WRITING PROMPT: What would you do if you get a newspaper delivered to your door every morning and then one day it is the next day’s newspaper, and it tells you what happened today?
Here is a little story I wrote based on the prompt above in my Life Coaches Writer’s Group. Enjoy.
The skies were gray, just how Buster liked it, on this perfectly temperate, sunless and silvery morning. The birds weren’t singing but more like just throwing out half-hearted bars of their favorite choruses while Buster yawned awake and meandered to his front stoop, like he did every day, to peruse the morning paper and find out what the powers that be wanted everyone to think today. He didn’t believe the news, he fancied himself too smart for that, but he liked to keep tabs on what he calls “the official narrative” because it was a good predictor of everyone’s mood for the day, or week, or month, depending on how doomy and gloomy the powers that be wanted to make life seem that morning.
What was today’s latest outrage going to be?
What was the most divisive spin the media could put on the suffering of others?
How were they going to attempt to make us hate people different from us today? Or hate ourselves? Or hate the elite?
Well, the elite he didn’t mind hating, but everyone else, no dice. Buster knew he came from love, would return to love and was made of love, so he saw right through the hate-stoking, fear-mongering, rage-provoking headlines. But he needed something entertaining to read with him morning cup of organic cinnamon tea so he had a subscription to the brainwashing rags, on both sides.
He picked up his Wall Street Journal and his New York Times and when he read the headlines his jaw dropped. First, they agreed on something for the first time in who knows how long. And secondly, these were tomorrow’s papers. They predicted, unfathomably, the utter destruction of New England, where he was now standing. Was this a joke?
Buster didn’t know what to think? How would he have received tomorrow’s papers today? And how would they both be in agreement on anything? And what the hell happened to New England? He read on, the irony not lost on him that even the future looked gloomy to the mainstream media. They were the kings and queens of the theme song that goes “there’s nothing to look forward to, so you should just give us your money and pack it in.”
Had someone in the mail room made a mistake on the date? Or the content? Or had someone at the CIA made a mistake on tipping the hand of the powers that be who want nothing more than to cause destruction because it causes fear because it causes obedience because it causes the consolidation of power we’ve become so used to that we swim in it, unknowingly, like a fish swims in water, or a bird flies on wind. Johnson or Jeff was definitely going to get fired for this.
If New England also goes up in a blaze of fire Buster would be fine. First, he didn’t believe the papers got it right, because they almost never do.
And if they did, he’d go out drinking cinnamon tea, knowing full well the small pleasures are all that really matter anyway.