EVERETT, WA—Claire McDonald, 43, was browsing online Sunday afternoon when she discovered nearly thirteen hours of her life had disappeared after clicking on the small, red button seen above. "It happened faster than a smack to the face," says McDonald. "I was casually surfing the web when out of nowhere I felt incarcerated by an invisible, warm sensation. Next thing I know, I was released into the wee hours of early Monday morning—the rest of my weekend having completely vanished."
And she's not alone. Reports are coming in worldwide describing eerily similar experiences: thirteen continuous hours missing from the weekend including time normally devoted to meals, sleep, showers, and socializing. Accounts also include ruined plans, botched schedules, and unprecedented decreases in productivity, all with no clue as to where the time could have gone or who's to blame.
"For a second I thought maybe I got caught up in some kind of television show," McDonald says warily, trying to find answers. "But when I came to, I had no feeling of boring, two-dimensional characters, recycled plots, or cheap gags done for a mainstream audience. And how can you explain the sense of political nuance and women empowerment that rattled inside my brain after I was set free? Those kinds of feelings obviously don't come from TV shows."
The strange occurrence targeted both men and women.
"One minute it's 2:13 p.m., and the next it's 3:30 a.m. the following day!" says Michael Cartwright, 34. "Before I clicked on the little square I felt safe in all my black and white worldviews. But now? It's like I'm doubting everything from justice to race to gender politics, but in a good way, you know?" Asked if acceptance by others over this mind-boggling experience was important to him, Cartwright replied, "Not really. I don't give a fuck what other people think. If anyone wants to come after me, I'm gonna fucking shank 'em in their sleep. I will not be defeated by the soul crushing weight that is this corrupted shit hole of a world."
Experts say such symptoms are a new phenomenon and point to the box seen below as one of the few comparable cases having occurred last summer. "Both with the 2013 outbreak and the current pandemic, victims generally recall desires to watch a normal, 'everyday' show," says Dr. Thatcher. "However, after clicking on the red button they immediately enter into the oft-quoted thirteen hour trance, a sense of intense character development and moral ambiguity, all the while wondering why similar occurrences of discomfit don't happen more frequently given their intense feelings of satisfaction and edification after escaping the trance like state. An unexplained animosity to the majority of 'dumb-as-shit' American television shows after coming-to is also a common characteristic of the syndrome."
"It's funny to say this," adds McDonald, who's only showered once in the last forty-eight hours and cannot explain how her vibrator got to be lying on the floor, "but I'd certainly enter that kind of trance again. Once a year, or more frequently even, for the foreseeable future."
Experts warn that if you or a loved one is believed to be at risk, take precautions when surfing online, stay well hydrated, and if impacted, be prepared to scream "what the fuck?!" when you stare in disbelief at the sun rising outside your window indicating that you just lost thirteen hours to the sweetest fugue state imaginable.
Rolled cigarettes and muffins are said to help the transition back into reality.