Tara ran on twig-like legs trying to put distance between her and the smog. Some said the smog came from Hong Kong, some said it came from Hell. It did not matter. What happened when the smog engulfed the world, that’s what mattered.
Tara ignored the reports of the smog until it hit Mcdonald's. Big Macs turned into healthy baked chicken in disgusting green spinach wraps. Delicious grease turned into wheat grass tea. Scrumptious fries turned soggy and the staff all grew man-buns while vegans came by the thousands. Vegans with tattoos about being a vegan! Tara then knew the world was about to change.
The smog made it through Hollywood and soon movies like Ghostbusters II were released. Walter White suddenly became cured of cancer and the Firefly remake starred Scott Baio. Netflix became something unrecognizable. The Ironfist received rave reviews for wonderful writing, Barney the Dinosaur got his own cop drama and Netflix and Chill now meant to go hang with your parents while discussing all your bad life choices.
All art became easily recognizable so even the common man could discuss it without even having a proper chakra alignment. Books became twenty pounds heavier and only discussed the topics of macroeconomics. All great buildings became brown and were built by a guy named Steve who only completed junior college in Cleveland, Ohio.
Tara couldn’t take it anymore, so she ran. She grabbed her cat and ran. In Texas, she turned north because they wouldn’t let her carry a gun. In New York, she turned west because they tried to make her carry a bazooka with no waiting periods and a history of mental illness. Tara found out that Colorado was full of a bunch of people who were not high and hated hiking. She went to Florida and saw that not a single person was committing any crazy felonies, like robbing a 7/11 with an alligator. North Dakota pretty much remained the same. So she ran, any direction she could, she ran. Her legs probably got really tired.
Internet people wrote stories that didn’t make any sense, neckbeards were polite, and Reddit became an understanding and great place to have political discussions. Pornhub became the leader of No-Fap, Twitter expanded so that you could write 150,000 characters and Breitbart had a reputation for honest and fair reporting.
Exhausted, there was a lot of running, she went to the last place she could think of. Dennys. She sat down and waited for the waitress. She ignored the fistfight in the corner booth and gently wiped the cigarette butts off her table. The waitress eventually came over then left without taking her order. She came back sometime the next day, where Tara was still waiting.
But as Tara was about to give her order for a heaping helping of extra lard fried pancakes, she saw the smog creep in under the doors. It spread quickly. The fistfight, which now included 4 different families from 4 different trailer parks, stopped. They sat down and started discussing ways that they could improve nuclear security in the United States with a couple of rubber bands and a case of Miller Light. The lighting in the restaurant also improved, showing how much no one had bothered to bathe in a quite a while. The darkness retreated further to highlight the menus, which now showed nothing but healthy and organic choices, like kelp macaroni cooked in seaweed oil. Drunk food no longer existed. Tara’s waitress came back 20 times in 2 minutes to refill her tea glass, never adding any extra ice but always more tea.
As the smog overtook Tara, she had to fight the urge to call all of her ex-boyfriends to talk about feelings. She fought and fought and looked to the one thing that gave her strength. She saw her cat, Mr. Twinkles, bathed in the yellowish glow of the smog. Mr. Twinkles inhaled thick streams of the smog, breath after breath.
And, as Tara’s mind began to think of doilies crocheted for empty Coke Cans, she noticed something about Mr. Twinkles.
He hadn’t changed at all.