What if Saturday (Err, Wednesday): Back to Reality

And it’s here! The conclusion to the Wonderland tale! You should check out the other stories from the 10 What Ifs if you have missed it. So… Enjoy! It’s good to come back to reality. :D

***

I had almost caught up with the elusive child when a tabby wearing an intense smile appeared out of nowhere and pranced around in circles in front of me. “Cat!” I yelped.

It grinned at me as it continued to do its little dance. The creature wove its way around my heels and, in a matter of seconds, I found myself stumbling to the ground, straight into another hole.

Oh no. Not another hole.

Yet, instead of falling down, I found myself curiously falling up. I left the ginger imp in the abyss beneath me and, as I shot up into the darkness, I left a number of strange sights underneath me as well.

The first was a woman clutching a small portable TV in her hand. The second was a lady in a deli wearing a confused and frazzled look. The third was a nurse carrying a rainbow-coloured umbrella and the fourth was the doctor, the nurse’s boss, apparently, judging by the way he gave her orders and authoritative commands.

I zoomed past a woman crying into a coffee cup next. Then past a gentleman with a large lipstick-stain across his forehead and then past a woman talking to a fly hovering over her shoulder. I zoomed by an eight person — he was strangely familiar — and realized he was the owner of the cat which had sent me whirling into this upside down hole.

After what seemed like days and at the same time a mere matter of milliseconds, I finally made it to the surface (as “surface” is what I would call any familiar surroundings), sprawled in an undignified manner as I had landed in the pavement bottomside first.

I was back in my office’s half-empty parking lot. My daisy purse and snapped stilettos lay scattered a few inches away from me. The sweets I kept inside my bag had popped out of it and were also there, contributing to the haphazard mess.

But as I struggled to my knees and looked closer, I noticed a very curious thing.

The two lollipop wrappers which had held the sweets I had saved for the kid rabbit and his sister were empty. Very empty.

via https://mariscribbles.com/2013/01/25/new-project-10-what-ifs/

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What if Saturday (Err, Wednesday): Shutdown

Dear Readers,

Forgive me for not being faithful with the 10 What Ifs. Life became… busy. But fear not. I shall finish this project up. We’ve two more stories to go — this one and a final one which will wrap the series up. I hope you’re all still able to follow what’s going on. So here we go — Shutdown.

***

This can’t be. This isn’t happening. What’s wrong with this computer? What’s the matter with this browser? I try to hit refresh —

Oh wait. Let me copy this email’s body somewhere safe first.

Of all days. Of all possible hours. Of all the minutes in the world, it has to be now, when I’m smack in the middle of sending an important mail, that the Internet suddenly decides to go crazy.

Right click, new folder, drafts. Right click, new document, IMPORTANT. Ctrl+V, save.

I close my eyes and heave a sigh. That message was supposed to be for the President and his officials. I met up with a women rumored to be the President’s long lost wife this morning. The whole thing’s kinda crazy if you ask me. But as his PA, I had to find the girl, do some background and security check, and then I had to convince Miss What’s-her-name to come back to the President’s loving arms. So now I have to write a report about her and my morning’s findings.

I was doing just that. But looks like the connection has decided to go kaboom.

Perhaps I should kill time by catching up with the afternoon news. There should be a portable TV somewhere in these drawers.

I reach out for the handle of my top desk-drawer. Nothing.

Of course. All the important papers are there.

I reach out for the middle. Office supplies. Of course.

I reach out for the bottom one. My emergency supplies. Ahh, there it is.

I fumble through the controls. I haven’t used this in a while. I rely mostly on Twitter and YouTube for important news updates when I’m in the office or on the go.

The face of Selina Quezon, the station’s number one news anchorwoman, fills the screen.

“Beloved citizens, there is no need to be alarmed. As many of you have noticed, the Internet connection provided by Globalink has come to a shutdown as of 3:00 this afternoon. We have received reports from international sources that the machines in the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) headquarters have been obliterated, leading to this unfortunate event. We do not know when the machines will be brought back to their original state. Some organizations doubt if they can even be restored at all.”

What in Tim Berners-Lee’s name? An Internet shutdown? No, no, no, no! “No need to be alarmed,” the news anchorwoman said. Uhh, within the same breath as, “we do not know if the machines can be brought back to their original state or if they could be restored at all…?” How could anyone in their right mind keep calm and move on?

I do important transactions via the Internet. I connect with other offices through this medium. And I maintain the President’s Twitter and Facebook Page, posting notes and updates through the WWW for crying out loud!

And, on a more serious note, my two younger siblings’ livelihoods depend on the Net and its stability — they’re both web developers. So what will happen if the web never comes back?

Who’ll support them — and who’ll support our parents now?

I give the tiny machine a frantic shake, as if doing so would force Ms. Quezon to take back the piece of news she had just delivered.

She doesn’t do anything of the sort. Instead, the network flashes to a footage of the ICANN headquarters. A field reporter is on the bottom-left corner, adjusting the lapel microphone in his collar.

Suddenly, the queerest sight fills the screen. A little boy wearing bunny ears and a maroon waistcoat runs out of the building and collides with the reporter head on. The man tries to get up when a young woman running about in stilettos speeds by, pausing briefly to help him get up. She whispers something into his ear before she zooms away to the direction of the young boy.

The reporter straightens his shirt and speaks into his lapel. “Good afternoon, beloved citizens. Pardon me for that ungraceful opening but an undisclosed source has just revealed to us a shocking lead as to who may be responsible for this afternoon’s Internet shutdown.” He pauses.

“The prime suspect for this incident is none other than the Mad Hatter.”

I sit still and grip the portable TV in surprise.

What? The Mad Hatter?

Well I never.

via https://mariscribbles.com/2013/01/25/new-project-10-what-ifs/

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What if Saturday: Revisited

Dr. Gonzales seems to be so stressed out today. I pity him. Two death sentences in a row, huh? And that’s just for this morning. He’s still got a couple of patients lined up for this afternoon.

I’m grateful for my lunch break. True, I love working at the health centre. But there are days when things simply get too disheartening. I’m thankful for any form of escape.

My sister says she wants to meet up for lunch at the deli. She’s got some big news or something. I’m sure it can wait until tonight, but she tells me its urgent. I get a rain check from Dr. G. He gives me a nod and so I’m off.

The deli’s a ten-minute walk away from this block. I clomp through the street in my white clogs, white stockings, white dress suit, white cap… People could mistake me for a white lady but thankfully my rainbow umbrella gives just the right amount of colour to confirm my humanity.

Two little kids — a boy wearing a maroon waistcoat and a girl wearing a frilly navy dress (both were donning bunny ears by the way) — zip past me, causing me to dive umbrella-first into the dusty side walk.

Splotches of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet dance before my eyes. It takes a while before my sight goes back to normal again.

When it does, I realize that I’m not in the street going to the deli any more.

Oh no. Not again. I wonder how long this time travel thing will last this time. I decide to just enjoy the ride until I can get back to my sister and to Dr. G.

I’m at my old elementary school. The yellow concrete walls, the moss shillings, and the wide grey staircases are all too familiar. I half expect the witch-like face of my first grade teacher to peer at me from one of the dust-tinted windows.

Walking on, I see the seven-year-old version of my best friend crying at the corner. She’s in that spot near the staircase, where we (and another friend) would eat our packed lunches. I’ve done some time travelling before — I know they can’t see me — so I draw nearer. I kinda want to know what is going on.

“He died last night. I’m not even sure if we have any money for the funeral. Mama says I can take the week off school. But I already miss him. I already miss Papa a lot.”

“That’s so sadddd… Come here, let’s have a group hug.”

“Mmmmmm.”

“Feel better? There, there. Don’t worry! When I grow up, I’m going to be a doctor! That way, I can keep all the people you love from dying!”

“Really? Yeah! I’m going to be a doctor, too! Or a nurse! Then we’ll all save lives together!”

“Yeah! Let’s!”

The rainbow splotches return and, in an instant, I’m back on the curb, my colourful umbrella splayed before me.

Well. That was quick. But profound, nonetheless. That was the day my best friend and I decided to get into medicine. That was the day we decided what path our lives were going to take.

I shake my head, remembering the lives of the two people that Dr. G and I were unable to save that day. But as I dust off the gravel from my uniform, I realize one thing.

We may not have been able to save their lives, but we still have the opportunity to save more.

I glance at my watch. Sissy is probably already waiting for me inside the deli shop.

via https://mariscribbles.com/2013/01/25/new-project-10-what-ifs/

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What if Saturday: Waking Up

My back hurts. I don’t know why, but it does. Great. What a way to start a Saturday.

I have to go to work even though it’s a weekend. Yeah, yeah. Bully for me. Which is why I must —

Get.

Up.

Even though my back seems to be experiencing hell. Better hurry, Joe. Better get up and smell yesterday morning’s coffee.

Ugh. I hate leftover coffee. I should brew up a new batch. That might somehow save me from this Saturday morning misery.

I raise my arms above my head, extending them gingerly, feeling the strain in my back once more. This is going to be tough. I try to push myself out of my mess of a bed.

My hands graze across something soft and warm. Huh? Muning, my five-year-old ginger tabby, usually curls up beside me at night, but the strange object — or is it a being? — lacks the familiar matted fur.

“Mrrrrmmm.” It grunts. What the — ?!

I fall out of my bed, landing with a loud thud, causing the grunter’s head to shoot up in panic.

“What? Where — where am I?” Her voice is a bit warbled and her sleepy eyes begin scanning the room in confusion. She’s a strange sight. She is sprawled on top of my tangled comforter, looking as if she had just fallen there. Wearing a wrinkled navy dress suit, a silk pearl blouse, and bright red stilettos; I observe. Odd pajama choice. I sometimes sleep with my street clothes on, but at least I remember to take my shoes off.

“You’re in Wonderland,” I answer wryly. “What on earth are you doing in my bed?”

She arches a pencil-thin eyebrow. “Who are you?”

“That’s a very good question. One that I would like to ask you, too.”

She makes an attempt to get up. “I have to get out of here. Inay will kill me if she finds out I spent the night at some stranger’s house.”

“Hold up, hold up. Nothing happened between us, Missy. I woke up and you were there beside me, like you fell out of a hole in the sky or something. No, I didn’t mean it that way. I just meant that you came out of nowhere.”

“Are you absolutely certain?”

“By the tail of my pet tabby. Where’s that girl, anyway?”

The orange cat comes bounding in. “Right on cue,” the strange girl remarks.

“Listen, Miss. I really don’t have time to solve this mystery. Right now, I have to get to work.”

“And I have to get home.”

She starts asking directions to some subdivision I’ve never heard of. “Huh? I don’t even know where that is.”

“Nevermind, I’ll find it myself. It was nice meeting you, uh…”

“Joe. Go on. Door’s straight ahead.”

She scrambles out, taking a daisy patterned purse with her. Muning jumps onto my chest, and I realize I’m still lying on the floor. I start feeling the darts of pain shoot up and down my back muscles again. Oh yeah. My back hurts. And I’m in dire need of coffee.

Funny how that stranger made me forget those for a second or two.

via https://mariscribbles.com/2013/01/25/new-project-10-what-ifs/

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