The hiss of news belches the same warnings of urgency as I cruise through the channels. Same note. Same tone. The same ton of weight carried for months. The charts, the forecast, the stats, all lead to one ultimate fear: death. The conspiracy theorists don’t help adding to the manure of reasoning. The democracy of unfiltered and transparent government. But how much faith do I have in that? Everything is selected to make us feel secure and in fear simultaneously.

If you follow this plan, we will do well. However, there are still more dying. The vaccine will solve all the problems until the next outbreak takes place. Until the next tsunami wave wipes out half of the city. The hurricanes strike weekly now, but at least the pollution has settled and wildlife has taken over the streets. The civilization of free has been numbered. They watch us and monitor our movements. The quarantine has been implemented but lifting the restriction has been almost non-existent. The curfew to avoid running into another human being has been enforced. One breath of another human being might kill me. I look at my mother and wave my salute from a distance. She faintly smiles and nods, an indication that she understands that chaos.

I settle in the dome of mysteries as I battle the snakes slithering from underneath my bed. My nights become restless. My days stretch with boredom that the toothpaste begins to taste funny. The charade of gimmicks to keep me awake through this drowning drone of messages.

Another rainy day and my mood switches from happy to sad. The bleak smell of the day only exaggerates the silence echoing through the rooms. Scream because no one will hear me. Put my oxygen on and leave the house as my skin melts from the lack of ozone. So, what’s the point when I have become the hamster in her cage. Spin the wheel to keep my feet moving. Watch the world outside through the glass as the pallets of food drop from above, but no I have to out and get my next meal. The communal hunt with bows and arrows. The fishing rod with no fish in the pond. Nothing lives but the domed vegetation under white tents. The rain only bleeds and turns grass into dust.

A flicker of hope as the TV static turns to images and sounds. We have another go at telling the story. Dress in your best outfit and wander off into the lands of imagination where the crown fits you just right. And I thought I was writing the nightmarish episode of a dystopian series. But, no it has become reality. The only difference is, we don’t all dress in rags and look impoverished. At least not yet, my husband says.

“Turn that off and you’d be happier for it,” Jack says passing the toast and butter my way, but is ignorance truly the bliss we all so crave? “Let’s just be us for a moment,” but what is that us, he speaks off? The world is a scary place and screens don’t help telling the stories of the next doom. Swim in our pools of tears because that’s the only water that contains less of poison than the oceans full of plastic and fishing nets. I’m the songstress strumming for the pennies the sad lullaby of the hour but the children no longer sing. “Let’s just be us for a moment,” Jack repeats. “Hold our hands and fight on. Stretch the minutes of our lives and make the best out of it,” but I cannot let the fears fuel my discontent.

All these machines shouting the same chant and like that we have become of the world and each other. That’s the scary seed to spruce: doubt. What will harm you and what won’t? Which words are honest and true and which words fall false? There is an abundance of it and I cannot let doubt win. I hate this story already. So, I turn off the story box — the liquid inside it turns black — and shove my feet to the boots, pull up the gloves, and wrap the scarf around my neck. Ready. Set. Go. Let’s meet the world once again. Now changed and with caution. The hazard tape marking my way.

Take two. End scene.

© Jacob Greb — 2020

return to Story Teller

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