By Robert Lynch
Jeff stared at the message, his eyes focussed on the red lettering and his mind halted.
[Final Notice]: Your gravity account
Logically he’d known this was coming. He’d just been hoping it would come after Thursday. He got paid on Thursdays. It would have been better if it came after Thursday.
Jeff clicked on the bold lettering and opened the message. Maybe he could put it off until Thursday.
You are late on your gravity bill by more than 90 days. We require you to pay this outstanding amount immediately. Please pay $1,947.72 by the 27/10/93 or your gravity may be shut off. If you are unable to pay or are suffering financial hardship, please contact our office.
The message contained a copy of the fully itemised bill. Jeff clicked on it. The message was a cheerful orange and blue colour. At least something was cheerful.
Jeff looked at the date on his calendar. The 27th was today. He didn’t have $1,947.72. He didn’t even have the $0.72. Thursday would be the 30th. Three days to live with the threat of the gravity being cut off. Three days was a long time. He would have to call them. But he had to go to work in two hours. Hold times could be longer than that. He couldn’t call them after work. He couldn’t afford to be late for work either; they’d already given him two extensions, being late for work could get him fired. Then he would have to pay work back.
Jeff looked around the room for anything he could sell. He didn’t own any of these things. The best he could hope for was paying less rent on them. But there were early opt-out clauses that would cost even more money if took back furniture. It was still two years before the contracts ended on most of the items around him.
He could maybe organise a payment plan with the gravity company. But you needed to have a first payment or they wouldn’t agree to it. And if they cut off the gravity, they wouldn’t turn it back on until after he’d paid the whole bill. That could take three months. Three months. Thursday seemed to be a hundred years away. Three months without gravity seemed an uncountable amount of time.
Maybe he could get a loan to cover it. No one would lend him money anymore. He owed everyone he knew. Maybe he could get a payday loan. But the interest on the loan would be enormous. He didn’t know how he was going to get the payments for the gravity bill yet, let alone adding interest on top of it.
Blankly, he stared at his computer. He had no idea how he was going to sort this out.