The Medieval Revolution

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Issue 17, Volume 110

By Ruoxin Cai 

Cover Image

She woke up to the glaring light of the sun. She wasn’t exactly sure what day it was, but she did know there had been 73 sunrises since she had gone outside without a face mask. She peeked out her window to find a charming, rugged man standing outside, heroically announcing his mission to save all damsels who may be in distress. His majestic white cape flapped in the wind. He wore shining armor and sat on a white steed—a white steed that was currently blocking traffic. She rolled her eyes. How insensitive! Really, it was the morning of one of the days of the week. She hoped that he wouldn’t get run over by some cop car.

And, she observed, he was not wearing a face mask! Absolutely no consideration for the safety of others! Shaking her head, she closed the curtains and turned away to resume sitting on her bed as she had been doing for the last nine hours.

Another sunrise later, she opened the door, and a man, dressed in puffy pants with a feather in his hat, stood outside. Another solicitor, likely. He wasn’t wearing a face mask either. Irritated, she slammed the door shut. She wondered what these men wanted.

An hour later, she opened the door again, donned her face mask, and set out to get groceries. The sun did burn her skin, so she made sure to protect it from the unwanted vitamin D. The sun was honestly pretty overrated in her opinion—almost as overrated as “Riverdale.”

But when she arrived, the grocery shop was… different. A charming old hut had replaced the supermarket, and several acres of field stretched out where skyscrapers had been. Many huts had been erected around the field.

She hurried into the hut that had replaced the supermarket and found no sign of the Doritos she had been meaning to gorge on. What an absolute travesty! A red-cheeked woman dressed in a rough-spun dress stepped forward from seemingly thin air.

“Hey,” she greeted, turning to face the woman. “Where has all the stuff gone?”

The woman scowled at her. “Me selection has been slightly reduced. Ye can either get wheat,” she paused and considered but then shook her head. “Yeah, just wheat.”

The woman wasn’t wearing a mask either. Why did people keep doing this?

“But why?” she pleaded.

“Look, missus.” A rugged farmer stepped out from behind the woman and growled. “We ain’t doing that old, broken system of capitalism no more. We’ve moved forward into a new age. Ye modernists have to stay with the times, ya know? We’ve progressed into feudalism. Get with the era! There’s a new cathedral around the block if ye wanna confess and truly enter into the new age of high child fatality rates and lack of hygiene!”

“That’s right,” the woman chimed in. “Coronavirus is God’s voice on Earth! He’s speaking to us in the language of coughing and death! Coronavirus will give us everything we need! It’ll solve overpopulation, make WiFi free for everyone, and end commuting to work!”

“Don’t forget the dolphins,” the man added, as the woman nodded fervently.

She stepped back, absolutely bamboozled: “Dude, what? There aren’t even any dolphins in New York!”

“Anyway,” the woman cut in. “Are ye going to buy the wheat or not?”

She pulled a $10 bill out. “This alright?”

The farmer sneered. “Fool! Yehr still using rectangular pieces of paper? Don’t ye know that the king, Zoom, has ordered all usage of dollars terminated in honor of Pope Corona the First, who’s absolutely devoid of all corners?”

“I have a few coins,” she offered weakly and drew out a penny. “Though they’re just these, which aren’t worth anything.”

But the couple leaned in with gleaming eyes. “Why, the lass has a copper!”

She stared, dumbfounded. “Aren’t these coins obsolete?” she asked feebly.

“Ye bumblin hogworted fool!” The farmer leaned in, and she tried to back away from his smile, which revealed that he had not obeyed the tenets of dental hygiene in many months. “Doncha know that these coins are finally useful again? These coins are limited edition! Them idiots in the old age of modernism thought they weren’t of value, but look it now! Them who has millions in pennies are the real winners now!”

“Ah,” she said.

She took two large bags of wheat home with her.

When she woke up on Wednesday, her house had also been transformed into a charming cottage. Or it could be called charming, if it were rid of the mud caking everything… and the fact that it stunk to high heaven.

She groaned and opened her laptop. It was time for a day of Netflix.

But to her dismay, the only show left was “Game of Thrones.”

“Ugh,” she sighed. “Didn’t the entire fanbase die out, like, months ago?” With no choice left, she opened it.

The only season of the show left was the eighth season. She gritted her teeth in anger and opened YouTube. She launched some LoFi hip hop music, hoping to go back to sleep and dream of when capitalism was still heartless and strong and absolute monarchies were a distant shadow in history.

But to her horror, the video buffered. As she watched the circle spin, with spiders hanging in the corner of her cottage and dirt caking everything she owned, she could not help but lament her misery. If only people could have gone without a haircut for a month, her videos would not be buffering right now. Netflix would still be the world of escapism it used to be. And she’d have her Doritos.

A heartbeat of stillness permeated the air, and she held her breath, pleading against all odds.

The screen flashed once, to taunt her, and then, a dinosaur stood on her screen, bringing misery and plague to her life. It was the Antichrist, minion of Satan, bearer of doom.

She screamed in frustration, but no matter how many times she refreshed the page, nothing happened. The horror was not to be borne!

She stormed out (but not before putting on her face mask) and spotted an angry riot of people storming across the field to the castle that used to be City Hall in the distance.

“WE WANT WIFI! WE WANT WIFI! WE WANT WIFI!” Torches and pitchforks were thrust into the air. Among the throngs of people, some were also passionately shouting, “WE WANT HAIRCUTS! WE WANT HAIRCUTS! WE WANT HAIRCUTS!” Overcome by the spirit of rebellion and liberty, she ran the distance to join them.

“WE WANT WIFI!” she cried. The spirit of revolution overtook her so completely that she was able to (almost) overlook the fact that a good chunk of them were, once again, not wearing face masks (really, guys, how hard is it).

As she slipped into the crowd, she murmured to the person next to her: “So what’s our motto? Doesn’t every good revolution need a motto?”

“Yeah,” the person answered. “Ours is Liberte, Haircutte, WiFie.”

“Catchy,” she commented. “Why is it in French?”

“I don’t know man, don’t you feel that vibe?” said the person before going back to screaming.

“Some of us have actual, legitimate causes, you know!” someone screamed from the back. “Healthcare workers, delivery workers, the workers that multibillionaires won’t let off even for the coronavirus! People in poverty who need to work multiple jobs and long hours! The homeless and disadvantaged communities who are being struck hard by the virus! The complete lack of organization in—”

“Shut up,” the person next to her hollered back. “All of us are disadvantaged by the virus right now!”

Ugh. Turns out fights in real life were basically the same as fights on Twitter, except with more body odor and noise.

A teenager at the front stood on top of a boulder. “EVERYONE! WE WILL NOT BEAR THIS TYRANNY! WE WILL DEFEAT THE CORONAVIRUS, NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES!” He was, thankfully, wearing a face mask.

The crowd surged and roared around him. He raised a needle to his arm, looking at the setting sun for a moment like an old king. He plunged it into his arm. “I WILL HIT THE CORONAVIRUS WITH A TREMENDOUS BLAST OF BLEACH! THEY WILL RULE NO MORE! WE ARE THE PEOPLE, AND WE WANT OUR NATURAL RIGHTS!”

The crowd cheered raucously. People were throwing bags of wheat up and cheering. With absolute horror, she saw a single Sour Patch fly onto the boulder. How dare they! To waste a Sour Patch now, in this situation! Thankfully, the boy caught it and shoved it in his mouth.

“YOU FOOLS! WASTE NOT THY JUNK FOOD!” The crowd cheered again in support of this wise advice (it’s true guys, please don’t waste your junk food during this time).

“What an absolute madlad,” she thought with no small amount of admiration. “Now there’s an absolute monarch I could stand behind.”

The boy fell to the floor but was helped up. After a few minor seizures and vomiting episodes, he calmed, his face pale.


The crowd screamed in joy. Unfortunately, as they rushed forward into the castle, the boy was killed in the stampede. So were thousands of other people, but it’s fine because it was all in the name of “Liberte, Haircutte, WiFie.” It was the single most (in)significant cause of all with the most unanimous support.

Thousands of miles away, in the only lab left in the entire world, a man in glasses frowned. “Guys, my WiFi isn’t working.”

“I know,” a woman said, holding a small vial. “My WiFi wasn’t working either, so I developed the vaccine.”

“Oh, alright. Hopefully, Netflix will be back to normal soon.”