Saturday, October 17, 2009

H1K3 Epidemic

A response to Nathaniel Lee's "A New Plague" in Mirror Shards.

"Not another one," said Tony under his breath as he watched a young man without a surgical mask enter his bar. The man's black suit jacket was obviously tailored at one time but now was wrinkled and had a veneer of dust and dandruff that colored the suit stormcloud gray. A former Wall Street banker come for a drink.

The ex-banker sidled up to the bar and crawled onto a stool with his knees raised in front of his chest and his unpolished dress shoes resting on the stool. Tony asked through his surgical mask, "What'll you have?"

"Vodka martini, straight up, with extra eucalyptus."

The order confirmed it, he was probably a carrier but Tony wouldn't take any chances that this wasn't a health Department mole. "I need to see a doctor's prescription."

The ex-banker riffled through his jacket and pants pockets until he unearthed a stained and wrinkled piece of paper in his back pocket and handed it over to Tony. Another koala flu victim. The ex-banker said, "The doctor says the eucalyptus will be good for me."

Tony mixed the drink and dropped a toxic eucalyptus twig into the glass. "You're welcome to drink here at the bar, or climb the ladder against the wall and sit in the rafters." Above them, a dozen patrons balanced against the cross-beams and nursed their drinks in silence.

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