The Age of Deception

John Maltese
Jan 14 · 3 min read

I ordered a burger. When it came to my table it was nothing like the picture on the menu. False advertising at its finest.

I ate it anyway. A waitress with fake tits gave me a fake smile and asked me if everything was OK.

“Sure” I said, feigning satisfaction. “I’d like to pay the bill.” I handed her a $100 note and she examined it carefully, to make sure it wasn’t a fake one.

At the table next to mine a middle-aged couple was arguing. I couldn’t hear their whispers, but from their faces I could have sworn they were on the brink of divorce. Whatever they were telling each other, it was probably more lies.

Their teenage children didn’t seem to care, heads buried into their phones. The boy was engrossed in a videogame, pursuing meaningless achievements in a fake universe. The girl was watching a makeup tutorial on YouTube, learning how to apply a literal mask on her face.

A TV screen in a corner was playing a trailer for the latest blockbuster film, enriched with CGI and all sorts of special effects. At least the actors were actual humans, I thought, albeit they lied for a living.

I left the restaurant. I walked past a billboard with a photoshopped male model pointing at his impossible six pack. I turned right at a place of worship dedicated to one fake deity or another, toward a bus stop where I finally sat down.

The bus was late, so I whipped out my own phone. I logged onto the newest social network using a fake account. (Hey, you can’t be too careful with your personal data these days.)

I scrolled past the usual fake news — something about fake vaccines — and the pictures of all my fake friends, who were faking being happy. I saw an ad for a shocking way to make tons of money without effort, totally not a scam.

I decided to leave a bad review for the restaurant, and I was surprised to find that it had a perfect score of five stars. I wondered how many of those reviews were fake, paid for by the owner.

I turned off the phone with a sigh and looked up at the night sky. The stars were nowhere to be seen, hidden by the artificial lights of the city. The bus arrived at that moment and I hurried inside it.

I stopped by a supermarket on my way home. I filled the cart with food that doesn’t grow in nature — enhanced with preservatives, additives, colorants. Who cares, right? At least it tastes good. I’m too lazy to cook.

At home I found a mess on the floor. The dog had been gnawing away at some fake flowers made of plastic. Oh well, time to buy some new ones. They cost next to nothing anyway. At least he didn’t break the fake China vase.

I scolded the dog and it lowered its ears, looking at me with fake contrition — as if it wasn’t gonna do it again. I cleaned up the mess and lied down on the couch, exhausted.

Nothing interesting on TV. Politicians spouting bullshit. A documentary on some ancient empire, probably filled with gross inaccuracies that no one can dispute (we know who gets to write the history books). Overenthusiastic commercials with the truth hidden in the fine print.

With nothing better to do, I decided to jerk off to porn. My favorite channel, Fake Taxi, had just uploaded a new video. I closed my eyes and pretended I was the one offering a ride to the blonde Czech babe. Her fake moaning was a bit distracting, but I still managed to reach a powerful orgasm.

Maybe they are right. Reality is overrated.

What am I even doing, writing my thoughts on Medium? It’s not like I have any authority to tell people how to live. I’m not a real writer, I’m an amateur at best. A fraud. But you know what they say, “Fake it till you make it.”

In fact, I wholly made up this story. Don’t feel too bad for the dog — I don’t have one.

John Maltese

Written by

Small-business owner and lifelong traveler. Born in Europe; in love with Asia. Writing in English for the world.