This Podcast Will Change Your Life

As you begin Episode One, you feel a wave of nervous anticipation, quickly turned to comfort and reassurance by the smooth tones of the friendly hosts. They talk in your ear about their favourite new releases from the world of pop culture, with one host raving about Carly Rae Jepsen, and another gushing about an article they read in the latest issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. Intrigued, you decide to pop out and grab a copy during your lunch break with the handful spare change in your pocket. Later that day, your debit card is frozen, and your lack of spare change means you have to ditch the bus and walk home, magazine in your hand. Your day is just a little bit worse.

With Episode Two come the first ominous signs. Your walk to the gym is interrupted by not one, but eleven black cats simultaneously crossing your path. Both pavements are littered with overhead ladders, leaving you no choice but to duck under a few. A stranger sneezes in your cappuccino. Your day is definitely slightly worse.

Now it’s time for Episode Three, and the moment you hit ‘play’, the GPS in your phone is automatically activated. You listen intently to the episode as you walk to the corner store, pausing only when you hear a buzzing noise overhead: a cluster of tiny drones is hovering above you. The drones follow you to the store, and wait outside for you to reemerge with a can of Coke, a jumbo packet of crisps and a Hershey bar. You sense them judging you, although you’re not sure if it’s due to the size of your snack or your poor taste in chocolate. They disperse. Your day is distinctly worse.

Pressing play on Episode Four initiates the Bee Phase. It might seem illogical that you continue to press ‘play’, but with discounts that good, you need to keep listening to remind yourself of the tasty Squarespace referral code. From the moment the episode begins, the hosts’ light-hearted chit-chat about the Kardashians is drowned out by the disconcerting hum of a swarm of bees, hovering inches from your face and neck. Every ad break, one of the bees stings the tip of your nose, causing you to experience both great physical pain and great emotional pain, as you watch the small, fuzzy creature die in the process of hurting you. Your day is significantly worse.

Telling yourself that it surely can’t get any worse, you decide to venture into Episode Five. You enter your office a few moments later, and find all of your colleagues laughing at you and staring at your chin. You desperately swipe at it with your hand to remove the problem, but there’s nothing there – they just think you’re ugly. Your boss calls you to her office three times that morning, without giving you a reason for the meetings. In the first, she punches you in the face and laughs; in the second, she tells you not that you’re fired, but that you were never hired in the first place (which is even worse news); in the third, she introduces you to your replacement, who is your clone in every way, except that she is 15% hotter and her pee doesn’t smell when she eats asparagus. Your day can only be described as ‘horrible’.

Out of habit, you switch on Episode Six. Your apartment vanishes from existence, then a toddler on the pavement calls you a ‘tiny bitch’. Your day is the worst of your life thus far.

You don’t want to listen to Episode Seven, but at this point, the hosts are the only people who will talk to you. You receive a text from everyone you’ve ever met calling you ‘stinky’, leaving you alienated, alone and with a distressing number of notifications to manage. Your body becomes allergic to nice things, meaning you can only consume old bread and flat limeade. You accidentally go viral for losing a game of Rock Paper Scissors against a snake. Your saliva is replaced with spider webs, and your hair with the stringy bits in bananas. You find out that in all this chaos, an election happened and you forgot to vote. Your day cannot be counted as a ‘day’; instead, it is a thick, hellish smog made of time, through which you must drag your haggard, weakening body.

Episode Eight. The final episode. You’re living in a drainpipe, with no friends or family – everyone thinks you’re too stinky. You haven’t eaten seasoned food in days. You somehow got negative retweets. A rat ate your shin, and you enjoyed the physical contact. Finally, though, the episode ticks to an end: “Until next time, keep it cool, kids.” You look around you, realising that this is the longest you’ve been outside in years – you’re spending the time in nature you always told your morning pages you would. Your day is just a little bit better.