Pressure.

We are always running; chanting at the boards,they dance and dip to the beats of an unseen drum “Johnson’s up five” and “Bakers down”, to react is to work,breath, live; all day chasing the dream, my fellows doing the same, how can it be a dream if all we do is follow?, “gold is the new thing” we all run for the books “Hilton Co surges nine points: a rush to the other desk to BUY BUY BUY as a man is engulfed by the crowd, another unnoticed fallen while the market still flies; “oil dropping” a fellow shouts as the screens flicker and glow, the mad rush envelops me and rushing for the phones again — it doesn’t matter, you get paid the same either way — my boss shouts “SELL SELL SELL!” as the bulge of his eye pops out, stress building as the misty lens of profit consumes us all —stay calm and don’t forget why your here — the adrenaline rush as the room erupts with “SELL” and the clock chimes, ticks and moves rapidly.

Yet it stands still. The same task endlessly repeated. Freddy turns 5 today go see him.

The board flickers as the stocks drop and rise with the pulse of a living thing, a living thing that has consumed and broken everything, but still we all crave it, and come back to it, only to wash away every other thought so truly live in the moment —why not just go?— with that the time flies by and everything catches up.

I grab my things. The work day finished. Go to my car. As the tears fall. I make it home. The house is empty. Child welfare has called. Freddy turns five today. All I can do. Is keep him well.

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continuation of “Delusions”

…continued from Delusions (work commenced and in progress)… read that one first for the full thing!


 

In the seat in-front of me, a woman was bothering the attendant for more champagne. It was one thing I could never understand about long distance traveling, that need to drink liquor while cruising at that height. My anxiety would make me not want any reason to get up, let alone alcohol forcing my bladder to do so. Just the thought of waking up the person next to me to use the loo was enough to drive my politeness meter into overdrive. Better I wait til they go so I can go, or never go.

The attendant came back with the champagne, the woman barely thanks her, and the apparent annoyance flashes in just a second on the attendants face. I smiled knowingly at her, to show my apparent understanding of the situation, she responded my ignoring my existence entirely.

“She never saw you idiot, don’t be offended”

“I get it, but surely she was annoyed by that woman’s lack of appreciation, and yet she ignored my attempts to treat her like a human?”

“Yeah yeah, your fault isn’t it? You’d better shut up before people start to stare”

I smiled at those around me staring, and quickly shifted my attention to the space directly above my head. Just what did all those knobs and buttons do?

Hours ticked by. The book had lasted me for a whole 45 minutes before it lost its grip on my attention. The in-flight magazine tempted me with “holiday destinations you’ll love” and “Adventures of a life-time”. My main form of entertainment was watching the slow then rapid decline of the sober then drunk woman in the seat in front of me. She had control for the first hour or so, but she degenerated quickly once she had gotten past the loud and boisterous step. Now she was just sitting quietly, you could tell by how she is sitting (almost leaning forward, on the edge of the seat) that she is contemplating just purging her system in reverse. Either that or she’ll just fall asleep.

I didn’t find out though, because not long after I fell asleep myself.

……

……….

Sir

SIR

We have arrived at the destination sir, can you please depart the plane?

Unless you would like to take a trip to Delhi sir?

 

Roused by the same attendant for refused to acknowledge my existence I quickly grabbed my bag and rushed out the plane.

The excitement welled in me like… a well in a monsoon (I’d just woken up… don’t expect great metaphors).

“I’M HERE!”

“You don’t need to tell me that”

“I wasn’t”

“Oh okay, well you don’t so don’t okay?”

“Yep, thanks”

 

<To be continued>

#8

#7 to read the last installment of this story or The full “long” story so far to read the whole thing, including this new content.


Chapter 2?

“Once upon a time there was a great uprising. A great many people in the country of Germany wished for everyone to be the same as them, and Germany wanted all the land it could get. The other countries surrounding Germany were quite happy being themselves and were also of the impression that their boundaries were set. This caused a confrontation, with millions of citizens from either side sticking to their own beliefs and arguing over it. This was called the World Wide Argument, and it happened twice in the 20th century. Of the millions of people arguing, many were so tired from arguing that they never spoke again.”

“Wow that must have been tough!” one of the students butted in.

“Yes Clive, the second argument was considered to be the largest argument up until the Great Debate of 2056, which we will discuss next week. A very interesting debate and one that reminds us to be truly ourselves and stick to your beliefs, I expect you’ll all love to learn about it”

“Wasn’t the lesson today meant to be about war?”

“Apologies students, I misread my notes last time, War is when two groups of people have an discussion about their beliefs, so in a way it relates to what we are discussing today”

“Surely if two people disagree then that doesn’t change that they are both correct…right? The people in the past should of learned that when they went to school.”

“All the more reason why you should appreciate the age of enlightenment we live in today students. They did not have dialetheism in their curriculum, and it wasn’t discovered until the late 21st century”

“So people could be wrong? Didn’t that make people sad?”

“It certainly did Jonas, which is why it is important to consider everyone’s feelings when talking, and always encouraging people to follow their hearts. Stay true and stay happy students!”

“We will teacher thank you!”

“You are welcome! Now the early 20th century also had an event in America called the Great Depression. Many people couldn’t find work and struggled to stay happy which was where the event got its name. Perhaps we shall discuss that at our next historical lesson.”

“For now open your text books to chapter Gratitude for platitudes and take notes on the importance of diligence when spreading your messages.”

At that the students got to studying, I began to note down the students that didn’t seem interested in reading so I could plan alternative learning strategies for them. I wouldn’t want to suppress their creativity for learning in their own way.

#7

#6 to read the last installment of this story or The full “long” story so far to read the whole thing, including this new content.


 

Another sound entered my attention, the rhythmic thudding of my neighbour at work. There was another way to make it big in this world, or at least big enough to live a better then average life, and that was in Passionate Industries. One of the larger corporate bodies, it has business ranging from advertising that can integrate with a mind for greater effect (highly technological and advanced) to legions of passion worker that dealt with the low technology mind influences, the primal act of sex that keeps the populace from revolting. The pay was good, and the only real cost was permanent infertility, a small price to pay for a life of semi-luxury.

There were certainly times that I crave that kind of attention, no matter how amazing a life its nice to lose oneself in the moment and experience a temporary rush of endorphins and adrenaline. If you were to believe the adverts from Passionate Industries, that a daily dose of adrenaline can improve your mood by over 150%, then you’d never feel depressed every again. Still I prefer to suppress my negativity with an overarching appreciation for my place in the world.

For now though, my only thought was of rest. Walking home from work, while certainly enjoyable, is also very tiring. Before I go to bed I need to record my daily positivity message, switching my attention to the wall camera I got myself into position and got ready to record.

“Beach Grafton commencing recording”…

“3…2…1…”

“Taking a breath of this crisp air has reminded me of the joy that is every living moment in this beauteous city of ours. Forever remaining appreciative of the fact that my lungs are working, my mind is pure and my heart shines for all of you.”

“Stay true to your word, every person you meet can bring you joy and a positive outlook will help you overcome any challenge you face.”

“Beach Grafton, signing off”

There was an audible beep to indicate my recording had finishing and the grading of my message was beginning.

Moments later my results came in over the sound system.

“Beach Grafton… 68% rating…keep on shining…”

“Overuse of the the word joy is not suggested, and this is not a city of challenges but of character developing opportunities, take note and improve further”

Taking a mental note not to use the word “joy” for the next weeks worth of my daily messages, I sauntered off to bed. The 68% result isn’t of concern, I only needed to be at least 60% to keep my position at the ministry, but if I want to move up in the ranks I’ll need to start hitting 75% frequently, especially when it comes to quarterly citizen reviews.

Walking to bed I threw my clothes to the floor and picked up my PJ’s. The temperature set to a cool 18˚ and jumping under my sheets I hummed one of my favourite mantra’s to help me fall asleep.

stay cool, stay great, never a reason to hate

stay cool, stay happy, keep a smile and be not sloppy

stay cool, stay true, always act brand new!

Repeating this over and over in my head, I drifted off to sleep with a smile on my face.

Delusions (work commenced and in progress)

It was a story as old as time itself

Boy meets girl

Girl was interested by boy

Boy behaved and fell in love

Girl also fell in love

Boy goes mad and flees the country

 

I kept telling myself it was the right thing to do, she was too far above me to even see the bottom of her feet. I was only an intern, at a lousy company, that would never amount to anything.

So I sat in the airport departure lounge counting the minutes until the plane. Madrid. I’d taken my life savings to start a new life. We had always talked about Madrid, I knew enough Spanish to ask where the toilet was, and if I could have a beer. The important phrases that would land me a job in the city of our dreams.

I hoped the visions would stop, I told myself

“She drove you mad, but now you’ve fled, so stop being mad now”

“I can’t exactly just forget being mad can I?”

“Well no, but at the very least, can you stop talking to yourself? People are starting to stare”

“I gotta practice my internal monologue then, because I have much to discuss with myself”

“This is the final boarding call for flight PRD73 to Madrid, can all passengers please make their way to the boarding gate?”

As I looked around there was no-one left in the lounge apart from myself, the flight stewardess was looking right at me, perhaps she found me attractive?

When I got up I wondered how the voice managed to be in italics, I had always been interested in writing and wondered how to verbally format speech. I presented my passport and boarding pass to the lady, she seemed annoyed and hurriedly scanned my passport. I asked her if she was okay and did she want to talk? She knew my seat number after all.

She smiled politely and informed me she would not be on the plane Sir and that I should hurry on board or I’ll miss the flight.

I said “who’s Miss Theflight?”

and walked to the plane.


 

It was only a short flight of 24 hours and 30 minutes from Sydney to Madrid. I had an “Idiots guide to learning Spanish” and a bunch of magazines I found in the departure lounge. Waiting for the plane engine to warm up was rather boring, and whilst I had books to read I could never sit still until the plane was safely in the air. Looking around, my fellow passengers all looked as nervous as me, looking up, pretending to read the safety instructions, interacting with each other. A child wails behind me, wanting a chocolate, the father (presumably, I never asked for a DNA check) telling the child to wait until the flight starts, so why not play with her toys? He’s doing a good job parenting, but you can tell he is tired by the exasperated tone of his voice.

Every second I sat, she kept on creeping into my attention.

Her eyes.

Her laugh.

The way she would always hide my cutlery at restaurants to make me interact with the wait staff.

Still I told myself “there are plenty of fish to see, so get back on the fish”

The video came on all the screens for the flight safety information, the two air hostess’s were miming placing the life vest over themselves with a smile that could have been painted on by a four year old.

I chuckled to myself over that one, the man next to me looked at my with eyes that only said “Why are you laughing? Safety is important”.

How did he train his eyes to do that? Was he a OHS rep and needed them to do it?

I sat still and watched the rest of the video and tried to make my eyes talk, unsuccessfully.


 

After the videos the plane commenced its take-off procedures, and before I knew it we were cruising at 35,000 feet above sea level. The passenger next to me was avidly watching old sitcoms on the in-flight entertainment system, I think it was Seinfeld, because I managed to catch the beginning monologue complaining about “Whats the deal with airline food?” (the man’s headphones were set so loud I’m surprised his ear drums don’t attempt to escape via his nasal passage, though I guess they would be too big for the Eustachian tube)

 

<to be continued later>

 

 

#6

#5 to read the last installment of this story or The full “long” story so far to read the whole thing, including this new content.

After the fifteen minute walk back from my work I arrived back at my living sector. The outside of the building was covered with graffiti spurring its readers to “Suppress the power!” and “Live YOUR life, not theirs!” and other radical messages. I imagine the writer of this would now be on vacation. A small woman in overalls was spraying the wall with a green bubbly liquid and the messages were dribbling away, leaving only the lime green paint on the wall. The living sector building was insurmountably tall, to the point that seeing the top from the ground is impossible. The higher up one gets, the more expensive the rooms become, with the top floors being reserved only for politicians or celebrities.

I lived on the eighteenth floor, being a government worker had its perks after all, after greeting every person I met in the lobby I made my way to the elevator. All the while the speakers blasted the latest musical number “If I had eyes for you, they’d be yours in a giffy” with a beat that made it hard to not skip just a little along the way, and with the bright yellow and blue walls of the interior, one felt like they were walking on the set of an early history children’s show. In the elevator, a screen dominated one of the walls, displaying various stats about the economy, in fast moving lists of numbers. Generally most screens displayed this kind of information between sundown and eight o’clock, or the latest news from the celebs.

While I was excited to know about the economic results (the guys in the wealth department telling me how they have gotten record numbers, putting them all in a fervour) I wasn’t too interested in the celeb scene.

Making it to my apartment, I was reminded of how fortunate I was to be working for the ministry of knowledge. The spacious two room apartment of those of us lucky to work in a ministerial role was a whopping fifty square meters! There is even a separated section for the restroom. In my old place, I had to share this much space with three other adults, and there was a communal restroom, so this is a huge step up. The kitchen was chaotic, but mostly clean. Pots were stacked on top of each other at assorted angles that would make Issac Newton turn in his grave.

In yesteryear only the truly rich could afford a kitchen sink, now it was standard that each household had a sink, and even better all ministerial workers have one per household.

The muffled music from the next doors sound system waffled into my attention

“…and if you get tongue-tied … I’ll be there to guide your joy back to my side..

…and if your smile won’t work… then I’ll help with the pliers…”

Most music played over the network were all computer-generated. There are still musically talented people who can compete with AI crafted music, but such a talent is few and far between. Generally artists will work in the prop’ department, and rarely do they strike out on their own.

 

Random page thesaurus prompt: Overshadow

This is a story about a world of trailers and the creatures that dwell there

and the day that this world was discovered was also my last day on earth.

This particular day started as many others do, with a chime, then a bell, then a screech, followed finally by another chime. I’d love to paint you an exquisite scene as to how those particular sounds came to follow each other (a tale of a local bird, that every day flys into the wind chimes, which triggers some haphazard set of events that makes the church bell go off) but unfortunately that is just how my phone alarms work. Being of an anxious type, I set as many alarms as possible, and knowing I will inevitable snooze at least 3 of them, I set them to go off all at once. Does this work? No, but a man can try.

Oh and I had best set up the scene (this helps to humanize the character -me- and provides a core point to begin the narrative). I also suppose being a story about me I’d best switch to second person point of view. There is a tall skinny fellow lying in bed (not great looking, but not bad either), apparel consisting of grey underwear and a transformers shirt (decepticons are the best), the bed itself is of no importance, and the single room studio apartment it is houses in is of the messy variety. Papers and half consumed ramen noodle cups litter the various desk spaces, the dishes in the sink balanced in such a way that, were he alive, would make Issac Newton question his discoveries, and the carpet was lost underneath a sea of shirts, pants, and magazines. This was the home of a practicing scholar (mostly called a student) but this student was of the especially messy type, he was studying philosophy.

On this particular day he was in fact late. The alarms while effective were set a good sixty minutes too late, and upon realizing this predicament the man… (oh my name is Greg) Greg rushed around aimlessly looking for a shirt and pants which fits the niche of his look, one that isn’t too stained and particularly doesn’t smell like socks, upon finding a shirt and some jeans that suits this need Greg switched out of his bed clothes and into his student clothes.

Greg, now fully dressed, rushed out the door,his lecture due to commence in ten minutes and the university being fifteen minutes away. A few neighbors watching with grim satisfaction as Greg ran down the sidewalk (clearly this event has occurred before).

This is about the time that the day began to be unlike other.

As Greg was running past his local bakery, there was a couple of strange occurrences happening around him. The shopkeeper was picking up the same bagel and dropping it over and over. There was a dog, that was just running around the same tree, and ignoring its owners attempts to prevent this action. One particular cloud in the sky was stationary, while other clouds moved past it at someone breakneck speeds.

Of course, Greg’s conscious mind was mostly unaware of these events, being so focused on maintaining his breathing and pace to traverse the distance to the university.

<To be continued>