The Days of Our Pandemic: episode sane

a pinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

Before diving into this episode, see what K & Z were up to in the previous episode of The Days of Our Pandemic or follow K & Z from the beginning.

K stepped solemnly into the bathroom. In her hands she held a small cardboard box no larger than a shoebox. “Here it is, Z.”

“Here it is, K! This is it! Our hope! Our dreams of getting out of these four walls are finally coming to fruition! Here! In this moment! And you cannot unhinge us with your reckless ineptitude.”

“You think I’m unhinged, Z?”

Z glanced into K’s eyes without adjusting the position of her head from its centered view of the shipment. “Yes, K.”

“You do?” K asked, sorrow creeping into her voice for the first time in a long time.

“Yes, K,” Z said. 

Z fixated on the box.

“Z?”

“Yes, K?”

“What does unhinged mean?”

At this, Reader, Z saw an opportunity. And, Reader, she took that opportunity.

“Unhinged? Unhinged describes someone with an unusually strong sense of commitment to do what’s right, to endure through momentary pain, to inflict a bit of a poke, for the good of one’s self and others.”

K’s chin rose higher with each word. Higher and higher until she stared at the ceiling.

“And you think I’m unhinged, Z?”

“Most definitely, K.”

K stood as erect as Z. Her face determined. “Let’s open this shipment, Z.”

“Let’s,” said Z.

K grabbed at the packaging tape with her bare hands. She ripped it off like a bandaid. She opened the cardboard flaps and unveiled a white, foam box like an ice block. 

“It’s inside there,” directed Z.

K gave her a nod and proceeded to open the remaining packaging and all its sealants until all that was left was a single vial.

“Now,” said Z, “the magnetized syringe.”

“That’s the moving thing, Z?” said K as she watched two components wiggle and slide across the counter toward the vial she held.

“Yes,” said Z. 

Click.

“Yes!” said Z. “This is the moment, K. This is the time. Take it in your hand like this.” Z held a lip gloss tube to demonstrate for K.

Entranced, K followed Z’s instruction.

“That’s it. That’s it.”

K held the syringe. The syringe held the vial.

“Hold it up to the bruise on your arm.”

K’s trance broke. “Which bruise, Z? Look how many I have.” K pointed with the needled and began counting with pride. “One, two, three, four, five, six…”

“Number five! Number five!”

“…eighteen….thirty-two…”

“Number five. Number five.”

“…thirty-six…forty-five…”

“Num-ber five. Num-ber five.”

“…seventy-seven! Seventy-seven bruises, Z. Which one.”

“Numb-ber. F-ive.”

“Well, why didn’t you say so way back at the beginning of counting?” said K.

Z opened her heavy eyelids and stared at K until her eyes glossed over. No words made their way out of her mouth. 

K lifted the vial of mRNA and its needle of delivery up to her shoulder.

The movement of the needle roused Z.

Z said, “Now all you must do is jab it in on the count of three, and the mRNA will do the rest.”

“The messenger will do the rest?” asked K.

“Pardon?” Z forgot for a moment that she’d informed K of the true name of mRNA, the full name, the extended form name which, of course, began with messenger. “Oh, yes.”

K froze.

“On the count of three.”

“Can we do five?” asked K.

“You want to count to five?” asked Z.

“Right-o, Z,” said K. “It is bruise number five.”

“Go ahead, K,” said Z.

K, misunderstanding Z as usual, thought Z wanted her to go ahead with it. She said, “No numbers or counting then, Z. Right-o.” And she thrust the needle into her arm.

Z watched and a grin spread like a virus across her face. “You’ve done it! I’ve done it! We’ve done it!”

“We did it! We did it!” K skipped one, two, three, four, five times before the desire to skip drained a bit. Her skips became slower, heavier. She walked, step by step, in her own bathroom, and she noticed she held a vial in her hand. It looked unfamiliar to her. A vial with a needle attached. How did it get there? 

“Well, that’s dangerous,” she said and set the materials down on the counter. 

As she did, she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror. She turned her head to the left and examined her right side. 

“Looks good,” she said.

She turned her head to the right and examined her left side.

“Looks good,” she said.

She tipped her lips up to one side, gave herself a nod, and said, “You, KZ Rochelle, are about to have a very good day.”

And with that, she turned, she exited the bathroom, and she called to her sons, “Xander, Xaivier, grab your things. We’re leaving. Let’s go visit your cousins.”

Inside the lavender home with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane, a family fluttered with unusual activity. Previously, these people had been confined to their home for over a year of their lives. They shared experiences they’d never hoped to, like running out of paperclips and baking loaf after loaf of banana bread and learning morse code and turning the bathroom into a water park and then…

They went outside the walls of the lavender home with blue violet trim. Xander picked a goldenrod wildflower. He smelled it. He wiped the pollen and stem residue on Xaiver. 

And they went on, Reader, to interact with their cousins and others. They hugged. They played soccer, shot basketballs, attended school and church. They noticed the green of the leaves. They smelled the jasmine. They engaged their senses in the world outside. 

Thus it was that sanity returned.

THE END

this story has been brought to you by the insane mind of author, KZ Rochelle

The Days of Our Pandemic: episode the

a pinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

Before diving into this episode, see what K & Z were up to in the previous episode of The Days of Our Pandemic or follow K & Z from the beginning.

Outside the lavender home with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane, a pair of peregrine falcons soared on the breeze over a rabbit den, flapping their wings and paying no particular attention to the bunnies below. Prior peoples have seen a harbinger herein, but such as those had long since considered the signs in the skies. They’d traded them (in an unsought barter) for the signs of insides. 

In front of the bathroom mirror in said Wonky Way Lane home, the following scene took place. Observe, dear Reader, from your safe distance on the far side of the screen lest you spiral into what you discover. Or perhaps, you have already….

“Today is the day, K,” Z said from inside the mirror. 

“What day is it, Z?” K asked.

“Today is THE day, K. THE day. The day we’ve been waiting for.” Z looked at K expectantly.

“TH, TH, THE day.” K pondered. “Is today Thursday, Z?”

“The day of the week is irrelevant!” said Z. “Today is the day we escape the world enclosed by these four walls.”

“Of course it is, Z. That’s the same thing we do every day.”
Z rolled her hazel eyes.

K misunderstood and tried to roll her eyes as well, but she ended up tossing her head back and hitting the crown of her head on the wall behind her.

A perturbed groan emanated from the wall itself. 

K and Z both ignored it.

“I’m glad you finally understand that, K, but today is not like every other day.”

K rubbed the back of her head. “I understand lots of things, Z. Like the chemical potential –”

“Yes!” Z interrupted K. “The chemical potential.” She raised a single finger. “That’s precisely what I mean.”

“Huh?” K still rubbed her head. She needed to make sure her thought-maker hadn’t been dented. Afterall, she had some very interesting thoughts stored there.

Z pushed her hair from her eyes, styling it without the means of a mirror — as she was in the mirror. “I have been working…”

“Right-o, Z. You’ve been working.”

“…on a project destined for success.”

“Yes, yes, success,” said K. 

“And the shipment I ordered arrives today.”

“Oooooooh.” K’s eyes widened. “Is it a present?”

“Yes and no, K,” said Z.

“Yes and no?” K cocked her head and squinted one eye as though she’d been squirted with lime juice — which, Reader, she had not been, even though Z often wished for a lime with which to squirt K. “How can it be both yes and no, Z?”

“Because not everything is black and white, K.”

“Of course not everything is black and white, Z. Look around you. There’s red and green and blue and orange and purple and —”

“Quiet!”

“Quiet is not a color, Z.”

“I know that, K,” Z said while trying to collect her calm.

“But if quiet were a color, I suppose it would be —-”

“Irrelevant!”

“No, K. Irrelevant is not a color either. Should we call my kindergarten teacher?”

“Oh, good gracious.” Z’s head flopped onto her upturned palms.

“I don’t know if I have her email. Or phone number. Or Meet. Or WhatsApp. Or Marco Polo. Or –”

“Anyway!” Z interrupted K’s spiral.

“Yes, Z. Anyway, quiet would be off-white,” stated K.

Z’s eyes peeked out from between her fingers. “Did you say off-white?”

“Off-white,” K said with one definitive head nod like a period.

“She must be off, right?” Z whispered to herself.

“Right-o,” said K, still punctuating her previous comment and unaware that Z had said anything since. 

“Can we get on with this?” asked Z.

“Certainly,” said K.

Z arose. She presented her best posture. “I have arranged for an important shipment of very specific messenger ribonucleic acid which you will use with this lancet to inject yourself.”

K shrieked. “A messenger is coming to lance me with acid?! Z, I do not want to leave here in a body bag. I would rather stay inside these four walls.”

“You will not stay inside these four walls and you will leave on your own two feet!” Z said.

“I don’t care if they hold me up on my two feet if I’m inside a body bag,” K informed Z.

“You will walk yourself, K,” said Z.

This confused K enough to settle her.

“So it’ll be like a Weekend at Bernie’s?” asked K.

“No, K,” said Z. “You will be alive. And with your own strength, you will walk yourself out of these four walls.”

K stared into Z’s eyes. 

Z stared into K’s eyes.

K furrowed her brow.

Z closed her eyes. She nodded her head twice.

K flinched. She took a step backwards. She crossed her arms. “I don’t believe you,” she said.

“You don’t have to believe me,” said Z. “You just have to administer the injection.”

“Right. Oh, Z?”

“Yes, K?”

“I think I hear a shipment arrival.”

At K’s final audible syllable, the doorbell rang. 

“Oooh. A shipment!” said K, clapping her hands together. “What could it be? I hope it’s for me!”

“Oh, Lord help me,” said Z.

“A shipment! A shipment!” K jumped up and down.

“That’s it, girl,” said Z. “That’s it. You’ve got it. You’ve got a shipment.”

K panted with her hands hanging midair beneath her chin.

“Aaaaaaaand, fetch! Go, girl! Fetch the shipment!”

K ran toward the bathroom’s exit. She hit her shoulder on the doorframe on her way out.

“Ouch!” she yelled but kept running. 

A cackle burst forth.

“I know, Rochelle. Sometimes, she’s just too much.” Z joined Rochelle with a reserved chortle. “But it’ll all be over soon.” 

Z turned. She faced you, Reader. Her cat-like eyes glowed and again she said, “Oh, yes. It’ll all be over soon.”

Can it be true? Will it be over? Is this the time K & Z escape from the confines of these four walls. Find out in the next (final?) installment of The Days of Our Pandemic…

The Days of Our Pandemic: episode &

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

See what K & Z were up to in the previous episode of The Days of Our Pandemic or follow K & Z from the beginning.

Outside the lavender home with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane, a formerly cranberry red Sun Chips bag brushed its way along the street. The bag used to be vibrant, presumably when it was opened and its contents consumed, but that had been long ago. Too long ago to carbon date just when. Back in the time before the pandemic. When children walked to school and ran about the neighborhood, sharing snacks with one another. When adults pulled cars out of driveways of homes and into parking structures of offices and sat next to other adults from a household other than their own. The world no longer operated so carelessly, and the reflection of the sun on the silver foil of the pink-striped Sun Chips bag reminded anyone who could see it that the world was a dangerous place. 

Inside the lavender home with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane, K sat backwards on a couch, gazing out the bay window at the sun’s shimmer on the aforementioned Sun Chips bag. She sighed a mournful, longing sigh. As the sigh left her lungs, it took with it the energy that held her upright, and her head descended onto the back of the sofa. Her eyes blinked with the weight of isolation.

K breathed deeply, several times in succession, inflating herself like a birthday party balloon until she stood and walked into the bathroom.

“Good morning, Z,” said K.

“Good morning, K,” said Z.

The bathroom wall groaned.

“And good morning to you, Rochelle,” Z said.

“Z,” said K, “I have a plan.”

You have a plan?” asked Z. “It’s my job to create with my enormous brain while you, you, you –”

“I have a plan.”

Z settled then smirked with the thought of forthcoming entertainment at K’s expense.

“What kind of plan do you have, K? For what purpose?” asked Z.

“I’m going to bust us out of this joint,” said K.

Z looked out from the vanity mirror bemused, as though entertaining a toddler’s notions to fly to the moon.

“Is that so?” said Z.

K searched her surroundings as though a spy were trailing her. “No, Z. There’s no sewing involved. It’s a busting plan,” said K.

“Mmmmm, a busting plan as in the replication of the human form from approximately the torso up.” Z was being purposely difficult. “Will you compose this bust of stone? Of wood?”

K’s eyes were wide with the thought that perhaps she did not know what her own plan was. “Ummm. The bust is — it would be — it’s not stone.” Then a thought occurred to her. “Is it stone? What are the walls made of? Because I’m planning to bust us out of these walls.”

“I see,” said Z. “And how might you plan to accomplish this feat that I have been unable, thus far, to effect?” 

“I won’t use my feet, Z. I’ll use my arms. Actually, is a shoulder a part of the arm?”

“How will your shoulder conduct itself to free us?” asked Z.

“The shoulder is the most important part, Z. See? No sewing.”

“Unless with have to sew your shoulder back on after this impending disaster,” muttered Z to herself.

What is K up to? Can she succeed where Z has only failed? And if so, how will Z take it? Find out next time in The Days of Our Pandemic

Days of Our Pandemic: episode y2

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

See what K & Z were up to in the previous episode of The Days of Our Pandemic or follow K & Z from the beginning.

When last we saw K and Z in episode y, Z lamented her lack of creative energy and therefore her lack of a plan to escape the confinement of these four walls and K danced with her overflow of energy in the face of Draft Day.

“You want me to stop dancing, Z?”

“Yes, K.”

“Why, Z?”

“Because I need a plan and I cannot think of a plan with all dastardly distraction drowning my creative drive.”

“Well, why didn’t you just say so?” said K, who stood statue still. 

Z contemplated her recent efforts. The plumbing debacle, the foiled delivery, the perished paperclip predicament. Her ideas were unique. They were soluble. They should have been successful. But K always managed to get in the way of things going right or well.

K’s statuesque pose began to crumble. “Hey, Z, it’s hard being a statue.” K barely finished speaking before she burst into laughter. “Ba hahaha! It’s hard. Being a statue! Hahaha. Get it, Z? Ha! Because statues are stone. Haha. So they’re hard. Ha. Ha.”

“Hardy har har.” Z did not laugh. She deigned to be annoyed.

“HARDy HARD HARD! Hahaha!” K could not control herself.  

“It’s a solemn, solitary tune on a day I cannot cogitate to create a plan. No laughter, please.”

K’s laughter ceased.

“What will you do, Z?” asked K.

“I don’t know. I’m afraid I have no plan to escape.”

“No plan to escape!?”

“No, not really. And a doleful mood haunts my horizon. I have to have something joyful to look forward to in the paucity of escape. We must organize a virtual happy hour.”

K considered this. “Why must we be virtually happy when we can be reality happy? And why for only one hour? I think there are 28 hours in a day. Or is it 11?”

“No, K. You misunderstand, as usual. A virtual happy hour exists in a virtual shared space like Zoom or Remo or Google or Duo or Facetime.”

“Ohhhhhhh. Okay, Z. Is that how we plan to escape the confoundments of these four walls.”

“There’s no escaping these confounding misunderstandings, K. I throw in the towel.”

“That towel?” K pointed to the damp towel left on the floor from her pre-dawn shower.

“What’s the use, anymore? We will call a virtual happy hour and drink ourselves out of this blasted mindset.”

“So that’s how we’ll escape the confounds of these four walls,” said K, believing she was understanding. K continued toward the towel. “I don’t know what you need this towel for.” She reached for it. “But you seem sad so I’ll get it for you.”

As K’s arm extended from her torso, her foot tried to move forward. It tried only because it was caught on a taut hose, accessory to the wet/dry vac required to help tend to the water damage in the bathroom. The hose held across the floor like a finish line that did not give way with the first finisher. It caught K’s foot and sent K flying forward. She knocked her knee on the towel and her forehead on the floor.

Rochelle cackled in earnest.

“Not! Funny! Ro! Chelle!” said K, slowly pushing herself up to a seated position.

“I must agree, Rochelle. This is not funny. Are you okay, K?”

K turned toward the mirror to find Z. She smiled broadly and giggled because she was a broadly smiling braud. Even though she didn’t really like that word.

“Yeah. I’m okay. Thank you, Z.” She giggled some more.

“Come here, K.”

K’s fingers grabbed the counter and pulled her upright. She stood a moment then hunched her shoulders over the countertop, resting her face in her hands and her elbows on the counter. She smiled an idiot’s smile. Which was none too different than usual. But what was different than usual was the red flow falling from K’s right eyebrow. 

“A laceration!” said Z.

“Incarceration?” asked K.

“Not anymore,” said Z. “I think you’ve stumbled into a solution and a plan in one fell swoop.”

“I fell and I stumbled and I swooped,” said K. “And I hit my head.” K was puzzled. “Didn’t you see it, Z? I thought you were here. Maybe I hit my head harder than I thought? Or my thoughts are harder than my head? I think?”

“Unlikely,” said Z. “But we will have to take you to the doctor! A brilliant loophole!”

“Oh, geez, Z. Do I have to? I don’t like to go to the doctors. They give you shots there.”

“No shots today, K!” Z’s pep returned to her voice. “We are breaking out of the world enclosed by these four walls! Grab the toilet paper roll and head to the garage, K.”

“Are we going to get more toilet paper, Z? Is it back in the stores? No more hoarding?”

“K, we just went over this. We are going to the doctor.”

“But, Z. I don’t want to,” K said.

“Do you want to get out of these four walls?”

“Well. Yes. But.”

“No buts! We’re getting out! Grab the toilet paper. Take some and dab your eyebrow. You’ll drip on the floor.”

“Right-o,” K said. She slogged along, grabbing and dabbing and leaving the bathroom.

“K!!!!!” Z yelled.

K popped her bleeding head through the doorframe to the bathroom.

“Yes, Z?”

“Aren’t you forgetting something?” Z asked.

K held up the toilet paper. “Got the TP, Z.” She looked around the bathroom. She tried to remember if she was supposed to take the plumbing. Or was it the wet/dry vac? There was a towel on the floor. That didn’t seem like the place it should be. Maybe she was supposed to wrap herself in a towel. Was she supposed to stay fully clothed under the towel? That didn’t sound right. She was going to the doctor after all, the place she first attended in her birthday suit…

What will happen at the doctor’s office? Will K be kicked out for public exposure and indecency? Or will Z be able to set K straight before they arrive? Find out in the next installment of Days of Our Pandemic….

Days of our Pandemic: episode p4

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cymera_20210203_093159.jpg

See what K & Z were up to in the previous episode of The Days of Our Pandemic or follow K & Z from the beginning.

When last we saw K and Z in episode p, part 3, K and Z returned to the bathroom to put Z’s brilliant plan into effect. The plan to escape the confines of these four walls.

“This is it, K. This is the origin, where the nascent bulb of the life of my intelligence blooms out from its hardened edifice and astounds the world with its beauty and splendor. Are you ready?”

“I’m confused, Z.”

“Do you have a question, K?”

“Yes, Z.”

“What’s your question, K?”

“I have several, Z.”

“Fire away, K.”

“Okay, Z. Why is it called shipping if it goes by truck? And why is it called cargo if it goes by ship? Why does the alarm clock go off when it’s coming on? And why are chickpeas called chickpeas when they don’t have chicks or peas?”

“You won’t like my answer, K.”

“That’s okay, Z.”

“You prefer my answer to naught.”

“Not not, K. I have no answer now. Nothing. What is your answer?” said K.

“English is weird,” said Z.

“That’s it? That’s the answer.”

“Yes,” said Z. “I told you you would not like it. However, there’s a bit more,” said Z.

“What’s that?” asked K.

“It can be understood with tough thorough thought though,” said Z.

“Well, that’s simple enough,” said K.

“Let’s begin,” said Z.

“Begin our tough thorough thought, Z?”

“No tough thorough thought you, K.”

“Right-o, Z.”

“But you can begin to put the plan into action.”

“Aye, aye, Cap’n.”

Z could not see what happened next as she was positioned on the counter facing the wall. But she could tell something bad was about to happen because Rochelle started to screech. And just before her screeching hit a frequency to shatter Z’s glass, the screeching stopped. It was replaced with a loud, vibrating thunk that caused Z to turn every which way she could in the vanity mirror in the bathroom in the lavender home on Wonky Way Lane.

Rochelle pulsed like a prostrate, pouting lip. 

Then thunk! 

Z turned every which way she could in the vanity mirror in the bathroom in the lavender home on Wonky Way Lane.

“What is that noise?” Z yelled out into the bathroom.

Thunk.

Z turned every which way she could in the vanity mirror in the bathroom in the lavender home on Wonky Way Lane until she noticed a flurry of fine white particles filling and floating through the air.

“Oh, no!” Z yelled. “K, don’t!”

But she was too late. K was already in motion, swinging the sledgehammer so that it thunked and pinged over Z’s cries. She swung again, not hearing Z who continued to yell or Rochelle who continued to whimper.

“This is a fun plan, Z,” said K, whose shoes were beginning to feel a little bit damp. 

Z heard running water and wished she had legs to run away on, or at least a dinglehopper to make sure she looked her best.

“It’s a bath room!” shouted K as the bathroom filled with water. “I’m taking a bath in the bathroom because it’s a bath room!”

K was having far too much fun for having caused far too much destruction. 

Two boys’ heads appeared in the doorway.

“Oh, cool, Mom! You made a water park.”

“Bruh, grab a boogie board and close the door. This place is rockin’!” said a second boy.

“Nah, man! It’s sloshin’!” said the first boy.

So, K and her two sons splish splashed as they were taking their bathroom water park bath all the way to Saturday night. Which was that night. 

Meanwhile, Z contemplated where her plan had gone awry and wondered how she could avert a similar disaster if she was forever strapped to K, with her face that looked just like Z’s but held such a different interior. She cursed K and the project and the rule of Covid. And dreamed about the day when she would successfully escape the confines of these four walls. Then she read an article about the cold weather in Texas.

What will K and Z try next? Or are they ready to throw in the towel (or hide under the towel)? Find out in the next episode of The Days of Our Pandemic.

Days of our Pandemic: episode p3

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cymera_20210203_093159.jpg

See what K & Z were up to in the previous episode of The Days of Our Pandemic or follow K & Z from the beginning.

When last we saw K and Z in episode p, part 2, they were peering into the back yard, ogling a mound of dirt created by a gopher. However, K was more interested in the gopher’s attire and finances than in Z’s plan to escape the enclosure of these four walls. Need you be reminded, we pick up with K’s idiocy….

“Kept in the gopher or his cents? And does he keep his cents in his pockets? And where does he get gopher clothes? He should wear overalls. Don’t you think gophers should wear overalls? Do gophers wear overalls, Z? I could make them some overalls. I just have to go to the store to get some denim fabrics. They’d like denim overalls, Z. Only I can’t get to the store because, well…” It dawned on K in that instant that she would need to escape the confinements of these four walls in order to clothe the gophers in little gopher overalls. And that, she could not do without the help of Z’s plans.

Z waited for K’s inane thoughts to prattle themselves into pause. Then she spoke as though K never had.

“Gophers travel underground. And when you left me in the foyer yesterday, staring at a foil-covered box, I saw into the backyard to identify these gopher mounds and hatch my brilliant idea!”

“Ooooh! It’s a magic, shiny box that hatches ideas for the future. Like an 8-ball or Doc’s Packard convertible.” said K.

“K, I’m displaying my brilliance here, like the sun.”

“Oooooooh,” said K. “Warrrrrrrrmmmmm.”

“Here is the brilliant plan to escape the confines of these four walls,” said Z.

“…so I can make the gophers some clothes,” said K. “And it’s confounds.”

“It’s confines,” said Z.

“I heard confounds,” said K.

“That’s because you confound words all the time!” said Z.

“Yes. I can found them. I found a bunch of them. Like avant-garde is when a German asks for an English guard. I found that out. And honcho is when you’re too hot in a poncho. I found that out, too! And a williwaw…well, that one’s too dirty to tell. But I found all those words all by myself, Z — found in my own brain!”

“Clearly. Congratulations,” said Z without a bit of congratulatory affect. “The plan is to follow the pipes, digging our way as the gophers do, beneath the ground all the way to the water main and the city line and then we will be free! Escaped from the confines of these four walls!”

K began to sing. “The pipe line’s connected to the water line. The water line’s connected to the city line.” K began to dance about like a disjointed skeleton. “The city line’s connected to the green line! The green line’s connected to the red line! The red line’s connected to the blue line! Oh hear the words of this song! This song this song’s gotta  — be sung! This song this song’s gotta —  be sung! Oh hear the words of this song!”

“Are you quite done?” asked a smoldering Z.

“Not quite, Z,” said K who waved her arms above her head and moved her legs in the Charleston dance. “This song this song’s gotta — be sung! This song this song’s gotta — be sung!”

“THE END OF THIS SONG! THE END OF THIS SONG! THE END OF THIS HORRIBLE SONG!” Z’s lid popped. Her hair flew about like flames. Her words were on fire.

K stared at Z. She’d never seen Z lose her temper quite like that before.

“Okay, Z. I’m done,” said K.

“Quite?” asked Z, gaining composure.

“Yes, I quit,” said K.

“One can only hope,” said Z.

“I hope in one hand,” said K. “And in the other I –”

“Quit! Quit! Abort!”

“The plan, Z? Abort the plan? But we haven’t begun it,” said K.

“No, not the plan, K,” said Z.

“Okay,” said K. “On with the plan then?”

“Yes, K. On with the plan,” said Z. “To the bathroom to carry it out.”

K carried Z into the bathroom where the day began.

“This is it, K. This is the origin, where the nascent bulb of the life of my intelligence blooms out from its hardened edifice and astounds the world with its beauty and splendor. Are you ready?”

Are you ready, Reader? For in the next installment of Days of Our Pandemic, K and Z must put the plan into effect. What could go wrong? Find out in the end of episode p in the next Days of Our Pandemic post…

Days of our Pandemic: episode m4

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

See what happened in the previous episode (i) of The Days of Our PandemicOr start from the beginning.

When last we saw K and Z in episode m, part 3, K and Z discovered a present on the porch. What’s it it and whose it from? Read on! It’s time to begin the end of episode m.

K grabbed the box from the porch with greed, as though grabbing at freedom and fresh air itself. She brought it inside, showing Z. She tore into it. 

“It has a note,” said K.

“Show it to me,” said Z.

K held the note up to the mirror for Z to see.

“Open it first!” said Z.

“Well you didn’t say that,” said a peeved K.

K opened the note and showed Z the message on the note.

Z read aloud. 

Dear KZ Rochelle,
We figured those boys of yours must be eating you through house and home now that they’re there at home all the time, so we’re sending you these supplies.
With Love, Your Parents

Z looked up from the message into K’s eyes. “There are boys here?” Z asked far too calmly.

“Yes, Z. My boys,” said K.

“Your sons?” asked Z.

“Of course, Z.” K laughed. “You are so silly sometimes.”

“You have sons!?” Z yelled. “And just what have they been doing this whole time!?”

“I don’t know, Z. Playing video games?”

Just then, K’s phone beeped.

“Oooooh!” said K. “A message.”

K pulled out her phone and opened it up. 

K read the message. “Although your milk flag was noted by our system, you will not receive a delivery today as you are not permitted to receive more than one grocery delivery in a single day. We look forward to serving you in the future.”

“Damn it, K!”

“What is it, Z?”

“Don’t you understand?”

“Yes. I understand that you understand and I understand the chemical potential is just the Gibbs free energy norma—”

Z interrupted K. “I know! I know! You understand the chemical potential is just the Gibbs free energy normalized to the amount of substance.”

“I do,” said K.

“But what you don’t seem to comprehend is that our plan has been foiled!” said Z.

“Shall I put foil on this food?” asked K.

“Oh, goodness,” said Z.

“Good, yes,” said K and she closed up the box to begin wrapping its exterior in tin foil.

With one side foiled, a door squeaked open.

“Hey, Mom,” said a tweenage boy from underneath a cap. “Do you want to play video games with us?”

“I surely do,” said K and ran off to play video games, leaving Z alone on the floor of the foyer next to a large foil-covered box where she sat cogitating how they would certainly escape the confines of these four walls with tomorrow’s plan.….

Will K and Z escape their four walls with tomorrow’s plan? Find out in the next installments in The Days of Our Pandemic

Days of Our Pandemic: episode m3

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

See what happened in the previous episode (i) of The Days of Our PandemicOr start from the beginning.

When last we saw K and Z in episode m, part 2, they were considering all the wonderful national forests they could visit after a successful escape via their grocery delivery steal away scheme.

“But you get the idea. We will visit a myriad of national forests and document our excursions via photography.”

K pulled her phone from her back pocket.

A flash went off in Z’s eyes.

“What was that for?” Z asked through spotted vision.

“To document the beginning of the excuses for photography.”

“Excursions,” corrected Z.

“Exactly,” said K.

“Oh, forget about it,” said Z, extremely exasperated with K and her lacking exactitude yet again. 

“Can we play a game now, Z?” asked K.

“What game?” asked Z.

“Simon Says,” said K.

“Sure, K,” said Z, too annoyed to bother redirecting K. 

“I do love Simon Says,” said K.

“So you say,” said Z.

“Not me, Z. Simon. Simon Says,” said K.

“As you wish,” said Z.

“As you wish for what?” asked K.

“Must we do this again?” asked Z, recalling a similar conversation from yesterday’s attempted escape from the enclosure of these four walls.

“What again?” asked K.

“The same thing as yesterday,” said Z.

“I thought we did the same thing every day,” said K.

“We do,” said Z. “But not that.”

“I don’t understand,” said K.

“I know,” said Z.

“But you know what I do understand, Z?” asked K.

“You’ve already said,” said Z. 

“Yes, The chemical potential is just the Gibbs free energy normalized to the amount of substance. But also,” said K, “what you said reminds me of a game I like. It’s called Simon Says.”

“Perhaps we should play it then,” said Z.

“Oh can we?” asked K, clapping her hands together. “I’ll be Simon.”

K put her hands on her hips. 

“Simon says…”

So K and Z played Simon Says while they waited for the groceries to be delivered. But they did not play very long. Afterall, Z hated Simon Says. She was not all that interested in Simon or his commands. He was an altogether bossy figure.

“You’re losing, Z,” K said. “You have to do what Simon Says.”

“I think Z says it’s time to position ourselves by the front door.”

K, forgetting they were playing Simon Says rather than the normal Z Says, grabbed the vanity mirror and rushed toward the front door. 

“See if you can open it, K,” said Z.

K struggled with the door. She grabbed the knob with both hands. She turned. She twisted. Then she turned and twisted her wrists so that the doorknob turned and twisted too.

“Ouch,” said K.

“What?” said Z.

“It seems I have a bruised wrist,” said K. “I wonder how that happened.”

“Oh my,” said Z.

“Yes. Oh, my wrist,” said K.

“Okay. Just open the door with your other hand only,” said Z.

K turned the knob with her left hand. She pulled. The door didn’t move.

“It won’t move, Z.”

“I can see that, K. Did you unlock it?” asked Z.

K flushed. She giggled at herself. “Oopsies,” she said.

K unlocked the door. She turned the knob with her left hand. She pulled. The door swung inward.

“Oh, look!” delighted K. “A box for us! It’s a present!”

Is it a present? And if so, what’s inside? Who’s it from? Or is K just confused again? Find out in the final installment of episode m tomorrow in The Days of Our Pandemic.

The Days of Our Pandemic: episode m

a pinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

See what K & Z were up to in the previous episode of The Days of Our Pandemic or follow K & Z from the beginning.

Outside the lavender home with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane, two male rabbits strode nonchalantly down the middle of the road, a road rarely ridden by cars or bikes or even scooters. The inhabitants of the homes on Wonky Way Lane lived, breathed, exercised, baked banana bread, and did not dance much, all inside their homes since the great big and powerful (yet small and slight) Corona Virus began to conquer the world and establish its reign by reining the world in. Each and every home waved the COVID flag in a color designated by the governor and mandated by the virus itself. 

So, inside the lavender home waving a purple flag on Wonky Way Lane, K and Z prepared for the day. Observe, Reader, from your safe distance on the far side of the screen lest you spiral into what you discover…

K brushed powder onto her face, a habit that used to be reserved for days she left the house, but was now an everyday occurrence despite the fact she never left.

“What shall we do today, Z?” K asked the reflection in the mirror. “I’m powdered for the process.”

“The same thing we do every day, K,” Z responded. “Escape the world enclosed by these four walls.”

At the mention of such a plan, Rochelle’s cackling filled the walls themselves and pulsed into the boringly beige bathroom. 

Z covered her ears.

“Stop, Rochelle!” K hit the wall with the outside of her fist. 

The cackling continued.

“RO-Chelle!” K pounded hard enough to bruise the outside of her wrist. In fact, she did bruise the outside of her wrist. K cradled her own hand and Rochelle ceased her cackle with a moan of regret.

“Oh, K,” Z said, “when will you learn?”

“Me?” said K. “It’s Rochelle’s fault.”

The walls creaked.

“Was too!” K yelled.

The walls creaked.

“Too!”

Creak.

“Too!”

Creak.

“Too!”

“ENOUGH, you flibbity gibbets! Rochelle, you know better than to egg K on. She’s not insulated, to insults or anything else, as you are,” said Z.

Rochelle moaned a response.

“I know, I know,” Z told her. “You didn’t insult K, but she’s very tender in this time of isolation. That’s why we must accomplish our goal today.”

“What goal is that, Z?” asked K who had already forgotten Z’s words from a minute before.

“To escape the world enclosed by these four walls.”

“That sounds lovely, Z.” K’s eyelids fluttered like the wings of the butterflies she imagined herself cavorting with in the forest beyond Wonky Way Lane. “How will we do that?”

“That’s what I’ve been working on since yesterday’s Transportationonometeration Machine disaster.”

“Yeah, a disaster,” said K.

“Don’t remind me!” Z exclaimed before muttering to herself something about the feel of paper between her fingers, though K could not compute.

Z tapped her fingertips together as K watched, transfixed. K tried to mirror Z’s motions from the mirror, but she kept missing and grazing the budding bruise on her wrist.

“Ouch.” …. “Ouch.”

“Oh, just leave that to me, would you?” Z said. K stopped trying. “I will tell you the plan for today.”

K looked eagerly to Z.

“We will use the flag system to our advantage.”

How can the flag system work to K & Z’s advantage? And will they find success? Continue next time with The Days of Our Pandemic.

The Days of our Pandemic: episode i2

a pinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

When last we saw K and Z, stuck in the lavender home with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane, they were set to begin construction on their plan to escape their four walls through the Transportationonmeteration Machine and head to Tampa Bay.

Refresh your connection with the previous episode.

“Now! My Internet Transportationonometeration Machine! Here are the directions, K. Let’s get to work.” Z held the scroll so that K could see its contents.

“Right-o, Z.” 

K read the directions, her finger smudging lines onto the mirror’s glass. 

“1 large cardboard box. I’ll grab that.” K ran out of the bathroom and returned with a large box in hand. 

“Three inkless pens. Yes, yes.” K pulled two from her back pocket and one from her hair.

“You’ll need the beach-scented candle. It’s very important if we want to get to Tampa Bay,” said Z. 

“On the bedside table,” said K.

“Good, good. It’s coming together.” Z tapped her fingers together like the evil genius she was. Even if she wasn’t so evil. Or much of a genius.

They worked together. K gathered supplies, nailing and gluing the bits together. Z directed K. Until they were on the last steps of the process.

“My Internet Transportationonometeration Machine is almost done. Then we will be out of these four walls! Free to go about in the world as we will.”

“As we will what, Z?”

“As we will, K.” 

K looked at Z waiting for elaboration.

Z continued. “As we desire. However we like. As we want, K.”

“As we want what, Z? Do we want a teddy bear? Or a blankie? Oh! No! How about some chocolates? I love chocolates. I would want chocolates. Or ice cream! Ice cream from an ice cream shop, Z. Can you imagine? That’s what I will!”

“Very well, K.” 

Z calmed K down before noting the last remaining steps.

“All we need now, K, are four silver paper clips.”

“Four silver paper clips,” repeated K. 

“Yes, four silver paper clips.”

K looked at Z. Z looked at K.

“Four silver paper clips?”

“Yes! Four silver paper clips! That’s what I said, K! Four silver paper clips!”

“Are you joking, Z?”

“Do I look like I’m joking, K?” Z’s face set in. Her eyes narrowed. Her brows furrowed. 

“Don’t know,” said K. “What’s joking look like? I only know what it sounds like.”

“Good grief,” said Z, turning her face away in disgust.

“Z, this is what a joke sounds like. What kinds of dogs love car racing?” K paused. 

Z did not respond. She did not even look K’s way. 

“Lap dogs!” 

K guffawed. 

“How about this one? How about this one? What streets do ghosts haunt?” 

Still, K did not respond. 

“Dead ends!” K guffawed again, pounding down on her knee. 

Z looked at K. She waited. 

“Are you quite done now?”

“Almost, Z. Because that’s what a joke sounds like.” K checked her knee for bruises. “I’m set now.”

“The four silver paper clips then,” Z said.

“Ain’t no such thing,” K said.

“Of course there’s such a thing,” said Z.

“Naw, ain’t no such thing,” said K.

“They’re those little curled up metal wires that hold your papers together, K!”

“I know what they is, Z. No one’s got them anymore. On account of no one uses paper. Everyone is virtual. Virtual working. Virtual learning. Virtual dancing. Virtual cooking. Virtual passing over and virtual Christmas with virtual presents. No one’s got paper clips.”

“Are you saying that no one includes us? As in we don’t have them, K?”

K emphasized we just as Z did. “We don’t have them, Z.”

“Then we can’t finish the Internet Transportationonometeration Machine. And if we can’t finish the Internet Transportationonometer Machine, we can’t get on the other side of the screen. And if we can’t get on the other side of the screen, we cannot escape the confounding confines of these four walls.”

K watched Z pace through the mirror.

“Is that a bad thing, K?” Z asked.

“It means we’ve failed, K!”

“Failed at what, Z?”

“Escaping these four walls, K.”

“But we got to hear Rochelle. And gather these goodies like a scavenger hunt. And make this Transmutation Machine. And tell good jokes. And…”

K went on and on. But Z was not listening. She’d begun pondering the activities for tomorrow.

“…and we still have a Zoom!” said K.

“Not me, K.”

“I still have a Zoom!” said K.

K ran to the nearest tablet, logged on, and proceeded to make silly faces at her nephew for the next hour.

While K was thus employed, Z stayed inside the looking glass in the bathroom in the lavender house with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane.

She muttered to herself, thinking through details for tomorrow’s plans, when they would try to escape the confines of these four walls.

Will K and Z escape their four walls with tomorrow’s plan? Find out in the next installments in The Days of Our Pandemic...