Wednesday, February 20th 2019
“Three of us had deja vus again,” Mike grinned.
“Twice in a row,” Mary nodded. “We’re on a roll.”
“Let’s start with Kenny. What was yours?”
“There was no toilet paper at Walgreens,” Kenny announced.
“No. What was your deja vu?”
“That was it. I walked in and there was no more toilet paper and I was like, “Whoa…why does it feel like this has happened before?” But that’s never happened before.”
“Got it. Jasmine?”
“I was watching a video about the government shutdown and thought, “This feels like a conspiracy.” and I got it.”
“Ok,” Mike nodded. “I got mine while I was rubbing my hands with hand sanitizer. The smell triggered it.”
He turned to the whiteboard and rewrote everything from the prior days then added NO TOILET PAPER, CONSPIRACY THEORY, and HAND SANITIZER. All of the items were scattered in a giant web across the board and Jasmine’s deja vu seemed fitting because it all reminded Mike of a conspiracy theory web.
“Harry, you’ve been really quiet today,” Mary noted and everyone turned to him.
He didn’t respond and simply tapped his fingers against the table softly.
“Yeah what’s good, bro?” Kenny prodded. “You constipated or something?”
Harry bit his lip then took a deep breath. “I uh…I can’t believe I’m about to say this…”
“Spit it out,” Jasmine said.
“I had one.”
The group gasped.
“Haha!” Kenny laughed. “Welcome to the club! Now you’re just as crazy as us!”
“Hold your horses,” Harry scoffed.
“What was it?” Mike asked, smiling from ear to ear. “Did you see something? Smell something? Taste something?”
“I…” Harry looked at the group, almost nervously, as he thought his words over. “I saw an old video of this ancient TV show. It was called “Zoom.””
Jasmine and Mary smiled sympathetically, almost as if they were happy to have him become one of them. Kenny even dapped him up, albeit unsuccessfully. But Mike was hesitant.
“Zoom?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Harry replied. “Remember that show?”
“Yeah. But…are you sure it was a deja vu and not just nostalgia?”
Kenny looked back and forth from Mike to Harry.
“That’s a good point,” Jasmine said. “They could feel the same.”
“I know what a deja vu feels like,” Harry said, defensively.
“Yeah…” Mike started. “But couldn’t you have just been feeling like you remembered watching that video as a kid?”
“You gotta be kidding me. Listen, you guys are lucky I’m even telling you this. I haven’t been on board with this stupid idea since day one. Count yourself lucky I even came back today after last time’s theatrics.”
“He’s got a point, guys,” Mary said. “We should give him a chance. We didn’t grill Kenny when he saw the Kobe highlights and those could’ve been nostalgic.”
Mike sighed. “You’re right. My bad, Harry.” He turned and added ZOOM to the whiteboard.
“Alright. So far this is what we’ve got:
THE LAST OF US: PART II
FEAR OF GETTING DRAFTED
NO TOILET PAPER
Mary blew a raspberry. “That’s a lot of stuff. What the heck is gonna happen next year?”
“It all looks so random,” Jasmine added.
“So far we’ve been focusing on a national emergency,” Mike opened up. “What kind of emergency would feel like The Last of Us, bring us through all of this, and somehow end up with the show Zoom?”
The group was silent as they examined the board. Then, as usual, Kenny was the first to speak.
“What if Naughty Dog teams up with the writers of Zoom to make a video game show? But it’s so racist that the National Guard has to get involved to stop the protests.”
Harry raised a finger to say something then lowered it. “Never mind.”
“Hmmm,” Mike said. “That sounds a little…bit of a stretch.”
“Who’s Naughty Dog?” Mary wanted to know. “Is he a rapper or something?”
The guys laughed.
“They’re the developers who made The Last of Us,” Mike explained.
“What if Netflix does a remake of Zoom starring Kobe, Kaepernick, and Floyd Mayweather and they get crazy backlash for it?” Jasmine suggested.
Mary looked over the whiteboard as Mike began pacing in front of it. “But how would that feel like a zombie apocalypse?”
“And that wouldn’t make us run out of toilet paper,” Kenny added. Then he paused for a moment. “Would it?”
“What does make us run out of toilet paper?” Mary asked, laughing.
Mike stopped pacing and spun to her. “Disease.”
“Disease,” Mike repeated. “Diarrhea. If everyone had diarrhea, stores would run out of toilet paper.”
“But what would cause nationwide diarrhea?” Harry asked.
“Bacteria,” Mike replied. “But how would it get to everyone?”
“In the water,” Jasmine answered. “Remember Flint? Everyone was getting pneumonia. So if the water supply got bad somewhere, it could be diarrhea this time.”
Mike snapped his fingers at her as the gears started spinning in his head. “First it was Flint and pneumonia. But this time it’ll be Minneapolis and diarrhea!”
“Oh snap,” Kenny breathed.
“And that would cause an uproar,” Mary said.
“Protests,” Jasmine echoed. “People would think it was a conspiracy. The National Guard could get involved.”
“Celebrities would speak up,” Mike said.
“Including black athletes…”
“Like Kobe, Kaepernick, and Floyd Mayweather,” Mike finished.
“Wow,” Mary whispered. “That…that actually makes sense. That’s pretty wild.”
“Except for one thing,” Harry cut in.
The rest of the group groaned as they turned to him.
“I get the National Guard part,” he said. “But a crisis in Minneapolis isn’t enough to reinstate the draft. Nothing short of North Korea nuking us would cause that. Plus—”
“You’re right,” Mike said, his eyes opening. “So what if North Korea nukes Minneapolis, there’s a nuclear fallout, the radiation gets everyone in the surrounding states sick, toilet paper runs out, the draft comes back, and black athletes protest fighting a white man’s war again like they did for Vietnam?”
Mary, Jasmine, and Kenny stared at him with wide eyes.
“That’s craaaazy,” Kenny whistled. “Yo. 2020’s about to be WILD.”
Harry sighed. “And what about Zoom?”
Mike opened his mouth to reply, but stopped. “You’re right.”
“Dang son!” Kenny shouted. “That was mad close, though! My heart is pumping right now. We’re almost there.”
“Yeah,” Mike agreed, turning back to the whiteboard.
“That was pretty close,” Harry admitted.
The girls spun in his direction.
“Was that approval?” Jasmine asked.
“Relax,” Harry scoffed. “Close doesn’t get us an A. This has been fun. But I think we should let it rest now.”
“Really?” Mary frowned. “We’ve gotten so close.”
“And we agreed to the end of the month,” Jasmine added. “Why stop now?”
“There’s no guarantee this is actually gonna get better,” Harry explained.
“There might be,” Mike said absent-mindedly. “The first day I was the only one with a deja vu. The next day there were two. Then two again. Then three. Then four. It’s been increasing every time we meet.”
“You’re right,” Jasmine said.
“What are you saying?” Harry asked.
“If I’m right,” Mike went on. “And these deja vus are God’s way of warning us about the future, it would make sense that He’d give us more now that we’ve figured out that’s what they’re for. This could be evidence that we’re on the right track.”
Harry grimaced. “That sounds like a reach.”
“Is it? Think about it. How often were you guys having deja vus before this class? Once a month? Once a week?”
The group looked at each other.
“I can’t even remember to be honest with you,” Kenny admitted.
“Exactly,” Mike said. “There’s a reason they’re getting more frequent—we’re getting close. If we stick with it, next week there should be at least four more deja vus and we might be able to figure this out.”
The group was quiet as they thought it over, but they were really just waiting for Harry.
Harry finally sighed. “Fine. One more week.”
They packed their things and went their separate ways, eager to see what would happen next week. But when they did return, what they discovered was not at all what they had expected.