continued from previous
He arrived just in time for lunch. In fact, the rescue drone dropped him off directly at the end of the queue for the soup kitchen. John unstrapped himself, and waved goodbye to the robot. He heard a Trump deep fake voice yell “have a nice day!” – and the thing flew off back into the skyline.
John always hated crowds. The cacophony of selfish small talk that he heard whenever out in the street, at the markets, in the park, always made him feel terribly alone. It reminded him of how each human is an echo chamber: only listening to their own small talk, even when they talk with others. We are the only species that sees the world completely through our own myopic lens of short-term “wants” and desires. We used to be more like animals, John thought to himself. He was convinced that the cats, the seagulls, maybe even the rats, had more of a spiritual connection with the world: a sixth sense, an intuition that guides them and makes their existence meaningful, however long or short it may be. Instead of listening to themselves all day, they are listeners, observers. They can see, feel, hear the EoT, just like the Minimalists. Because they are part of it.
A tap on the shoulder interrupted his daydream. He turned around to see a hand offering a blanket. And then he looked at the face. It was Olivia. She had been volunteering at the shelter.
“Michael hasn’t been at work for days” she said, her eyes showing fear, grief and fatigue at the same time. “I think we’ve lost him”. Her head briefly scanned the sea of people at the conference centre like a periscope, as if hoping for some miracle. She dropped her hands, still holding three heavy army blankets.
“Let me help” – John picked up a stack of supplies and joined Olivia. The drones were still bringing in more and more people from around the disaster zone. It looked like the shelter might soon reach capacity.
(from the upcoming novel A New Earth)
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George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books