The news was the same every day.
And that was the strange thing. There was never anything new about the news. It was always the same.
The economy was always doing well. The approval rating for the president was always high. Enemy nations run by crazed, power-hungry dictators were plotting to overthrow other nations, because their leaders were always crazed and power hungry.
The news annoyed Phillip. He daily spent his lunch reading the headlines of the front page before flipping through the Metro section of the paper. After swiping through a few pages, he would inadvertently turn off his device and finish his lunch.
Turkey on bread that tasted like cardboard, one soft granny smith apple, and carrot sticks–it was all as routine as the news, but a lot less imaginative.
Phillip nibbled on his carrots, remembering the days when he used to eat rich meals of steak and baked potatoes that dripped with butter and sour cream. and he used to always have dessert with his lunches. That was back when the news really reported how the economy was really doing and how leaders were really leading.
Somehow when the economy plummeted and inflation obliterated the middle class, the news outlets seemed to take a vow to publish dishonest accounts and gonzo articles of success in far-flung places, a thriving economy, and fantastic leadership. The farce was constant. It matched nothing of what Phillip saw around him.
Begging children, men desperate for work, mothers making money any way they could and poor leadership at every level occupied reality. It was a lot for anyone to take and maybe that’s why no one wanted to report the truth.
Everything and everyone seemed to be a shell of what it once was. Like a faded photo that was centuries old, the brilliance of life had somehow been lost, stripped of life and color.
He munched his tasteless carrots, glancing at the clock in the square. His lunch break was almost over.
It would take him a few minutes to walk back to work past the children with the hungry bellies and dirty hands. He shined his apple on his shirt and wrapped up the other half of his sandwich for the children. He never gave them the carrots; their little tastebuds hated that vegetable more than he did.
Phillip grabbed his device, brushed off the seat of his pants, and tried to have a positive outlook like the news.
If nothing else, his waistline was at least looking slimmer.