Two customers walk through a home improvement retail store; they wear face masks, push a cart, and search for a customer service representative.

1. How long have we been in here?

2. Who knows?

1. God, if I could just breathe fresh air or feel the wind on my face again!

2. It is proven that humans spend more money if they are closed inside of a metal box: if we can see the sunlight, the weather, or orient ourselves to the earth’s magnetic field, we delay spending. We’ll say, “Oh, look at that sunlight! Let’s shop on a rainy day; or, let’s go enjoy the park.” That kind of thing.

1. That might explain this peppy music.

2. Very peppy. Not really popular; not controversial or interesting: just mildly exciting.

1. What luck to live life mildly excited. Sigh!

2. Sigh!

1. What is that smell?

2. I know!

1. What are they doing to the air?

2. My mask isn’t this suffocating.

1. I swear they are filtering out the oxygen AND adding a fine, antiviral misting agent to the air, which is slowly killing me.

2. These poor workers.

1. I wish we could find one to question.

2. Look, there’s one!

1. Where?

2. She ducked behind that aisle there, just there! Come on!

They run together towards the aisle.

1. Imagine working in this environment for eight hours, breathing this toxic air.

2. These peppy toxins.

1. Mildly toxic, I’m sure.a

2. There she goes again: see her there!

1. Come on, run. Push the cart!

2. I can’t go faster! I can’t breathe!

They run as fast as they can with the cart. Both customers are breathing hard.

1. You know what is scary?

2. No.

1. For these workers in this metal box of a retail store, I bet it is a “work or starve” situation.

2. I’m sure they have a break every hour; smoke, eat lunch. That kind of thing.

1. That’s not what I mean: I mean that there are no other jobs; this is it and they need this job to pay rent and they can’t protest working conditions.

2. There are probably no laws guarding against overuse of alcohol hand gel or antiviral aerosol.

1. And god only knows what repeated use will do to one’s health.

2. For years.

1. So, you remain silent, work, and pay your rent.

2. The governments of the world are playing us.

1. There will be no going back to how it was.

2. The next big virus wave will coincide with a military coup.

1. You think so?

2. Oh, yeah.

1. But in which country?

2. All of them; all the countries.

1. The next wave will be the big one.

2. They are in a meeting right now—a Zoom meeting—making their plans.

1. Who are they?

2. Rich people; the owner of this retail store? They have to keep the economy moving while firming up their grip over our minds. It is all a plan.

1. Just like that Hollywood movie we watched last night.

2. I’m sure there are a few people logging in to the Zoom meeting from Los Angeles. Hollywood producer-types.

1. There’s the worker!


The two customers approach the furtive employee.

1. Were you trying to hide from us?

Employee: No, I was restocking this aisle.

2. We need help with this paint.

1. We want pink, but a pink with more red.

2. How red is this paint?

1. Will this paint be too white?

2. We don’t want it too white.

1. Can you show us some other options?

Employee: Yes, if we walk over to the paint aisle, I can show you all our pink options.

The end.