The Cold. (an ephemera story)

The cold story

We went to the hospital near Greenbrier this time. We went, bolstered up only by prayer.

They never suspected. They never saw it coming, the total breakdown of their system. We looked healthy, as healthy as anyone can look in the fall. Runny noses were rampant then, the beautiful colors came to the trees and the allergies came with him. We looked healthy in comparison. We’d prepared.

They don’t check passports at this hospital, and they don’t check immunization records. Just a quick look at your face and you were in, sticker pressed to your shirt over your heart, the same place every time. No sticker, no admittance, so it had to be prominent.

We’d been to Madagascar, we’d been to Belize. Cameroon? Sure. We did so many little forgotten countries that we filled our passport books 3 times over.

And immunizations? Homeschooled. Our ultra-religious parents didn’t want us being infected by the world by thoughts or antibodies. They prayed our colds away. Even a broken arm wasn’t too much for their prayers. Healed up overnight, it did, with nary a twinge. They weren’t around anymore, but their lessons held true. We’d learned the way of prayer.

We were carriers now, infected with every virus and germ, known and unknown. We were carriers, but not sick. We carried our gifts of sickness and disease and death to any and sundry, throughout the city and then the state.

We started small, but had big plans. Soon we would wipe out, shut down, cripple Western medicine, bring it to its knees. Soon they would beg for the knowledge that would save them.

For too long they had trusted in their own knowledge and not in the LORD. For too long they’d trusted in their Science and not the Spirit. Those days were soon to be over.

“Thank you, Paul!” Margery said, pausing just long enough to read his name badge.

The watch-nurse’s name read in 20pt. type “Paul Roberts” but she called him by his first name, his Christian name. More friendly that way. More disarming too. Amazing what a smile and calling a stranger by his name would do to open doors, visible and not.

“You’re most welcome, Ma’am!” he sang out.

Good manners, too. A shame he’d be dead in a week. That’s part of the price of throwing in with the devil. His choice. His loss.

She pressed a “The LORD is coming soon!” pamphlet into his hand. Maybe he’d read it and get saved. It was his only chance, to read it. Just touching it he was doomed to an early death. He’d die, sure, but being saved meant he’d not go straight to hell.


If being around Margery and John wasn’t enough, the pamphlets did the rest. Even thrown in the trash, the damage was done. Bare skin to the paper, or better yet the ink, and a thousand viruses were passed. It took just a moment.

They were specially prepared. No one would ever suspect.

The couple had a hundred of them. It was enough.

They made their way to the cancer ward, then the neonatal unit, then ICU. The weakest first, and then the rest. Never too long in one area, and always friendly, and always apparently lost. The nurses would redirect them, and they’d be on their way.

It was all in a day’s work.

Humans and animals

“Humans — who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals — have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and ‘animals’ is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them — without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us.”
From “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” (1992) by Carl Sagan and co-written Dr. Ann Druyan

If we can do this to animals, then how do we treat humans? If we can separate and de-personalize animals, to separate them into “things”, then do we also do that to humans?

Is it how we are able to enslave humans?
No living wage, no health care.
Treating people as if “They deserve it”
Women being treated like things and objects.
Human trafficking.

In many ways we don’t seem to have made humans above animals. We don’t eat them, but we don’t let them live either, not really. We create laws so people can’t make their own choices about their lives and then experience the consequences – thus depriving them of valuable learning opportunities. Our laws treat people like children.