Advertised Pollution

Read a short story by Zohaib Shahid B. about a world that may end up being ours one day if we do not change our ways. The story takes many current day events and exaggerates them to an extreme level to show what Zohaib believes could happen if we don’t change.

Advertised Pollution

By Zohaib Shahid B.

Bright light. Blurred imagery. Focus. I’m finally up. The sun was on my face. Had I overslept that long? It was the weekend. So I usually did. And then it was there. Turned to my right and it sent chills down my spine. But then I was relieved to find it was just an ad. Displaying on a projected panel in mid-air. “Make pimples disappear in no time!”. I am going through puberty, so I’m also getting pimples. But how did they know? They know everything.

My feeling of comfort in my bed suddenly went away when I realized I had put an ad block on my house and my phone. Why was I getting an ad? Scrolling through trying to find information on a panel in mid-air almost half see through, I discovered another amendment had been passed. Amendment number 153: Corporates have a right to display ads. Great. There back at it. At first, they found out how to bypass our ad blocks. But we outsmarted them. Now they come back with it being a law.

What will they do to those that had been using an ad block? I quickly rise up. Jump off my bed. A sudden flash of light! I almost had a heart attack. It was that. Another ad. I will never get used to this. There was one on my wall about computer parts. “Latest and most powerful graphics card”. I was into building computers. Tons of them. I rushed to the bathroom. I picked up my brush. And right next to the mirror was another one. “Best toothpaste yet!”. I know of this one. It’s filled with harmful chemicals. Everyone thinks it’s the best just because, they tell me that, it’s labeled that.

This was not the only thing filled with chemicals. So is our food. I had my own little farm in our backyard. I had my own animals too. I did not want to eat corporate food products. Animals are kept in cages from the day they are born to the day they are slaughtered. Animals are fed chemicals of many sorts to make their meat taste better, but still not as good as meat produced without chemicals, and make them grow more mass. But the government said that it was interrupting the economy so I was forced to take down my farm.

I once went to one of the farms where they grow animals like that. It’s horrifying. One man in blue jeans that went a bit above his shirt, his shirt tucked in. He was wearing blue eye protection. He’s gloves looked thicker than any glove I’ve ever seen. I watched as he picked up a cow and slammed it to the concrete floor over and over. The rest of the cows were in metal cages no more than their own size. Some cages were even smaller, so small that you could see the animal’s skin squeezing out and scarred by the shape of the cage.

Another cow was bleeding along its neck. The situation was pretty bad. And it was still alive in panic. I am sure it was in a great amount of pain. There were chickens in a different shed. Most of them were sitting. They looked like white fluffy balls with a head poking out. I could barely even notice the tail. A few got up every once in awhile. It looked as if they were unable to move or could only move so little. I watched their attempt to get up and move and something hit me in the heart really hard. Something intangible. But it felt so real. It felt like a huge spike just went through my heart.

I can now understand why they no longer allow you to visit the farms. I know a few people who had died from eating corporate food products. One was a close friend of mine. It started out with seizures. And the seizures got more severe. Then he was hospitalized. I watched him die on the hospital bed. As I finished brushing and getting fresh, I headed out to the kitchen and this horrifying memory was interrupted by another ad. This time, advertising a new stove. I made my breakfast. I finished my tea and headed out. Seems like a nice day.

As I walked I noticed that there was no one else on such a day like this. It rained last night. The air smells fresh. It finally rained pure water. We usually got acid rains due to the chemicals put out into the air by factories and energy sources. The bill this month was $340. I wanted solar panels but they became illegal once too many people started buying them and the corporates’ budget dropped. Even on this day, one with any sort of rational thought could see the clouds of pollution. But then why were people still not noticing? Acting as it’s normal in nature. If they were blind or deaf, it would not make a difference in what they do. They act as if they are blind or deaf. Yes, it is that they haven’t found out but it’s also that they don’t want to find out. The reality they live in gives them temporary happiness as they are oblivious of the harsh future to come.

This “nice” day reminds me of the bad ones. A memory that finds me again. The time when I nearly burned to death. My umbrella caught on fire once from the acid rain being so harsh. I walked by ads that followed me around corners then disappeared. Some ads changing based on the people that walked by them. It’s funny how they know things my parents never knew, at the same time very horrifying. I used to wake up to birds chirping on sunny days. Now, there is none of that. The pollution is so bad, I almost forgot the sun ever existed.

Suddenly, everyone starts rushing. Why is everyone running? What’s going in? People rushing! People breaking into stores. All I hear is glass breaking and people screaming with their feet making the sound of thunder below them. What is going on! I rush to the nearest broadcast! Around this corner! No the other rushing to find a screen! I see one on a tall building! It is way above but readable. The economy just crashed. The system just crashed. It could not withstand the 40 trillion debt.

Short Story by

Zohaib Shahid B.

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