Lorraine gets her news from Us Magazine
Lorraine was sitting beside the pool sipping a fruity cocktail and gazing admiringly at her home-done pedicure. She thought nostalgically about Black Mountain and her previous pedicures at Cyndee’s Nails on Broadway. She did a serviceable job clipping and polishing her own toe nails, but there was no replacing the foot and leg massages she got at Cyndee’s. Her mind drifted back to 44 Cherry Street and her life in Black Mountain. She thought for a moment about Frederick, who was probably pining for her. Poor Frederick. She had been harsh. She had yet to call him and tell him where she was. How could she, really? He was so provincial. He wouldn’t understand.
What was happening in Black Mountain, she wondered. Aside from the romance bodice- rippers Chappie brought back for her from his business trips, her only reading was old Us Magazines with stories about the British Royal family and celebrities she didn’t recognize. More and more, though, she noticed stories about a virus that was wrecking havoc in the states. It sounded awful! She wondered if it was as bad as it sounded in Us.
When Chappie came out to the pool to bring her a fresh Margarita, she asked him what he knew about the Corona Virus.
Chappie shook his head slowly.”Is fake news,” he said angrily. “My friend Donald tell me that it is Liberal Lie used to make him look bad. And he knows what is truth. He listens closely to Fox News and they tell Americans it is nothing. They say don’t let the flu or a bad cold—is all it is!—keep you from going to church or to the beach. Stupid Liberals lock themselves in the house and make silly masks to wear. And they name it Corona Virus to make people hate Mexicans. Donald, he call it by its correct name, Chinese Virus. These Chinese plotting to take over the world. Send this virus everywhere so it kills everyone but Chinese.”
Lorraine thought about what he was saying. “But Chappie, why does Us Magazine say that people are dying? Lots of Chinese people have died. It sounds dangerous. It sounds worse than the flu no matter where it comes from.”
“What you worry about?” he spat. “People die all the time! I see people dying every day; whenever I go collect a debt, I see dead people.”
“Well Chappie,” she said sweetly. “I hope you are wearing a mask. I don’t want you to catch the virus.”
Chappie just stared at her for a minute, shook his head, and went back into the mansion.
Lorraine had not always been the concubine of an international drug czar. She had had quite a few interesting careers before she became a realtor in Black Mt. She had gone to culinary school and was a chef, she was a social worker, and she was a probation officer. She had let her life speak. She had made a difference, damn it. Now all she did was drink, eat, and get fat. Where was her spirit? She wondered if dogs were getting sick with the virus? She remembered her dear dog/baby Suki, and knew that if Suki had caught the virus, she would have been destroyed.
She drained her Margarita and hauled herself up off the chaise lounge. She owed it to the dogs of America to go back home and set up a clinic for dogs suffering with the virus. She felt lead by Suki up in Doggie Heaven. “Go!” called Suki. “Go now! Save the dogs of America!”
She would do it! She stormed into the casa and entered her plush pink bedroom with all the gold accents. She pulled open her closet and started piling the clothes she would take onto her pink satan spread. But where were her suitcases?