No public outcry was heard. It was not that the new policy was not without its flaws. In fact, it was quite unfair. It was just that the policies and official statements had been so demoralising and so regular, that the people had just learned to shrug them off and resign themselves to the fact that the government was going to do whatever it wanted.
The council had been convened in Rivendell. The incursions into Middle Earth started as a trickle, but now it was becoming of torrent. Beardless Dwarves, and unknown characters had begun to overrun even the peaceful Shire.
Elrond brought the meeting to order and explained the graveness of the situation. “We must send a fellowship out to explore how this has come about.”
“Yes, yes,” interrupted Gimli. “We must find where all this shite has come from!”
It was agreed the Gandalf would lead the party of enquirers into a darkness even greater that Mordor to seek the truth.
Months later and much battered by their trials, the fellowship returned and presented their findings. It was entitled: On the Origin of the Faeces or The Realm of the Dark Lord Bezos.
Evie was called forward in the assembly and the principal announced that she was the winner of the essay contest. Many of her peers looked on jealously as she was handed the certificate and the £30 voucher.
“Evie,” Mrs. Baxter said. “Your essay was unique, and was a breath of fresh air for all of us judges. Many of your competitors seemed to follow the same line of argument, and there was a surprising similarity even in much of their wording. How did you manage to write something so original?”
“Well, I um, I made it a point to not use Wikipedia at all, and in fact, once I started following that rule, I decided to avoid using the internet at all.”
“But, how could you possibly have managed gathering all of that clever information without the web?” the principal asked in astonishment.
“Well, after school one day, I missed the bus. So I had to wait for my mum. She said to meet her by the side exit, so I went down a hall that doesn’t get used much and I found a really weird room that no one seemed to know about. It was all full of books and stuff, so I had a peek. Before I knew it my mum was ringing me, asking why I hadn’t come out yet. I told here I was reading an actual book. Soon the “Library” became my favourite place in the school, and no one ever bothered me there. I used the books to research my essay.”
“How novel,” Mrs. Baxter said. She then turned to the deputy head and whispered, “Did you know we still had a library?” Mr Turner just shrugged.
It was a labour worthy of Hercules. Flynn had hardly slept the night before owing to his awareness of the task that was before. Now the time had come and he would have to pull together every ounce of courage as he was about to enter into the unknown. This was not just the stretching of his comfort zone, but a true unheaval of the established order.
“All you need to do is go in and get it.” The words reverberated through his very being.
He took a deep breath and proceeded into the precincts of the charity shop and approached the counter.
“Do you – do you have a red scarf with dragonflies?” he asked. “My Gran said she thought she saw one here.”
“If we do it will be along the back wall,” the middle-aged volunteer said.
Flynn took another breath before setting out past the mismatched dishes, shapeless cardigans, and the ever present mustiness of the air.
There it was the scarf of his quest. He snatched it from the rack and hurriedly returned to the till.
“That will be two pounds,” the volunteer said kindly.
Flynn whipped out his phone to pay.
“Sorry we only take cash,” the volunteer said.
Cash? Flynn though, beginning to panic. Who uses cash?
Unwilling to be defeated he said that he would be right back and made his way to the ATM.
Flustered but not defeated, he returned and made the purchase.
In so doing Flynn had overcome the most extreme test yet to be encountered by a Gen Z. Little did he know that his greatest labour was yet to come when he would have to do battle with Gran’s rotary phone.