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 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...