Hurricane Corona

Gregg Shapiro

Even here in South Florida, where hunkering down

is an annual occurrence during hurricane season, the main

streets were bustling, not the ghost town drags reported

on the news and the internet in other cities, other countries.

Notoriously bad drivers didn’t suddenly drive any better.

Respect and courtesy remained as out of reach as a COVID-19

vaccine. The man on the forklift obstructing traffic while

talking on his phone was just one example of thousands. What

made you think people who never covered coughs and sneezes

before would suddenly start doing so now? Consider inventing

new methods of killing time without killing yourself. Count

hearses. Calculate the square root of self-quarantine. Divide

by curfew. Stop touching your face; let the tears roll down

your cheeks, pool in your lap until you can see your own

worried reflection. Boredom and loneliness were side effects,

as the Supreme Court delayed hearing oral arguments, religious

services streamed online, and 401(k)s shrunk to the size of Donald

Trump’s hands or vocabulary. Several weeks into the pandemic,

the population of West Virginia was virtually untouched. Maybe

smoking and snorting crystal meth was good for something after all.

Gregg Shapiro is the author of seven books including the expanded edition of his short story collection How to Whistle (Rattling Good Yarns Press, 2021). Recent lit-mag publications include RFD, Gargoyle, Limp Wrist, Mollyhouse, Impossible Archetype and Dissonance Magazine, as well as the anthologies This Is What America Looks Like (Washington Writer Publishing House, 2021) and Sweeter Voices Still: An LGBTQ Anthology From Middle America (Belt Publishing, 2021).

Photo by Laura Rowe (Colossal)