I’m recovering from a terrible hangover.
When looking back over the events of 2016 I came across the news of Toblerone shrinking by ten percent. I went out to buy one to find out if the rumours were true, thinking it was surely a sick hoax.
I got back home and sat at my dining room table. I opened the packet slowly. Every second triangle was gone. This news by itself wasn’t particularly shocking but what it represented was. It was a glimpse into our future and the first casualty of our choices. It sent me into an alcoholic vortex that would leave me with a hangover the likes of which humanity had yet to experience.
When the boozing finally ended I found myself standing in my kitchen with a hangover made of hammers and remorse. I was wearing only jeans, a blue dressing gown, and a Jeremy Corbyn mask which I wore pulled back atop my head. Its vacant socialist eyes stared emptily at the ceiling. I woke up wearing it but have no recollection of why, or where it came it from.
I cracked an egg into a glass of warm whiskey and drank it in one gulp. I shuddered.
The floor swung sideways from under me but I managed to catch it with my right foot and steadied myself on the kitchen side. I shook my head and flicked the switch on the kettle.
It was quite possible that the kettle had already boiled for the third time by now without being poured. Short term memory was a distant one for now.
I tipped the coffee jar into a cup and spilt granules on the floor and onto my feet. I took a step back and leaned on the counter. My eyes were like a million butterflies trying to fly in the same direction. I picked up the kettle and filled the cup and shovelled in two sugars with a spoon.
Where was the milk?
This puzzle was a stretch too far. I poured some coffee into the sink and topped it up with cold tap water and downed the coffee.
My head hung for a moment. With great effort I lifted a cigarette from the packet in my pocket. I lit it and inhaled. I smoked the whole thing without touching it. When the cigarette was done I let it fall out of my mouth into the sink.
The floor swung away again but this time I wasn’t able to steady myself and I slipped through a gap in reality. Time bellowed through my dressing gown as it evaporated into oblivion. Memories of life as I knew it took on a strange hue and rang around me like a bell full of shit. Donald Trump was there, in the darkness of nothingness, laughing and trying to grab my pussy. A pussy I don’t possess, but a pussy nonetheless.
When I came to I was in the same kitchen but there was a calendar on the wall that wasn’t mine. There was a picture of a flag on it. At first I thought it was the Union Flag but something looked wrong. There was a blue square in the corner full of stars. The year on the calendar was 2019. Somehow I had drunk myself into the future.
What had happened to me? I couldn’t know. This was probably just another terrible hallucination but things felt too real. I could feel the cold of the floor.
I tried to climb to my feet, reaching out for the fridge handle for purchase. The door swung open and I fell back. Out of the fridge fell a Peperami. It landed next to me, perfectly sealed. It offered sustenance that promised to lift me back to some kind of sensible state of being. I reached for it and tore it open but all that I found inside was that hideous thin sausage condom and the faint smell of meat. The sausage was missing entirely. I wondered if it faced the same weight-saving cut that Toblerone had, but taken to its absurd end.
Maybe all snacks had gone this way. All products now must be just empty packaging. Maybe manufacturers have given up entirely on their product and only sell packaging to a public that only have nostalgia left. I had to find out more about this future world I had travelled to.
I found a newspaper on the floor next to a bin overflowing with garbage. I leafed through it briefly and learned a lot. Much had changed. I rummaged through the bin and found two more from previous weeks. I absorbed every article with great interest and growing horror.
I found my way to the front door and wandered out into a vaguely familiar street. I figured the supermarket would be in the same direction as it used to be and headed for it.
Every front garden on the way had been turned into a vegetable patch and neighbours were sharing food over their fences. So it’s not all bad news. Poverty can bring people together.
There were thin people everywhere just standing around doing nothing. Some of them stared at me. Most were busy holding their trousers up and trying their best to stay upright in the calm breeze.
Now all the foreigners are gone all of the interesting takeaways have shut down and obesity is no longer a problem. Obesity is a privilege obtainable only by the 0.01%, according to the papers.
Without competition from foreign labour British men were able to charge what they liked for their services and so people can no longer afford to get taxis or make repairs to their homes. As a result nothing works and industry has come to a standstill. Most people are out of work and their toilets won’t flush and their homes are cold. Most people sit in their cars for heat. Petrol is cheap and bountiful now thanks to the relentless attack on nature instigated by Emperor Trump. The cars don’t move because no one has anywhere to go and many species have died along the new pipe routes.
I made it to the supermarket. Things were not good. Most of the food carried the “Trump Seal of Approval” which was privately viewed as an avoidance warning. You’d find a fresh chicken with a sticker of Trumps face on it with “TRUMP” in gold letters and the word “approved by Governor May” at the bottom. The meat had a faintly grey and damp texture.
Governor May. That’s right. You heard it here first. England is the 51st State. It’s too much to take in isn’t it?
The biggest shock came in the wine aisle. All foreign wines had been removed and all that was left was a small selection of Californian wine. I grabbed a passing shop assistant by the collar and shook her wildly. “How could you let this happen?!” I shouted, but she got the better of me and pushed me into a pile of loose pork scratchings, the only British snack food still readily available in England.
She started crying and slapped me in the face. “What’s the meaning of this!?” I shouted, trying to hit her back and missing by a yard. God damn these malnourished thin women!
“And that was the Shipping Forecast,” she said.
I looked at her like she was mad. I noticed a tattoo on her forehead that read Property of Wallmart and felt immediately sorry for her. If she wanted to hit me I was willing to be there for her. She could let her anger out on me. I’m ok with that. “Later on Radio Four a cow has a difficult pregnancy in The Archers,” she said, and struck me hard with a direct blow to my left eye.
“Lady, I feel your pain, but at least be coherent.”
“But first we are joined by Graham Guest. So Graham, you started a petition to prevent President Trump from making a State Visit to the UK-” she said.
Now, I have to be honest, as I lay there in the pork scratchings of a desolate supermarket in the future being slapped by an emaciated shop assistant, I couldn’t quite put the words she was saying into any kind of sensible context. It didn’t add up.
She hit me again and I fell sideways. Which was odd, considering I was lying on the floor. The supermarket, and the woman, shimmered and then stammered like a tape caught in an old cinema projector. The edges of reality crept forward. The girl burst into tears and then the whole scene was gone.
I was back in my kitchen. The kettle clicked off as it finished boiling. The radio was on. It was Radio Four talking to a man about a petition.
I stood there for a while. Not knowing what to do. After a few more coffees I got my shit together and got dressed for work. It was some kind of mad dream. It could never happen. The people wouldn’t let it. They have the ability to fight back. To not let the mad ones thrive. Surely kindness and intelligence will get the better of greed and ignorance.
I pulled on my boots and did up my jacket. I left the house and was murdered by a deranged seagull.