Prompt from here. (a few hours later than usual… as I said, downhill from here…)
There’s a guy sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper, which is weird because they haven’t been in existence for years. Newspapers that is, park benches and men are still around, much to the dismay of some insane feminists and building firm giants who are on a mission to replace every tiny blade of grass with a bit of brick or cement or metal. It’s 2056 and the trees ran out. The real ones anyway – oxygen is now created by synthetic trees that grow quicker and help clean up the atmosphere too – which is mighty handy in aiding everyone in not dying from the pollution the massive building firm giants have been pumping out for years.
I’m 23, and I never knew of the world before. Everyone talks about the 1960’s like it was the dark ages but it was less than 100 years ago and it can’t have been that different from now. Most of the people from then aren’t alive to correct them though. 50% of the population died in 2012 in a bizarre unexplained event that had been predicted many years before. I’m a child of the after.
What’s even weirder is that the newspaper has today’s date on it, in huge bold letters, like he’s waiting to be asked. So I walk up to him and sit on the space next to him. The bench is cold because it’s made of concrete -there is no wood.
“Excuse me Sir,” I start, waiting for acknowledgement. He nods and I continue “How did you get a newspaper?”
“Ain’t the internet good enough for you love?” he replies in a sarcastic tone and it somehow startles me, because for some reason I expected this strange man to be nice. I frown, enough to make a polite man apologise. He just snarls.
“I was just wondering,” I pause and add “I’m sorry sir.” Then, as I get up to leave, he grabs my arm.
“Curiosity is the best thing. And you’re thinking, how, right?” I nod. “There’s no more wood, no more paper, so how does this man have a newspaper, especially when there’s nowhere it could be printed anymore, even if there were still paper.” I nod again. “Come on girl, where’s your voice gone? You had enough confidence to walk up to a strange man in a park to ask a question and now he’s speaking you’re silent as a rock.”
“Well I always assumed there was an underground printing press.”
“Half correct. Tyndall”
I enquire why it’s called Tyndall. and again he smiles, in the same smile he gave me when he grabbed my arm. It’s creepy, but also very wise.
“William Tyndall was a man in the 1500’s who died for translating the bible, some hundred years or less before the King did it.” I get the feeling we are of different worlds. I only learnt of Kingship and religion through my brief schooling, which was interrupted because my parents loved travelling, so I therefore have little context to the words. I know they were something that didn’t survive the event into the after, as people were left crying out against their gods and their royalty and realising everyone was equal (which lasted all of five minutes of course, before men took over again, and women were left demoted).
“However,” he continues “The only person who reads Tyndall is me. It’s my private empire”
I frown considerably. Why would a man go to the trouble of producing something that’s banned for his own gain?
(Having written this I’ve had hundreds of ideas to make this into a short story, so this is TBC)