Victoria S. Hardy

Victoria S. Hardy

Saturday, June 18, 2016



Tabby glanced at the calendar on the wall, and then out the window at the sun low on the horizon.  “Something’s not right,” she muttered, pulling a beer from the fridge and popping the top.  She stepped into the yard, looking over at the chickens heading to the chicken house for the night, and checked her watch.  “Not right,” she said again, walking to the garden.

The seedlings were just beginning to poke their heads out of the dirt, but she knew there would be no harvest this year.  She had planted the seeds three months ago as her father and grandfather taught her to do on the eve of Good Friday.  Even though the official Good Friday had been removed from the calendar, she kept up with the date as best she could and had decided it was in April. 

She glanced up at the sun again and then down at her watch.  She took a long pull from the bottle, mourning the struggling plants and shaking her head.  “I feel insane,” she whispered.  “Everything has changed.”

She been over it again and again with friends and co-workers, but none of them seemed to remember long summer days when the sun set late, nearly in the northern part of the sky, or the heat.   They said this summer was like all the others, and the media backed up their beliefs.  She watched the plants, silently encouraging them to grow, as she finished the beer. 

Tabby sighed, and turned from the withering garden.  She tossed the bottle in the trash and went to the shed to retrieve the feed for the chickens.  She filled the bowls, refreshed the water, and scattered some feed.  She remembered when the birds would excitedly talk and pick up every seed, but today they didn’t come out of their roosts at all, there was no excited chatter, and there were no eggs to be had. 

She locked the door to keep the chickens free of predators and stepped back in the house as the sun fell below the horizon.  She stepped in her bedroom, pulling a sweater off a shelf and buttoned it as a shiver worked through her body.  She grabbed another beer, remembering days of working late in the yard and garden, and sat on the couch, turning on the TV.  The local news had just started and she dropped the remote beside her. 

“Happy Summer Solstice,” the busty blonde at the news desk wearing a pink halter-top declared with an overly white, nearly fluorescent, smile.  “Today the sun set at 3:56 pm just as usual.  And here are pictures taken all over the world of how the sun lined up perfectly to show things are just as how they have always been.”  There was a slide show of photos from Stonehenge to Manhattanhenge where the sun rises or sets perfectly on the Solstice.  “Today, July 29th is the longest day, we’ve had 8 hours and 3 minutes of sunshine, actually a minute longer than usual.”  She laughed and her breasts bounced, pulling the eye away from her fluorescent mouth.  “The longest day of the year and here are some photos of how people have celebrated.”  Another slide show appeared of the average Americans cooking on grills, picnicking in parks, and wet kids shivering as they played in lakes and oceans. 

The news went to a commercial break and Tabby shook her head.  “This isn’t right,” she said again, walking into the kitchen for another beer.  She leaned her head against the door of the refrigerator listening to the commercials from the other room – “Are your family members acting strange?  Are they saying things have changed?  Are they depressed?  Maybe they just need a change …” Music swelled and the tone of the speaker softened.  “Some studies say up to 30% of Americans are suffering under Fact Rejection Syndrome.  FRS is a debilitating disorder that often ends in mania and death, but Pharmacyde is the cure that can change your suffering family member.  Signs of FRS are disremembering events, times, and holidays.  With Pharmacyde they begin to regain themselves and reality.  The cherry flavored powder, when added to food or beverages, will aid you to get your loved one back on the right path.” 

Tabby pulled her head away from the fridge and then lightly pounded it on the forgiving wall.  She briefly remembered summer nights and fireflies, she remembered planting in the spring and the harvest in the summer, she remembered long hot days, and she knew she had never turned on the heat in July.  She shivered, and pulled her head away from the fridge.  She walked back into the living room, settling on the couch as the news began again, and pulled a blanket over her to halt the shivers.

The newscaster with bright teeth reappeared wearing an even smaller halter-top of the same color, and began casting out numbers.  “3400 hundred people died today, most by suicide, others by murder, and a couple hundred were killed by sharks, alligators, bears, and large cats.”  Another slide show began and was filled with people attacked in water or on land by mammals or cold-blooded creatures.  “And in New Jersey, a woman was killed by a sea turtle,” she continued, as video showed a woman struggling beside a boat as a turtle pulled her down under the water over and over again. 

“What the fuck?”  Tabby cried out, looking over at the aquarium that held a turtle. 

The news went back to a commercial break.  “Are your family members acting strange?  Are they disremembering events and times and seasons?  We’ve set up a 1-800 number to help.  Pharmacyde is the only way to cure those suffering…” 

Tabby thought of what she used to know, how the seasons had changed, and then glanced at the turtle in the aquarium.  She picked up the phone and dialed 1-800-Pharmacyde.