Tony sat staring at the computer screen, a thousand knots forming in his little stomach.
Somewhere outside a sprinkler hissed in the darkness of the night.
A newspaper sat unnoticed outside a door.
A television grumbled and rumbled away, pulling two faces deep into itself.
Streaming away on the screen was video after video of people attacking Tony’s character, his appearance and the way he spoke.
Some videos were cut together from different occasions, creating a stronger illusion of stupidity than Tony was really comfortable with.
Other videos were simply combined with superimposed footage, making fun of Tony’s looks, or habits, or hobbies.
And even though for some reason, Tony couldn’t stop watching, he felt incredibly sad watching them all.
It was almost as though the world had taken the chance to make a fool of him, just because he finally had a chance of being listened to, of representing the people who were watching.
Tony didn’t quite understand it and felt, quite frankly, confused and upset over this vulgar display. He didn’t mean to come across as an idiot. He really was trying to help.
When Tony woke up the next morning, he’d forgotten about the night before. All the videos, all the online comments concerning his public image, had faded away with a good sleep.
Tony got up, went downstairs and started preparing his breakfast without a worry in the world.
But, when he sat down at the table to eat, there was a low grumbling coming from outside.
The window frame began to shake.
Angry screams started to sound from somewhere outside.
Tony, confused, rose from the kitchen table and went to the window in his kitchen, leaving his vegemite toast to grow cold on the table.
Outside, to poor Tony’s dismay, a huge crowd had gathered.
The signs they held displayed similar sentiments to those he’d seen the night before and all of a sudden everything came rushing back.
My God, Tony thought. They’re going to kill me.
The crowd drew nearer to Tony’s house.
And Tony, not knowing at all what to do or how to appease the angry crowd, shrank down, clutching his knees down below the kitchen sink.
Across from him the vegemite toast grew colder.
A loud banging sounded from the front door.
And then the sound of wood splitting.
Tony, not knowing what to do, remained crouched below the sink, very, very afraid.
I’ve done something wrong, Tony told himself.
I’ve done something very wrong.