We All Lost

Author : R. W. Warwick

I ran from the parking area up to the back of the queue. It was huge. I tapped the shoulder of the woman in front of me.

“Why is it so busy today?” I asked.

She half turned but didn’t face me.

“What rock have you been under? It’s always busy here after election day”.

I was agitated and in a hurry. I reached into my pocket and took out my therapist’s calling card. I pushed my thumb into the print scanner and his face flickered onto the small, square screen.

“Martin, is everything alright?” he asked

“I’m here,” I snapped “I came to the clinic like you said, but there’s a huge queue”.

“I see,” he remarked. “Well, what do you expect the day after election day?”

His voice was soft and slow, it irritated the hell out of me.

“That’s what this woman in front of me just said. It’s not helpful”.

“Lots of people undergo thought reconditioning after the election, it helps them to live with the results”.

“Well shouldn’t I be get priority or something?”

“Why?” he asked “Most people think that their problems are bigger than everyone else’s”.

I scoffed and hung up, and then marched to the front of the queue. The man at the front was in his late sixties, large, and wore a baseball cap which read ‘We did it!’ He looked at me and I glared at the cap.

“You, what chu want?” he grumbled.

“I’m in a hurry. It looks like your guy won, why do you need thought reconditioning?”

“Ma cat died this mornin”

It took everything I had to restrain myself from hitting him.

“Out” I snapped.

He stared at me with a blank expression on his face.

“You heard me, out, I’m taking your place. You don’t need reconditioning”.

Before he could respond, a security guard who had been listening to our exchange sauntered over.

“I think you need to get back to your place in the queue sir”.

I looked at him in disbelief.

“My need is greater than his, I can’t wait through this whole queue I’ll be here until tomorrow”.

“Sir, I won’t ask you again” he put his hand on my shoulder.

“But I lost” I replied.

“We know sir, everyone knows”.

I turned around. Everyone was watching quietly.

“But doesn’t anybody care?”

“Clearly they do sir, that’s why they’re all here to be reconditioned”.

In my state of anxiety I could still see that the situation had escalated beyond by control. I took one more look at the baseball cap and stepped back.

“I’ll just have to fix this the old-fashioned way then, I can try again in four more years”.

“Fraid not sir,” there was a hint of amusement in the security guard’s voice.

“All that business will be done away with soon. This was the last election for a while”.

I didn’t bother looking back. I hung my head and shuffled all the way to the back of the queue.


  1. Jae

    Nice touch with the candidate himself coming in for a smoothing. A tale saved by its denouement.

  2. SimonJM

    An interesting edge of a world of brittle pschyes, but not quite enough there for me.

    Small niggle: “beyond by control.”, I think you wanted “my”

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