I have listed all my neighbors in the order I will eat them.
When COVID-19 closed the schools, then the bars, then the restaurants, I could see the spaghetti noodles on the wall. America was on the verge of Apocalypse. Baby Boomers who long ago gave up cooking, along with Generation X who failed Home Ec back when schools still had Home Ec, and Millennials whose idea of a full course meal is a Taco Bell Chalupa Box, would soon take to the streets in hangry pandemonium. I did the adult thing to do. By that I mean I hurried to my local Costco and bought up all the Kirkland Vodka and toilet paper.
Okay, not ALL the toilet paper.
I’m not a monster.
I spent my last paycheck on essential items — beer, weed, and rice. And here it is, three weeks later. I’m sick of rice and I’m nearly all out of beer and weed.
At first the lockdown sounded like an adventure. Like camping. But the cool kind of camping, with electricity and indoor plumbing. They told me I shouldn’t leave my house for a month and I didn’t have to go to work. Even better, the government would pay me (albeit, very slowly) if I promised not to put on pants? Well, you didn’t have to ask me twice!
Little did I know what horrors lay ahead!
The first few days I spent watching Netflix, eating stale cereal right out of the box, and arguing with strangers on Facebook about frivolous things. Who would have won March Madness (Kentucky). Whether our President is a vindictive madman or just a petty fool with an unusually small penis (both). But soon the novelty of the novel virus wore off and when I might have otherwise drank away my frustrations at the local pub, thanks to Governor’s orders, all pubs were closed and I’ve yet to find curbside service offering shots of bourbon, neat.
So I started drinking at home. Rather thank risk a trip to the mutant infested grocery store, I ordered all my beer delivered. Cheaper by the can, only I live in a deposit state. Because if the virus don’t kill ya, litter surely will. But stores have stopped taking back cans. Before long (a couple days) I was practically buried alive in empty beer cans. Each one of these fuckers is worth a dime, and I haven’t seen that government check just yet, so…
Soon the stores will all be out of beer. I’m saving the Vodka for sanitizer, and my rice is in very short supply.
Here I sit at my windowsill with my notepad, watching my neighbor Marvin waddle up to his mailbox to collect the already outdated “Fifteen Days to Slow the Spread” postcard Mike Pence sent him. Down the street, Mrs. Wilkins is on her knees, working on her garden, even though it’s not nearly warm enough to garden.
My list of neighbors is almost complete.
Don’t look at me like that. I’ve had crazier ideas.
Stores are no longer safe. They’re breeding grounds for the virus. Most of them are letting the old people shop early in the morning. So for the rest of the day, stores are crawling with even more virus than normal. Nor is delivery safe. That food could still have been pawed by Grandma and Grandpa’s gerrmy arthritic hands earlier in the day. And there have already been meat shortages.
So it stands to reason that if I am to survive this pandemic, I’m going to have to gobble down a few of my neighbors. Just like that politician from Texas said… they should be happy to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. I could be saving a couple ventilators too. Maybe I’ll get the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Mrs. Wilkins was first on my list. She’s a bit thick and probably more flavorful. But she was also covered in dirt from gardening. So I did a quick lineup change before the first inning. Marvin was up, pinch hitting.
“Hey Marv,” I yelled from my porch. He looked up, waved, then went back to shuffling his mail. “Get your stimulus check yet?”
But Marvin was hard of hearing and walked back inside without a word.
This was going to be harder than I thought.
I only have the two neighbors. I used to have three, but the trucker hasn’t been seen since this whole mess started. So I went back to square one.
I walked up to Mrs. Wilkins, who was wrist deep in dirt. I stopped six feet away and said, “Howdy neighbor. Need a hand?”
“Already got one,” she said, bluntly.
I gazed at her for a moment and my train of thought got lost in the folds of her flabby arms. I would probably have to ration out my meals. Maybe start with her toes, or some other part of her body that didn’t taste like Ben Gay.
My stomach growled, “Whatcha planting?”
“Herb,” was her answer.
“I think the H is silent,” I said, with a chuckle. She just smiled and kept digging with her garden trowel. Her fingers might make a good appetizer. Maybe pushed onto a stick, like a wrinkly shish kabob.
I nervously fondled the knife behind my back and inched closer to her.
“Say, I haven’t seen our other neighbor around lately.” I motioned to the Trucker’s house with my free hand. “You seen him?”
“Not lately.” She flipped over some dirt and I swore I saw a real big worm, and wait, was that a fingernail?
My hand with the knife grew sweaty and I stepped back. When I did, I saw some red stains splattered on her garden smock. When she saw me eyeing them, she muttered, “Spaghetti sauce, honey.”
I dropped the knife. Then ran back home to shelter in place. I popped open another beer and peeked out from the curtains while I thought about dinner.
Rice ain’t so bad, after all.