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Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Economy

Isaiah Bolin

The economy is dictated by a mixture of necessity and desire by those who participate in it. In all honesty, no one expected the unhealthy desire for that confection to turn to necessity. So much so that it turned from a product of the economy to the economy itself. Fiat money was for the dogs. It was time for us to return to our roots in commodity money.


The slippery slope of our demise started simple enough. A stroll in a gas station off I-62, a jaunt through the Johnson’s on a Friday night with the boys, or even a casual wandering about within a friend’s pantry. We all sought the same thing, the same substance that would satiate that carnal desire for snacks with a swift kick to the jaw bundled alongside it if you were to dare disrespect its legacy in front of the cashier.


But that desire is where it got tricky. The call of the snack didn’t fall on the ears of just a few. It seemed to crash all at once upon the public masses like a blanket of radiation after Russia loses its patience mid-war. Everyone felt the rush of adrenaline as a temptation rooted itself within their stomachs. This temptation never left.


What is most fascinating about the new currency is how it stabilized itself. On paper an economy driven by a mass-produced good would be an absolute failure. It is easy to produce and easy to store. However, in practice it was very self regulating due to that insatiable desire to consume it. The people wanted it so bad that they accepted it as currency and the constant feeding kept it in enough rarity. The perfect balance between production and consumption.


And here we are decades later, rolling in the filth of our forefathers. The lesser streets are flooded with the urchins of society, their shivs the spines. As a breeze rolls through the alleyways, dust and grime are whipped up and coat the eyes and teeth of an unprepared victim. In place of the tumbleweed is the empty foil bag, boasting its former contents to passersby. Neon bathes the streets in a sickly light, incandescent bulbs flicker, and LEDs are doing fine. Boarded windows and barred doors permeate the buildings; everyone has a stash to protect, whether it be the real-deal or your lies to the neighbor about your “stash of the real-deal.”


Travel inwards, towards the cultural centers of society, and you find yourself in the land of the “Lickers” (a derogatory term coined by the less fortunate). Here the aristocrats play their daily game of politics as they powder their noses with their riches (literally. Buh-bye cocaine, there’s a new champion in town). You almost never see one of these fat cats walking downtown. Change their clothes as they may, you can spot one with ease thanks to their engorged bellies and fingers permanently stained a burning scarlet. While cases of surviving a violent mugging do exist, they’ve waned. The muggers have learned to stop aiming for the fat.


But every now and then, a particular breed of aristocrats saunters the rundown streets. The breed that believes a handful of guards and their charisma will keep them safe. They waltz down the streets, showing off their wealth by browsing the local markets and pretending to be interested, tossing a few morsels into a beggar’s basket, and cleaning their fingers in front of those whose fingers are covered in only the filth of the street and their own shame. Of course, these expeditions to flaunt their wealth over the lesser always end the same. Toss a meager piece, wink, or lick your finger at the wrong person, and suddenly you’re surrounded by a group of weapon-wielding vagrants with a chip on their shoulder (no pun intended), and your guards already bleeding out on the ground. The locals wake up the next morning to find a tree with new decor in the form of the bloated corpse of an arrogant fool hung by a rope.


No mourning. No ceremony. No pity.


A dog-eat-dog mentality is all that is left. I hear people claim hope to be oncoming. Hope is a foregone conclusion in the depths of our depravity. We may one day tear down those above us and enact an inherited revenge, but in the end, we’ll only rip ourselves apart like the animals we’ve become. No true society of human beings with any claim to morality can exist alongside a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos economy.