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A Man Called Paul

Eats an English Breakfast

By Scott ChristensonPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 4 min read

23 May 2026 7:25am

This was Paul’s favorite minute of the day. He knew it was 7:25am, as he was very concise about his daily schedule and when he ate breakfast.

Paul sat alone, in a cafe called Ned’s Coffee in front of a plate of scrambled eggs, fried tomatoes, baked beans, a piling of sausages, topped by two slices of bacon. With all the other shit happening in the world, thank god he could still get a proper English breakfast. 

The plant-based food maniacs were pestering everyone, so this style of breakfast might be soon go the way of the dodo. He took a photo of the lovely eggs and sausages for posterity’s sake. A photo to keep just for himself. He was the last person in the world to post pics on social media.

He dropped a forkful of baked beans into his mouth. Baked beans were healthy! Maybe they were processed, because no other beans look like this. The nutrition Nazis will definitely cancel them soon. He took another bite.

His mobile screen flickered. 

"Would you like to add your breakfast photo to your curated memories of 2026?"

He searched the screen for the X to close the pop-up, pushed the tiny X a few times with his big thumb, until he finally hit it, and the annoying message went away.  He didn’t want to read anything on his phone anymore. The government banned Fox News last year, so instead of reading about the things going wrong in the world, he just needed to experience them himself.

But his phone wouldn’t leave him alone.

“We’ve noticed you took a picture of breakfast 3 times this month. Would you like to post this milestone to your followers?”

Annoying. He only had one follower. The person who forced him to sign up for Instagram, Facebook, and Venmo. He slammed his phone down on the table. 

A familiar ring sounded: a voice call. He flipped his phone around and saw that his wife, Angela, was calling him. He wished he could ignore it.

“Hello, honey.”

“I just saw your post on Instagram.”

“You did?”

“You know you shouldn’t eat sausages and eggs for breakfast. It’s not good for you.”

“It’s just that at work–” Paul was about to explain his problems with his younger coworkers.

“Oh, I know that already—you tell me every night. But why are you overpaying for a breakfast that’s not good for you?“

“Thanks for the call! But they are telling me I need to leave now…” Paul said goodbye and hung up. No one had been telling him to leave, but they did push him out the door in a lot of places these days.

As so many other places treated him unfairly, he came to a new coffee shop today. He came here because Deliveroo was offering a 40% discount on breakfast. But by the time he arrived the discount was only 10%, and the prices on the App were marked up 50% from the menu. Everything is crooked these days.

There was a loud chime, as if he was in meditation class or something ridiculous like that.

“Thank you for coming to Ned’s Coffee today. If you would like to show gratitude to your server, give him a like on Tipparoo, and buy him a cup of coffee. It is, of course, completely voluntary.”

He felt the presence of his server standing over his shoulder. Ready to help “someone of his age” with how all the new technology works.

“That’s the best way.” Paul looked around a saw a young bearded man pointing at the Tipparoo logo. Paul had to install it simply to eat anywhere these days.

Big buttons appeared for $5, $10, and $20. The button for “other amount” was too small to push with his thick fingers.

Under Bearded Man’s watchful gaze, he pushed the button in the middle and tipped $10. Bearded Man nodded at him as if he was a school child who had finished his assignment.

After Paul ate a few bites of sausage, he received another notification, this time, from Tipparoo. 

Customer Review — 1 star. “He didn’t smile when he gave me a tip.”

Paul’s wife called again. “Everyone will see this! What did you do?”

“I paid him a good tip.”

“I don’t believe you.” She hung up.

He would send Emily a copy of the tip. He opened the Tipparoo transaction history and took a screenshot.

Privacy settings prevent taking a screenshot of transactions - Tipparoo

The hassles with these new stupid Apps were endless! He wanted to fling his mobile into the obviously fake brick wall in the back of the cafe. Why not? He would fling his phone. Problem solved. He reached his arm behind his head, holding his phone, and got ready to dispose of this stupid device forever. It vibrated. He couldn’t felt but look.

Apple Care does not cover user inflicted damage.

“I’m going to get rid of this idiotic device, or I’m going to kill myself!”

The mobile began beeping loudly at steady intervals.

Self harm intention detected.

Bearded Man looked at him with new sympathy in his eyes. “Are you ok, mate?”

Paul was about to tell him to fuck off, but that would make everything worse. In the far distance, police sirens began to sound.

It wasn’t the first time this had happened. 


About the Creator

Scott Christenson

Born and raised in Milwaukee WI, living in Hong Kong. Hoping to share some of my experiences w short story & non-fiction writing. Have a few shortlisted on Reedsy:

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Comments (3)

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  • Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.2 months ago

    Oh, this world would drive me crazy. I hope that this doesn't ever happen.

  • Kodah2 months ago

    I fear this will turn into reality! Love your story Scott! 💌

  • Isn't this a scary world and only two years away!!! Great satire Scott...

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