MARCH 30, 2020
THE PANDEMIC BLUES
he could not go hunting poodles
So anyway. One wonders what everyone is doing in being absent from their usual haunts. The Old Same Place Bar is closed during the quarantine. Suzy can do some things as offered by Dawn and Padraic in cleaning the place top to bottom, fixing broken things, flushing the beer lines, etc., but it hardly made for a night of work six nights a week as before and of course no tips. Eugene could always go fishing, but he could not go hunting poodles for they were out of season and there was no replacing lost leads and flies from the stores that were all closed. Pedro could still go out on his boat each day, for he did not have a crew like the bigger enterprises, but the dock facilities were all closed up. He had to anchor out and ferry the catch laboriously in the dingy to the food chain trucks -- most of the restaurant suppliers had stopped sending trucks, although a very few still did.
For the rest of the Almeida family, life at home with no school was chaos as the 12 children ran amok and Mrs. Almeida went out to see peace and solace among the chickens in the backyard.
Speaking of chickens
Speaking of chickens, Mr. Spline had given up his watch upon the Greek Orthodox church where Joshua had taken sanctuary. It had been a few years since Joshua had become a whistleblower and it had become clear even to one as stiff as Mr. Spline that Joshua had found some hidden back way out of there. Besides, there were bigger fish to shoot in a barrel now. Out in Area 52, Mr. Spline kept watch with his loaded Mauser, his Glock, his AR15 and his night vision goggles along with any number of items ordered from Soldier of Fortune Magazine -- Mr. Spline had an annual budget for Defense Enhancement and he always used up all of it. The way Government works in this country, your department has a line-item budget and if you do not use it you lose it.
So it was that the American taxpayer shilled out $$$$ for Mr. Spline's mushroom bullets, his silencers, his disappearing inks and many other trick things besides to make any adolescent drool. He had hooks and paracord and spikes and gas bombs and many taser guns and taser batons and all sorts of fearful armaments and defenses, for he loved his job and every Thanksgiving season he would fly out to the DC area and have dinner with his idol, Oliver North with a number of operatives. Maybe not on the exact day, undoubtedly because of his GSA rating, but nevertheless important nonetheless.
So there Mr. Spline was in his Hummer, armed with all his armaments and overseeing his charges. The secret Government herd of chickens.
We have all heard of the famous Area 51, famous for being very secret - so secret everyone knows all about it -- and famous for housing the bodies of extraterrestrials. Since there is an Area 51 it stands to reason that there are fifty or more other top secret areas about which the government has a great deal to fret should the word get out. So it was at one of those top secret areas that Mr. Spline had been sent.
there was a Keep Clear Zone of one mile
All around this containment of barbed wire and guard towers called Area 49 there was a Keep Clear Zone of one mile. Why? Because vaccines are developed in chicken embryos as media. And the Government had scientists and technicians nonstop working on vaccines for all kinds of Coronavirus germs, along with anthrax, ebola, and the nextgen bacillus that China or Russia would develop by their teams with their own protected chicken herds. There were several facilities scattered around the country like this one, but because of the Cell theory, Mr. Spline would not know where they were. That is why there is an Area 51. Think of all the protected Areas from the terrible Area #1 to #50 and up to the ghastly Room 101, famed in legend and documented theory. Sends chills down the spine it does.
Our Government in action.
We think first of our own people, but consider how other countries are protecting their own citizens.
El Chadoor had been commissioned decades ago
The crew aboard the Iranian spy submarine El Chadoor groaned when they got the news about the quarantines. Iran has a navy, do not forget, and that navy now was needs quarantined from the Nation. That meant no rotation back home for months. And Iran was particularly hit hard. El Chadoor had been commissioned decades ago to spy on the shipping activity from one of the busiest seaports in America, the arch-demon. Years had passed as the Commander had continued to issue weekly reports about his observations. But all governments change and revolve and undergo political redesign of internal functions. The original mission had been long forgotten over decades, and so the response from Teheran had always been an official, "Keep on with established procedures until otherwise notified. Praise God for all your good work."
Now it would be a very long, long time before the sailors in the Iranian navy got to smell the redolent fragrances of the gardens of Qom or taste fava bean stew made at home. For fresh provisions, the captain had wisely sent crew members who spoke English ashore to the Island and so shop at the markets there under cover, but now that was all but impossible. Eyes were everywhere watching the few who dared to go out during the mass quarantine. So the men were stuck with MRE's and tins of ful muddamas. And still the crew of the El Chadoor had to continue their mission.
It did seem that formerly revolutionary Teheran had fallen into the same trap of established government bureaucracies everywhere. Flexibility had been lost and hidebound rules had supplanted efficacy and intelligent response. Hence the terrible response to the Coronavirus there. Iran had become just as inefficient as the US.
The Captain was in a quandary. He needed to maintain morale and still conduct his mission as originally assigned. So he had the Chadoor surface regularly beyond the Golden Gate so men could do calisthenics in the sunlight. He also conducted what he listed in his notes as "reconnaissance raids" in which he had parties go ashore and secure fresh provisions from markets on the Island. Really it was a matter of getting some crew off ship and on shore for brief periods. But now that was all kiboshed by the aforementioned quarantine.
omewhere out there beyond the muttering darkness
In the past few decades the Captain's hair had gone from jet black to salt and pepper and now was quite gray. As he sat at his desk, with the lamp pooling its light over charts and logs while all around there was darkness, he felt that his position still had some meaning, some purpose, if only in keeping his crew, his people whole and safe. If it was true that when a man took one step towards God, he would enjoy the fact that God will take two steps towards him, then it must also be true that somewhere out there beyond the muttering darkness that shrouded the submarine, there was a like mind. A human mind. Because his life had been devoted to service, the Captain had never found the time to marry, and now here he was, many thousands of miles away from home with no chance of any further connection.
With that thought. the Captain arose and went to the periscope for one last gaze upon the land that they had come despite themselves to love as the light faded from that part of the earth. "Dive," he commanded as he slapped up the handles of the periscope he knew were old fashioned devices. "Dive!"
And so the El Chadoor sped out of the Estuary and across the Bay and beneath the Golden Gate, running silent, running deep.
In the Island-Life Offices the Editor walked down the silent aisles of the place where reporters and technicians sat at desks spaces dutifully 6 feet apart, while wearing whatever mask they had found in the garage. He returned to his glass cubicle and sat at his desk with the pool of light cast by the lamp creating the illusion of walls of darkness all around him.
The staff left the offices one by one at the end of the day, leaving the Editor by himself all alone. He could just as well have been in a submarine out at sea. Somewhere out there must be a like mind, like him engaged in doing all for Company.
In the distance he could hear the odd sound that the Valley neighbors had started to do each night. They all on the agreed moment each evening started howling out their open windows like wolves or coyotes. It was their communal reaction to the stay home quarantine. When the going gets strange, the normal go weird.