Art by Kirsten on PENUP/Snapseed

Waves of joy infuse the air in a collective hysteria; shouts from an adoring crowd rumble within blackness. They await with devices on standby; eager eyes, each desperate to consume and share on social media, where likes turned into cash. Lux imagined holding center stage before a sea of fans, all craving more, touching her growing ego, waiting for the famous squeal of her Black Diamond Elektrik.   

Her hands linger over the guitar strings as the cheers rise. Instead, Lux types away at a frenzied pace, dragged away from her daydream by the grip of life. She speculates about her money earned, notably after the overtime hours she contributed. Pay day was at the end of the week, the day she’s waited for to own the notorious guitar and pursue dreams she dared to turn into reality.    

Lux worked fast, long fingers speed with determination analyzing and inputting data as the rest of the week flew by. Once her check arrived, it was short. When taken up with the System, she was met with a listless response.    

“You did not complete your time sheet for Tuesday. I withheld pay for that day.” The System explains.     

“… But I worked on Tuesday, I did the volunteer overtime, there are emails with timestamps.” Lux protests.  

“You did not complete your time sheet. I withheld pay.”    

Lux goes to speak again, but the System accesses the Blacklist. An internal tall tale whispered from cubicle to cubicle now proven as true. Lux stared at a massive excel sheet with names of former employees listed. Soon after, the dreaded cardboard box appears, waiting to be filled. 

One more word and Lux Halifax would be in a cell.  

Powerless against the system, Lux stopped fighting, withholding her musical dreams for another day.

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