The Brave, New Soma State

The young man, about twenty, standing
behind the counter at the convenience
store gazed at the TV propped on a stand
a few feet from the counter. A customer

entered, saw the station and exclaimed,
“Not Fox Noise.” “Hey, that’s the only
station, man,” rebuked the clerk. They
bantered back and forth for a few minutes

and parted joking about “fake news” at
Fox or CNN. An elderly man was found
dead in front of his TV. The station playing
on the TV was Fox News. The old man

had been an apolitical guy until he en-
countered the station to which he swore
allegiance. He moved downstairs, hardly
communicating with his wife or grown

children. He just sat and stared at the TV
and grew angrier and angrier and more
and more resentful of everything especially
the Affordable Care Act which covered the

old man’s growing physical ailments until
the day he died. The clerk at the con-
venience store doesn’t drink, smoke or do
drugs. The dead, old man had given up

smoking years before. They never acknow-
ledged their addiction, what would come
to be called the nation’s new soma, nor did
they ever imagine that they, along with

sixty million other God-fearing, patriotic
Americans would star in a dystopian story
about an addled populace that sat staring
at their TVs while the red-headed Son of

Hitler, rightly in their dazed, somatic
state, pushed the big, red button.

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