A torrent of furious comments flooded the Pitchfork Facebook page.
“No more crime.”
“Fight dirt and crime.”
“Live crime free,” cried the residents, who were sick of the crime spree sweeping their city. Sick of inaction. Sick of endless break-ins, vandalism, graffiti and theft – and scant arrests.
“Don’t tolerate crime any longer,” and so it continued, until the vitriol fomented into calls for action. Someone soon set a date and time to take back the streets and do what the police couldn’t or wouldn’t do. Members unleashed their despair at the regularity of the crimes, the brazen nature of the offences and the age of the perpetrators.
“Bloody kids, get away with murder…”
“I blame the schools. Too much black-armband history.”
“Not enough grammar and spelling!”
“Bring back the cane!” they ranted.
“Yeah, and too much greenwashing, nuthin’ wrong with good ol’ Chalk and Talk!”
As a teacher, Andrew was well aware of the limitations of Chalk and Talk, and he had no desire to engage with the latest social media hysteria. Nor did he need to. He heard the contorted philosophy of the Pitchfork parents through his students, and knew the vigilantes were planning to purge the city on this particular Saturday night. Thus, he locked himself in like a grumpy neighbour on Halloween.
Alas, on this night of nights, Dickens by candlelight was not enough to distract Mr Mitchell from the frenzied commotion on the street. He tiptoed through the darkness and peeled open the front door. He peered through the security grill and was summarily shocked, because he was blissfully unaware of chats that had occurred deeper inside the web since the first call to arms.
Bold claims were made, shared, liked and reposted.
“It ain’t neighbourhood watch,” they boasted, “…this is war!”
As users shared tips on acquiring actual pitchforks and other weapons, one post would dramatically change the course of the ‘street cleaning’ operation.
“Crime Busters” read the post, with a link which promised everything anyone would ever need to rid their life of crime forever. Credit cards were extracted and crypto accounts activated. Crime Busters sold out of stock in minutes.
That one comment explained Andrew’s utter disbelief as he peaked through his CrimSafe into the floodlit street.
The angry mob were rampaging through the streets, but instead of brandishing pitchforks and other weapons of war, they were armed with branded buckets, soaps, sprays, rubber gloves, brushes and assorted cleaning products.
“No more crime,” they yelled.
“Fight dirt and crime!”
“Blast away the scum”
First thing Monday morning, Jayden was summoned to the Pitch Palace at Brilliant Brands and Concepts.
“It’s a rare privilege for a junior to lead a campaign, Jayden, so tell me, have you heard of spell check?” asked his boss, in a tone reminiscent of Jayden’s high school English teachers.
The boss motioned to Jayden’s elaborate storyboards.
“Remind me, what is the name of our client?”
“Oooh,” Jayden finally clicked.
Image: Luis Villasmil