The Year the World Stopped Spinning


The Year the World Stopped Spinning


K Clifton


Copyright © 2020

All Rights Reserved



“Dad, why did everything change,” Matthew asked his father, as he slowly drifted off to sleep.

“Fear, son… power and fear,” whispered his father, as he walked to the door, shaking his head.





Michael remembered it like it was, yesterday, even though it had been a decade.  In an instant of time, things had changed…reality’s very framework had changed…and everything was different.  It was like someone had changed the channel on the tv of society, and the characters on the screen were acting out a different story, entirely.

Before the change, Michael had goals of making money, getting up a savings, and making a career for himself.  He thought about the things he could buy and the trips and vacations he could do.  He worked hard for his money, but he made sure to take time for running, shopping, entertainment, and more.  His last relationship was ending, and he began to think about starting again with new dating profiles and thinking about future dates and romance with various women.

Then….the change. 

From a young age, Michael had always been able to read situations and recognize patterns and adjust, faster than those around him.  As it unfolded, he knew within days how the dominoes would fall, and he began to make preparations, but even he could not have anticipated how things would change….would not have assumed that society would surrender to much and follow the paths that were taken.

Coronavirus was the name given to the instrument of change…..the scalpel that would slice civilization right off the corpse of humanity’s populace, leaving in its wake the dystopian survivalist free for all that within one year eliminated the concept of freedom and choice and replaced it with promises of safety and control. 

Where the year before a satire of a religious society that dominated its people was nominated for multiple awards, that same society was actively at work establishing which form the next government dominance would take and deciding what freedoms would be returned…. Freedoms that would NEVER be returned, as it would seem.  After that, those prior goals became pipe dreams, and it soon became clear those days would never be repeated, again.

Michael remembered when it all happened, though he wouldn’t know the real reason why it happened for a very long time…



10 Years Earlier


Michael sat back in his recliner with coffee in hand to prepare for the day.  This had become his morning habit for a long time, taking a moment of self-designated reflection and meditation over the coffee steam aroma held in his lap and think about the day that lay ahead and reflect on life, before the train of ideals and activity stole the rest of his day away.

This was also the time when he would listen to the news and read what was new in the world, though more and more the events of the day only served to make him want to crawl back into bed. 

Indeed, it had been a hard couple of years, during which time he had lost a lot of possessions and a lot of optimism.  Only a few years before, he had a job and a house and a car, and he had no reason to believe that would ever change.  Now, those things were gone, and even his most recent car bought for income had been sold to cover lost wages expenses from the beginning of the lockdown impact on the economy.

However, he had found a new potential job and things may be looking up…if only.

“Breaking news out of Washington,” Michael heard from the newscast, stirring him from his java haze.  “After days of closed door sessions with the White House National Security team, Congress has voted to authorize the President to station the military in every major United States city to enforce the Safer At Home executive order he signed for every American to stay inside their homes.  With the continued increase in new Coronavirus cases, despite voluntary orders, the new law makes it a crime for anyone to be outdoors without authorized purposes.

“We go, now, to the President delivering an address on the passage of the new law…

“I want to thank Congress for this order, even thought I didn’t need their approval to take action,” the President began.  “Nor have I waited for their vote, either.  As of this morning, we have taken pre-emptive action in conjunction with our state governors to activate the National Guard and active duty troops, and they are at present patrolling the streets.

“This is a crisis that has come out of nowhere and for which no one is prepared, and that is the reason for this action.  Resources are stretched thin, and I have been alerted that we will soon run out of our storage of not only medical supplies but basic need like food, due to customer over-purchasing, combined with the reduction of work by those making, distributing, and selling those supplies in the stores.

“Further, as there has been a dramatic decrease in employment as a natural result of the necessity of reducing the chance of exposure, families living inside are running out of income to buy food and pay for their residence, and companies without sales to pay their rent are selling their properties for their own expenses, which reduces the chances of their EVER being jobs, again.

“Therefore, our beloved military has taken the risk of being outside in the corona-potential air to ensure movement of individuals and virus is at its smallest.  Further, we have mobilized FEMA along side the military to begin delivery of family consumption boxes to each home for nutrition, and families will conduct schooling of their children within the walls of their own house.

“My fellow Americans, I know that this is a dangerous time, and none of you should be expected to endure risk to your lives, so I am taking these measures, as well as an order that none of you be evicted or have any utility cut off, for as long as is necessary to get this virus under control.  See this as a time to grow as families and for personal rest and relaxation.  As the situation changes, I will update you, all.”

With that, the television cut back to news casters who had spend weeks of isolation for their broadcasts began to loudly protest the controls to be imposed by the President, saying that such controls were against freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. 

Then, in a split second, the screen was dark and quiet.  Michael turned from channel to channel, but they were all the same.  Within a few minutes, the darkness was replaced by the Presidential seal with the words, “To ensure national security and stability, this program is suspended until it has been reviewed by government monitors.  We will overcome, ONLY if we work together.”

Michael sighed but laughed a thought that television was outdated, anyway, so he opened his phone to check the internet, only to find the same image and message displayed, and the White House had issued an emergency text to all Americans under the emergency program activated the year, before, by the President.  It said, “To avoid the potential of misuse of resources or disorder, this service is suspended.  Have a nice day.”


One Year Later

“Authorization Papers,” the guard said, as he displayed his sidearm. 

“Here’s mine,” Michael said waving the paper at the soldier.  “Where is YOUR authorization to be doing this?”

“MICHAEL,” Janelle said from inside the grocery store.  “Let this fine man do his job, and help me find a few things on my list.”

Janelle was a woman that Michael had got to know from mutual shopping trips, and she was currently desperately trying to save him from being arrested for disruption of flow and order… a new crime that was enacted by Congress in the same manner as the first order….in the dead of night in a secret vote.  Without media to report on new laws, the chance of political consequence of politicians  had disappeared, and reporters soon fell victim to the new laws wiping out all opposition.

“What are you DOING?  Are you trying to get yourself arrested?”

“No,” said Michael with a sigh.  But, aren’t you tired of this?  I miss freedom.”

“Me too, but I will miss eating if I don’t get my food ration, now that food delivery has been turned into sponsored trips to these grocery store like pickup spots.  We only get 30 minutes, remember?  Let’s walk together.”

Michael smiled as he felt Janelle’s hand in his hand as they walked.  If you had told him a few years ago that he would be on a DATE with a 30 minute grocery shopping trip with someone met at the store, instead of out at some restaurant with someone he met on an app, he would have asked what dystopian nightmare you were having.  However, with all social gatherings controlled and media controlled, this was the new reality.

“I can’t believe the Democrats just surrendered to let the Republican President just erase freedom from the “Land of the Free” like they did,” Michael said.

“They didn’t,” Janelle said in surprise.  “He was against all these controls in fact.  It was the Democrats that demanded control over the virus spread which weakened business and got everyone inside and gave them all a common enemy.  Once that was done, it was just ripe picking for whatever totalitarian wet dream would come next, and we got his.”


“But, let’s not talk about that.  Let’s talk about how we are going to see each other, next.  I have an idea, come here.”

Janelle led Michael over to a series of food freezers and opened the door to obstruct the view of guards and cameras.

“I plan to take my dog for a walk to the park, Tuesday….about 2 in the afternoon.  There is a nice bench in the shade, and I haven’t seen any guards or drones in my last trips there.”

“That sounds great,” Michael said with a smile.  “I may talk a walk around that time and in that area, too.” 

Michael reached an arm around her and kissed her neck, causing Janelle to close her eyes and exhale.

“You there…are you shopping or are you done,” said the guard that Michael had irritated and who had kept an eye on them, ever since.

“Shopping…sorry,” exclaimed Janelle.  “We’ll move it along.”


Six Months Later


Janelle melted in the arms of Michael, and he moved his hands slowly down her back, as if he were memorizing her form while pulling her close to him.  In a way, he was.  Designated time together was now authorized only for essential purposes, and romance was not deemed essential, making Michael wonder how ANYONE would ever get married, again.  He had to remember every curve…every scent…every word, so he could enjoy her, even when they were apart.

“I want you,” she said looking at him hungrily.  “I can’t wait till next time.”

“What…right here?”

“Yes,” she said with a sigh laying back under the tree on the blanket they had snuck out for their meeting and snack.  “Right here….right now.”

As sweat dripped down Michael’s back, he kissed Janelle’s neck and moved in between her legs.  At that moment, The Community could come upon them, but Michael wouldn’t care.  He was in heaven with pure pleasure coursing through his body until it reached a crescendo within her, as she held him tightly and kissed him like she was giving him CPR.  Since it brought life back to him, she must have been successful, and they lay in the gentle breeze within each others arms.

“How are we going to get together without the Community knowing we have been doing non essential thing,”  Janelle asked. 

“Well, I’d say it is essential,” Michael said with a smile.

“You know what I mean.”

“Well…. I was going to mention this at some point.  I did hear about a group that was leaving to go to the border.”

“The Mexican border,” Janelle asked in surprise? 

“Yes….apparently, they have dug a new tunnel that is unknown to the Community, and a group is helping to smuggle people out.  I hear they have less of a lockdown in South America.”

“What would we do for money…for food?”

“They said they have jobs that we can do without becoming citizens, there, and one of the leaders in the new village on the other side is Andrew.”

“My brother?  When did he go there?”

“Last month,”  Michael said as he began to get dressed.  “He sent me a message to tell you he was ok and about this group for us to use, but he said it could be risky.”

“And you just told me,” she said with a playful jab to his shoulder.  “Ha.  Ok.  So….I’m down if you are.  I am SO done with “security” and could use a little “risk” again.

“Yeah…we are so good at not taking risks,” he said and kissed her one more time before the walk back to their monitored homes.


Current Day

“And, is that when you and mommy came here,” Matthew asked his father, after his father told him the story as a bedtime tale.

“Yes, it is.”

“What was it like…before all the changes?”

Michael paused for a moment to collect his thought and remember what felt more like a memory from a movie than a reflection on real life, as so much had changed.

“Well, a lot of people watched movies.”

“Like…downloads,” Matthew injected.

“No…people used to go out to movie theaters and watch them, together, and they would go shopping in stores with them, too.”

“With all the germs,” Matthew exclaimed sitting up.

“Yes…but it was ok…more than ok.  It was living,” Michael said laying his son back down, who yawned on the way down.

“Dad, why did everything change,” Matthew asked his father, as he slowly drifted off to sleep.

“Fear, son… power and fear,” whispered his father, as he walked to the door, shaking his head.


No comments:

Post a Comment