Ever hit pause on a VHS? Notice how that weird grey line appears on the screen and slightly shifts the picture. That’s what today has been like for the past five minutes. It’s… weird. I don’t know how else to describe it. I poked Sheila, my neighbor, to see if she would react. Before I could though, I felt a buzzing the closer my finger got. As the air got colder, something was telling me that touching the white noise was a bad idea.
To test if it’s safe, I picked up a pebble. I arched my arm back and tossed it at the white noise. It freezed in place. Frowning, I walked up. Maybe a space between the rock and the White? Sure enough, a couple millimeters of space. But then the pebble began to vibrate and slowly black dust began to fall to the floor. It vibrated more and more violently until the pebble was pure, granulated sand.
Not safe. Not safe at all.
“Hello Blake.” A voice set me on edge. I turned, shivers ran through my body. A man with a grey beard and greyer suit. “Are you ready for the balance patch?”
“The what?” Unclipped nails digging into my palm, will I have to fight this guy? I know some basic self-defense….
“The balance patch. Nations with nukes have a higher production output than those without. You’re a playtester, tell me, would you give the first world countries a production nerf or would you give third world countries a production buff?” He seemed completely at ease, as if the insane words coming out of his mouth were supposed to make sense. I squeezed my neck and rubbed it furiously trying to figure out his words. Nerf? Buff?
“I don’t follow.” He smiled at my response.
“Allow me to simplify then. Would you remove the nukes from the world if it meant the countries who originated them went through a, let’s say, extended economic deficit. Or would you remove the poverty line in third world countries?” That fucking smile, why doesn’t it go away? He took a piece of candy out of his pocket. “Care for a mint?”
“No. I don’t accept candy from old men.” I shook my head.
“Answer the important question please. I need to decide soon.” He tapped his wrist as if there was a watch there.
“Remove the poverty line?” The man disappeared and the grey lines on people disappeared.
In the next few days, it was announced that countries all over the world had developed a faster method of accessing the internet. Countries that once upon a time were used as donation bait.