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I May Be on My Way to Becoming a COVID Statistic-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
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Paul Beckman: I May Be on My Way to Becoming a COVID Statistic

ym_91_covidstatistic_mdavis.jpg
Art by Michael D. Davis 2022

I May Be on My Way to Becoming a COVID Statistic

By Paul Beckman

 

The Surgeon promised to take the bandages off today. It’s been almost three weeks. I’m lying in the dark with no visitors because of the COVID thing. I feel like I’m back in the hole after all these years. At least in the hole, I got one hour of daylight to walk around the yard where there are two guards with rifles on the wall and one with a Glock in his lap, sitting in the corner chair tilted back, hat half- covering his eyes, but he’s not fooling me.

The nurse walks in and tells me she’ll have to remove the bandages in the room because all the operatories are taken with pandemic patients. I hear her pulling the blinds and closing the drapes. I am anxious and a little nervous, I tell her.

Nothing to be anxious or nervous about, she says, and then I hear the loudspeaker call her name to report to the nurse’s desk.

I hear the door open, and the drapes sliding back and the blinds opening.

What’s up? I ask my nurse but it’s a different nurse who answers, and he says that both the surgeon and my nurse tested positive for COVID, and he’s going to have to test me.

There is a familiar rasp to his voice, but I can’t place it. He sticks something up my nose hard and twirls it around until I feel the blood drops, and then he does my other nostril, and I reach out grab his arm and feel his obscene muscles and just as he jams for the third time and swirls the Q-tip around. The blood starts pouring out of that nostril also.

I’ll be back with your results, the husband of the woman I picked up in the bar says, and I know he’ll tell me the test says to keep my eyes covered. He returns in an hour and tells me he must draw blood. Can’t you just take it from my nose, I ask?

Still and always the wise ass, he says and jabs me hard, missing a vein but hitting my funny bone.

 

Paul Beckman’s a Connecticut writer whose latest flash collection, Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Press) was a finalist for the 2019 Indie Book Awards. Some of his stories appeared in Spelk, Connotation Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, Necessary Fiction, Litro, Pank, Playboy, Monkey, WINK, Jellyfish Review, Wax Paper, Blink-Ink, and The Lost Balloon. He had a story selected for the 2020 National Flash Fiction Day Anthology Lineup and was shortlisted in the Strands International Flash Fiction Competition.


If Charles Addams, Edgar Allan Poe, and Willy Wonka sired a bastard child it would be the fat asthmatic by the name of Michael D. Davis. He has been called warped by dear friends and a freak by passing strangers. Michael started drawing cartoons when he was ten, and his skill has improved with his humor, which isn’t saying much. He is for the most part self-taught, only ever crediting the help of one great high school art teacher. His art has been shown at his local library for multiple years only during October due to its macabre nature. If you want to see more of Michael’s strange, odd, weird, cartoons you can follow him on Instagram at mad_hatters_mania.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2022