On the island appearance, above all else, was of paramount importance, streets were lined with lighting which mimicked Victorian gas-lamps and artificial trees were dotted onto every corner. The base of each looming concrete tower was clad in brick and featured rows of endearing shopfronts; a florist, a bakers, a quaint little bank, and so on, everything you would ever need both for essentials and indulgences. Beyond the cladding though was another matter. On her tower the facade of a sailing shop called A-Hoy! marked the entrance to the dispensary, the closest thing the island actually had to any kind of shop, every tower contained one, each identical on the inside and offering the same services, for the same prices.
Not that there was any real money changing hands, only tokens handed out at the end of the day, colour coded to each factory in a vain attempt to keep any black markets to a minimum. Today she had 5 units worth, green with a yellow edge to mark them out as the wage of a textile worker, in line with the details on her identity bracelet. Her workday had ended early due to a machine fault at the factory and consequently there was only one person ahead of her in the queue for the dispensary window, slowly reading from a list of items as the teller stacked them on the counter.
The room was not much more than a hollow concrete cube, but a little of that outer facade had bled to the inside, the hard plastic seats were printed with a pattern of woven fabric and scenic pictures complete with mock frames had been pasted onto the wall behind them, the huge cheese plant positioned in the corner was, almost absurdly, real, though she couldn’t recall it ever having been alive. A poster, the poster, was positioned on the wall opposite the waiting chairs; a painted image showed a group of vagrants gathered at night around a flaming bin holding onto bottles marked with x’s. Mirrored against it was another image of the same people gathered around a fountain in the summer sun holding paintbrushes, carpentry tools, and other ephemera of gainful employment. The lower section of the poster usually contained a long and rambling paragraph about the “dignity of work” and “value of a close knit community”, but here the damp had eaten it away till only the opening was legible:
“Providing a humane remedy for the city’s homeless problem.”
The other customer departed, a paper bag stamped with the island’s jolly sunrise logo cradled in their arms, and she shuffled forward.
“Milk” she stated, and a squat tin was thumped onto the counter “and one postcard”.
“Which do you want?” asked the teller, gesturing to four small and badly faded examples taped to the window. She cocked her head to the side and thought for a moment.
“‘Wish You Were Here.’”
Ok, your turn!