Some Things Never Change

“Hey, look!” called out the kid, prodding a small paper bag with his foot. The old man walked over and picked it up carefully.

“Now there’s a symbol I haven’t seen in years. ‘Trillions served.’ That was more than the population of the planet at its height. Damn fine achievement.”

“What’s this?” asked the kid, picking up a cup made out of a strange, squishy white material. Inside was a dark brown liquid.

The old man took a sip and smiled wistfully. “The nectar of the gods,” he said.

He passed the cup to the kid, who took a sip and winced. “Gross! It’s so sweet!”

The old man smiled sadly. “We used to drink that poison by the gallon. But now let’s see what’s in the bag. Those health nuts always used to say that there were enough preservatives in this ‘food’ to last a hundred years. Maybe they were right.”

He opened the bag and pulled out a small cardboard container filled with thin yellow sticks. He offered one to the kid, who took it and sniffed it cautiously.

“It’s a funny thing,” mused the old man, “I never ate here before the war. I always preferred the competitors. But hey, everything changes.”

He popped one of the sticks into his mouth, chewed, and grimaced. “Well, some things stay the same,” he sighed. “The food here still sucks.”

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