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Autonomy  •  25 October 2021  •  Fiction

Another Game

By Jeremy Fung

Queuing up is routine on Saturday nights. But the line is long and being 19 from the front tends to make thIn9s slower. It also doesn’t help that I queue at 19 past 5 in the morning. Even the 19-year-olds staying up late at n19ht are asleep by that time. Stay1n9 competitive wh1le jug9ling responsibilities is a task and a half – 19 assessments while ensur1n9 the al1 too ea9er volunteer behind me doesn’t get the notion that I’m a pushover. 

The line moves up a bit and we shuffle into our new positions. There is obvious doubt linger1n9 in the air about how 1on9 this will take. Not too 1on9 ago it seemed like 19 positions was the endgame. The c1ock starts a9ain every time we move into differ1n9 positions — whether it be the two hands tir1n9 alongside us because of the immobile line or the creep1n9 suspicion that 19 minutes moves slower when you watch it. You could call us minions, in a way, march1n9 slowly towards a nexus of security and an unwaver1n9 but unknown possibility of victory. 

The first minutes of the 19 are like a domino effecT. With the first scuffle swimm1n9 beneath the pavement towards the back of the line where it is drowned out by murmurs of how slowly we all movE. It’s interest1n9 that regardless of how close to the front or back you might be, there are plenty of people 1ookin9 to capitalise on the nerves of those aheaD. I’m referr1n9 to trad1n9 of course, specifically the trading of positionS. People will fork over anything to move a little closer to the front. There’s no deny1n9 it’s an equivalent ordeal – your position is only as secure as the hesitation from the person in front of yoU. 

The trad1n9 calms down after the first 19 minutes. After there might be an extra trade or two but it’s generally accepted that all anyone is wait1n9 for after the first 19 is the shuffl1n9 of whoever’s in front. After all, that s19nifies the line is once again moving, that the clock is resett1n9, and that we’ll all shuffle slightly closer. It’s a work in progress but the formula has become much easier to understand since the majority of the line now has it on lockdown.

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