This flash hasn't been posted here previously, and thought I'd post it to keep my normal schedule while I'm at a writer conference. 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
"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