Sheltering in Place at 44 Cherry Street

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The weather on Cherry Street was perfect. The sun was shining and birds singing, and the temperature was climbing into the eighties. The trees were all in bloom and spring flowers were out in all their glory. So why were the streets deserted? Not a single car parked on Cherry nor a single pedestrian? Everyone was hunkered in place fearing the Corona Virus. The county had just issued a declaration ordering people to stay home starting that night. The parks department put barriers up at Lake Tomahawk in a vain attempt to keep walkers away from the trail around the lake. And the residents of 44 Cherry Street were wracking their brains to list and gather supplies they would need for the next weeks. in confinement. 

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Frederick was twice as concerned as before, but not for himself. He had heard nothing new about the whereabouts of his runaway wife and was worried that she might be in some kind of trouble. What if she was alone and afraid and had no way to get to safety? His nights were filled with bad dreams where Lorraine was locked in a Turkish prison and fed only bread and water. She would hate that! She was gluten intolerant. (Little did he know that Lorraine was fat and happy in Mexico.)

Lorraine and El Chapo had left El Dorado Royale after a luxurious stay and had returned to his jungle hideaway. His bodyguards would defend them there against any sign of the virus. They drove back in their limo followed as before by the men in black camo who had discarded the colorful serapes they used in the resort to disguise their weapons. Because of the delicious food and constant supply of Mojitos, Lorraine had added even more weight to her voluptuous figure. She knew that she might never again fit into her carefully curated wardrobe of Eileen Fisher clothes, but Chappie liked her “with carne on her bones.” And these loose flowing caftans she wore were so comfy. She neither wore a bra nor held in her stomach at all. Ahhhh!

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Ellie felt that she had to care not only for herself but for Frederick also, poor dear. She brought her reusable bags to Ingles and scoured the store to stock up. The meat counter was bare. She had wanted chicken and ground beef but there was neither. She wanted flour to make cookies, but every bag had been taken already. She settled on bags of frozen foods and all the remaining boxes of Jello and cans of fruit cocktail in the store. These would have to do. Then she hurried home. She didn’t want to miss the daily newscast of the President’s update of the crisis. She felt so reassured when he spoke, because he reminded her of her uncle in Illinois. Her Uncle Bubba had left school in seventh grade, but he was so wise. It took him a while to tell a story, but when he finished you had a lot to think about. The next time he told you that same story, it was totally different. How she loved him! He was so creative!

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She was in a hurry to check out, and had crowded within five feet of the woman on line in front of her. The woman turned sharply and hissed at her. Ellie was surprised and hissed back and giggled. She thought it was a new way to be friendly during the crisis. The short woman wearing big sunglasses whipped off the glasses and glared at Ellie. “Do you mind?!” she demanded. “Give me some breathing space!”

Ellie thought the woman had said she was having trouble breathing, so she rushed up and grabbed her around the waist to try a Heimlich. She tightened her grip and squeezed just like she had seen it done on the police shows she watched on tv. All that resulted, though, was that the woman elbowed Ellie hard in the ribs to get free and started screaming at her,”You moron! Get off me. I hope you get the virus and die!” 

“That wasn’t very nice…” Ellie thought.