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Fiction

“Welcome back to the morning commercial slot. As you sip onto your coffees and scroll through your phones, where does your mind wander? Your mind lost focus already, but don’t fear your loss of focus, we’ve got you covered.”

“Introducing to you, Anaitika Pharma’s latest over the counter, prescription free, dopamine control pills. Just pop two an hour, and work twice better in the same hour. Subscribe to our yearly supply and get a flat 25 percent discount right.”

That was more or less the commercial which aired every morning. I hated watching those commercials, because I always bought their new variants. Yeah, I’m probably an addict. But instead of a fast acting drug like meth, I scoop up over the counter pills. I’ll tell you why it’s worse to take these rather than meth. It’s legal to buy the box of dopamine release pills, and I don’t have an option because I’ve become hooked on them. I can’t work without them, I can’t focus without them, I can’t live without them. Otherwise, my hand instantly reaches towards my phone, and if I scroll too long, I probably won’t have enough money to pay for the internet. 

Right as the commercial aired, the TV got shut out. It was probably a power outage. I began to get a little restless. I was just placing an order for the 10 minute delivery of Anaitika's Dopamine pills, but the power outage struck me right before I completed the payment. I assumed it was probably just a temporary outage, so I went ahead to have my food. But wait, I had to order my food on my phone, I don’t cook on weekdays, and there was nothing in the kitchen cabinet. So I began to wait. 

How many minutes have passed since the outage? Or was it a few hours? It was morning when the commercial aired, I clearly remember that. But it’s morning now, so I’m confused. Did the commercial air just 2 minutes ago or have I been awake for a whole day? Oh damn! If I’ve been awake for a whole day and didn’t sleep, that means I’ve just been wandering around the house. I didn’t go to work. What a disaster, my boss will probably get furious. I think I better call her up and tell her why I possibly could have missed coming to work. She is sympathetic towards dop addicts like me and will understand. But before that, I need to confirm whether minutes have passed since the commercial or whether I’ve been awake for a whole day. 

Anaitika Pharma’s e-commerce cart saves the time and date when I added an item to the cart, so I’ll definitely know when the power is back. But what do I do until then? I haven’t eaten since morning, or was it yesterday morning? I don’t feel hungry, so it probably means I saw the commercial today. Wait! What if I am facing one of those hunger disorders, what if I unknowingly messed up my eating patterns? Then I will have to buy Anaitika Pharma’s Eating Cycle Resetting Pills, they give attractive discounts. Yes, I remember it now. But wait? When did I see that ad? Nevermind, I’m already stuck with one problem here, I’ll see the other later.

What was the problem in the first place? Oh yes it was the power outage. The power doesn’t seem to coming back anytime soon.

Now I see the sun getting a little brighter, ok, it’s probably going to be noon soon. I’ll probably get some answers if I leave the house. Now that’s the first time in a while that I’m leaving my house to get answers rather than search for them on my phone. When was the last time I did that? It’s a waste of time to think about that now.

I met my neighbor outside. I strangely don’t remember the face, or maybe my old neighbor moved out and another one came in. She told me that her phone, laptop, and TV had stopped working. She wanted to know the time as she had to set an alarm for 20 minutes to take a power nap.

“Use your wall clock, or your smartwatch”

They all stopped working at the same time.”

Now that was strange, how can they all stop working at the same time. I better go back into the house and check them. 

It was the same back in my house too. My phone, laptop, and smartwatch weren’t working. I didn’t have a wall clock because what’s the point of it these days? It’s just a waste of money with the clock and the batteries.

So I went back outside. A lot of my other neighbors too had come out of their houses, they too had the same problem as me. Right then, something struck me, I can still see the time in the digital dashboard of my car. So I raced down to the garage, when I started the car, the ignition wouldn’t switch on no matter what. I could see a few others had the same idea as me, but they too couldn’t really start their cars or bikes.

I went back to the porch, and there were others like me. I don’t know what to do next, I will probably just wait for the power to come back. But how long can I sit idle?

I began to gossip with the neighbors. This went on until the evening, and the skies turned dark. So did the streets, there were no streetlights that worked. I had a sore throat from all the gossipping, and in the darkness, I had to find my house. 

I had no trouble sleeping, but the morning I woke up, I didn’t have any food in my kitchen. I was starving, and this time no pill could’ve stopped it. I had no option but to go to the grocery store and buy a few things. But what will I buy groceries with? My mobile phone isn’t working and I don’t have any hard cash to pay them with. It was the same case with my neighbors. 

Now I began to fear something. What if this goes on and on, and the only way to survive is to go to cannibalism? Filthy thoughts indeed, probably because I’m starving. I have no other choice now, I have to beg. But in these times of scarcity, who will be willing to spare their food from their cabinets. I began to wander the streets, I had a hope that this was some bad dream, and I kept pinching my arm. But all it did was leave a pinch mark on my arm, there was no waking up from this nightmare. 

As I wandered the streets, my eyes caught sight of a trash can. At least there will be some discarded food in it. But the can was empty by the time I had reached. There were probably others who reached before me. Well what do I do now? I have to break into a store and steal? But all the stores in my vicinity were already broken into and stolen. They didn’t even leave a single instant ramen packet for someone like me. They stole everything.

This seems to be descending into some sort of an anarchy apocalypse. I couldn’t move an inch forward as I didn’t have any energy left to move ahead. I slept on the side of the street. 

While I lay, starving on the cold stone, a rat came by and sniffed my nose. A few minutes later, the rat was gone. I began to search for more rats with the energy that I got from this one, I found a few more. I killed about 60 rats and took them back to my house in a bag. There was a sea of eyes of envy that greeted me as I found my way back into my house. They wanted some of the rats I had killed. But they weren’t going to get any.

Just as I stepped inside the house, the power was back, the internet was back, and it was just like before. I threw the sack of rats outside, and placed an order on my phone. The order will be delayed by 8 hours due to a surge in orders, but that’s okay, I can wait now, everything is back to normal.

I switched on the TV, the president was speaking, actually, he was speaking as he was trying to contain his laughter,

April Fools, April Fools, hahaha”

It’s December now, and we still have that geriatric memory loss patient as the leader of the country. Whatever, I’m glad that this nightmare is finally over.

A few days later,

That whole episode made me want to write down that incident as a memoir. When I was finishing it up, I just couldn’t write April Fools that the president was shouting. I mean what were they even thinking? If this was some script for a movie, I would probably pelt stones for writing such a bad ending to a story. But then again, it’s the politicians, and they always write the same old repetitive endings. We know what happens next, and we can't stop it.

December 24, 2021 17:20

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