Victory Is Coming

The birds were plentiful and noisy. Several noticed, “Hey, where are the humans?”

It seemed true, the birds agreed. They didn’t see as many humans as usual. Odd, up here in the northern latitudes, where winter was rolling over into spring. That’s when the humans usually became more active.

Word went from bird to bird, flock to flock, pecking for confirmation: were less humans out? Fewer cars, trucks, and motorcycles? Were all noticing this or was it a local anomaly?

“Yes.” Verification flew through the flocks. Except for a few pockets, less humans were present outdoors. The birds were winning the war. 

Orders were issued. “Increase your efforts. Be vigilant. Keep shitting on them, shit on every human you see. Our strategy s working. Victory is coming.”

Patient 46

He cited Elon Musk. “Elon Musk thinks the threat from the coronavirus is overblown. He’s a smart guy, and I agree with him.” Nodding, his friends came in closer to hear him. “Musk said that you’re more likely to be killed in a car accident going home from work than from the corollavirus.”

He purposefully misspoke, mocking the term, making his friends snort and scoff. “Just like President Trump said, this is a hoax. Yeah, sure, there’s a disease out there, but it’s not that big a deal. It’s not even as bad as the swine flu. We survived it, and we’ll survive this, too.”

“Fuckin’ a,” “Damn straight,” and “Preach it brother,” friends replied as others nodded agreement and encouragement.

Patient 46 continued, “The media is exploiting the news and the gullible sheeple because they don’t like Trump. They want this virus to succeed. They want people to die. It’s just like Trish Regan said, it’s an impeachment scam. They couldn’t legally impeach Trump, so now they’re trying to do this. You know she was right, because they shut her up straightaway, took her right off the air. Why else would they do that, if she wasn’t right?”

The rest agreed. A newcomer arrived. Greetings were bellowed.

Patient 46 turned away. It felt hot as hell in the bar. Sweat peppered his forehead. He took another long swallow of cold Bud to drown his fever. Nausea swarmed him. He mopped his face with a sleeve and then wiped his palm across his face. “Damn, it’s hot in this place,” he said loudly, but the televisions and jukebox drowned his words.

A grinning friend leaned in close. “Hey, man, don’t you know that you’re not supposed to be touching your face?”

The two laughed and slapped their palms together in a high-five salute. Each then made a show of touching their faces. Then, shrieking with greater laughter, his friend said, “No one said that I can’t touch your face.”

“Right on, scratch my nose for me,” Patient 46 said. His friend obliged as the two snorted and giggled.

It was the last thing that Patient 46 remembered before he awoke alone in the hospital. Lit machines were beeping, sighing, and humming. Tubes snaked to and from his body.

Such bullshit, he thought, such bullshit, what an over-reaction. Closing his eyes, he fought to breathe. Someone poisoned him, he thought. Trying to shut him up and make an example out of him. Probably the CIA or FBI. They were arms of the shadow government that Obama and Killary were running. Everyone knew it.

He’d show them. He would survive this fucking assassination attempt, and then share his story as a precautionary tale about the measures the libtards would take to shut people like him up.

Patient 46 died a few days later. His story remained untold. His services were sparsely attended.

Everyone was too sick to attend, but all agreed, it was a damn shame that such a smart guy, a real man like him, should die in a hospital bed like that.

Yes, a damn shame.

The Flirting

He approached the common table. Two young women were at one end. As they looked at him, he asked, “Do you mind if I occupy the other end?”

“No,” one said. Gesturing to a chair that was pulled out, she said, “Not at all. We already pulled out a chair for you.”

The other woman said, “We were just getting ready to go, anyway.”

Nodding as he began unpacking his gear, he said, “So you saw me coming, pulled out a chair, and prepared to go?”

Their laughter made him smile.

Is It…?

He was coughing, a dry cough from the bottom of his throat’s well.

Is it the coronavirus, or just the flu?

His nose was running (it hadn’t been this morning).

Is it an allergy (spring is in the air), or just a cold?

He was embarrassed because he couldn’t stop coughing (though he drank lots of water and sucked on a cough drop), thinking that the others were eyeing him (and several people had left).

Is it because of him, or is all of this just in his mind?

Variation

They’d been doing together since they were wed forty-two years ago. “Everything that we can do together, I mean, of course.” She felt some things weren’t possible, “But we tried to do everything together. We were never apart from one another for more than a day or two, maybe three, tops.” She’d been a nurse, but was now retired; he’d been, and was, a doctor.

Travel was required for her to visit her father. “Dad’s really well for ninety-three. It’s easy to forget he’s ninety-three because he looks so good and does so well. But he is ninety-three, so I worry about him. Especially since he’s down there and I’m up here. He’s a retired engineer, and very particular about his habits. Everything must be done certain ways. He eats the same foods for the same meals at the same times every day,  breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There’s no variation.”

But this was about her husband. “He didn’t want to go with me to Southern California. Dad always watches Fox News. He’s completely apolitical, he’s not a Trump supporter, doesn’t have a MAGA hat, or anything like that, but he watches Fox News all day long. Henry just didn’t want to go, and cited that as part of the reason. So I flew down there alone.

“I’d been down there for a week when I received a phone call from Henry. He was frantic.”

“I’m out of clean underwear,” he said.

“Well, wash some.”

“I would, but I don’t know where the detergent goes.”

“It goes in the drawer.”

“I can’t find the drawer.”

“When I thought about it, I realized that it was the longest that we’d ever been apart.”

When she returned, she discovered his clothes in the washer. They were moldy, wrinkled and almost dry. She thinks that Henry just tossed the soap on top of the clothes, wasn’t satisfied with the process, and just quit.

They haven’t spoken about it, yet, but he does have some new underwear.

Always That Way

When he came in, none noticed him. He drifted from table to table, touching others’ food and drinks with impunity, giving them little “Boops” on their noses like he was playing with children. He hung around awhile as others came and went, not doing anything but loitering, and not taking up much space.

They didn’t know him then but they soon learned who he was. It was always that way with a virus.

The Piss Club

It’s their informal name for themselves, The Piss Club, an expression adopted from the humaverse because the floof think it’s so funny. (Do humans really think that animals are so interested in that aspect of their business? See how funny it is?)

The Piss Club’s formal name eludes translation from floofish. For humans (and the animals involved), The Piss Club is about ensuring that animals (or their allies) are present whenever humans do their business. In homes with pets, this is generally easily accomplished. Public facilities can be handled via rats, birds, flies, mice, spiders, etc.

Those places are not the problem, and it’s not about humans doing their business. It’s about verifying what they are.

No, the problem is those private places where pets don’t reside, where spiders and insects are stalked and killed, and mice are treated like vermin. Those places are the problem, because those people might be the beings that The Piss Club are supposed to on guard against. Masquerading as humans, those beings could destroy Earth; it is their stated intention, and they are here on Earth.

And, while floofs (except for dinosaurs) usually originated on other worlds (or other universes, in frequent cases) (funny how two beings, say two cats, can look so much alike and yet be from different universes) and arrived on Earth to expand their influence (and study other cultures and life forms), they’ve grown fond of those crazy creatures called humans, and would like to keep them around. Because, as the floofs have found, humans don’t exist anywhere else in any other universe (unlike dinosaurs, which seem to be everywhere), making humans very unique creatures.

That’s why The Piss Club watches.

The Missing Piece

A piece was missing. The scowl hardening in his mind crossed boundaries, cementing his face into a likeness of dark irritation. A piece was missing! He’d tried every damn piece that he could find. None fit. None.

Well, that just ruined the jigsaw puzzle. Ruined it. It could never be finished. That meant it was ruined.

He clenched his fists. That’s why he despised buying used puzzles. They set you up for the chance, like this, that you would fail. (Well, it wasn’t him that failed — the piece was missing, so he didn’t fail), but it subverted any pleasure he could achieve, stealing the tangible joy of solving a puzzle. That wasn’t to be this time, which wasn’t fair. In fact, it was cruel.)

Vignettes of how this travesty may have come about began quiet visits. The people who’d donated the puzzle had lost the piece. They found it later, after giving the puzzle away. “Oh, look,” the husband said, picking a piece up off of the floor. “We missed a piece.” He looked around. “One of the cats must have been playing with it.” (Of course a cat had been involved.)

“Oh, no,” his wife said, hand to mouth. Reality sank into place. They’d taken the puzzle to the Goodwill over a month before. Maybe two. Nothing could be done now.

He would hunt them down. All he needed to do is get their DNA — probably some on the puzzle pieces, wasn’t there? — and access to a DNA database that had their DNA (hmm…that might be trickier, but he would find a way), and then —

“Found it.” His wife applied the piece with a flourish, pressing it down until it clicked solidly into place.

“How? Where was it?” Disbelief waxing like a warm sun, he stared at the piece. He’d literally tried every piece in the box, taking them out one by one, trying each piece, and then putting the eliminated pieces into a bowl. There was no way…

Well, there was one way. He eyed her. “Did you hide it?”

She giggled. “I’ll never tell.”

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