A woman walks into a bar…

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The bar was cool inside. It also seemed particularly dark to the woman as she walked in out of the strong afternoon sun, still wearing her shades. However, when she took them off, she saw it wasn’t quite dark enough inside to hide the dinginess of the place, and neither was there enough people there to create an atmosphere that would cover up the wear and tear with affection.

There were four or five men seated at the bar, idly watching the racing on TV as they slouched over their beers. They were spaced out unevenly along the length of the L-shaped bar, but there was a sizable gap at the corner, so the woman headed for there. That way, she could avoid looking as if she had chosen to sit beside any man in particular. She learned from past mistakes. She also did not want to sit at a table alone; it was too easy to get cornered doing that as well.

The barman had seen her walk in and take a seat. “What can I get for you?”, he asked in a friendly tone as he mentally gave her a score on the attractiveness scale. She wouldn’t stop traffic, but was young enough to merit a degree of solicitiousness. She was female and alone, which was often more than enough.

The men at the bar also assessed her, but they all waited to hear what she would order. That would give them a better idea of where to place her.

 “White wine, please,” she said.

That didn’t really encourage the men much. If she’d ordered a cheap beer, or some hard liquor, they would have known she was easy, and therefore approachable. But with wine… lots of women drink wine. But how many of them walk into a bar on their own in the early afternoon?

“Hot day today,” the barman said, as he placed a glass in front of her and began to pour out the wine. He didn’t look directly at her, but concentrated instead on not being too genorous with his measure.

“Yes, I got so hot and thirsty walking around I decided to get in out of the sun for a cool drink. I saw this place just after I had made up my mind.”

Well done, she thought. That’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. Who wouldn’t want a cool drink on a cold day? And now you can leave afterwards if you have to.

Most of the hope died away in the men at the bar, leaving only the normal levels of expectation, created by the porn industry, that any given situation will lead to sex.

Except in one man. He had been playing darts in the corner of the bar, but had stopped immediately when the woman walked in. He now downed the remainder of his pint, which he had so far been nursing for half an hour, and decided it was time for a refill.

The woman felt his presence beside her before she saw him place his empty glass on the bar and say, “Another one of those, Basil.” She kept her eyes on the bar top in front of her as she took a sip, vainly hoping the inevitable would not happen.

It did, of course.

“You new to town?”

The innocuous first question, which men think will put women at their ease but every woman knows where it is leading. The only option is to give a polite answer in a manner that is sufficiently stand-offish to discourage them but so much so as to make it obvious they are being rejected, in front of everybody else, which would only lead to a whole other problematic set of circumstances. So she gave it her best shot.

“Sort of,” she said, and took another sip from her glass.

It didn’t work. The man sat down on the stool beside her.

“Thought I hadn’t seen you before. Just passing through?”

“I’m not sure how long I will be here.”

“Well,” he said, as he rose to his full height on the stool and expanded his chest. “This is a nice spot, nice and relaxed.”

She gave a thin smile and analysed how many more sips it would take to finish her wine. The barman put the man’s beer in front of him and threw him a warning glance with it. But the man either chose to ignore it or was too busy eyeing up the woman to notice.

 “I’ve lived here all my life,” he said instead. “So I’d be more than happy to show you around sometime.”

The big man swooping in to rescue the helpless woman. He would show her the town and she would be so grateful she would show him what she looked like naked.

“The town’s not that big,” she replied, a forced smile on her face, still avoiding looking him directly in the eyes. “I’m sure I’ll manage.”

“Yeah, but I can show you where all the nice spots are. Why don’t you let me buy you another drink, and I can tell you where’s good to eat?”

She looked at her glass and swirled the remainding liquid around. She could probably finish it in one swallow, but it would look rushed. Instead she took a large drink that used up most of the liquid.

“No, thanks,” she said. “I have more to do this afternoon.”

“It can wait until after one more drink at least?”

She put her hand on her handbag, lying on the bartop, and stood up from her stool, on the side away from the man. There was still some wine left in the glass, so she picked it up and drained it off.

“I have too much to do today, I’m afraid. It was nice to meet you but I must be going now.”

She nodded her thanks to the barman and walked out of the bar into the sunshine that seemed even harsher and hotter now.

“Well, that was a stupid idea,” she thought to herself, listening to make sure the man wasn’t following her.

Back inside the bar, the man was being teased. “You didn’t get very far there, Johnny.”

“Ahh, she’s only an alco dyke. What other sort of woman drinks alone in a bar at this time of the day?”

 

 

Report on early 21st century society by an anthropology student in the year 2121

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Privacy seems to have been banned shortly after the turn of the 21st century. It soon became obligatory for citizens to maintain an online account of their everyday lives. This was done through social media outlets; social networking sites, blogs, GPS locator updates. Failure to participate in this activity led to ostracisation from society.

The rise of social networking websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, has been well documented. These outlets were fully embraced by all streams of society as handheld mobile devices made uploading images and entering updates possible at any time of the day and at any location on earth.

The beginning of the end of privacy arrived with the election of Judd Starsky as the 45th President of the USA in 2016. He succeeded Barack Obama, who was famous for his use of Facebook to spread his campaign message, as well as being the first African-American president.

Starsky first came to prominence when he won The American Dream in 2013. This was a reality show, in which contestants could demonstrate their individual skills in order to win votes from the audience at home. Starsky’s non-threatening boyish good looks, combined with an athletic figure (later exposed as being steroid-fuelled) and a reasonable singing talent, established him as the firm favourite of the audience, comprised mainly of females aged mainly 15-30.

Starsky was catapulted into instant fame and wealth, and began to lose his ‘golden boy’ moniker as he developed an all-too-obvious dependancy on crack cocaine. However, his fame only increased when a ‘sex tape’ emerged of Starsky and his then current girlfriend, Shona Carter. Carter was a leading Hollywood actress, who was more famous for her beauty and string of boyfriends from the film and music industries than her acting abilities. The same week the tape emerged, Starsky was admitted to hospital after losing control of his custom-made Aston Martin sports car on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Blood tests revealed he had ten different narcotic substances taken, as well as a large quantity of champagne.

In order to avoid a prison sentence, Starsky admitted himself into the Charlie Sheen Clean Machine detox centre, the favourite of the richest celebrities and children of investment tycoons at that time. His cold turkey recovery was broadcast live from his suite 24 hours a day. This allowed the world to watch as his hallucinogenic visions of Jesus Christ led him to become a born-again Christian, renouncing all alcohol and narcotic substances, including substances such as coffee and deodorant containing alcohol.

In 2015, Starsky married Marian Whitfield, the creator of the Trust cookie empire. Whitfield had discovered a recipe for cookies that were not only fat free but also reduced any adulturous thoughts in the cookies consumers. It was later discovered that regular consumers would die of either testicular or ovarian cancer within five years, but government officials kept this information hidden until after Starsky’s death in 2022.

Starsky and Whitfield became the moral leaders of Western society, and their combined fan base helped Starsky easily win the 2016 presidential election, standing as a candidate for the recently formed Oprah party.

However, Whitfield had also bought the Facebook company, and a vast amount of their fortune came from this enterprise. One of Starsky’s first bills to pass Congress was to make a Facebook page essential for every citizen as proof of identity. US citizens were legally obliged to update their status at least once a day. Two days without an update led to a warning, three days a fine and four days without an update led to a tazoring by the government Facebook enforcers. Foreigners without Facebook pages discovered on US soil were immediately deported.

US citizens were also obliged to update their status picture once a week, within certain guidelines. This image had to one be taken by the account holder of themselves posing in a sexually attractive manner, as external beauty also became a legal requirement. Conventionally unattractive people were rounded up on the streets and sentenced to extensive cosmetic surgery. The Beauty Bill had decreed that physically beautiful people were generally richer, therefore in order to avoid a second recession, it was the duty of all Americans to transform themselves into specimens of physical perfection.

A computer chip was invented in Silicone Valley in 2017 that allowed people to connect with their computers kinetically. This meant typing was no longer necessary and status updates could be renewed with every passing thought of an account holder. The TickerTape Headband soon followed, which presented an individual’s status update on a LCD screen on their forehead.

The Facebook law was soon seized upon by security forces across the world, as its potential for monitoring public unrest was soon recognised. China, intially suspicious of the internet, was quite pleased to allow its citizens to wear the TickerTape Headband and implement the Facebook law. This change in regulations dealing with the internet garnered China approval from numerous political leaders worldwide. China was also able to develop cheap generic headbands, which helped propel it into the position of the largest economy in the world, overtaking the US in 2018.

The TickerTape Headband was soon worn by almost two-thirds of the world’s population. If it was not required by law, as in the US, Europe and China, it was quickly adopted by the rising middle classes in countries like India, where larger numbers of people had a disposable income to spend on gadgets like this.

Judd Starsky died in 2022. He cut his leg while hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Due to his religious convictions, he refused to use disinfectant which contained alcohol. His wound became infected with the lethal FAD virus that was sweeping the American continent and he died in agonising pain three weeks later. By the time of his death, privacy had become a distant memory for the vast majority of mankind. Society did not regain the option of privacy until fossil fuels became exhausted and computers became obselete.