Jack Evans thought he was
lucky that when all life was upset by the pandemic he was already retired so
all that he and his wife Blanche had to do was shelter in place and
try not to go crazy. Fortunately, after retiring hed
become a free-lance writer and now wrote a column for their Northern California
retirement communitys paper as well as short stories for online
magazines. Blanche for her part had taken up watercolor
painting and this kept her occupied.
It was a nice fall day so
Jack told Blanche he was going out for a little walk to stretch his legs. He
put on the required mask and took his walking stick (he preferred to call it
that and not a cane) and set out. Hed gone a couple of blocks
when he noticed a woman sitting on her porch. She looked to be in her 70s
with dyed red hair and held a cell phone in her lap. He thought she
waved at him so he said a polite good morning. Instead of replying with a good
morning the woman snorted and said, Hah, whats good about it? This
covid or corona or whatever it is has ruined my life.
Its not that
bad, is it?
terrible. Im cut off from the world. I dont have my mah-jong game
any more. We used to play every week. I dont have my lunches. Im
afraid to go to a restaurant. And my sons. Youd think they could give
their mother a call sometime. I have my phone here, see, but does it
ring? No. Only someone trying to put a scam over on me and
take my money.
Yes, you have to be
Sometimes I even talk
to the robot on the robot call. At least its something. Youd think
my sons would like to know Im still alive and the virus hasnt
gotten me yet. Hah!
Yes, well, I hope
your sons call soon, Jack said quickly. Good-bye. As Jack
walked on he could hear the old lady still grumbling to herself.
A couple of blocks on
he was about to pass a younger retiree edging his lawn when the man looked up
and said, Good morning. Nice day for a stroll.
Yes. I see
youre keeping your lawn in shape.
To tell you the
truth, the lawns okay. I came out here to get away from my wife. Ever
since this damned virus thing shes been driving me
Too much, all right.
First, Im underfoot all day and she cant get anything done. Then I
dont talk to her. Weve been married forty years. Whats left
to talk about?She says I sit in my room all day and watch sports on
television. Hell, she sits in the living room all day and watches soap operas.
She says shes tired of cooking. I say lets try eating out at one of
those places thats opened. She says No, its too dangerous. She read
somewhere that eating out is one of the riskiest things to do. At this
point, the young retiree spread out his hands. So, what can I
Jack shook his head.
I dont know. Just hang in there. Maybe theyll get that
vaccine and things will get back to normal some day.
Jack was returning to his
house, by a different route as he didnt want to encounter the old lady
with the ungrateful sons again., when an old fellow in a wheelchair approached
in the opposite direction. Taking a walk, sonny? said the old
Sonny? It had been a long
time since anybody had called him that.
Yes, its a nice
day for it.
Used to be able to
walk for miles, then fell and broke my hip. Now Im in this damned
wheelchair. But the whole world is messed up anyway, isnt it?
Yes, I guess it
Who yer voting
Uh, I dont
know. This was dangerous territory, thought Jack. He didnt want to
get into a discussion with this old guy, who was probably a Trumpster, or maybe
he hated Trump. I try not to get into politics too much.
Smart move, sonny. We
got this idiot in the White House and the other guy is a nincompoop.
What do you
been going downhill for the last fifty years if you ask me.Drugs and free love
and all that stuff. Now we have rioting in the streets at the drop of a hat.
Any excuse to go out and loot and burn. That mayor in Portland must be an
idiot. Same for that mayor in Seattle. What do you think?
And those rioters
come right up to your house and try to intimidate you. Look at that couple in
I-dont-know-where, theyre trying to defend their house and they get
arrested. What kind of a country are we living in? I know what Ill do if
they come around to my house. I have my rifle ready.
Guess you think
Im just an ornery old coot. Am I right, sonny?
That idiot in the
White House keeps saying a vaccine is just around the corner. What do you
Yeah, I know,
cant believe a word he says. Dont put much stock in what those
so-called health experts say either. What do you think?
First they tell us
not to wear masks, then we have to wear masks. Then young people dont get
real sick so theyre okay but a lot of them do get real sick and die. And
kids should go back to school or maybe they shouldnt. What do you think,
Jack looked at his watch
and said, Uh, I have to be getting back or my wife will think I got lost.
Its been nice talking with you. He quickly walked away while behind
him he could hear the old guy still talking. Well, one thing hed found
out about people whod been in lockdown for a long time; they liked to
When he got back home
Blanche was frowning at her latest painting. She looked up. How was your
walk? She asked.
It was okay. Met some
people and heard some interesting things. Maybe Ill try to write a story