of the end of days.

The brother tells Millicent that her word has been carried out, her decree is made law: the dog will be left to die. She will never see him again; the old boy will perish and live again as the undead, his broken bones clinking together as he moves for all eternity. Millicent turns to the road ahead, stares forward through the windowshield, towards what? Her future? Her ultimate demise? Who are we to say?

Whatever it is, staring at that open space, she speaks,

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By 3:00, they’re on the move. By now, Millicent is ready. She’s not crying, frustrated, or even that confused. She is methodical. Millicent’s eyes are scanning the horizon fervently . She’s prepared, she doesn’t have any defense item except a handicap grabber, but by fucking god she has legs, and she is just waiting to use them. She’s not even anxious about just having come from surgery, or being on drugs. This girl is hyperfocused. One of the brothers asks the car, “should we go to Costco?”, and Millicent shuts him down.

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The brothers immediately know, she’s right. What began as an elaborate prank, they realize, has become a successful drill. They ask her another question, but she feels like she’s being given a lot of ridiculous questions. There’s no reason for this flurry of options. Are her brothers idiots? Have they always been like this and she just hadn’t noticed? Do they not know what a gun looks like? They should probably find out, it’s not safe for them to be in a house with guns and not know what they look like. They’ll ask her ceaseless, inane questions, but won’t listen to her answers. She’s like, we are going to get fucking eaten and you guys are asking me about funfetti? I just threw my dog in a garbage can, can you get some soup, you’re both at least 21 years old, I am appalled with your approach and you should both be ashamed.

These people went on Ellen to talk about the hilarious prank. They talk about her being such an expressive, funny person, and if she’s afraid of zombies. Ellen says, “everything get’s a reaction of, that’s fine,” and “I love that you say, ‘why do I have to make all the decisions?'” Ellen, what video are you watching? Ellen’s like, these boys really pull the wool over her eyes, haha! Absolutely no mention of this girl’s survival skills, assertion in the face of danger, group control and power. I’m like, Ellen, Millicent has never been more fucking awake. This is a video about true danger and who we are in the face of it. Millicent is a deadly survivor, and she’s going to live for fucking ever.

I think this “PRANK” is supposed to be funny because Millicent is a funny victim.

Oh, but the thing is? Millicent is no victim.

What happens in this video isn’t the hilarious cowering of a scared, displaced young woman. Nor is it the ramblings of a drugged up child, as this family might have expected it would be. What we have here is someone, Millicent, our new reluctant hero, thrust into the fray of a life threatening situation for which she is completely unprepared. Faced with the terrifying prospect of the danger her and her family find themselves in, Millicent is as determined and fierce as any one person could hope to be. Even when everything is crashing down around her, and her brothers are making no sense at all, Millicent stands tall, braced against the unknown. You want Millicent in your court – who knows what she would be capable of, without a belly full of pills and a mouth stuffed with cotton? Who knows what lengths she’s willing to go to? Abandoned here, at the end of the world, at the end of all things.

I wouldn’t bet against Millicent.