The Mirror Rearview; Report # 16 An on-going series from Stephen P. Bye, a Correspondent for the Mirror Rearview, a fictional newspaper in Laicos County, an imaginary USA municipality. Please refer to the previous fifteen reports. |
(April 13, 2020) This investigative reporter has learned that Laicos County Executive Alice N. Wonderland has ordered all television and radio stations in the County to focus coverage on “feel good” stories and avoid any reference to the number of deaths, hospitalizations, and confirmed cases of Coronavirus. Violations are subject to a $100,000 fine for the first offense and transmission outage penalties for 60 minutes for the second infraction, 24 hours for the 3rd infraction, and 30 days for the 4th violation. Ms. Wonderland has apparently ordered the County owned Laicos Public Utility Company to suspend electricity to any station to enforce the power outage.
I spoke to Laicos County Hospital’s chief pathologist, Dr. Pat Hologist. He confessed performing one hundred autopsies last week and attributed sixty deaths to Coronavirus. He added there had been demands from Alice N. Wonderland to suppress the actual number of deaths, proving her punitive shut-down of all activity in the County was a tremendous success. However, Laicos County Hospital pressured Dr. Hologist to publicly overstate the Covid-19 death count to obtain more governmental financial assistance for medical facilities treating Covid-19 patients. Ms. Wonderland is currently in process of replacing Dr. Hologist as chief pathologist.
With the acute shortage of toilet paper at local stores, Laicos County Toilet Paper Czar, Lester Hacker, assembled a 14-person task force and finally rendered an order restricting toilet paper consumption. Based upon his research and recommendations of the task force, a family of four is eligible to purchase three rolls of toilet paper per month. An anonymous member of the task force revealed Hacker’s decision was based upon scientific research the average person defecates 1.71 times/day and a sampling of several brands of toilet paper, concluded an average roll contained 450 sheets. After significant deliberation, Hacker decided six 2-ply sheets of toilet paper was optimum to use for the average defecation. Therefore, an average toilet paper roll would supply 75 defecations.
Thousands of toilet paper protestors converged on the County Municipal Building demanding the resignation of Ms. Wonderland and Mr. Hacker. Protest signs were prominent featuring slogans such as “Roll Wonderland”, “Dump Les”, “N Stands for Nut”, “Wipe Hacker”, and “Flush Alice”. Many placards had images of commodes and porta-potties or toilet paper rolls…some with multiple brown highlights. Approximately four thousand protestors were arrested for violating Ms. Wonderland’s social distancing mandates and were herded into the police automobile impound lot. Over ten hours, the detainees were released after paying a hundred dollar fine each.
Another controversy is brewing over Ms. Wonderland’s order for all liquor stores to close on April 1st. Although she gave ample warning of the closure, people have begun to run out of liquor despite loading up on supplies in March. A “black market” has quickly arisen, with Vodka, Gin, Bourbon, etc. trading at prices over $300 per bottle and 12-ounce cans of beer selling over $10. The number of robberies and shootings have quickly escalated. I contacted County Sheriff Bobby Constable, although he would not share the number of liquor related crimes with me. Ms. Wonderland is reportedly considering an executive order for all residents to forfeit all currency and coins to the County to eliminate cash trades for liquor, toilet paper, and other items in short supply.
As reported recently, Ms. Wonderland’s mask order for all residents has created significant problems for law enforcement, distinguishing robbers from law-biding citizens. When police stop and frisk a person, they instantly run a background check for prior arrests. If the resident has no criminal record, the police officer provides a Laicos County official mask with a “happy face” sown on the surface. The process of sorting out criminals from law-biding citizens is expected to take at least six months according to Sheriff Constable.
During the week, I travelled two hundred miles to Latipac County, where County Executive Prudence Wise has successfully maintained “business as usual” conditions, embracing a philosophy of developing herd immunity to combat Coronavirus. All schools have remained open, as well as most businesses. However, people with serious health issues and those over seventy-years old have been quarantined in medically supervised facilities with minimal contact with the outside world. The death count is like the numbers in Laicos County, although plateaued two weeks ago. Since I was wearing my mandatory Laicos County mask as I entered Latipac County, I was quickly apprehended by local police, suspecting me to be a robber. However, I was released after convincing them I was ordered to wear it 24/7 per Ms. Wonderland’s mandate and forgot to remove it.
The Covid-19 crisis has created a fluid set of reactions from Laicos County officials. I will update breaking news as it becomes available.
Looking Forward Through the Rear View Mirror
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