Stratovirus-19 prt 2: Sociopath King

Posted: May 13, 2020 in novel, toil & sound, creative writing, short fiction, writing life

From the scrappy leaves of our Box Elder, there is a frantic chirping. Somebody might think it was a bird that had gone a little nuts. But it is a squirrel’s urgent warning. The shadow of the neighborhood hawk glides over me and across the lawn; it swoops near the tree top, and the chirping stops for a moment. Holding dearly to its final breath? The raptorial wraith floats on an up-draft of warm air, and the squirrel’s frantic chirping resumes.


photo credit: Brian Sullivan, Mcaulay Library

I sit alone here on our hillside backyard that overlooks the vast field of sprouting crop of corn or soybean. I’ve been doing the same thing for over a week now, taking some time away from my work and anxiety, to absorb myself in the plight and flight and roaming of animals through the field. Wolves stalking the scent of stray cattle, a pack of once-domesticated dogs sniffing and grazing the shoots of long prarie grass at the edge of the field, a fox, a badger, a bear, their journeys overlaid with the soundtrack of increased bird chatter, squirrel alarms, and rabbit screeching death in the maw of a roaming coyote. I find comfort in the escape, the what-if in the death of other things.

I haven’t seen Jean in the ten days since she miraculously avoided the night patrols and checkpoints to get across town to help with nearly-catatonic Momma Sharon and Rose and Thomas. Daddy Doctor Daniel is still going in to work, likely trying to drown his guilt in the distraction of the chaotic clinic. This is about all I know. Electronic communications are closely watched, scrutinized for inadvertent confessions of breaking the quarantine. Luckily, the old fashioned mail always arrives quickly and unopened. Even so, Jean and I have only sent one note to the other, she wrote to tell me she was okay, and I responded with, “Good. Be safe.” I suppose I should have written a bit more, told her that I loved her and missed her. Maybe that would have helped with her suspicions that I am a sociopath.

The wind picks up and the sun goes behind a bank of clouds. I stand, stretch and haul my increasingly large gut and ass inside to the TV. I’m going to watch the remaining three episodes of Sociopath King, a documentary reality show about a couple of rival government zookeepers. The winner is decided when it is revealed which zookeeper has culled only the sociopathic humans they are in charge of; the final episode will reveal if the one remaining human in the competitor’s respective cages is a “normal” human.

  1. Alexandre says:

    Jesus, man. The last paragraph make laugh a lot! Thanks!

    • Hey, man. Thanks for reading. Wow, so much shit has happened here in this fucked up country since I wrote this piece. But I need to get back to the Stratovirus serial.

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