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Oh, Gloria …

Where seconds before, castanets were rapping their clat-ta-tat-tat, a deafening silence fell on the host of avatars in the room. Friendly banter was interrupted, a question went unanswered, and earphones were unplugged from devices to broadcast the newest tirade over speakers. Someone in Brussels unwrapped a lunch sandwich and listened in.

Gloria was in the room. This morning, she presented with glossy grey locks, which billowed in a nonexistent breeze. Her flawless, peaches-and-cream skin was buffed to a high shine. But that was not why everyone was squinting at their screens. They were accustomed to seeing a dark-haired vixen in a slice of underwear, sat with her knees exactly fifty centimetres apart. (Someone attempted the pose at home.) Today, everything, including her shoulders and most of her neck, was covered.

A stream of pings followed. “Everyone, get in here. Gloria is wearing clothes.”

Master had stopped the castanets mid-clat to croak at the host of avatars, “Reverence! Gloria is having a bad day.”

“And today’s crisis is…?” thought everyone. And they waited to find out. In New York, a spoonful of breakfast cereal was returned to a bowl. “What… exactly?”

A summary was sent in a backchannel. It read, “Dental emergency at the dentist, who has Wi-Fi, so Gloria can be here with us shortly before receiving treatment for the dental emergency, and then stay here with us, in fact, during the entire procedure, so we can be there for her.”

“Surely,” went one dictated response, “the care and feeding of her children comma who materialised out of thin air only last week comma should be the focus of concern question mark.”

After that update, volume buttons were pushed all the way down. But unable to see this, Master squeaked again. “Praise Gloria. Genuflect, you peasant scum!” No-one heard him. The rebellion had started.

Three hours later, Master punished everyone by giving Gloria his proxy. “Host the room for us, will you? For your teeth, dear.” A dubious honour it was, to be the doyen of disenchantment, dueña to disconnected souls.


Life is short, so let’s be decent.

16 replies on “Oh, Gloria …”

Decades ago– in my very-long-hair days– I reported to my 12-hrs-a-day job. Sometime in the middle of my shift a fellow employee approached and asked me if I was feeling ok, because I seemed different at the time. Then I remembered: I hadn’t smoked a joint that morning on my drive to work– a common event for most of our 300 workers there. Hard to believe that even back then our company functioned well in the creation of underwater communications cable between continents. But that was then.

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You had a skill, training and experience and this was why you were able to function as a company. Thankfully, there are plenty of diligent people out there to make up for everyone else.


Yes….well, a generation ago I would have been amused by a piece that could safely be dismissed as heavily ‘tongue in cheek’, but today it is dreadfully close to the new reality. Funny? For sure: indictment? Absolutely. Nice writing.

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Frederick. So lovely to see you. Thank you very much for your kind words and for your observations.

Sometimes, I feel that as a collective, we may have surrendered to regression. We need role models but I fear they will also be muted by the mob.

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Oh my word, I felt like I was transported to another reality, and it gives an essence of impassivity but also union in such rebellion. I think this speaks greatly towards how people react to the vagaries in trends and media, but also as a fictional story, it’s a fantastic exploration into a detachment of reality. Extremely well written!

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I’m tired of those Gloria types. Everything must be dropped for her no matter how banal her life actually is. Why everyone has to be in thrall to her, I don’t know. Because she has perfect hair and shiny skin, I have to care about her dental work? I was gonna say I like the futuristic vibe but then I realized that the future is now, so I’ll just say I like the vibe 😎.

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Hetty thank you for this wonderful comment. 🤍 Social media is ideal for people who can turn the smallest situation into a production. It is a special talent and I’d like to take a course. 😇

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