What Happened to all the Readers by Len Kuntz

They’d become such a minority that the world’s remaining readers were set up in communes on a crumb of land the size of Delaware.

This being the future, space was at a premium, and as their numbers continued to diminish, the readers were relocated to an abandoned estate belonging to someone’s deceased, millionaire aunt.

In less than a few years, weary governmental officials shuttled the dwindling bibliophiles to a split level home in Hackensack, where angry neighborhood dogs nipped at cyclone fencing and nightly air raid drills produced unmanageable migraines.

Months later, the further shrinking squad was shipped off to a one bedroom utility that doubled as a pantry for discarded, but well-used, kitty litter.

After a short shedding of weeks, the few readers that remained were dropped into a root cellar which had once hid Prohibition rumrunners.

But even this earthy hole was a waste of space, too roomy, with its hollow nooks left unfilled.

So, alas, the final surviving readers were stuffed inside a box.

Years later a young child stumbled upon the box by accident. Finding a smattering of bones at the bottom and, thinking them exotic drumsticks, the child began to beat the sides of the crate, until, tuckered out from so much physical activity, she went back to her multiscreen lap pad, playing video games, exchanging Facebook gossip while texting, streaming reality television and using Skype, busy but bored all at once.


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Filed under Len Kuntz

6 responses to “What Happened to all the Readers by Len Kuntz

  1. Sigh. I just knew this was our future. Well designed, Len.

  2. thanks, susan. yeah, but at least we’ll get to share the same box.

  3. I loved ‘the short shedding of weeks’ but the best part of this for me was managing to slip ‘This being the future’ into past tense narrative. Oddly pleasing.

  4. You mean that putting them in dim noisy environments meant less readers? You know if they’d only gotten ebooks on their phones this never would have happened; they can be backlit and you can block out distractions with headphones… Just sayin’. Lol

    Very nicely written story. I liked it!

  5. Good scary stuff, Len.

    I JUST (like ten minutes ago) finished A VISIT FROMTHR GOOD SQUAD. Your story reminds me of the ending chapter. A must read, btw. Best book I’ve read in a long while. Peace…

  6. Pingback: Week #42 – Under wraps | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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