Under Control



(1) Jake’s eyes widened slowly as his alarm echoed off his empty walls. He let out a soft sigh as he tumbled out of his easeful white sheets. As he walked toward his closet the floors underneath him creaked. He opened the bottom drawer of his dresser and threw on a pair of khakis with a small hole under the left knee. A black hooded sweatshirt, and an old beanie that looked like it hadn’t been washed in days. His usual outfit. As he walked out his front door he glanced into the mirror to fix his shaggy brown hair. This reminded him his worth as he saw the floating label over his head reading “user8179246”

“Here we go again,” he murmured as he stepped out the door.

The city streets were buzzing with people, all pacing back and forth. The pavement was cold and slick underneath Jake’s feet as he walked to work. As Jake arrived at work he set his things down by the desk in the left corner by the window. Customers would come and go throughout the day having the same conversations each day. As Jake’s last customer approached him words started falling out his mouth uncontrollably as usual. But this time it wasn’t his usual conversation.

“Don’t you ever get bored?” asked the man across from him

Jake was shocked and was unsure how to respond,

“Only sometimes,” Jake replied, knowing deep down how he truly felt.


(2) Everyone in the bank stood up out of their chairs as chaos let out in the streets. The skies were dark and gloomy. Jake stepped into the streets of madness and bumped into a boy around his age that he had recognized from a time before. 

“You better start running boy!” he said.

Jake gave a look of concern, “what’s going on?” he asked.

“Look around you!” the boy exclaimed, “all hell is breaking loose.”

 Jake looked around at the gloomy dark skies as they began to pixelate. Maybe this was it. Would he live another day? These thoughts ran through his mind as the internet began to break. As all the other characters ran away, Jake stayed in place. If this was the end, then why run? He couldn’t escape this. The world went dark and suddenly lit up again. Except this time, the world looked a little different. The skies were purple. The grass was darker, and all the people were back. They walked around casually as if nothing had happened. But Jake felt different. The next day, Jake didn’t wake up at the same time, he put on a different outfit that morning, and when he walked outside, he didn’t bump into the same man as usual. Instead, he was approached by the young man from earlier. Although this time, nobody had control over the way Jake acted or what he said. And just like the internet, Jake realized his ongoing cycle was broken. 

“I never got to introduce myself before, I’m Tom,” the boy said.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Jake,” he said as he put his hand out for a handshake. 


(3) Jake and Tom had left the city and were headed towards the small town east of them. As they walked down the rocky path, the sounds of the city softened and eventually they could no longer hear the honking and yelling. All of a sudden, Tom began to feel dizzy, he was too far out of his boundaries.

“Although being a main character has its perks, I can only go so far and see so much. You must go on without me!” Tom exclaimed.

Jake was uneasy.

 “You know I can’t do that Tom, I don’t know what to do,” Jake replied. 

“You’ll be fine, go to town, get settled, and we will meet each other again soon,” he said.

Jake said his goodbyes and kept going on his journey. As he arrived into the small town, it was shocking to him, he had never experienced this before. Well, to be fair he had not experienced much. Jake took a long walk around the town looking for a place to stay. As he was finally losing hope, he came upon a small motel on the corner. He let out a sigh of relief and dragged his bag through the front door. He rang the reception bell and a little old lady came walking out from around the corner.

“Hello there young man,” the old lady said with a sweet voice, ”What can I do for you?”

“Well, I would like to get a room for the night,” he replied.

“Oh yes of course, let me find the set of keys for room 16.”

She handed the keys to Jake. He brought his bags up, set them by the door, and passed out on the bed after a long day.


(4) Jake arrived back into the city after a long time away from home. The skies turned back to a pleasant shade of blue and the pixelation began to glue itself back together. Jake walked up the stairs to his second level apartment. As he entered the room, he stared at his blank white walls. Jake pulled out a little painting of a flower and hung it right above his bed.  

“What a nice touch,” he said to himself. 

Jake slowly started adding more color into his life. He started with a few plants, then he added a few more paintings and painted one of his walls a nice shade of blue, to match the sky. Although Jake had never found the programming board, he realized he didn’t need to change anything about his programming. The only thing Jake needed to change was the way perceived the world and how he lived his life. Jake grabbed a coat from the rack and walked out the door. While walking down the city streets, he admired the stars and the dim sky. He had walked about three blocks before taking a left and walking through the door of his favorite restaurant. The little bell at the top of the door rang as it opened. Jake set his coat down on the back of his chair and took a seat at the table.

“I’m so glad you could join me.”

“Well I’m glad I could make it, Tom.”

“How was your trip?” Tom asked, “Sorry I couldn’t continue with you.”

The two boys caught up for hours until the restaurant finally closed.