Colors (a SF story which in no way is meant to be an allegory*)

Roxxy woke up one morning to discover that all of the paint in the world had gone mad. Really, it wasn’t even just paint. Every color had shifted a few degrees to the left, so to speak. She first noticed the walls of her room, though, where the slightly off-white had changed to a light grey. She thought it was a problem with her bedside lamp, but when she went into the kitchen, the walls there were slightly off, too.

Of course, she wondered if her eyes were going bad, or her mind was acting up, but when she checked Twitter, she saw that people were comparing notes. Sometime during the night, worldwide, colors had started shifting. It wasn’t a one-time change, either. By now, her bedroom walls were a dark grey.

Rox skipped breakfast because the milk was really not appetizing now that it was light yellow.

The entire waking world was in an uproar, and as the mauve daylight moved steadily westward, the chaos moved with it. Oops. Did I say mauve? I meant plum. The freaking sunlight was plum-colored.

Roxxy tried to work on her Etsy shop, but sales were basically nil. No one wanted to buy things that they couldn’t tell the color of.

By supper, she was really hungry. Food looked disgusting, but she carefully checked the smell and firmness and took a chance. Thankfully, the flavor was okay.

By the third day the rioting had mostly died down, and the stock market showed signs of recovering. People had gradually started dealing with the new reality of untrustworthy colors.

People thinking of buying a house (or Rox’s photographic prints & totes), realized that while color had been important to them, it had never been the sole way to determine a thing’s quality. After all, a house that was lime green in the morning, but electric blue in the afternoon, still was or wasn’t near a good school or did or didn’t have sturdy foundations and strong walls.

By the end of the third month, most people had moved on to worrying about other things. People can get used to the most absurd things. The Shift, as many people called it, served mainly as fodder for ‘remember when’ discussions, and as the hook for nostalgic stories (“remember the color of fresh grass in the spring?”) in popular magazines.

For Roxxy, the Shift was grist for the mill of her daily meditations on impermanence, and eventually led to some really interesting sessions with her therapist.


*okay, maybe it’s a little bit allegorical