flash fiction
January 17, 2021

Mushroom TV Broadcast (or Psycho-Musrooms)

First the alarms rung, then the lights in the building turned red. A security breach.

The building housed a techno-greenhouse where the largest source of entertainment edibles were grown. Jay was the Chief Botanical Officer of the company. He was working late when it all started.

Jay tapped a control panel, a display showed in red the building entrance that had just been broken through.

A woman walked into the room.

“Don’t tell me,” said Jay. “Intellectuals.”

“They prefer to be called counter-culture activists,” said the woman.

“Anti-entertainment terrorists, that’s what they are, Lizz. What happened to security?”

“It might be time we switch to a robot force, Jay.”

“Don’t tell me the guards were eating on the job again,” he said.

Lizz didn’t reply. The live feed on the display showed a line of security guards lying on the floor passed out.

“I’m calling the police,” she said.

“Don’t. We don’t want cops everywhere. Do you want them looking through our facility? Getting their hands on our product? I’ll deal with this. Where are they now?”

“They are still on the bottom floor. They can’t figure out how to operate the elevators.”

“Ok, I’ll go down before they destroy something of value.”

Jay descended to the first floor in the elevator. When the doors opened he found a group of ten or twelve people in military gear. They were armed with guns, and one was holding what appeared to be a gasoline container.

“We are ready to destroy the building if our demands are not met.” The voice belonged to a woman.

“This is a private company,” said Jay trying to sound in control, “what makes you think you have any right to demand what content we program into our mushrooms?”

“Your magic mushrooms are a danger to society,” the woman said. “You’ve dumbed down the public enough with your frivolous entertainment. You’ve produced nothing but superhero hallucinations for the last ten years. What happened to the promises of elevated states of consciousness.”

“Enlightenment,” shouted somebody in the back. “Awakening,” yelled somebody else.

“You are deluding yourself. The public doesn’t want enlightenment. They get bored of it! Believe me we tried. We thought we would crash the market, but superheroes performed much better with the target groups.”

“I don’t believe it,” said a voice coming from the back.

“I’ll tell you what. Put the arms down and I’ll take you to the spore printer in the lab. You can dictate your own fantasy and take them with you for free. Just no explosions and no cops in the building, ok?”

After that the deal was sealed.

“I want a documentary series on post-truth culture,” said the woman who had spoken first.

“Existential nihilism!” said somebody else.

“Neo-Post-Stoicism!” a third voice.

“Consensus democracy!” a forth.

The shouting continued as they followed Jay down to the lab. A small price to pay to pacify the intellectuals, and keep the authorities away.

Jay tried one last time to reason with them. “Have you considered that superheroes are an elevated form of being?” he asked to the woman next to him. “You could call it a form of transcendental enlightenment.”

January 17, 2021 · #ToF · #Fiction · #Flash Fiction


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