A fourth power outage at a restaurant.

A man and wife sit in a restaurant in Europe.

Man: Oh, thank god, we can fly to Iceland this summer without regard for covid restrictions; the old normal is back in Iceland. I vote we go there immediately and spread our money liberally.

Woman: I’ll book us fights this evening when we return home from this lovely—and I will add Romantic—evening with you, my dear.

Man: Yes, yes, we are getting some of our own back, aren’t we?

Woman: Cheers!

Man: This is lovely; finally things are turning around. Work is great; Iceland is welcoming all and one.

Woman: Cheers!

Man: I foretold this very scenario: I said we will needed only three, five, or ten years to keep our heads down before then we could climb out of our caves and return to life as normal: and here we are!

The lights in the restaurant go out.

Woman: Dear, oh, dear, this restaurant really should install a larger breaker.

Man: Look outside; the whole city is powerless.

Woman: I wonder what’s happened; electricity bills have increased by fifty percent this month, but that wouldn’t cause the whole city to go dark.

Man: Russians. It was the Russians.

Woman: Haha, that’s funny—like an old war movie from the fifties.

Man: Ah, but there’s a little truth buried inside every joke.

Woman: Oh?

Man: Russia supplies Europe with thirty five percent of its natural gas used to power electrical generators; last year, Russia has been under serving Europe and the markets have gone wild. There have been protests in Italy and Germany—I think Germany.

Woman: We are on a date, so you don’t have to be too specific. Let’s say it was in Germany, too.

Man: Well, this year, the bills have doubled.

Woman: fifty percent isn’t doubling; a fifty-percent increase is just that: a fifty-percent increase.

Man: True, that’s not doubling. There should be a better way to say that. A quartering? A halving? Bills have halved? That sounds like they are half what they were, not increased by half.

Woman: Que grande seca, this.

Man: Me?

Woman: Let’s talk about something else—oh, I know, let’s get under the table! It is so dark in here and I am sure it will stay dark for a long, long time.

Man: Did your phone just ping?

Woman: Yes, it did.

Man: Was that the war notification that I put on your phone; the notification about when Russia invades and we go to war—that notification?

Woman, looking at phone: Yes, yes, it appears that we are at war! Do you think they can stop it with some sanctions of some kind?

Man: Haha, that’s going to be difficult: sanctioning Russia while begging for natural gas.

Woman: Is this normal? Is this going to be the new normal?

Man: At least we have toilet paper and toothpaste stocked up from the first lockdowns. I was beginning to regret all that lost storage space in our apartment, but I’m pleased we used the spare bedroom for supplies.

Woman: And who needs visitors during these strange times?

Man: Who needs them? Cheers!

Woman: Cheers!

Man: I can’t find your glass to cheers you. Oh, there you are.

Woman: Cheers!

Their glasses clink.

The end.