COVID-19: The Digital Virus
Did you know?
In the before time, before the virus infected the minds of people, transmitted through our most celebrated creation, the internet. There existed beautiful places. Places that hoarded all sorts of necessary and strange items all together. One could travel short distances to these brightly lit warehouses and pick up whatever you needed at the time; pasta, rice, canned tomatoes, even toilet paper. We called these places “Supermarkets”.
The virus changed all that. And this is where the story begins.
I was untouched by Corona, living my life in blissful denial of the slow panic COVID 19 unleashed upon humanity. The infected were gathering up all the toilet paper and anything else that could be stored in dark places for long periods of time. No one saw this stupidity coming. It left those uninfected like me with dwindling supplies and no means to acquire more. However, I had heard a rumour…
Casually walking through the barren aisles of a former supermarket, filling my trolley with random perishables, I decided to test the rumour.
“Can I get 200g of honey leg ham, a handful of twiggy sticks and…” I checked that no one was watching and made a cupping motion with my hand to symbolise wiping.
The lady at the deli squinted her eyes at me and with a deep demonic voice said “Come with me.”
She led me behind the counter and into the meat fridge and stopped at a shelf packed with rump steaks. With her hands raised high she chanted something in whispered echoed voices. Was she always wearing that cloak?
The shelf shimmered and disappeared, revealing a dark stone spiral staircase leading downward. The air coming from those depths made me shiver despite already being in a giant refrigerator. A flame torch appeared in the deli lady’s hands and she beckoned me to follow.
After what seemed like an eternity of stepping down around that tightly coiled staircase we arrived in a cavern. Other doorways led from the sides of the cavern, distant screams echoed from beyond. In the centre of the cavern was an ordinary wooden palette, with a single packet of 2 ply. 24 rolls! So precious...my precious.
“Take it and begone!” Deli lady sneered “But, be warned. Should anyone see you with this, the consequences will be disastrous.”
With the packet of toilet paper in hand, I made my way back to the trolley. There was no way to hide this thing. Deli lady must want the chaos I knew was coming. A cackling laughter followed me from behind the deli counter as I made my way to self check out.
It was full of people. I cursed myself for being so stupid as to bring a trolley in here. That alone was enough to garner side glances from other shoppers. I rolled my eyes again because I had forgotten my bags. This was a mess.
I was halfway through awkwardly scanning my items around my trolley when I felt eyes upon me.
“Where did you get that?” the stranger next to me whispered harshly, wide eyes locked on my bog roll.
All other beeps from scanning items had stopped. Ears were cocked in my direction waiting for my answer.
I had to think quick.
“They must have just brought a fresh palette out to the toilet paper aisle. I think I saw some tissues there too.”
Heads flicked back and forth as the other shoppers sized up everyone else. All thoughts of me and my booty had disappeared. My ruse had worked. I quickly scanned the rest of my items and scanned my credit card. I was already making my way to the exit when my receipt started printing. I did it! I just had to get through the carpark. I wish I had my reusable bags!
That’s when I heard the yelling and screaming…
I watched as the man left with his toilet paper. So the rumours were true! I knew there was no palette in the aisles, I’d just come from there. It was as empty as the stadiums these days. Everyone was still frozen at the check out stations. All this tension needed was for one person to crack.
A lady shifted her foot slightly, and that’s all it took. People started bolting towards the aisles. Yelling, screaming, pushing and shoving. A fire had broken out for some reason. My breathing had quickened as the carnage amplified. I shakily turned my head towards the fallen receipt from the man with the toilet paper that had started all this. I shuffled over to pick it up, curious as to how much he had paid for the 2-ply.
Not too over priced. I had to commend the supermarket on their restraint.
Suddenly, all the blood drained from my face as I spotted the savings from the man's shop. One item in particular sent shivers down my spine and took my breath away.
I looked around the store at the anarchy that had grown in such a short time. More spot fires sent smoke up to the cavernous ceiling. A man lay unconscious on the ground, a blood smeared and broken bag of rice beside him. People were running and screaming, trolleys and baskets were being hurled through the air.
“They have no idea.” I said to myself, looking back at the receipt in disbelief.
The blueberries were half price.