In my city, there are two tales of food. One is East Germany, before the Wall went down. By which I mean, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. There the NATURAL Health people, drab loons in a mental inversion layer, stand in line outside the stores on yellow tape. Six feet apart, they wear masks and gloves. They are silent. When they finally enter to shop, they’re presented with carts which have been sprayed with disinfectant. Inside the Whole Foods, aisles are marked with one-way traffic signs. But we’re all in this together.
A few miles away sits a typical supermarket. Big parking lot, 20 aisles inside, thousands of items, a tiny fraction of which are organic. No lines outside, no yellow tape, no carts covered with glistening disinfectant. Half the check-out people wear masks, the other half don’t. Maybe a quarter of the customers wear masks. People actually talk to each other. Contrasted against Whole Foods and TJ’s, this place feels like Paris in the 1920s. Here, life, such as it is, flourishes. Over in East Germany, it’s dead. It may be organic and non-GMO there, but it’s a decaying psychological fungus.
OK, let’s dive in.
Desperate times call for surreal measures.
In today’s episode of damn the torpedoes, apocalyptic fakery, and I’ll take the Fauci special on rye with extra ham and cheesy case numbers…
—The pod people think rebels against the system are dangerous.
That’s what robots always think. They’re hooked up to the system. They suck energy from it. They give everything they have to it. For them, this is life.
The people who have been planning this takeover operation for a long time knew they had to bring populations to the point at which MINDS would no longer function. Minds would become containers for propaganda.
The owners of those reshaped minds would be able to realize one thing: their survival depended entirely on AUTHORITY.
We were NEVER all in this together. The pod people were and are in this together. The robots are together. They’re the army under the control of the operators.
Dear Pod People:
You’re sincere. We get it. You can stop now. You’ve already won a gold star on the blackboard from the teacher.
I won’t try to make a distinction between the junk science you worship and actual science. You’re too far gone for that.
You’re in a box. You’ve been in that box for a long time. It’s created by the “authorities in charge,” and their super-coiffed high-priced press hookers. The order to go on lockdown was just another piece beamed into that box, and you stood at attention. Yes sir.
Even some of you anti-vaxxers are in the box. What did you think you were saying about viruses with your stance on vaccines? Let me translate. You were saying, “We can deal with viruses, we don’t need your toxic vaccines to gain immunity.” But now, all of a sudden, with this fake ghost virus, you fold up like puppets. You ask your masters to pull on the strings so you can put on your masks. All along, you’ve had a piece of mind control stuck in your domes you didn’t know about. I mean, really.
To all you pod people: you needed a new religion at this late date?
I’m sure some of you were actively against the Iraq war under Bush 2. You bucked the artificial consensus. But now, you salute and enlist. Can you back up just a step and take a peek at yourselves and glimpse how ridiculous you look, in lock-step, masks on, gloves on, trudging 27 feet apart down the middle of some deserted Main Street?
I’ll even bet there are long-time JFK assassination researchers in masks. For decades, they’ve combed through one false trail after another, traveled through halls of mirrors, finally arriving at the door of the CIA…but now, after three sentences from that petty bureaucrat Fauci, they’re in the cult. Bingo, bango, bongo.
“Going pod” is quite a phenomenon. Yesterday, the person was living a regular life. Then, all of a sudden, with no apparent thought involved, the robot-ness grips him. “Yes,” his wife says. “He seems to be the same person, but he isn’t. I don’t care what anyone says. For God’s sake, I’ve been sleeping in the same bed with the man for twenty years. I should know. This is someone else.”
Her oh so reasonable therapist—played by Leonard Nimoy in the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers—tells her: “I understand. Look, people are under stress these days. Social changes are dislocating our sense of Place. Your perception about your husband is actually a symptom of a wider unrest. I’m not asking you to change your process. Just be with this odd new sensation you have. I guarantee it’ll fade. You’ll see him as he was again.”
“No. I won’t. My husband is somebody else. He’s a…replacement.”
An old grizzled cigar-smoking tobacco-spitting two-gun rancher isn‘t out on the range anymore herding cattle and swigging whiskey. He’s sitting in a barn, mask and gloves on, next to a placid cow. He’s waving a wand at her. “Hmm, Bessie’s temperature seems to be elevated a tenth of a degree. Maybe she has the COVID. I better call the public health people. They should come out and disinfect the whole ranch. We’ll shut down for a month and stay indoors and play with the Lego Harry Potter set…”
A wan thirty-year-old with a degree in biology from Harvard shows up in a New York 7-Eleven wearing five translucent plastic shower curtains. He clomps down aisles and tosses items into a briefcase containing chlorinated wood chips and dried dog turds. He’s concluded that his whippet, Phillip, was infected, then recovered, and is therefore immune. The whippet antibodies may be protective.
“Today, on deserted Jones Beach, a lone lifeguard ventured out into rough waters to save an unresponsive swimmer. Unfortunately, the lifeguard, wearing a hazmat suit, sank below the waves. A roving team of Long Island public health police rescued and revived him. The swimmer turned out to be a blow-up doll equipped with a homemade ‘virus sensor.’ It was being operated remotely from a beachfront cottage by a PhD biologist, who was carrying out locally funded research for a group of worried New Yorkers. They were trying to determine whether it was safe to sneak out of the city and take up residence in their summer homes on the Island shores…”
Hail to the pod.
You belong to the system. You take your energy from it. You give everything you have to it.
Let’s follow the wan fellow back home from the 7-Eleven. He trips and stumbles into his apartment, picks up a bottle on a table and sprays his shower curtains with triple-strength Roundup. He lies down on the carpet and rolls around. Then he sits up, strips away the curtains, and looks into the living room. His wife, wearing a leopard-skin bikini, is transfixed before an altar topped with a doll-figure of Tony Fauci. She’s silently weeping. Is it the impending divorce? Is it straight-out worship? Tune in next week, when Fauci tries to hold a poker party with 16 of his closest friends on a yacht beyond the three-mile limit, and a special ops team boards the vessel and carts him off to the presidential suite at Walter Reed Hospital, where mind control specialists try to reinstall his basic program. Can they find three active brain cells to rub together? And where is Phillip the whippet? He’s gone missing in a junkyard in Union City. He’s hanging with rebel dogs. Phillip finally removes his mask and we see, for the first time, that…he’s the animated rabbit from Episode One, who made a fortune selling Chinese ventilators…
“Say, Bob, we can’t write this stuff for the show. They’ll never let it get past the networks censors.”
“Bill, lost your marbles? Don’t you remember? There is no show. The season was cancelled by the lockdown. We’re doing this for a little independent video platform.”
“Right. Forgot. I’ve been drinking heavily. Let’s work a different twist with Fauci. Transform him into a guy who’s a victim of the lockdown. You know, a Trading Places deal. He’s now living in one room in the back of a store that’s closed for business. He’s broke. He’s already spent his government check. He’s trying to borrow money for food. He’s lost his glasses and sold one of his shoes.”
“Yeah. Then he comes back, episode by episode, a rags to riches story line. He makes a desperate and successful contact with the governor of Illinois and shows him how to dig his state out of a budget deficit of three hundred billon—with federal coronavirus dollars.”
By this time, both writers are so drunk they can’t maintain their fragile hold on plot. They just sit in their chairs and stare out the window.
A voice speaks from Bob’s pocket.
“Bob, this is your cell. You left your house this morning. We’ve traced your movements to a colleague’s house. Lockdown code violation. You could be a spreader. Do not exit the premises. A team will arrive shortly to take a swab for rapid qPCR. You will shelter in place until the results are reported. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Make a pot of coffee. Your blood alcohol level is point twelve.”
Bob dozes off. He dreams he’s sitting in a large office high above a city. Looking down through the window, he can see lines of people wearing masks. They move slowly along a boulevard toward a papier mache sun at the horizon. Next to him, on a small table, is a simple black box. Embedded in top of the box is a bulbous red button.
Tony Fauci is standing before him.
“You know what happens if you press the button?” Tony says. “The beaming shuts off.”
“The what?” Bob says.
“From the satellites,” Tony says. “The message.”
“’The virus, the virus, the virus.’ That’s what we’re beaming. As you can see, it’s very effective.”
“You’re selling a virus?”
“No, you idiot. We’re selling a story about a virus. That’s all it is. That’s all it ever was. You’re either inside or outside the story. Go ahead. Press the button.”
“What happens if I do?”
“That’s the question, isn’t it? At this point, people are talking story to themselves. We provided the stimulus. I don’t think we need the beaming anymore. Go ahead.”
Bob presses the button.
He wakes up. Three men are standing over him. One is pointing a fever wand.
“Ninety-nine point two,” he says. “Look, sir, this is a first offense. We’re going to leave you here. No test, no foul. Don’t leave the house for eight days. Understand?”
Bob nods. He looks over at Bill, who’s fast asleep in his chair.
“Eight days. I stay in this house.”
“That’s right, sir. And don’t press the red button.”
Bob jerks upright in his chair.
“How do you know about that?” he says.
The man frowns. “It’s a phrase going around. Just something people say. It means don’t panic.”
“What else are they saying?”
“We hear all kinds of things. Love your mask. Green stripe.”
“What does that mean?”
“There’s a rumor you’ll be seeing stripes on your cell phone pretty soon. Red stripe means stay at home. You won’t be able to get into office buildings. Green stripe means you’re immune. You can go anywhere, within limits, of course.”
“How do I get a green stripe?”
“Who knows? It’s just a rumor. The CDC has codes. We haven’t seen them yet.”
“I just had a dream about Tony Fauci.”
“Yeah. We hear that all the time. Lots of people are dreaming about Fauci. He could probably run for president, if he wanted to.”
“He told me to press the red button and I did.”
“I woke up.”
“Well there you go.”
“Stay in the house.”
The men left.
Bob called his agent.
“Listen, Harry,” he said, “I have an idea for a series, when all this dies down. A Saturday morning cartoon. A little twerp who lives in a land of zombies runs for president. He’s the only candidate. The zombies just have to press a red button and he wins.”
“And how much have you been drinking, Bob?” Harry said.
“Call me when you’re sober.”
“Don’t know if it’ll ever happen.”
“Lot of that going around.”
While Bill slept on, Bob spent the rest of the afternoon drinking and wandering aimlessly around the house. At some point, his sense of time fell apart, and he was only conscious of flashes:
He was sitting in a warm bath, wearing an old Army helmet and smoking a cigar. He was General George Patton. Contemplating the problem of defeating a force of pod people.
He was still wearing the helmet, and he was standing naked in the middle of the street at night, and neighbors were coming out of their houses. They were laughing at him.
He was STILL naked at night, standing on the lawn of the local sheriff’s house. Dennis the sheriff, in his bathrobe, holding a pistol, was saying, “You mean I’m the boss of this county, Bob? I can do anything I want to?”
“Right, Dennis. It’s an old law. Something I remember from a history class at Princeton. You can end the lockdown. Hell, you can shoot down the drones.”
“I could make a stand. I could be historic. And it took a naked television writer to wise me up…”
Dawn. Neighbors, close to a hundred of them, tightly packed, are standing on Bill’s lawn. Bill is sleeping in a folding chair. STILL naked, a drink in his hand, Bob is giving a little speech. “…That’s what I’m trying to tell you. They sold us a friggin’ story about a virus. That’s all it is. Dennis is ready to unpress the red button. Set us free. We have to back him up. We can’t leave him with egg on his face…”
Bob is sitting in a café. It’s open for business. The tables are full. Waitresses are rushing around, serving breakfast. Music is playing. In uniform, Dennis the sheriff walks through the door. Applause.
“You’re all deputized!” he says. “You’ve got nothing to lose but your masks!”
Cheers erupt. Feet stamp the floor.
Bob looks at himself. Now he’s dressed in a suit and tie. He wonders how that happened.
He’s back at Bill’s house watching TV. Bill is nowhere to be seen. On the screen, two local news anchors are smiling and scratching their faces. One sneezes. The other says, “Who cares?”
Bob hears an explosion outside. He runs into the street. There, lying in pieces, is a bird-sized drone. A grinning neighbor is holding a shotgun. “All you have to do is cough and they show up,” he says.
“So it’s a not a bad idea to cough,” Bob says.
“Yeah, if you’re armed.”
Bob looks around. The sun is shining.
“It’s a new day,” he says.
He hears a voice in his head. “…used to work for Google…just hacked into five satellites…changed the message…GO BACK TO WORK. OPEN THE ECONOMY. TAKE YOUR FREEDOM.”
Bob shouts, “We don’t need any messages! Shut the whole thing down! We’re already free!”
Quiet in his head, quiet on the street.
The sun is shining. It’s a new day.
A few miles away, at a local Stasi health food market, a checkout clerk suddenly yanks off his bandana-hairnet, his medical mask, his gloves, spits on his hands, rubs them together, and shouts: I’M OPEN HERE. PAPER OR PLASTIC? STEP RIGHT UP. I’LL TAKE CASH WITH GERMS ON IT. LET’S MOVE. NO FEAR. SCREW FAUCI. SNAP OUT OF IT, PEOPLE.
Then customers make a mad rush for his lane.
People outside the store break their line and come striding inside, grabbing carts.
Running through the parking lot, a creature dressed in black with clinking nose-and-ear rings pulls a can out of her pocket and expertly sprays the store window—OPEN FOR BUSINESS FUCK THE LOCKDOWN.
In the woods at the edge of the lot, a wan 30-year old wearing five translucent shower curtains leans against a tree and vomits. Weeping uncontrollably, he feels a spell and a curse leaving his body. At last.
The sun is shining. It’s a new day.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOT…BALL?
No, Virginia, it’s not Utopia, but it’s not Hell, either.