Fiction

Soon

Photo by Omar Willey.
Licensed CC-BY.
Propped up in bed, with her neck bent at a right angle, Ness read from her laptop in the lamp light.

GOLDMAN SACHS BANKER PLEADS GUILTY TO $118M FRAUD
Prosecutor seeking 2-3 year sentence

Ness gritted her teeth and looked up at the ceiling. Heavy rain fell against the tin roof. If someone stole eleven dollars from the banker, they would get a longer prison sentence. As it was, he would do a few months at a prison resort. If he even went to jail. The world was broken, Ness thought, before letting out a long sigh.

At their last meeting, the others in the Anarchist Club had spoken about how their month without news media was going. They’d been avoiding all reporting on the internet, radio, in newspapers and magazines. None of them owned a television. But without bad news inundating their waking hours, they were having a much less painful time. In fact, they’d gotten together before the meeting, unbeknownst to Ness, and conspired to try and make her join them.

She thought they were soft.

But now, lying in bed on a cold Tuesday afternoon, the pain tearing at her chest supported their argument. Not only was The System toxic, but the reporting of it was, too.

Since waking up and filling out her dole form online, Ness had read about all kinds of corruption around the world. With each story her face had fallen further. The joke of a sentence facing the Goldman and Sachs banker was the last straw. She’d had too much bad news for one day.

With another sigh, she got up and stepped over the piles of clothes and books that covered her floor. She took her black bikini from the dented wardrobe door and put it on, fuming over the stories that she had read. Was it sadness or fury gripping her throat, she wondered. Lately she couldn’t tell. She took the musty blue towel from the ladder in the corner of her room, wrapped it around herself and walked into the hallway.

The concrete floor and graffiti-covered brick walls held no heat, and a freezing mist fell through the broken skylights. Ness hunched forward and quickened her steps. Daylight and rain streamed through a cut-out section in the end of the corridor, and just before it, she turned left through a doorway and went into the lounge room. She stepped over an empty soft drink bottle on the floor, walked past the bathroom, which had no running water, and climbed a steep wooden staircase. She walked through Jack’s room, opened his window and climbed out onto the flat roof above the garage. Heavy rain fell from the dark grey sky.

Ness dropped the towel and wrapped her hands around her arms, already shivering violently in the icy rain. She looked across the rooftops to the city. It was all going to crumble, soon. Capitalism. Greed. All of it. Or it would be ripped down.

Her teeth had started chattering.

The hypocrites weren’t up to the task.