Some of you may (or may not) know, that I work at a restaurant a few times a week. It is not a heavy schedule and I find that I really enjoy the forced socializing after several years hiding in the house. This Friday however, I discovered I was in a movie, a movie about the plague.
Let me start by saying that for the past couple of weeks I have been a kind of kinetic thing. A super-human blur of motion and productivity. I’ve been a regular early riser, a regular gym goer and absolutely heroic in the garden and house. I can’t explain it; I’ve just been feeling really good. So Friday morning I awoke at five in the morning and began trimming some overgrown shrubs and getting all the weeks trimming tied up for the day’s collection, cooked breakfast for two, walked the dogs, went to the gym and then took shower prior to reading through the last slush in my inbox. Then, energized and enlightened, I drove to work to open the restaurant. I got there and was told I would be training a new employee, which was a bit of a compliment as I am myself fairly new there, though I certainly do a good job. After setting up the dining room I noticed I had worked up a bit of a sweat, but this is not unusual as I move fast. I drank some cold water and settled in to a more paced routine. When the restaurant opened half an hour later I was still perspiring fiercely. I changed shirts. Twenty minutes later I changed again. And then, despairing of ever staying dry, I put on a button-down that stayed a safe, linen distance from my saturated tee. A large table of woman sat in my section and I began to describe the high-lights of the menu, but my mouth was doing funny things, my tongue felt like it was borrowed from someone considerably larger than myself. Worse, I kept forgetting things. Understand, I almost never write down peoples orders. I can remember six complicated menu choices without even trying. It’s a gift. I suddenly found myself unable to remember the words that came before the word that was being at that very moment spoken. I went to make their drinks. I said to my co-worker, “I think I might be coming down with something.” He looked at me with a bit of pity and perhaps a bit of disbelief. I pressed on. I went to the table to get their orders, taking pains to write down exactly what they were having with a seat position beside it; all trust in my memory was going out the door. I started with the first lady; I noticed that sweat was dripping off my nose onto my notepad. By the time I got to the last position, the seat was running off my face, like a water pique was being aimed between my eyebrows. I wrote down the order, though I had no comprehension of what was being said. I had to hand the order off to my trainee with a sort of “figure it out, do as I say” comment, I was beginning to black out. I stumbled into the owner of the place int he kitchen. I said, “Sxxxx, I don’t feel so good,” to his back. He started to say some sort of dismissive, ‘you stupid hung-over servers’ type thing, then he saw me. Somewhere around then I lost the ability to hold anything in my hand. Then I lost the ability to understand where I was. My next memories are about a half hour later on my couch at home, sweat soaked and heaving vomit into an orange bucket. It is three days later. I’m mostly recovered, just kind of weak and lethargic. But I do have one wonderful memory: I can remember the faces of the women at the table as they looked at me in horror. I was a thing of contamination and they knew it and I felt it, though at the moment it happened I was being pulled along a path quite beyond my control. I wasn’t a person at that moment- I had no free will, but they viewed me as something far more offensive than some criminal.
It was… enlightening.
Science of Fiction