Common Mistake

Where are all these people?

I had walked this road almost every day for the past year. I memorized most of it. The way the sun shone down on windows of the shops that lined the street or the way all of the shops’ led lights blinding your eyes to anything else. “YOU MUST CONSUME” they say, not in those exact words though. I had become friends with the homeless woman that stood at the corner of the street. That particular corner always smelled like piss. I felt sorry for the woman but all I could offer her was my friendship. She had a golden tooth that glimmered every time I made her smile. It was beautiful and kind of sad. It made me sad. I wish I had more to give her, but I could barely provide for myself. She was a nice person. She always asked me how my day was going and sometimes offered me motherly advice.

Today, something felt off. I didn’t know what yet, but something was different. I knew I would get to the bottom of this though. It was my job. Finding disruptions. It was my thing solely because I had to find them and fix them so I can stay sane. Disruptions made me uneasy. Disruptions made me feel like a spoiled fat cat waiting for the automated feeder to give food during non-food hours. Agitated, impatient…

As I walked down past the homeless woman’s corner, I realized she wasn’t there. One would hope she found a safe place to stay but not me apparently. Come to think of it, no one was really around. That was the easiest thing to notice and yet I had only noticed it now. How great was I at my job, huh? It was late at night but there were always people around these parts of town. Everybody seemed to like the fact that consumerism was a thing here.

I looked around to hoping to see another soul. It was almost like no one ever lived here. The lights in the buildings were off. Tumbleweeds could easily be here, and they would fit in the scene.

Why wasn’t anyone around? That was the easiest question that came to mind. The shops would be buzzing with life at these hours, why were they dark? Why didn’t it smell like piss?

Was I dead?

Oh no! We were in the middle of a pandemic, that’s all.