Sunday, November 7, 2021

Tales From The Virus Panic #1: "Sex, Vaccines, And Rock & Roll"

Someone was screaming at Frank on the telephone.  He was used to that at work, but this was home.  Finally, he recognized the voice.  It was his friend Alfred.

He hadn't seen Alfred in a couple of years, as middleage swept them both along into different orbits, but he remembered the raspy voice well and with affection.  Alfred and Frank had a college radio show together in the 1980s and shared enthusiasms for local bands, punk rock, and novelty songs.

"Dude, The Stainless Steel Toilet Flappers are touring!" Alfred yelled.

"What?  I thought they broke up years ago and said they would never play together again," Frank said, remembering how the band had gotten into a fistfight onstage at what proved to be their final show.

"I know, right?  Maybe they need the money or something.  I don't know.  Remember we said if them or The Smiths ever reform we were going to go no matter what?" Alfred said.

Frank didn't, but it sounded like something he would have agreed to when he was drunk in college.  "And they're playing at The Slop Shop, a little club right in town.  It's going to be great!" Alfred raved on.

Frank wasn't so sure, but he agreed to go anyway.  Recently divorced, he checked the date, saw he didn't have his son that week, and made arrangements with Alfred.

"Do you want me to get the tickets?" Frank asked.

"Already got them, dude!  You owe me $50." Alfred said.

Frank winced, as his budget was tight, but gritted his teeth and said, "Great!  Thanks!"

"The only weird thing is The Slop Shop said we have to show proof of vaccination to get in," Alfred said.

"Uh, I'm not vaccinated," Frank said.

"Neither am I, dude, but they said you could show a negative Covid test too," Alfred said.

Frank vaguely remembered that the last time he had been in Mart Mart they had been offering free Covid tests.  The concert kept sounding worse.  Frank really didn't want a Q-tip or whatever shoved up his nose, but it seemed too late to back out now.  It would be nice to see Alfred.  "I'll probably do that then," Frank said.

"I think I'm going to get vaccinated.  There's a few other shows I want to see coming up and it would be a drag to have to keep getting tested," Alfred said.

"That's kind of lame they're requiring that anyway.  Is that a law, or is that something the band's doing?" Frank said.

"I don't know, dude, whatever.  'I don't give a fuck about anything,'" Alfred sang, the chorus from one of their favorite songs by The Flappers, albeit one they couldn't play on their radio show.

They reminisced some more and made plans to meet up at Alfred's place since the club was on his side of town.

A week later, Frank got a text from Alfred that he had gotten his first dose of the Pfizer shot.  "Dude, it was easy.  I feel great!  Nurse had big tits too!" Alfred wrote.

Frank was suspicious of Big Pharma and the government, so he wasn't swayed.  He didn't even get the flu shot; he certainly wasn't getting this rushed thing.  He just texted back a thumbs up emoji.

A couple of weeks later, Frank got another text from Alfred:  "Fully vaxxed and ready to rock!  Let's goooooooooo!"

A couple of days before the concert, Alfred texted again, "Don't forget to get your test!"

Frank grunted and went online and scheduled a Mart Mart test.  At least it was free.  Well, probably the government was paying for it, but as long as Frank didn't pay for it he wasn't too upset.  The government wastes a lot of his tax money.  At least this boondoggle actually saved him some out of pocket money.

When Frank got his negative results back, he texted Alfred that he was cleared for takeoff.  Alfred didn't text back, but Frank figured that Alfred was just busy getting ready for the show.  After work, Frank went to the address Alfred had given him.  It was an apartment building that had seen better days and probably some better nights as well.  Alfred was in apartment C.  After blundering around a bit and walking down the stairs and then having to walk back up, Frank found it and knocked.

No one answered.

Frank looked at his phone.  There was no text from Alfred, and it looked like they were running late.  Frank looked around for a doorbell maybe he had missed the first time and, not finding one, pounded on the door louder.  He played the beat from "Open Your Legs And Not Your Mouth", one of the greatest hits of The Flappers on Alfred's door.

Alfred's door didn't open, but the one next door did, Apartment B.  An older woman in a purple housecoat looked out, "He ain't home.  I hope he's all right.  Aside from playing his rock music too loud, he was a nice neighbor.  I haven't seen him since the paramedics came last night.  They took him away."

Frank thanked her and went back to his car.  He called a few hospitals and waited on hold before eventually an operator connected him to the room Alfred was in.

A nurse answered, mumbled something about cardiac arrest and gave Frank her condolences, then quickly hung up.

Frank missed the reunion concert, but he missed his friend more.

This is a work of fiction, but I suspect it's happened more than once.  If you doubt me, just note how many "rebellious" rock and rollers and clubs want you to disclose your health history just to get in (surely a form of Stockholm Syndrome after the virus panic folks nearly destroyed their livelihoods last year) and then read some Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System entries for fun (my favorite tonight was "13 hours after the patient had had her 2nd covid-19 shot, she was found dead" but don't worry as the lab tech noted that the healthy 49-year-old's death was "likely a coincidence that she died only hours after her vaccination").  If you need some cheering up after this, then please read Edna's Employment Agency where the idiots are fictional and amusing and not in charge of governments and corporations like in real life.

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