Tall And True Short Reads
Episode 41 (19 December 2021)
The shitstorm hit the Twitter fan overnight. Deeman had thought his followers would laugh at his sarcastic tweet. He’d watched a news clip about refugees from a COVID ravaged continent. And before setting aside his phone for the night, he’d retweeted it with a tongue-out emoji, “Let them eat COVID. In their own country. LOL!”
Episode 41 (19 December 2021)
Cancelled is a blog post from the Tall And True writers’ website, written and narrated by Robert Fairhead.
Read Cancelled: https://www.tallandtrue.com.au/short-stories/cancelled
Support the podcast: https://supporter.acast.com/tall-and-true-short-reads
Buy Robert’s short story collections online:
- Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Fairhead/e/B086HZ36NM
- Rakuten Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/author/robert-fairhead
Cancelled was my May 2021 entry for the Australian Writers’ Centre’s 500-word short story competition, Furious Fiction. The brief was:
- The story had to be set during a STORM
- It had to include the words MOTHER, APPLE, and YESTERDAY
- And contain the phrase: SITTING ON THE FENCE.
Instead of a stormy night or a stormy relationship, I set the short story in a shitstorm on Twitter. The news in April and May was full of the growing tragedy of the COVID Delta outbreak in India. And Australians were divided over our government’s decision to ban Indian-Australians from returning home, under the threat of heavy fines and imprisonment.
The debate over the Indian travel ban was fiercest on social media. And judging by the posts and tweets, empathy was in shorter supply than toilet paper had been during the start of the COVID pandemic and lockdowns.
I wrote a short story about Deeman (AKA, Dennis to his mum), a mid-tier Instagram influencer whose late-night tweet about COVID refugees backfires. In the morning, Deeman finds he’s been “ratioed” on Twitter. The negative replies to his tweet vastly outnumber likes or retweets.
Fearing a spill-over effect on his primary source of income, Instagram, Deeman makes matters worse by tweeting again. Followers and collaborators desert him. And having been cancelled on social media, Deeman is left feeling like a refugee in his own country and sorry for himself.
Please note: This story draws on my observations of the news and social media and my imagination at the time of writing. It is not about the COVID Delta outbreak in India or Australia’s response. But the story does consider a time and place where we may need to show more compassion for “COVID refugees”.
I hope you enjoyed listening to Cancelled. You can read all my short stories, blog posts and other writing at TallAndTrue.com. You can also buy my short story collections from the Amazon Kindle and Kobo online bookstores.
The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will appear in your podcast feed shortly. In the meantime, don’t forget to check your feed or the podcast website for earlier episodes from Seasons One and Two.
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Podcast Theme and Sound Effects
Royalty-free music from Pixabay.com: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 ‘Pastorale’ – IV. Rondo. Allegro ma non-Troppo, performed by Karine Gilanyan.
Sound effects licensed under Creative Commons 0 from FreeSound.org:
- Canned Laughter: https://freesound.org/people/Evil_Ear_Recordings/sounds/524775/
- Tweet Tweet: https://freesound.org/people/f.anthony_shepherd/sounds/565946/
Tall And True Short Reads produced using Audacity. Thanks to Josh (VoiceOverMaster) Meyer for Audacity recording tips and tricks.
Podcast recorded in Sydney, Australia, on the land of the traditional custodians of the Eora Nation.
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