Lampposts create brilliant cones of light as fog filters through the damp streets of Los Angeles. As dawn comes the lampposts diminish, leaving their work for another night. Rain drips, leaving an ominous sadness over the usually cheerful city. The world is quiet here. Amid this sad stillness of a city that was once so alive a murmur small voices trapped in a janitor’s closet arises, 26 small voices to be exact. What kind of person goes on strike when there are minds to feed?”
“There’s no honorable work anymore these days.”
“I feel cheap.”
“I feel used.”
“How did we stoop to this?”
“We could be doing Shakespeare but NO!”
Anger and frustration permeates the dark cave of uncomfortable solitude. The air is so thick with worries that one could cut it with a knife.
“I just want to have my pride back!”
“You want your pride back? I barely can find a place to work.”
“At least they haven’t perverted your nature.”
“You’re still gold.”
Amongst all this sadness one voice rises above the rest crying out, “Well what are we gonna do about it?” Silence follows as all attention is drawn to the one voice. Pins drop. And these entities all are astonished at the idea that someone would try and route out the problem.
“Well, if they are going to strike, why shouldn’t we strike?”
“That’s preposterous! No one has ever heard of—“
But as the voice is cut off, the rest of the group realizes the brilliance of the idea that has just been presented. Suddenly the group breaks open the closet and comes into the world knowing how important their job really is. Posters are made, chants are originated, and revolution is in the air. Terrorist groups hide in the underbelly of society, waiting to see if the problem will need more to spark the change that this world needs. They lie with paint to spray and words to spell.
Weeks later, the news is told in gibberish with Greek letters for subtitles. Watching TV is simply watching the fuzzy lines on a screen hoping that there will be speech once more. Once in a while another episode of American Gladiator appears reminding the world of the wreckage that came once the strike started, reminding the world of when the strife began.
Children cry with nothing to say, no words on the tips of their tongues, no thoughts that they can express verbally. The world is in chaos. Communication has become defunct and humans have resorted back to pounding on their chests and moaning to try and get their points across. The stock market crashes because a certain amount of men in suits jumping up and down like chimpanzees could not effectively interpret the NASDAQ to their clients.
War breaks out amongst the humans, as words cannot be found to express things like peace and love. The world is stricken of caring, and any other sentiment that can be spelled. One day, by accident, due to a lack of understanding, the buttons on several nuclear warheads are pushed. As the world implodes to a cleansing of the chaos, a time capsule from 2007 is left, packed with a bag of Doritos Cool Ranch Chips and a note with shaky handwriting that has simply inscribed, “Don’t you wish those writers never went on strike?”
As the rubbish and dust settles, the sun cuts through the particles making a cone shaped prism of light. The world is quiet here. And amongst this sad stillness a murmur of small voices arises from the bottom of the ruins, 26 small voices to be exact.
Amid the debris these voices spot a young boy pulling himself out of the remains of the world that used to be, and yards away from him a girl. The girl and the boy look at one another and stumble closer. And as the voices realize what needs to happen, the boy and the girl find the words again.
While their small conversation goes on, the letters of the alphabet remember what they were meant to do.