Arbitrary Number by Edwin Escolero
Arbitrary No. – C:\UNE 24
A bandaged man walks through the outskirts in the dark as crickets chip. The supermarket is closed due to the latest storm, however, a tavern is still open. Riffling through the duffle that he’s carrying the roughed-up man takes out his wallet. Approaching the establishment he notices a man with a visor eating a burger behind a green dumpster in his car while tuning to a Sine Corp. broadcast. A tavern worker tosses trash bags into the dumpster while the bandaged man rolls down his sleeves to cover a metal brace before entering the pub.
Bar patrons clamor as the affected region has caused a shortage of supplies at the grocery stores. Some customers share their accounts during the latest blizzard attack while others tune in to a boxing match airing on the plasma. The channel suddenly changes to coverage of the storm with Sine Corp. personnel taking up the screen while everyone else works to remove snow. Boos resonate in the pub as people say, “Sine Corp. is responsible for this, nobody wants to see your photo-op! You want to take away our homes! We are people, not products! You can’t buy us or put us in layaway!” Walking through the roaring crowd the bandaged man reaches the barkeep and asks for a Pina Colada.
At the city in the dark of night Sine Corp. personnel take down fliers of Luz Libre. One man comes out of a house and reprimands the Sine staff who’re tearing the Libre banners. He continues voicing his outrage when a lanky woman looks his way then coldly says, “This is not your house. You’re old why don’t you keep quiet.” Outnumbered the man tosses a trash bag to the curb before going back inside.
On the other side of the city people work in unison to remove lingering snow from a radio tower. The technicians test the frequency in a controlled environment while others serve hot chocolate for the workers out in the night chill. A man switches frequencies on a communicator as he moves around the area. He receives a signal but static muffles the voice on the other line.