The Social Game

Lenny loved people watching.

His favorite time to watch them was at the lunch rush, people pushing past each other in a mad dash for food, some would drop all their things and be forced to crouch down in the middle of a stampede of people, risking limb and sometimes even life, to save their work.

Lenny would sit above the villa square with a soda in one hand and watch the people running around like headless chickens. He hollered behind his window as the people moved with a sort of skipping half-run, he laughed when someone fell over and he nearly died when people tripped over their fallen companions. It was like watching dominoes fall over, one person would crouch or trip, then two people would crouch over him and more people would trip over them. In no time at all, it would be a huge dog-pile of writhing humans with one unfortunate victim under them all.

It was noon on a Tuesday that something odd happened. Lenny was sitting in his usual spot waiting for the chaos to commence. He counted down the seconds on his big grandfather clock like a time bomb. When the clock read Five minutes passed and no one came outside, Lenny was puzzled. Half an hour later and he was annoyed. By the time lunch finally ended, Lenny was furious! Where were all the people? Where was all the usual hustle and bustle and chaos that made his day that much better? Where was the madness?!

After a few minutes of quiet ranting, Lenny huffed and dismissed that day as a freak occurrence. Maybe they had to stay in for lunch because of extra work. Maybe their superiors were tired of them always being late back from lunch and had cancelled today’s as punishment. Yes! That explained everything. Today was just a fluke, tomorrow would be better! He nearly giggled with anticipation.

But the next day was the same. No one went to the restaurants or fast food chains, no one even took the occasional smoke break. Lenny almost screamed out his frustration! Again he had been denied! What was going on?!

For 2 more days, Lenny was bereaved of his favorite past-time. Each day he grew more restless than the last. He had stopped shaving after the second day, he hadn’t gone home in over 3 days, not leaving his window for more than a few moments to use the urinal, after the third day, he no longer used the bathroom at all. His once pale skin had turned to a sickly tinge like curdled milk, his clothes hung ragged from his thin body and his eyes resembled fine bloodshot rubies. Why? Where was everyone? Why weren’t they outside?

By the fifth day, Lenny had had enough. He walked outside into the square overlooked by the four adjacent buildings and into the one opposite his own office. Lenny ascended to the second floor. He opened the door and entered only to stop in puzzlement. Everyone was dead. People, his people, were strewn all over the floor. Some were still in their chairs, others had fallen out, some had even died standing. All of them with faces as calm as Hindu cows. He was so shocked that he almost didn’t register the fact that all of them were holding particular items in their hands. He squatted down beside woman’s corpse and pried the thin plastic thing still clutched almost desperately from her cold hands. He flipped the cool material a few times in his hands before settling it into his palm. It was an Iphone. His curiosity peaked, he flicked his finger across the black screen and was rewarded with an image of candy-like objects flashed across the screen in various colors. “Candy Crush?” he said, eyebrows furrowed together.

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2 thoughts on “The Social Game

  1. Sorry I took too long to provide feedback. I’ve been playing catch up after my week of being sick. I really liked this story a lot though, the twist at the end was so unexpected. I loved it. You had a really great lead up to that moment too. Lenny’s obsession lead him to almost the same fate as those that were playing Candy Crush. Though who knows? Now that he doesn’t have people to watch anymore, he might indulge in a new obsession.

    Well done! Very artfully crafted.

    Like

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