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Tissue In The Black Market

By Anna


“Please watch out !” People are rushing and pushing each other at the supermarket. Everyone wants to grab a pack, one or two or even more of the tissue. “Oh no! I can’t breathe. I feel like I'm running out of air. I need to get out from here.” Miss Ng murmured to herself while trying to push the lady in front of her.


It’s a cold breezy morning Miss Ng wakes up with a heavy eye. She’s a lady in her sixties, a retired school principal. She went to the kitchen and made herself a cup of tea. Went back to the dining table and grabbed the remote control and turned the television on.The newscaster was reporting about the scarcity of tissues for the coming days because the company is gonna close for two weeks for the Chinese New Year holiday but resume after that. She saw people queuing up for the opening of the Parknshop. She feels anxiety is eating her up. She runs to her room and immediately changes her pajamas and wooded to the door. “Bang” the door slammed behind her. Within 10 minutes she reached the Parknshop as it was located downstairs where she lives.


8:30 am the metal rail of the Parknshop started to lift. Around 50 or more people are already queuing up in front of the store. “Oh I really need to get in to buy tissues and other stuff for now”, she said to herself.


“This virus is causing us a lot of problems,” said the old lady in front of her. “Yes, it is! Very big trouble it causes”, seconded the other one.


“This virus will not leave us alone, especially old people.”

“We need to be careful.”

“Please keep your mask on!” said the high pitched to the old man. He is not wearing his mask properly. It was on his lower chain. The old lady holding a trolley in front of him turned her head towards him and said “Oh you are kidding me,” and hurried to get in the shop.

The atmosphere caused by the virus was so chaotic. Everybody is stressed about everything. Miss Ng hurried herself to get in too.


“Why are things like this today.” She rushes to the lane on her left where the tissues and table napkins are located. Voila! She was surprised that people were fighting each other and trying to grab around 10 packs of tissues on their hands. Their cart is overthrowing. “Let go, that’s mine!” said the one. “No it's mine, give it back, '' shouted the other guy. Things started to get more stressful. Everybody is pushing each other. Some of them got straight to the counter after taking bunches of roll tissues. After failing to grab any tissue, she queues up at the cashier, pays for her groceries but feels sad and anxious. With heavy steps, she finally reached home.


Spray alcohol all over her body and wash her hands. After cleaning and putting things away she sat on the sofa. Tired and sore, thinking about what to do on how to buy the tissues.


“Ring...ring...ring.” The phone beside her distracts her from thinking. It was her cousin Kate on the other line.


“ I'm fine but people in the ParknShop got crazy and panic buying of tissues is the worst.”


“Omg! That’s terrible,” replied Kate.


“Yeah I know, and guess what! I haven’t bought any tissues, now I’m wondering where I can buy some.”


“Oh yesterday I talked to my colleague and she said that in the black market, they smuggle some. But take note it's a bit expensive.”


“Really! But I need to buy some before I run out of it too. Nevermind about the price, I’ll pay,” she said.


“ Ok then I will order it then they might deliver it to your place! Be sure you’re at home if the stocks arrive.”


“Yes, I’m home all day. Thanks a lot, cousin Kate, you're a big help.” exclaimed Miss Ng. She was so happy that she almost jumped from the sofa.


“That’s good then cousin, they might ask for cash on delivery so please be ready with your money.”


“Oh thank you, Kate.”


“ I’ll order now for you, till then bye cousin, I’ll let you know how it goes.”


“Bye Kate thank you once again.”


She returns the phone to the receiver then waits for Kate to confirm the order. After 10 minutes she got some message, it was from Kate saying her order is gonna be delivered at 3 pm that day.


At 3 pm exactly the intercom rings.


“You have a parcel!” the guard at the main lobby says.


“Yes, let him in! Thank you!” 2 minutes later her doorbell rings.


“I’m coming”, she says, then opens up the door.


Standing in front of her is a robust guy, a weird looking guy, wearing a black pair of glasses, and baggy pants with an old dirty looking leather jacket.


“When was the last time he washed his clothes?” she wonders. She’s having this scared feeling about this guy. He's handed out 5 packs of roll tissue paper. “HKD500 please”, says the guy, not even bothering to issue a receipt. She was shocked about the price.


“Do you have any receipt?” she asked.


“No, we don’t issue receipts,” he replied. But she doesn’t have any choice. She needs that tissue paper so badly that even though it was very expensive she has to pay for it.


She handed out a 500 dollar bill to the guy and closed the door. She can’t believe how overpriced that tissue is. 


Weeks pass, it’s dinner time she sits on her favourite chair and watches the news while eating her congee.


“Today the tissue paper company is gonna resume its factory. So the spokesman of the company advised the public not to panic buying because we have lots of tissues for the coming days.”


“Oh no!” she sighed…

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