Skull Damage, Super Jumbos, and The Plague: Time to Fly

Recent events have me thinking.

More or less.

A theory: head injuries are a factor, if not a major factor, influencing the course of personal and collective human experience and history. The head injury holds its own with disease in this regard.

What say you?

Consider this.

Was the infant Donald Trump dropped on his melon more than once by a careless, perhaps malevolent nanny? Any doubt?

Did a bike accident, despite his use of training wheels, leave 13-year-old Mitch McConnell unconscious and convulsing on an Athens, Alabama sidewalk? Odds are good.

I read that Roseanne Barr was hit by a car and took one to the noggin, and that Bill Clinton lacks impulse control due to a playground injury suffered in third grade.

There you have it.

Need more?

Hitler? The murderous mutant believed a member of the National Socialist German Workers Party could beat Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe in a sprint. Pretty clear case of a mangled noodle here, eh?

Gary Busey? For sure.

Joan of Arc? Of course. Probably took several blows to the brain case during the siege of Orleans alone.

Albert Einstein and Florence Nightingale? Without question, but these things occasionally work for the best.


You bet.

I am, in great part, the product of a series of closed head injuries. Add to this a sterling record of substance abuse, and a life spent at high altitude with it’s dearth of oxygen (I’ve loitered at least a mile above sea level most of my life, the exception being time spent on the spine dividing the lower east and west sides of the fine isle of Manhattan). I am  proof that damage to the lid on the thought box affects behavior in profound ways.

My series of injuries begins when I am 12 and that despicable asshole Danny nails me with a bat during a pickup game in the alley, demolishing the right side of my frontal lobe. My behavior shifts dramatically as bruised gray matter malfunctions: I go quickly from being a cuddly and myopic little fat guy, to a rabid predator, set loose in the lambing pen. It’s not that I notice the change, subjectivity being what it is, but those close to me mention it. Elders regularly tell me “Karl, you’re crazy as a bedbug. Why don’t you shape up and fly right?” These relatives rely on World War II jargon to the ends of their lives, bed bugs, and shaping up and flying right, remaining favorites.

Damage your frontal lobe and you’re off to the races in terms of an inability to concentrate for more than a minute or two, a lack of planning skill and judgment, unpredictable emotional expression, little inhibition, sporadic creativity. I know this; I possess full-color illustrations of the parts of the brain, and articles concerning the alleged functions served by each of the parts.

As an aside: the charts also aid in my recent self-diagnosis of a basal ganglia disturbance that causes a mild music hallucination in the form of the sound of a radio or television news broadcast being played several rooms away. The words are unintelligible but, due to pitch and rhythm of delivery, the sounds are recognizable as elements in a report of consequence. I hear this if I wake in the middle of the night, when the only other sound is that of the furnace.

In the years after that special-needs fuckface Danny drives me to the asphalt in a Denver alley, I add a number of other concussions to the mix.

One of these occurs when, as a high school football player, I look down the field before a kickoff, and spot the biggest guy on the Gilpin County Eagles squad — a 6’2” monobrow bruiser descended from three generations of illiterate hard rock miners, a specimen topping out at around 220. I’m pretty sure the goof has his wife and kids at the game, as well as his parole officer. “He’s mine,” I murmur to a testosterone flooded me as the ball is put in play, as players gallop forward to close the gap. That’s the last thing I remember of that day. They tell me I play the rest of the game after I’m revived, and drive home after. For several weeks, I sit in class watching teachers write indecipherable gibberish on blackboards, listening to them babble nonsense in a Central Pashto dialect. I drive to and from school; I’m not aware of it. I don’t recognize what I eat for lunch.

During the next couple of years, I participate in several violent collisions while playing hockey, and regain consciousness each time stretched out on my back, blinking, gazing at the auras surrounding the lights hanging above the ice surface at the old University of Denver arena.

The most notable of these experiences takes place shortly after I spot the biggest player on a team from Omaha — a hirsute defenseman with no front teeth and drool tracks on the front of his emerald green jersey.

Same basic scenario: “He’s mine.”

To this day, I see those arena lights in my mind’s eye. There are twenty-four of them.

From these blows forward I am increasingly impulsive, unreliable, given to excess, an addictive personality lacking in judgment, convinced at every moment that I am going to die before the next dawn. I self medicate, heavily.

It’s me! I’ve arrived.

The sense of pending death plays a big role in a current problem, a dilemma propelled by the two primary drivers of human experience: head injury and disease.

I know I will die after I play host to the coronavirus — the star of the health crisis du jour.

I am in grave danger of being infected with this nasty invader, and I know exactly how and when the infection will occur. As the brain damage poster boy, I dwell on this eventuality, and take action.

To no avail.

I receive distressing news today, via e-mail.

The Transportation Security Administration informs me I can’t wear my newly purchased Tyvek suit (with rebreather) during an upcoming flight to Chicago, nor on the return flight several days later.

This is devastating.

At month’s end, I intend to make my way by air from Siberia With a View to the Windy City, that gargantuan urban mess sprawling west of the shoreline of Lake Michigan, catch basin for big ideas, architectural wonderland, etc., where I will eat as many excellent meals as my purse and digestive system allow.

Kathy is scheduled to attend some sort of musician’s get-together at a downtown hotel, and I will tag along. We have tickets booked for the flights, our seats in a crowded economy section in the marginally ventilated cabin of a poorly maintained plane operated by a badly managed carrier.

I learn the carrier (trusted by three generations of American travelers) is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy, and that air filters in planes have not been changed in more than a year. This is cause for concern, thus the Tyvek strategy.

I obtain info about the airline’s impending demise from the same website where I learn about an ongoing Deep State project that places teensy surveillance devices in popular breakfast cereals. Deep State robots produce the devices to look like flakes, puffs, grains, whatever. Any pinhead who consumes cheap breakfast fodder is then deservedly tracked by computers housed in a gigantic, four-story, windowless NSA facility located near Bisbee, Arizona. The electricity needed to cool this behemoth is said to consume half the output of the Hoover Dam generating plant, and that motherfucker of a power producer has a 2,000 megawatt capacity! Ponder that.

This is a disquieting revelation, but I turn from the diversion back to my problem, and my scheme.

I’m looking forward to this trip.

I’ve spent considerable time compiling a list of Chicago eateries I want to visit, and I’ve made arrangements to reunite with an acquaintance, a native of the area, who has a vehicle and a working knowledge of the city’s confusing street system. He is also in possession of the THC-rich products and distillates needed to properly enhance our ventures. Nothing tops speeding down crowded downtown streets during rush hour, often rocketing the wrong way on one-way avenues, trusting my existence to a designated driver only slightly less intoxicated than I. As a bonus, my companion is a professional thespian, and he laces our time together with soliloquies and spectacular, high-volume monologues that include the later works of Yeats. If he is extremely trashed, he channels Dylan Thomas. This is far better than any amusement park ride, and there is no height requirement.

With the recent legalization in Illinois of the miracle weed, it is now a breeze to obtain products far superior to the dusty seeds, stems, and stale shake that generations of “hep” residets of the Windy City assumed were outstanding mind fuel. One can only speculate to what greater heights Little Walter and Junior Wells would have ascended if they had access to the primo shit grown today in secure greenhouses near Edwardsville. As a citizen of the great state of Colorado, I salute my brothers and sisters in Illinois. You’re late to the party…but, it’s still a party.

Now, however, it seems my journey might be thwarted and, if not, it will be nerve-wracking at best. At worst, it will be the prelude to an agonizing stay in the ICU and, after an enormous bill is run up, a trip to the morgue in a non-porous cadaver pouch, where my corpse will be stacked atop those of other plague victims.

When I receive the TSA missive, I respond immediately, pleading special circumstances: Pay heed my overlords, it’s the damned coronovirus!*

* Social media-savvy science types call the vile agent “coronavirus” or “Covid-19” because politically correct trolls demand it, condemning the use of the original title, “Wuhan Virus,” citing its racist overtones and claiming damage to sensitive strangers,  residents of the capital of Hubei Province.
The truth is the residents of Wuhan are far from hypersensitive. After all, the city is the site of the tomb of the Marquis Yi of Zeng, with its 64-piece set of bianzhong bells. These bells cover a range of five octaves. The Neo-Stalinist geeks at Radcliffe and Stanford should educate themselves before they jump into the deep end of the culture pool without their floaties: the people in Wuhan have a glorious and long history, and a solid sense of their place in the world. These folks are the descendants of valiant patriots who battled the Japanese army for more than four months, with 1.2 million casualties logged on the tote board during the action. They are not going to crumble because someone uses “Wuhan” to identify a lethal virus that blooms on their home turf and goes from there to decimate the world’s population. In fact, they might see it as an instance of poetic justice should the virus charge unchecked through Tokyo and Kyoto.

Of course this, and the fact there are other viruses with insulting  names that draw no interest, makes no difference to the champions of cancel culture as they slump alone, unlaved and seldom lubricated, in front of glowing iMac screens in dorm rooms at Stanford and Yale, and in sparsely furnished community college and art school “computer centers.” Denied any chance to experience orgasms in the company of other human beings, they are intent on pursuing their abusive missions. If they must suffer, they reckon, then so must you!

Perhaps, someday soon, these twerps will also have to contend with a rampaging Japanese army and take to the barricades as a horde of benzedrine-lit, bayonet-wielding killers surges through the streets of New Haven and/or Palo Alto shouting “Banzai!” and mutilating anyone who dares to confront them, even those with excessive leg and underarm hair. This is a distinct possibility. There are so-called experts who claim that Japan maintains only a de facto defense force as per Article 9 of the country’s constitution, but there are websites offering “facts” that prove otherwise, signaling a massive and ominous buildup of forces in Nihon. Remember: there were holdout Japanese soldiers who fought on in the jungles of Luzon until 1974. Is this behavior incidental, or is it tribal, and cyclical? You tell me.

Back to my problem.

I inform TSA officials they need to reconsider their decision. I plead: it is common knowledge the spiky virus invades the lungs of an oldster, multiplies, then kills the host — kills aged ciphers like me, senior citizens, and a few infants here and there. Given the overpopulation problem, there is a bright side to the loss of the elderly and a small number of new arrivals, but I have no desire to be a statistic. Not yet, anyway.

I don’t want to die as a result of my trip to Chicago, and peril looms. This disease exterminates ancient feebs weakened by compromised immune systems, feebs like me. There is no way my immune system could be strong, given what I’ve done to myself over five-plus decades. Since it sets up shop in the lungs, the virus kills old men with respiratory difficulties, like me. A person can’t smoke two or more ounces of pesticide- and waste-saturated plant matter every week for more than thirty years without trashing the lungs and plunging the system into disrepair. Add to this my well-researched, personally diagnosed Stage 3 lung cancer, and the basal ganglia disturbance that prompts unbearable musical hallucinations, and my status is obvious: I deserve a waiver! Government is supposed to serve the best interests of the people, isn’t it? Isn’t that what the Founding Fathers said?

The TSA response is prompt, and firm: no Tyvek suit with rebreather. In fact, I’m told that if I arrive at the airport so clad, I’ll be escorted from the grounds by armed officers. If I make a second attempt to enter the terminal, I will be arrested as a suspected terrorist, jailed and held without bond, despite the fact I am a crypto-Episcopalian. My priest pal, Doug, will vouch for my shaky affiliation, but his support will surely fall on deaf ears. That’s the nature of bureaucracy. I know this: I read about it on a website.

My agitated state is exacerbated by the goofs on the news sites and TV channels who act as if their hair is on fire, hourly tallying coronavirus cases, singling out countries and cities that are particularly dangerous to visit (not Chicago…not yet!), and barking about the precipitous plunge of the stock market.

The financial reports are unsettling: my upcoming shores-of-Lake Michigan-food-and-intoxicant trek depends on stable, dependably productive investments.

I call my personal financial advisor BS to discuss the fear-driven crisis. There is no answer. A recorded message informs me that the office is closed and will open once BS returns from a trip to Honduras, a journey hastily arranged a few days before. This rings a bell or two, with tones not unlike those of the bianzhong bells, tones I wish not to hear.

I should have anticipated this. During my irregular visits to his office over the years, BS spouts terms and statistics I don’t understand, often darkening the room, then using a power point presentation, including high-chroma pie charts and a large light-emitting pointer to emphasize key data. He eventually turns on the lights, leans back in the amply padded, richly upholstered chair he purchased at Office Depot, removes his gold-rimmed eyeglasses, puts his hands behind his head, closes his eyes, strokes his fake Wharton school tie, and dreamily details his plan to raise Newfoundland ponies and avocados on a spread he’s secured near the equator. End of session. It is not until this week that I am able to decode the metamessage.

I make a mental note to check my portfolio and, simultaneously, I regret giving BS unfettered access to my assets, such as they are.

I must go to Chicago, yet here I am, confronted by one obstacle after another: my meager savings are in jeopardy, possibly embezzled by my pony-breeding advisor; I hear muffled news alerts in the middle of the night; I’m growing something resembling the base of a horn in the middle of my forehead, and no amount of my best friend Tito’s homemade vodka seems to make a difference.

And now, with the possibility I’ll meet up with this fucking virus, I find myself prohibited by government oppressors from taking the precautions necessary to stay safe during a flight on an ill-maintained 737.

Surely, there must be a drug available that will prevent me from suffering the final insult — dying after I’m infected during the flight by a personal injury lawyer named Chet who takes his dream vacation to Milan, wolfs down osso buco in the wrong company at a shabby trattoria and, after returning to the states on a redeye, while seated next to me as he makes his way home, his beefy elbow poking my rib cage, forgets to sneeze into his goddamned elbow and pollutes the immediate vicinity with deadly droplets.

I reach for a battered copy of Inflight Magazine, its crossword puzzle half complete, my hand grazes the tray table, I mindlessly touch my nose, eyes, and lips, and…

Surely there’s a cutting-edge nasal spray that doctors are withholding from increasingly jiggy patients, hoarding the remedy for their use and that of close relatives in the event of a full-blown pandemic. I was raised by a doctor, I am aware of how these people think. They are not the caring creatures they pretend to be.

I text Wanda, my personal physician and an expert concerning up-to-date products and methods designed to preserve life. Not the quality of life, mind you…simply life.

“Wanda, a pressing problem — one that demands your immediate attention and response. Drop whatever you’re doing, be square with me, come to my aid.

“Confirm: graduates of accredited American medical schools, age of grad and year of graduation of no consequence, have been supplied with a nasal spray said to be in the final field test stages and guaranteed to put the hammer to this Wuhan virus — excuse me, coronavirus or Covid-19.

“Name your price, Wanda, should you feel the need to take a profit, (sired and raised by a physician, I’m aware that profit figures prominently in the practice). If my pony-riding, avocado-gnawing financial advisor has not stolen my money and adopted a hispanic surname so I can’t locate him in Honduras, I can provide the required cash, given we agree on a suitable payment plan.

“If you’re able to spare but one dose, I’ll take it. Kathy can manage without the medicine. My wife was raised in a dicey Denver neighborhood, alarmingly close to slaughterhouse and serum plant. She was exposed to every known deadly pathogen and virus as a child, and is, no doubt, immune. She is an extremely durable creature, Wanda, though prone to sudden mood swings and capable of extended outbursts of hurtful criticism. Let’s not tell her about our transaction once it occurs.

“I, on the other hand, as you know, teeter at the brink of a health crisis every waking moment. If I take my upcoming trip to Chicago without effective anti-viral protection, you can instruct the tattooed and pierced lass who oversees your reception area to strike my name from the top of the list of preferred patients.

“I anxiously await delivery of the spray. No need for a label, we both know what’s in the bottle, and please don’t include literature noting contraindications — I never read that crap. If you don’t want to pay UPS to deliver the spray, notify me and I will have Timmy, the neighborhood home schooler, swing by on his dirt bike. Tell the staff on duty there’s no need to drop beneath their desks when Timmy enters the clinic. Appearances can be deceiving.”

It takes a while for Wanda to respond.

“For fuck’s sake, why do you continue to bother me?

“I’m at CrossFit. I’ve been to the gym two times today, since my first session was interrupted when a 50-year-old guy, recently divorced and wanting to buff up, suffered a stroke while attempting to climb a rope. I did all I could for him, returned to the clinic while gym personnel mopped up, then returned to the gym several hours later to work on my deadlift. I’m up to 180, which is exceptional for an ectomorph of my age.

“I’m preparing to go out for a 5-K cool down. You know I depend on the calming effect of torturous exercise, so stop distracting me.  In case you develop a spasmodic, stridulous cough, and lose consciousness, have a note pinned to your shirt asking whoever finds you to call 9-1-1. Also, stop texting me two or three times a day, asking me to prescribe double-dose Ketamine treatments. It’s not going to happen.

“I have to go now. My CrossFit master, Ulrich, has returned from the men’s room, and he’s shouting at me.”

“Regarding coronavirus: it’s not a plague! Not yet, anyway. Still, it’s wise to wash your hands every fifteen minutes, scrubbing them for as long as it takes you to sing Happy Birthday, twice. If you can remember the song.”

Oh, but it is a plague, Wanda.

It is a dire situation. And it’s happening now.

I know a dire situation when I see one; I’ve encountered plenty of them.

As a stoic survivor of years in the newspaper racket, I am no stranger to unexpected death on a grand scale. Thankfully, as a seasoned professional, I am able to maintain control of my emotions, most of the time.

In the years prior to my abrupt departure from the trade, this is a common scene: the editor, a noble being dedicated to bringing fresh news to the few residents of Siberia With a View who can read, spends his evenings in the otherwise deserted newsroom, lingering long after his ace scribes depart to cover a lenten fish fry, a school talent show, or a meeting of enraged members of a property owners’ association.

A single bulb burns above the editor, illuminating his damp office space with yellowish light as he monitors tips phoned to the news hot line. He regularly receives information harsh enough to sadden an overly optimistic Rotarian, or stun the most hardened of citizens, including the vets who wear caps noting their units and years under the flag, linger outside store entrances fishing for the occasional “thanks for your service” and, due to less-than-expert tailoring, are able to wear their old uniforms as they stumble out of step in the color guard that leads the Fourth of July parade.

With my current predicament in mind, I remember one particular burst of troubling info, a dire indicator that brings this head injury/coronavirus (Covid-19) situation into sharp focus.

The soda straw skull murders.

This one I keep to myself when I first hear of it on the hotline, knowing that if I release the story to the good people of Siberia With a View, a violent reaction is certain to occur. It would begin with general panic, quickly accelerate to mayhem at 4-H events, then morph to carnage at meetings of The Red Hat Society — an organization comprising members who, while forgetful and fatigued following numerous falls in parking lots and vestibules, are regularly given to hysteria, each an obvious danger to herself and to others.

Reports concerning the soda straw skulls come to the hot line each night for a week. The person on the other end of the line attempts to disguise his voice, but he’s unable to avoid tell-tale vocabulary and vocalization habits, following any compound word with a “whoopee.” After the first three calls, I identify the caller: Gary, the announcer at the local rodeo. The same characteristics that push him to center stage behind the mic at the annual three-day cowpoke convention, prove his undoing on the hot line. In order to maintain the flow of information concerning a horrifying mystery, I never call him Gary, never show my hand. I am the editor. I didn’t ascend to the lofty perch on naive wings.

The mystery? The dire situation?

In short, the discovery of human remains, with at least eighteen victims at the time of Gary’s revelations. I later hear from Gus, the day shift counterman at the Shell Station, that remains are found every spring when snowmelt reveals fresh evidence. U.S. Forest Service employees are understandably tight-lipped about this; they value their retirement plans.

Remains are found adjacent to out-of-the-way trails in the Weminuche Wilderness Area of the San Juan Mountains — trails limited to foot traffic and the occasional outfitter’s pack train in order to minimize risk of wildfire in an old growth forest that escaped the devastation levied elsewhere in the region by loggers laboring six days a week in the employ of money hungry lumber barons, the tycoons persistently avaricious and stoked to the gills on doses of Chloral hydrate and formidable draughts of the expensive and extremely peaty scotch whiskey that only the strongest and most sociopathic of capitalists can afford and enjoy.

But, the remains are not created in the heyday of the lumber biz, back in 1920. No, they are relatively fresh, in place a year or two at most, soft tissues eagerly consumed by predators of all kinds, bones scattered by angry black bears who miss the feed.

It is the skulls that are the giveaway, and the evidence establishes that these gruesome deaths are not only recent, but that electric tools are employed by an assailant or assailants.

Electric tools? In a wilderness area? Really?

The battery driven power tool has been with us for decades. For god’s sake, think clearly!

The tool in these cases?

Most likely one of several models of the Black and Decker cordless drill, powered by a hefty lithium battery and used to drive a 3/8-inch, diamond tip bit.

Why the 3/8-inch bit, and why the diamond-imbedded version, you ask?

For crying out loud: wake up, and think!

To allow for the easy insertion through a hole in a skull of a quarter-inch diameter plastic straw, referred to in the fast-food trade as a “Super Jumbo.” If you’ve savored a serving of refreshing bubble tea, you are familiar with the Super Jumbo.

Why a straw?

Enough with the stupid questions!

For use when feasting on brain tissue.

When the first skull is discovered, a straw is not found — only the 3/8-inch hole in the cranium.

Federal law enforcement investigators (USFS, NTSB, FBI, IRS, FDA, etc.) jump to the conclusion that, somehow, the Great tit has made its way from Europe to North America. This savage bird, though small and blessed with gorgeous plumage, is a known killer, often dispatching mammals larger than itself with its long beak, then using said beak to poke through the deceased vole’s (or mouse’s, or gerbil’s, or chihuahua’s) bony pate in order to feed on custard-like, not-yet-cool brain matter.

A Forest Service ornithologist soon minces this assumption, noting the damned tit would need to be at least ten times normal size in order fashion such a hole in a human. Plus, the hole is perfectly round, not the work of a hunger crazed tit.*

*At first, I hesitate to use the word “tit” due to the fact this piece might be seen by a frat boy at a rural college, provoking uncontrollable hilarity and sexual hijinks when he reads it aloud to his “brothers,” or be examined by one of the sexually repressed cancellers locked in a safe space at Radcliffe. In the interest of truth, it can’t be avoided.

As the skull count mounts, and straws are found, it becomes obvious to this seasoned news jockey that we have a plague of homicides taking place here, in god’s country.

What is the cause?

Law enforcement authorities in Siberia With a View are baffled, but they are baffled by the simplest of crimes, given their daily activities concern wandering dogs and failure to use a turn signal. Most local deputies and officers are stuck in the ‘90s, attending school assemblies to warn kids about meth (presentations feature before and after photos of tweakers, the afters sporting rotting teeth and plentiful facial sores), then spending hours prowling subdivisions west of town that are absent plowed roads, water systems, and proper waste treatment facilities, searching for clandestine cartel labs said to be churning out contaminated crank by the kilo. The local cops have been on the lookout for the labs for twenty years now, with no results. Since the majority of officers are fundamentalist protestants, they remain convinced that success is assured.

While the local bozos with badges go their unproductive ways, I analyze the skull situation and, following a run-in with a bottle of Buffalo Trace and several droppers of my pal Joe’s custom tincture, I solve the case. I know plagues.

It’s obvious: the killers are members of the local Republican Women’s Committee.

These certifiably vicious creeps kill innocent and unsuspecting hikers, drill 3/8-inch holes in the victims’ skulls just above the ears with high-grade bits, jam Super Jumbos through the holes into the temporal lobes, and drain brain goo.

Sucking the life out of victims has been the Republican way since 1950, and Republicans, male and female alike, are first and foremost traditionalists.

These reactionary fem beasts listen to selectively distributed Sarah Palin cassettes and learn that consumption of the brain matter of backcountry hikers, in particular lesbian outdoor enthusiasts who’ve earned at least a master’s degree, provides a shortcut to developing the thought juice needed to secure social dominance and eternal life. I am certain the well-educated lesbian link can be established by making plaster casts of tire tracks near the trailheads then comparing the casts with the treads on tires of Suburu Outbacks offered for sale at below-market prices in Gallup, New Mexico.

The reality: the far right-of-center shrews’ neuron lust is driven by the fact they married Republican men and, as a result, have been oppressed and sexually thwarted throughout their adult lives, not one of them experiencing peak pleasure resulting from oral attention. Republican men are terrified by the prospect of a close encounter with a vagina. I have it on good authority that a Republican male is shunned by fellow party members if he fails to pass a purity test developed by our current vice-president. I’ve heard that the word “vagina” itself is so offensive to the VP and his Happy Church cohorts that it is referred to in the test prep booklet as “that place.”

Charged by incredible frustration, urged on by the promise that they’ll be recognized as superiors by members of non-white races, welfare recipients, and liberal-leaning female divorcees with smaller houses, these “conservative women” pursue their murderous, cannibalistic ways with a fervor. They are Republicans; the feedback loop with its reinforcement is inescapable, unrestrained aspirations irresistible.

Irresistible, like a virus. I know plague.

I zoom in once again on my problem, ponder the looming viral menace, and briefly contemplate the purchase of a cordless drill.

There will be no drill. No bit. No Super Jumbo. Someone else’s brain won’t help — this is a lung problem,

If I make the journey to the Land of Lincoln (Abe, a Republican back when a  Republican possessed a functioning moral compass), I’ll do so without a drill and probably without the nasal spray that protects the hypocritical “healers” who fire a tonic into their sinuses while they sit back, safe, sipping Amaretto-spiked cocoa as they watch three-quarters of the population die off.

I contemplate my condition. I wonder if I would be this alert to the pending disaster had I not suffered a crushed cranium on several occasions, had I not smoked a shitload of DMT with a Wiccan from Boston, or munched buttons procured from an itinerant Oklahoma Boo Hoo calling himself Bob Who Walks With Buffalo? Would I be alarmed or, like most Americans, would I avoid news of the spread of the disease by tuning to fresh episodes of Naked and Afraid, and America’s Got Talent?

The murdered outdoor enthusiasts are lucky. It’s over quickly for them, little suffering, with no time for worry. One moment, they’re communing with nature, smelling the scents of pines and the scat of Rocky Mountain Bighorns, hearing the wind and the eerie calls of bull elk as the brutes battle one another for the right to indiscriminately violate cows, and the next moment, they’re set upon by a clutch of club wielding, camo-clad Republican Women, darkness descends, a drill is powered up, the Super Jumbo is inserted, a Suburu is sold the next day in Gallup.

For me, no such luck.

I’m determined to go to Chicago.

I’m faced with a decision: step deeper into this situation vulnerable, anxious, unable as always to think clearly and make wise decisions … or find a source for Chloral hydrate.

I’ll text Wanda and ask her to write a scrip.

How long does it take to run five kilometers?

Gotta close for now. I’m a bit warm, my head hurts.

There are droplets on the tray table.

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