May Be on My Way to Becoming a COVID Statistic
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
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?
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
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.