Serial Novel “The Sorrows” - November 19

I’m sorry for not replying sooner but I’m afraid Covid got the better of me.

After dodging the virus for years, staying a continent or a country or at least a time zone ahead of it, the damn disease finally caught me in Melbourne. I feel terrible not writing sooner. Especially after your increasingly frantic emails. I liked the one about me possibly being lost in the Australian bush.

Don’t think I wasn’t touched by your concern. But I couldn’t string two thoughts together let alone write a reply until now.

I avoided Covid for so long it came as something of a shock to finally become infected. A fourth wave of the disease is crashing over Australia.

I remember you telling me that when you had Covid last year you thought you may have had a slight cough for an afternoon, so mild were your symptoms. I wish I could say the same.

Instead I’ve been slowly dying in my hotel room for what seems like an eternity, coughing up razor blades.

The first two nights were the worst. A raging headache tearing my brains apart while gulping for air. Chills, fever, pain shooting down my back. Every bone, muscle, pore aching. Like some form of Chinese torture. Which of course it is.

My breathing became shallower and shallower. My oxygen levels dropping by the hour. I’m not a young man, after all. But I’ve been away so long I had no idea how to access the health care system or a doctor.

So I isolated in my hotel room like hundreds of thousands of others. Alone with my ragged thoughts and constant pain and hollow breathing. And just when you think it can’t hurt any more, a storm of cytokines attacks the cells along with the virus to rack the pain up a degree or two. You feel like you’re burning from the inside.

Shadows blurred and shuddered past. I started hallucinating millions of empty Twitter feeds. Just thin black outlines and frames. Even the bird icon had been reduced to a thin outline. All rushing past in a hypersonic frenzy. What a wonderful way to die I thought, in the absence of information.

Can you believe Elon? It’s a clown show in a dumpster fire falling through space. A social media platform run by someone with Aspergers, someone with significant difficulties in social interaction. What could possibly go wrong? How about everything?

Did you see the client memo from Omnicom? Urging them to halt any Twitter activity because risks had risen sharply to unacceptable levels. That’s PepsiCo, Mercedes-Benz, McDonald’s, Unilever, Apple, all the market leaders, all the rest of them. They have five thousand clients in over one hundred countries.

And that’s just one buying group. Now he sells $4 billion in Tesla stock during a Tesla stock slump to shore up the losses.

Elon runs over the company, backs over it several times, and now laments its imminent demise. Scrambling to fix problem after problem of his own making. He making things worse every single day.

Elon’s destruction of Twitter reminds me of how private equity demolished local journalism around the world by buying up papers, stripping them of assets, laying off workers, and delivering worse content as advertisers and users bail in response. Of course, it was fine for us. They printed our press releases verbatim. And begged for more. So we billed for more. Fun while it lasted, eh.

Did you see Elon introduced a loyalty oath like some demented Nazi? More than half the remaining staff left rather than continue working with the world’s most annoying man. Soon all he’ll have left are H-1B foreign workers, visa slaves desperate not to be turfed out of America. Hardcore indeed.

Meanwhile TikTok plans to double its staff and build itself into an advertising juggernaut. It’s already started advertising itself across all media. Even here in Melbourne it does radio spots about security and safety. Which is laughable given it’s essentially Chinese spyware.

But it understands the fundamental nature of advertising. Even old PR pros like ourselves know that PR can only go so far. When the shit hits the fan, you’ve got to start advertising. Full-page newspaper ads, outdoor posters, television, radio.

There’s no other way to short-circuit the situation. Of course, Elon famously doesn’t believe in advertising. Damn fool.

Perhaps he doesn’t believe in Covid?


Thank you for reading this chapter of “The Sorrows”, an experimental serial novel about the end of the world written in real-time by Stefano Boscutti. Subscribe now to receive new chapters for free via email.

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