The Mirror Rearview: Special Report # 18 (July 8, 2020) |
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 seventeen reports.
State legislators have approved funds to erect a statue to honor Alice N. Wonderland, the Laicos County Executive, for her extraordinary leadership, especially after the Covid-19 virus outbreak. A notable sculpture artist will create a 30-foot tall marble image of Ms. Wonderland and will be erected in Wonderland Park next year. The statue will replace a General George S. Patton figure, removed by an angry mob in June. A spokesperson for the horde stated… “Somebody said Patton was a hero during some war, but we ripped his statue down because he was a bully for striking an innocent infantryman suffering from battle fatigue. We don’t care about history…but we’re making it today.” Ms. Wonderland announced she was grateful for the honor and added… “It is time to reflect on the future and ignore history since it has passed us by.”
Alice N. Wonderland has continued a punitive lock-down on the community, although the number of hospitalizations from Coronavirus-19 has dropped significantly. Last month, Ms. Wonderland engaged five hundred Covid-19 contact trackers to trace connections of infected people. Ironically, all five hundred trackers immediately contracted the virus after attending a group training session where they were initially instructed on their duties…all tracers have now been quarantined. Nonetheless, Ms. Wonderland has dictated trackers continue their investigation for contacts including phone calls and e-mails, as well as normal face-to face encounters.
Ms. Wonderland has created a list of activities that are no longer permitted relating to physical contact unless they are completely covered in bubble wrap. This includes kissing, hugging, handshakes, fist-pumps, elbow pumps, and playing footsie. All forms of sexual activities also prohibited, except for masturbation, which is permitted in groups with proper social distancing. People are now encouraged to wave to each other by forming a motion from 9 o’clock to a 3 o’clock angle. Except for police and other emergency workers, every person in the County has also been quarantined. Police barricades have been erected at every road leading into Laicos County, so no one can enter or leave the County. Three weeks ago, I couldn’t deal with another day of isolation, so I escaped Laicos County using an abandoned old country road that was not manned by police. I drove 400 miles to DUM, the closet international airport, for a flight to Stockholm, Sweden. Upon arrival at DUM, my temperature was taken before entering the terminal and my mask was inspected to ensure it met the minimum standards. Donning my mask as I entered the DUM terminal, it appeared as if I was attending a bandit convention. DUM airport security controlled the elevator access, allowing only one person in a cab at a time. In addition, only one person could use an escalator or a moving sidewalk.
The France-based airline had one agent working the check-in counter process, although three baggage handlers stood around telling jokes, laughing at the frustrated passengers. The 200+ passenger line extended ¼ mile around the terminal, due to mandated six-foot requirement of social distancing. After the two hour wait to check my bags, I waited another hour to take a train to the outlying concourse as only one person could enter a DUM train car at a time. When I arrived at the concourse, I noted there less passengers than cleaning workers roaming the corridor and observed more kiosks were staffed than restaurants operating. Futilely searching for food, I settled for a moldy chicken sandwich, a bag of soggy potato chips, and a DUM-labeled bottle of yellowish warm liquid.
Although the flight left the gate on time, our plane was routed to the furthest runway from the terminal where nine aircraft lined up a mile long for take-off. After a forty-minute delay, the pilot reluctantly admitted the air traffic controllers were ordered to keep planes to an acceptable social distance limit of 600 feet, eliminating the use of parallel runways. Fortunately, there was no social distance requirement for the international air traffic corridors, so the plane landed in Sweden on time. During the flight several unruly passengers refused to wear face masks, so the pilots purposely lowed the air pressure in the cabin, causing the emergency oxygen masks to drop, ensuring everyone was in compliance.
Arriving in Stockholm, it seemed as if I had landed in another planet. I soon learned local officials requested a new international airport symbol…FUN. Taking a taxi into the city, I discovered no one wore masks, the bars and restaurants were overflowing, every shop was open, and even the brothels had a long line…a wait I was happy to endure.
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