This is a short story, in 675 words.
Something quick to read during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Gerald had always been a planner. He had planned ahead for a comfortable retirment, and made sure to pay his house off when he was still working. He had enough money to change his car every two years too, so no worries about something unreliable that kept breaking down.
The best technology went without saying. A 4-K televison that had a screen which would not look out of place in a small cinema, connected to the complete cable package that included every single viewing option. Then there was the sleek laptop, with the latest mobile phone amd tablet all in sync. His Internet connection was fibre-optic, and unlimited. He smiled at the fact that he hadn’t even asked how much that cost every month.
No need to stint himself on food either. Only the best ingredients, and finest locally-produced meat too. All prepared using the best professional utensils money could buy, on a double oven range cooker that cost as much as a small car.
However, there was one thing he had failed to plan for. He had nobody to share this luxury lifestyle with. Marriage to Jean had only lasted four years, and she had been paid off decades ago. Since then, Gerald had never met anyone else suitable. At least nobody that matched his standards. And he was not about to lower those.
So life alone seemed to be his only option. He decided he would manage very nicely, thank you.
Walking around in town was not something he liked to do. Too many beggars, for his liking. He had no truck with the so-called ‘homeless’. They should do as he had done; get a job, make a career, prepare for a comfortable retirement. Even though he might have had two hundred pounds in his wallet at any given time, he was never going to part with so much as a penny for those shirkers.
And there were those shabby-looking shoppers too. Shuffling around pushing worn-out shoppers-on-wheels, making a bee-line for the disgusting shops that sold everything for one pound, then having lunch in a local bakery, stuffing greasy pies into their chomping jowls. Many were tailed by a gang of noisy, dirty-looking children too. Small wonder they had no money, when they had no idea about family planning. And the tattos they were covered in no doubt cost more than the food they had just bought.
He crossed the street to avoid the queues outside the various fast-food establishments. The smell from those places made him retch, and the sight of cutomers emerging then cramming food into their mouths in public made him feel physically ill.
Honestly, there were times when Gerald wondered if he was even the same species as those people.
Instead of venturing into town, he began to shop online. Everything could be delivered whenever you wanted it to be, as long as you had the money to pay for it, and the Internet connection to order it.
It wasn’t long before Gerald had no need to go outside at all. A gardener came to take care of his small plot, and a window cleaner kept all the windows shiny. Both were paid by bank transfer, online of course. When he realised that he hadn’t used his car for four months, Gerald contacted the dealer and sold it back to them. It seemed pointless to bother to keep it, even though he took a substantial loss on the sale. They came to collect it. No need for him to drive all that way.
After a delightful meal of the finest venison in a casserole, accompanied by two glasses of Nuits Saint Georges, Gerald relaxed in his favourite leather armchair, cradling a tumbler of the very best single malt money could buy. He switched on the television, and scrolled through the available options. Settling on a potentially interesting legal drama, he raised the leg rest on the chair using the electronic control.
It didn’t even cross his mind that it was only one-thirty in the afternoon.