“Yes, Nicholas, you are going to catch coronavirus, but don’t let your mother see that you’re worried.”
These tender words I heard spoken between father and son as I was eavesdropping at the window of a family home. I didn’t know the family, and I had no business being there… indeed, I would’ve been arrested if, say, the mother walked in and saw my face at the window then suffered a total freak-out. But I get lots of good material for my writing from invading other people’s privacy; by prying on them, and being in a position to catch the public at their most vulnerable and unguarded. This method of investigation has its pitfalls, or should I say, pit bulls, a breed of guard dog that I’ve hazarded upon in my quest for inspiration from real people and their stories by undertaking such methods. Yet, I have a compulsion to find out just what the real people are thinking and feeling.
That aside, I was moved by the words of this father because they were true. Little Nicholas, whose eyes were turgid with fear, listened to his dad; Pops didn’t bullshit junior; he didn’t lie to him and tell him all would be well; he laid it right out there for him to deal with; his own mortality.
Now, this is a hard blow for a kid, because he’s only been alive about as long as it takes for the next instalment of the James Bond franchise to hit cinemas, and the certainty that his little time on earth is going to be cut short by a shitty virus started by a Chinaman chowing down on a bat must trouble him deeply. But the important thing is that he’s not been fed a Santa Claus myth.
Because we are all of us going to die from COVID-19 and we want you to know that straight out. We won’t pretty it up because we’re realists, and the brutal truths we deal in about race and country we now apply to this gook virus.
We’re not alarmists, we don’t want youse to shit yourselves for no good reason. And we know you’re probably fed up with hearing about coronavirus, as it’s the only thing still in the news. The mention of the word probably incites a violent tension in you because on top of all the other stresses you have to deal with, such as having no toilet paper and needing a crap, you now have to face the fact that any day now you’re going to develop a sniff. Then it’ll become a cough. Then your eyes will be all itchy and you’ll have trouble breathing. While all that’s going on, you’ll start getting dizzy headaches which will make you want to throw up your Campbell’s soup, the only thing left in the cupboard because you’ve been too sick to go shopping.
You think you won’t panic, it might not be the big C, but perhaps just the regular flu. You decide to give it a day or two before you dial the hospital. But by then you’ve weakened worse and the hallucinations have set in. You try focusing on the idiot box for normalcy but every show is the news and it’s all about the coronavirus. You get the fear but you already have difficulty breathing so you are really in a panic by now. It’s a pity you never married, either, because there’s no one at home to call the ambulance for you. As the symptoms get worse, and the sweat is like boiling oil on your forehead, you zone out. You’re suddenly back in your childhood riding your bike, or using a magnifying glass to burn flies under the hot sun. Only, when you look closely, it’s not a fly, but you that’s burning.
At this stage, you begin drooling like a pedo at kiddies’ pool and muttering stuff that makes no sense. Outside the window, some fellow in a dark raincoat keeps ringing a handbell, and crying out, “BRING OUT YOUR DEAD! BRING OUT YOUR DEAD!” He presses his face up against the glass of your window and sees you inside. You’re not dead yet but why wait till later when he’ll only have to come back again, he thinks, and starts to pry open the door. He has a cart with him and it’s piled with bodies. He wears a facemask so you can’t tell if he’s grinning or not.
Anyway, this is what’s in store for us, or so it seems if you let the media get under your skin. They have a vested interest in rabbiting on about the virus because they’re in cahoots with the government. Soon there’ll be scoops outside and armed soldiers ready to shoot you dead if you try to step an inch outside of your property. In fact, they’re out there right now. Good, God! If anybody is reading this, let everyone know! Get the truth out there, for GOD’S SAKE.