In these awful days of Delta Covid, I thought it timely to reprise a story written in January. Is this how it started…?
The Super Killers Ball
I picked up the envelope by the front step. It stunk, looked and felt grimy. I wasn’t expecting anything and wondered if I should take it down to the Cop Shop. It was probably another poo parcel, or variation thereof. Left by some liberal activist putting their views above my right to free speech. The sort of person who expressed their indignance with excrement and bile – literally! But I was used to that crap now; pardon the pun. When you challenge the status quo, you’ve got to expect a bit of shit thrown at you.
I’m an anti-vaxxer and Covid denier. A mighty proud one to boot. Last month I stood in the General Election standing on a platform of free the people. I polled 211 votes but would have easily polled more if people weren’t afraid to be associated with me. People are scared these days, you see, afraid to speak their minds, express their real feelings. That’s the greatest conspiracy of all! Vaccinations and the conjured up Covid disease repress the people. The conspiracy is designed to keep ’em quiet. People have been conditioned to believe the status quo. If they hadn’t, well, who knows how many votes I would have polled? The Government is hiding the truth, and people are afraid to rock the boat. Masks mask the real agenda of a corrupt system. A system designed to dumb the people down! To deny freedoms and the right to express alternative views.
I decided not to go to the cops. What good would they do anyway? Besides, the package looked far too interesting. It called out to me! This was not the standard package of fun or hate mail I usually received. I went inside, put on some rubber gloves, goggles, and a mask. You can’t take too many chances. You need to protect yourself; you just never know what’s out there. Or, in this case, what’s in there. I decided to open the envelope in the bathroom to contain any mess inside the bulging beige envelope. I grabbed scissors from the kitchen, then stopped by the laundry to put a peg over my nose. Fully protected, I gently prised the envelope open in the bathroom sink. Fluid gushed and spewed from inside. It was gelatinous and looked like a bodily fluid of some description. Multicoloured, it was speckled with green, red and white streaks. Even through my nasal safety peg, I could still smell its obnoxiousness. Fluid dripped through my gloved fingers onto the floor, spreading and smearing slimy viscosity along the bathroom tiles. Making them slippery, and the grout change colour.
Within the liquid, there was another package. It was sealed within a ziplocked sandwich bag. I squeezed it out, rinsed it under the hot water tap. Once it was completely clear of the gelatinous gunk, I dried it off with toilet paper. Then, I sprayed it with some bathroom disinfectant and gingerly opened the bag. Folded neatly within the sandwich bag was an invitation.
Bertrand Harmer Jnr
The VAPPIDAF Academy cordially invites you to
The Annual Super Killers Ball & Award Ceremony
23rd January 2021
York Valley Landfill
8pm till late
HAZMAT is optional but recommended.
RSVP not required – Transport provided.
My first reaction was, for fuck’s sake, that’s tonight! Thanks for the advanced warning! Then an avalanche of questions hit me. What the hell was the VAPPIDAF Academy? Where was I supposed to find a HAZMAT suit at such short notice, and since when did they have a function centre at the Refuse site? It was crazy. I quickly put it down as a ridiculous hoax. Typical of the liberal bullshit being propagated these days. There’re some real crazies out there – that’s for sure.
Looking around the bathroom, I decided against having a shower. I washed up in the laundry instead. Then, I walked into the kitchen, grabbed a couple of beers and turned on cable news. It’d been a shit-house week, full of drama, so it felt good to collapse into my chair, sink a few cold ones. It was seven o’clock when I was woken by a knock on the door. I must have fallen asleep as the TV was on standby. I got up, walked toward the door, peering out the lounge window to see who it was. I couldn’t see anyone but spied a big black limo parked across the street. That was weird.
Knock, knock, knock.
“Okay, okay, I’m coming alright.”
I opened the door.
No one was there. I poked my head out of the doorway, looked around. Nope, there was no one there. The fuckin’ kids from next door, I thought, slamming the door shut and walking back toward my chair.
Knock, knock, knock.
The knock seemed more urgent, more intense this time.
“Go away, you little shits, or I’ll give you a clip behind the ears!”
Knock, knock, knock.
“Right!” I yelled, jumping up and storming back to the door.
I ripped the door open, preparing to unleash both barrels of my lungs, scream at the kids. But once again, there was no one there.
‘Hello,’ said a croaky wet voice from nowhere.
‘Wha…wha…what? Who’s there?’
“It’s me, Silly! It’s me!”
“Well, where are you? I can’t see you.”
“Ha-ha, Silly. No, you can’t see me. But I am here, believe me.”
“Is this a joke? I know…I know…, this is some kind of prank! Right? There’s a mini speaker and camera somewhere around here. I searched the door frame, padding the wood, trying to locate a bug of sorts. I couldn’t find anything.
“Ha-ha, Silly,” repeated the voice. “It’s no joke, c’mon, hurry up, or we’ll be late!”
“Late for what?” I snapped.
“The Ball, the Super Killers Ball. I’ve come to pick you up! I’ve got your suit in the back of the Limo. You can change on the way.”
“I’m not going with you. I mean, I can’t even see you. This is crazy.”
“Ha-ha, yes, there is a lot of craziness going around these days. But I don’t think you understand, you need to come with me. You must.”
“Is that a threat?”
“No, Silly, it’s a reality. You will be coming with me. Now, close the door and follow me. Don’t worry, you won’t be harmed, and I’ll return you home safe and sound, just after midnight. I promise. What do you think, Cinderella? Shall I escort you to the ball? C’mon, it will be fun.”
There was an unspoken gravity to the voice, its tone a relic from the ages. A sound conveying latent misery and pain. I reluctantly moved toward the Limo. A back door of the Limo magically opened as I approached.
“Jump in, Silly, put on your suit.”
“I will be your driver and host this evening,” the same voice said through the intercom. “Let me introduce myself. I am Cory Za. But you can call me Cory, common old Cory, ha-ha. Tonight’s going to be fun and extremely exciting. I can’t wait.”
“I can’t see you,” I complained. “It’s not going to be much fun if I can’t see anything.”
“Fair enough,” said Cory.
A drivers cap suddenly appeared, the only thing was, there was no one under it!
“Are we going to the York Valley Landfill?” I asked, struggling to get into the HAZMAT suit left on the seat next to me.
“But there’s nothing there! Why would there be a Ball at a rubbish dump?”
“He, he, he,” Cory chuckled loudly, “you really are a silly man. You crack me up, Bert! Can I call you Bert? I mean, I don’t want to be presumptuous or upset you! After all, we’ve only just met!”
“Yes,” I answered, “you can call me Bert.”
Thirty minutes later, we arrived at a locked gate protecting the entrance to the rubbish dump.
“Don’t worry,” Cory called from the front. He backed the Limo up. “A useless old padlock and chain won’t stop us!”
He reversed for 150 metres, shifted gears, then slammed the accelerator to the floor. I didn’t think a wheel spin was possible in a Limo, but it is. We smashed through the gate with a thump and a crash at 80kmph.
“Yee-hah!” Cory yelled while I bounced up and down in the back, now safely cocooned within a full HAZMAT suit.
Two minutes later, we stopped.
“Please follow me, Bert,” Cory said. “Follow my driver’s cap.”
I watched for a moment as the empty driver’s cap bobbed its way six feet above the ground. I followed.
“You’re tall,” I said.
“I can be tall, big or small, good or bad,” he answered, “all depending on the situation. All depending on the person.”
We walked deeper into the rubbish dump. Cory suddenly stopped at an old oven, opened its door.
“In there,” Cory pointed, “is the entrance to the Ballroom. C’mon, hop to it. You don’t want to be late.”
“You’re joking; I’m not going in there. This is some kind of joke, surely.”
“Do you see me laughing, Bert?”
“I don’t see you at all! Just a $2 shop chauffeurs cap!”
“Ha, ha, ha, yes, that’s right. So, there’s no point in me going first to show you it’s safe, is there, because you wouldn’t be able to see me.”
“I suppose, but I’m still not going in there. There’s no way.”
“Well, why don’t you just have a peek in the oven door? Poke your head in there, make sure there are no nasties to harm you. And, if you are worried about me, don’t be; I got you here safely, didn’t I? And what you can’t see can’t hurt you, can it? That’s what you believe, isn’t it?”
I thought about it for a moment. Cory’s question reverberated in my brain. What you can’t see can’t hurt you. Was that true? I wasn’t sure anymore; I was torn. My head said no. My instincts said yes. But one thing was true, Cory did get me here safely. I decided to take a cautious look inside.
With my feet planted firmly on the soft ground, I held the door open with my right arm. It was a big oven, probably a commercial cooker used for catering or in a restaurant. I bent over, peered inside…nothing. Just a greasy old oven. Then I felt a heavy push, my right arm giving way, unable to support my weight, my legs lifted, and I fell. I fell for what seemed an age, tumbling head down…, down…, spiralling through the greasy oven toward the bowels of the dump.
As I free fell, I screamed. “Cory, you bastard!”
“It’s okay,” he answered unexpectedly. “I’m right beside you. I wouldn’t be much of a host if I didn’t look after you, made sure you arrived safely, would I? You’re our VIP guest. Hang on, we’re about to land.”
I felt my fall slow; suddenly soft blue rubbish bags surrounded me, padding my descent. Eventually, I came to a standstill on a bed of spongy blue.
I heard applause.
“He’s here,” excited voices cried. “He’s here! Yay!”
I looked around, saw nothing. “What the fuck?”
“We’re at the head table,” Cory whispered in my ear, “come, follow me. We are sitting together.”
I followed the prancing cap to a round of great applause, invisible to the eyes but deafening for the ears. We reached a massive block of polystyrene.
“Bert, sit here, quick; the award ceremony is about to begin.”
The moment I took my seat, a high-pitched chorus commenced. A shrill fanfare of sorts. It was loud, and I noticed I was sweating. It must have been at least 50 degrees under the dump. At last, my eyes started adjusting to the dim light. I looked around, nothing. But then, gradually coming into focus, I could see who was playing the fanfare. Mosquitos! A swarm of bloody Mosquitos. At least a thousand of them, probably many more. All were zizzing as loudly as they could, all hovering in tune, making a horrific agonising cacophony of high range irresistible irritation.
A moment later, it stopped. Great applause ripped through the dump again.
“Welcome,” a tremendous booming voice said.
“Welcome to you all.”
“Welcome to the Virus’s, to the bacterial infections, to the parasites, fungi, the poisons, and of course our great friends, the predators, the venomous and downright dangerous!
The Academy welcomes one and all. Tonight friends, we also have a special guest, a guest of honour. Someone representing the Humans! Please be upstanding and give a big round of applause to Bertrand Harmer Jnr.”
Great applause once again ripped through the underground wasteland.
“What’s going on?” I asked Cory.
“It’s the Annual Ball Silly. It’s where we gather to celebrate the pain and misery we’ve inflicted, the death and despair unleashed on humanity. But shush, the President of the Academy is still speaking.”
“2020 has been a year to celebrate.”
More applause and cheers erupted.
“A halcyon year, not seen since the efforts of H1N1 in 1918 have we had such a great year. Please stand up H1 and take a bow. “We will never forget.”
“We will never forget,” echoed around the space.
Then, another round of massive applause and cheers erupted. This time it seemed to go on for an age.
“H1N1 is one of the Academy favourites, Bert; it’s revered by everyone. An icon,” Cory said.
“This is so unfair,” I complained to Cory, slowly feeling a little more comfortable. “Everyone can see me, but I can hardly see anything. I can only hear.”
“I’m so sorry,” he replied, “silly me! We were in such a rush to sit down I forgot to tell you about the magnifier on your HAZMAT Goggles. Can you feel a switch on the left side of your head mask?”
“Well, when you flick that, it turns on a magnifier. You should be able to see everything then. You’ll also need to flick the switch on the right-hand side of your head. That’s a flashlight. I’m so sorry, not much of a host, am I? Silly me.”
I flicked both switches on and couldn’t believe my eyes.
I was surrounded by gruesome-looking blobs and shapes, some big, some small. There was an assortment of shapes, sizes, and colours. So many colours. Then, it struck me. The shapes looked like liquorice all-sorts, particularly the many spikey shaped ones. Randomly, the thought of having loved liquorice all-sorts when I was a kid bolted into my consciousness.
I continued to scan the room.
“Argh,” I screamed loudly.
A fucking shark, a giant fucking shark. God help me! Oh my God, sitting right next to the Shark on either side were a massive Lion and gargantuan crocodile. What the fuck?
The President of the Academy stopped her speech, looked over her spectacles, staring straight at me. She asked with a condescending tone, “Is everything alright?”
“Sorry,” Cory interjected on my behalf. “My fault, my bad, Madam President. I forgot to explain to Bertrand he would need to turn off his magnifier when looking at the carnivore table. Silly me, apologies everyone.”
All the shapes, the blobs and animals; everything in the space erupted in laughter. “Silly Cory,” they mocked lovingly.
“Okay, okay,” the President commanded. “Without any further interruption, let’s move on to the first award. This award is for Parasite of the Year.
The nominees are:
- The Australian Paralysis Tick
- Scabies, and
Now, please give these a great round of applause for the misery they all have infected on man.”
Cory whispered in my ear. “This is a no brainer. Plasmodium will win. It always does. The others don’t stand a chance.”
“Yeah, you’d know it as Malaria – it kills millions and has done so for centuries. It’s an Academy favourite. A darling, an icon. It won a lifetime achievement award a few years back. But it’s getting older now, its star is dimming, in a few years, who knows? Maybe the other parasites might have a chance.”
“And the winner is… Plasmodium.”
Huge cheers erupted.
“Well done, Plas,” the President congratulated. She was wearing a big warm smile. “Amazing effort as always. The Academy agreed at the AGM that the only speech this year will be for the supreme award, Super Killer of the Year. This will allow more time for the dance afterwards. So, let’s move onto the next category. Fungi of the Year.”
“This is a very minor category, but they do their best,” Cory whispered.
“The nominees are:
- Little white
- Skull Cap
- Fools Mushroom
- Death Cap, and last, but not least,
- Web Cap
And the winner is… Fools Mushroom for its achievements in Kidney and Liver failure.”
Polite applause followed.
The next category is “Deadliest Animal.”
I looked over at the Carnivore table. Sitting there drinking blood and tucking into huge chunks of raw meat sat a Shark, a Lion, Tiger, Wolf, and a Crocodile arguing with a snippy Piranha. On the table next to them, a Snake, an Elephant, Rhino and Hippo were chatting; it looked like they were sharing a joke. Sitting opposite them was a giant Jelly Fish, an unkempt but on-trend Cape Buffalo and an uptight Scorpion. The scorpion looked so gnarly it seemed likely he was about to lash out and smite its tail at the smug snake sitting next to it. At the end of the table, a very bored spider sat spinning a web to pass the time.
“The Mozzies’ will win. They always do,” Cory said. They work in collaboration with Plas. The most successful Super Killer partnership ever!
Sure enough, the Mosquitoes won. Then, Ricin won Poison of the Year, despite stiff competition from Tetrodotoxin and Botox.
“I never knew Botox was deadly,” I commented.
“Oh yes, Cory stated. “Botox contains a deadly neurotoxin called botulinum. It’s the same thing that causes Botulism. Botox attacks neurotransmitters, so muscles are unable to relax. So, there you go, Bert, never kiss a girl with fat lips or wonky eyebrows!”
The Cancer of the Year award was interesting; it was a tight 3-way battle between lung Cancer, Bowel Cancer and Breast Cancer. Evidently, the hot favourite was lung Cancer, but the Academy somewhat controversially gave its nod to Bowel Cancer. For the first time in the evening, murmur’s and whispers swept the dump.
“It’s a lifestyle thing,” Cory explained. “The Academy feels there is now more upside in Bowel Cancer. Man eats the wrong food, and despite the fantastic efforts of our friends in the Tobacco Industry, Africa and Asia are the only growth areas for smoking. Lung Cancer is a fading star, a dying ember of what it once was. Soon, it will disappear just like a puff of smoke. See what I did there, Bert?
Next year, we hope to build on our relationship with the secondary food producers. We want to try and get more carcinogens and tri-glycerides into the food chain.”
“Yes,” I sighed, feeling sick. “So, are you a member of the Academy?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I am,” Cory replied proudly.
“So, how do you kill? I groaned?”
“Oh, I don’t kill. Well, not usually anyway. I’m one of the few non-killers who are permitted to join the Academy as an honorary member. We get in because of our efforts to fuck-up humanity. Last year, I caused $8 billion damage to the world’s economy. There’s not many in this place, if any, that can say that! It’s something I’m immensely proud of. Whole industries have been designed around me.”
“So, what are you then?”
“I’m magnificently insignificantly unimportant. Known and hated by all men and equally loved by the Academy. A darling if you like, a doyen, everybody’s favourite. I’m the Common Cold Bert! The innocuous common cold. Surely you know me now. Are we still friends?”
I turned my back and ignored him.
“Now, now everyone, the President bellowed, “we’ve come to the last few categories, the biggies, the ones you have all been waiting for.”
I could feel excitement building up. Bugs, viruses, and bacteria started chanting, bobbing up and down, hardly containing themselves. The atmosphere was electric, contagious.
Newcomer of the year went to Covid 19. Covid receiving a standing ovation and rapturous applause, which didn’t die away for at least three minutes.
“Settle everyone, settle down”, the President interrupted. “It’s now time for the supreme award, The Super Killer of the year! Quiet everyone, please, while I read out the nominees:
- Diarrhea – last year, Diarrhea killed over 1.57 million people – an outstanding achievement, continuing a fantastic and enduring run of success.”
Clearly, Diarrhea was a popular nominee judging by the applause, “always thereabouts,” Cory told me.
- “Tuberculosis – not quite the same potency, but still 1.20 million deaths! Great effort as always, TB.”
Polite applause followed.
- “Malaria, – 600,000! Another solid performance.”
Once again, polite applause followed.
- “HIV/Aids – 1 million! Still going strong and particularly active in Africa.”
It was another popular nominee which received wild applause.
- “Covid 19 – well over 1 million and still climbing. In fact, a human dies every 13 seconds because of Covid!”
The dump erupted again; chants, songs and cheers ringing out amongst the trash, the sordid waste of humanity. It struck me then that this was the perfect place for an award ceremony like this. The Super Killers were taking the piss out of humanity, feeding on its wanton decadence and indifference.
“Settle down, everyone, Settle. SETTLE!” The President yelled, struggling to be heard over the din. “Before I announce the winner, I would like to make a special honourable mention to Meningitis, who cracked the 300,000 mark for the first time last year. Great effort, Men. Well done. Everyone, come on – please give Men a hand.”
The crowd responded.
“Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for – Super Killer of the Year goes to – wait for it – wait for it… Covid 19!”
The wave of noise nearly bowled me over; it was so loud. I felt the flimsy ground beneath me shake and vibrate. Blue rubbish bags all around me quivered. Beside me, Cory started to dance, which started a chain reaction. Within seconds every single cell, spore and living being in the dump was jiving to the death of over a million people. I was lost for words.
“C’mon, Silly,” Cory insisted, looking over at me. “Join in – you’re one of us now.”
I shook my head in denial.
“Oh yes, you are,” he answered with a big smile. “And you’re in for a huge surprise!”
In sharp contrast to the announcement, when Covid 19 came to the podium to collect his award and make his speech, you could have heard one of the HEP laced syringes lying about drop to the filthy ground.
“I would like to thank the Academy for this honour,” he started. “In many ways, I got lucky. I was in the right place at the right time. I was also lucky to have some fabulous collaborators. There are too many to name individually, but I say thank you to all the caged market animals of Wuhan. In fact, my success comes from a long history of collaboration between animals and disease. This is the way of the future.”
Speaking like a leader, he held undying attention and affection for his extraordinary efforts in inflicting dying infection. A real young gun!
“As animals lose their territories, as drugs and vaccinations ravage many members of the Academy, we need to fight back, we must fight back. And, by collaborating, by working together, we can finally achieve our destiny. Do God’s work and finally rid the planet of Humans. May God bless you all, and good luck in your fight. Thank you.”
The dump broke out into a wild frenzy again. Eventually, the chaos stopped, the President calling for silence which was a long time coming.
“Quiet please, quiet, please. Now, we do have one final award this evening. An especially important and significant award. It’s a Lifetime Achievement Award. This award will take the recipient straight into the Super Killer Hall of Fame.
Without wasting more time, everyone, put your hands together for Bertrand Harmer Jnr, our newfound human friend. Bertrand, please come to the podium. Don’t be shy.”
I hesitated, then froze.
Cory pushed me toward the podium, “you have to accept,” he prompted. “Look around you. Within this room are beings responsible for more human deaths than actual people currently living on the planet. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but do you want to join those that have gone before?”
The crowd started chanting, “Bertrand, Bertrand, Bertrand!”
The throng was on the precipice between frenzy and delirium. Cory was right; it would be wise to accept.
“Bertrand, Bertrand, Bertrand!”
When I reached the podium, the President wrapped her arm over my shoulder. “We are so proud of you,” she whispered.
She addressed the audience again, “okay, quieten down everyone, that’s enough now. On behalf of us all, it’s so great to have you here, Bertrand. You know, we’ve been following you for a while now. And your stance towards vaccination is music to our ears.”
The mosquitoes broke into an impromptu chorus. The gathered hoard thumped up and down on whatever hard surface they could find.
Thump, thump, thump.
The noise percolating through the space, like turbulent blood flow pumping in my ears.
Thump, thump, thump.
The President waved at everyone to be quiet again, “simmer down, come on, simmer down now. Right. Just to let you know, Bertrand, both Measles and Polio are really looking forward to meeting you. They want to express their personal thanks for your views on vaccines. You and people like you have enabled minor breakouts, which they hope can grow into something much bigger.”
“And, in addition to that,” the President continued. “Your denial of Covid 19, fervent anti-vaccine views and refusal to wear a mask has helped us in more ways than you could ever know. Thank you, Bertrand. You are contributing brilliantly to our efforts.”
Thump, thump, thump.
As I looked around the room, I felt uncomfortable. I felt sick, dirty. Then, in an instant, I felt the mood in the room darken, the chanting subtly changing from praise to mocking.
“Silly, Silly, Silly, Silly, Silly…”
The President saved me.
“Enough, enough already! We have a guest, and this is not how we treat our guests, is it? Now, let me finish. I would like to make a speech on your behalf Bertrand if I may? I am sure you are quite taken back and probably lost for words right now.”
She was right. I hung my head in resignation.
“Now, I’m sorry to tell you this, Bertrand, but you are accepting this award on behalf of all mankind! You will have to share it, I’m afraid.”
Titters, chortles, and guffaws followed.
“This year, the analysts at the Academy undertook some research. They came up with some exciting data. Amazing data! Like, did you know nearly 1.5 million humans die from their own hands or from the hands of others? Every single year they’re killing themselves and each other in massive numbers. Imagine one million suicides, half a million murders every year! Year in, year out, most of you here would kill for those stats, especially you, Novichok! And, these figures don’t even include conflict or terrorism. An absolutely brilliant effort!
And, what’s even better, is that their vaccine, their antidote, doesn’t work anymore. People have lost faith in it. Overall, the strength, the potency of their religion and adherence to civil order is dying. The move away from collective values toward individualism has swung the pendulum. Swung the pendulum back toward us.
And people like you, Bertrand, are helping create that change. For humans, things revolve, not evolve. From dwelling in caves, from small family units to tribes, villages, towns and eventually cities, the breakdown of these units, common good, compassion and compliance, has already started. Then, my friends, once it is complete, it will be back to the caves for them. Back to the caves!”
“Back to the caves, back to the caves, back to the caves,
silly, silly, silly.”
I turned and fled from the podium, seeking out Cory. I demanded he take me home.
“I can’t, Silly.”
“Stop calling me Silly,” I shouted, lashing out, knocking his cheap driver’s cap to the floor.
“You’ve just proved it,” Cory answered. “Now, you can’t see me.”
The next moment I felt a massive kick to my arse.
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry,” I whimpered, “please take me home.”
“Oh no, I told you I can’t; there are some people here I want you to meet. There’s Ann Thrax. She’s a delight. Oh, hang on, I can see Musca flying over to say hello.”
A fly started buzzing and circling around my head.
“Bertrand meet Musca, Musca meet Bertrand. Musca is one of the most social, well-known, and well-liked members of the Academy. He gets everywhere, a real social butterfly. Not only is he a friendly guy, but he’s also always willing to help others in their work. Everyone loves him.
Not me, I thought. And although I was wearing a HAZMAT suit, instinct and rote took over as I tried to wave Musca away from my face.
“That’s not very friendly,” Cory Interrupted.
“Well, neither is not taking me home!”
“I thought you were one of us,” Musca said, adding in a huff, “I think I’ll buzz off now.”
“I don’t give a rats’,” I replied, “please take me home.”
“Well, that’s not very polite either! No, I can’t. I won’t take you home. Did you not read your invitation: 8 till late? It’s not late yet, and there’s still the dance to come. You don’t want to miss that.”
“You know, not taking me home isn’t all that polite either. Please take me home.”
“No, Silly, I can’t do that.”
“And stop calling me Silly. Why do you keep calling me Silly?”
“Because that’s what you are. All humans are silly. They are destroying the very planet they live on. And when they destroy that, they destroy us too – but we have a right to live as well! They are destroying our home; we must fight back. Humans are silly because they all know what makes them sick and die yet do nothing about it.
Lifestyle deaths, cardiovascular disease, cancers; they all kill tens of millions more people than we ever do, but they are afraid of us! WTF? – Silly! They spend billions upon billions on medical research but scrimp on mental health, wellbeing, simple things like exercise and nutrition. It’s just not silly. It’s absurd!
They all know an early death can largely be avoided by changing lifestyle, diet, exercise regimes. But, do they do it? No, they are far too silly, and pizza and chocolate are far too addictive. Fifteen million people a year could save themselves by getting off their arses, moving away from their devices and bakeries. Don’t you think that’s silly?
I gave Cory a filthy look, turned my back, folded my arms, and ignored him. We have the right to choose, I mouthed to myself.
After a few minutes, curiosity got the better of me, “so what’s so special about this dance?”
The tone of Cory’s voice gave away that he was happy I asked.
“It’s where all the business happens. Animals and Virus’s do this wonderful dance together. Viruses get together; they get it on and mutate. Their offspring are so beautiful. Some are deadly too. Bacteria get drunk over cocktails, concocting ways to resist and overcome Anti-Biotics, fondly reminiscing about the days before Penicillin.
It’s a dance macabre if you like. Pigs and chickens giving influenza the eye, making their moves. Then, of course, the most fabulous fling in history happened at this dance. The Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton of the Super Killer world, from all those thousands of years ago. Plasmodium and Mosquitoes had a tryst. They got it together. And, amazingly, after all these years, their relationship is still going strong. Hundreds of years ago, black death and rats also got it on. Forty years ago, Primates and HIV. This dance is where they all met.
Humans come here to dance too. Years ago, we had a cigarette manufacturer have an affair with Cancer. In the past, we’ve also had alcohol representatives. Two years ago, another human came to the dance. She is part of the reason you were invited tonight. This is the way of the future. Working with Humans, not against them. The woman was even sillier than you. And not so famous. She lived in Wuhan. And for whatever reason, she was angry. She was mistrustful of the establishment. Well, anyway, she had a dance with Sar’s and some disillusioned animals. A ménage à trois of sorts. The result, of course, was a beautiful baby called Covid 19. And you want to go home now?” Miss all the fun?”
I hung my head again, didn’t answer.
“Besides,” Cory continued. “I know you’ve attracted a bit of attention. You have quite a few admirers wanting to do the dance with you. I think leprosy wants to discuss ways to recapture her former glory. To spread and disseminate herself back into the first world. Things have really dropped off for her over the last 100 years. I’m sure she’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse. I also know that Ty Phoid, Chol Era and Tet Anus want to have similar conversations. Funnily enough, I know the Australian Paralysis Tick wants to make you scratch an itch she’s had for years. Come on, what do you say, shall we join the party? Do you want to be famous, have more power over people than any politician ever could? Unbridled power, a compelling voice. This is what you have always wanted, isn’t it?”
Cory nodded, infamy as well. Everything you ever wanted!
The music played by the mosquitos, the sight of what seemed like thousands of bopping blobs, multicoloured pinheads moving and grooving proved too much. My head spun; my senses overloaded. Nothing made sense anymore. I became disorientated, confused and intoxicated. Cory was right; there was no way I could go home now. I needed to stay. I needed to learn more about this world I knew existed but never acknowledged and always ignored.
My arms started to twitch, my feet began to shuffle, my neck swayed, and my head bopped Bollywood style. I needed to dance.
I stepped back, I tore at my head mask, ripped off my HAZMAT suit. Then, I stripped off till I was standing naked amongst the rubbish and the great unwashed. A second later, I threw myself headfirst into the pulsating hum of wretched squalor and thriving desolation, and I started to dance.