The World Is Painted Red (Pt. 3)

The scratchy sound of the radio was muffled outside of the bathroom door…

“Currently,” the General continued, “we are establishing a major military base in China to push forward into our final stages of battle.”

“Oh, would ya’ look at that. What’s it gonna’ be this time General?” Jack shouted at the radio. He isn’t very much of a morning person.

General Schmidtin answered Jack’s question with words that no human being in the right mind has ever wanted to hear…

“We are pushing our forces to conquer Russia. This means we must prepare for Nuclear Warfare, as Russia has threatened us with bombing threats if we cross enemy border lines.”

Jack choked on his toothpaste and spit into the sink with a gag. Suddenly, his mouth went from spearmint to regurgitated whiskey from the night before.

He mumbled to himself, “I must be fuckin’ dreaming. I need to get out of this country, Jesus. He paced around the bedroom holding his head. On his nightstand, the flask of whiskey starred back at him. He grabbed the bottle and swished back a couple gulps and slammed it back on the nightstand. Slipped on his blue work uniform and ran out the door.

Jack made his way a couple miles before he realized he had forgot something. He started to fiddle with his pocket as he was marching along the middle of the street. Not too many cars drove anywhere in America anymore. The pollution had turned America into China since the people threw the environment to the curb in hopes to help the economy. To top it off, more than half of the country was either at war or moved to a different country. The city never sleeps, right? Well now it can’t wake up. Jack usually only saw roughly one hundred people a day, a few on his way to work in the morning but many of that small number on his way back. Then again, he wasn’t too social, so nightlife doesn’t apply. When he arrived back at his apartment, he ran upstairs, switched off that ratchet radio, grabbed his flask, and rushed back outside. He seldom forgot his flask at work—even if it meant him being late.

His usual route to work, however, crossed passed a vibrant, lively kind of path. Vines wrapped around and swung from the streetlights, vines climbed up buildings, and more vines covered the streets. The city was unkempt for some time now. Most of the streets were closed off to be rebuilt, but construction had turned into a timely process. And by timely, sometimes it meant eternity. The only cars that really drove around were electric, mostly trollies to carpool. The city had turned into a maze of construction detours. A car couldn’t go one single mile without their GPS rerouting. The city had turned into a ghost-town, forever to be asleep.

This morning was especially quiet, though. Jack was walking through his usual route to work when he noticed the city looked more vacant than usual. All of the electricity had been cut. The city was under a blackout, only the sun had just come up. In time square the flashing lights were no longer flashing, the advertising screens were no longer advertising. All of the screens were black, just a glare of sun reflecting off of them. And this time, not a single person did Jack see on his way to work.

At last he heard noise coming from a familiar construction site. The usual sounds: trucks beeping and metal slamming, cranes swinging, and men shouting.

“What’s on the menu for today, boss?” Jack asked as he stumbled over to the manager.

To be continued…

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