It started as a general sleepiness. I put it down to playing computer games too late into the night. A friend had given me a particularly addictive game only a few weeks before and I’d rather overdone it, even by my standard.
But it was ‘the’ new game it seemed – everyone who was anyone was playing it. Wanting to be someone rather than no-one, I of course played.
So I didn’t really notice the tiredness too much at first. Just had extra coffee to get me started. I work from home, so sometimes being my own master can be a trial in itself. But I was gentle with myself, explaining my sloth to myself as understandable, letting me wake up gradually.
Except I didn’t. By mid morning I could barely keep my eyes open and the coffee wasn’t working any more. If anything it was just giving me a headache.
I decided to be even more gentle with myself. Obviously that game took more out of me than I realised. It was like it sucked my energy, my very soul.
I did find it hard not to return to it when I gave up on work for the day around midday. But even playing that seemed too much energy, which was ironic in a way. Because instead I turned on the television. And I saw the breaking news.
Scores of people just hadn’t bothered to go to work today in our city. Literally thousands of people rang in ‘sick’, often to answering machines because so few were in the office to take the calls. Even the television studio was running on what they jokingly called a ‘skeleton’ staff. And one of the reporters had a theory.
The computer game I’d been playing was proving a major, nationwide hit. And everyone who played it was repotting an addiction to it. A few days ago the story would have been on it as a gaming phenomenon. Now it was just a phenomenon.
It seemed they had discovered a direct correlation between the game and the soporific impact on us all. And it all happened today, across the nation, at roughly the same time.
“It’s terrorism” the reporter was saying. “Overnight our nation is brought to its sleepy knees.”
He would have said more, I think, except then he fell asleep. Just as I was about to do.
And so I slept, and as I slept, I dreamed of the computer game.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2016