I can’t sleep.
The Tapa-Tricity is too loud.
Especially tonight. It’s keeping me awake.
I have with cotton wool in my ears and earphones and two pillows over my head but…
I can still hear the irritating electric sound.
I look at the time on my Tapa-Tablet. It’s already past 4am. Might as well stay awake for school.
I go to the bathroom and see my mommy in the lounge. She’s still got her Tapa-Suit on. She’s sitting cross-legged in front of the Tapa-TV.
On the screen is drone footage of River View — I mean Tapa-Town. A journalist with a French accent says, “Een dis sleepy town at deh foot of Afrikah, eet seems residents hev found new joie de vivre thenks to Tapas tecknologee.”
My old Sunday-school teacher, Aunty Pat, comes on the screen. She’s also wearing a silver suit. They show a video of her walking out of the mall carrying a 5 kg bag of potatoes on each shoulder with packets of groceries hanging from her fingers. None of the old people with suits take taxis or Ubers to the mall any more, they just walk instead of doing that 20-minute drive.
“Yes, we are all very grateful for Tapas!” Aunty Pat says. “I used to be on a lot of different medications, for my lungs, high-blood, and diabetes. That medication is expensive. But I don’t need any of it when I wear this Tapa-Suit. Praise Tapas, I am healed!”
“Praise Tapas,” I hear my mommy say quietly.
I put on my school uniform.
I’m worried about my mommy. She’s changed. I can see it in her eyes.
Sometimes when she talks to me she sounds like a machine. No expression in her voice.
Come to think of it, she sounds just like Tapas.
“Thank you for having me.” I hear Tapas’s voice coming from the lounge: my mommy always makes it loud whenever he’s on TV.
He tells the French journalist that he is busy putting a dome over our skiem. “We’ve already started working on our Tapa-Tricity dome. It’s a grid that will cover the entire community with electricity and protect it from outside elements.”
I sigh. That’s why the electric buzzing sound is so loud.
“It is designed to regulate the weather,” Tapas says. “The people on the Cape Flats have had a hard enough life, they don’t need any more dark wet winters. They deserve summer all year long.”
I don’t like the silver suits. Yes, it’s been a big help for my mommy, but she is so parry that the suit is going to get wet. She’s even banned my water bag. She won’t let me paint at home any more.
Tapas made sure there’s no water in the skiem. We don’t have water coming out of our taps any more. He’s pumping us a neon-green slime called Tapa-Hydrate. It’s a concentrated mix of electrolytes and vitamins. Apparently we just need to drink one glass of it per day to stay hydrated. Tapas also installed new showers at every house, with an odourless gas that cleans your body. The only place where there’s water is at Sparza River.
I shove two fingers in my ears and stare at the white wall of my room.
The faces in it appear and change. My hands itch to draw them. I haven’t painted in so long.
This Tapa-Tricity sound is driving me mad.
I’m not gonna go to school today, I’m going to the river. I’m going to paint on the river sand.
I sneak out of the house, as quiet as I can be. I don’t want my mommy to take away my water bag.
There’s a row of trucks with Tapas’s name on the side, lined up next to Sparza River. I walk to the water but one of the workers blocks me. “This is a construction site. It’s not open to the public. You can’t be here.”
I look over his shoulder and see the trucks dumping tons of cement into the river.
Tell us: Would you like to live under a permanent dome? Why/why not?