Days of Our Pandemic: episode m2

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

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

When last we saw K and Z in episode m, they were preparing to detail the plan to escape the confines of these four walls…

“I will tell you the plan for today,” said Z.

K looked eagerly to Z.

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

“How will we do that, Z?”

“You know the milky white flag right, K?” Z asked with condescension. 

“The one that alerts the authorities we’re out of milk and other food supplies?” asked K.

“The only white flag we have is that one,” Z said pondering the figurative use of white flags and added, “unfortunately.”

“Yes, I know that one, Z,” K said far too enthusiastically for she believed that the whole plan was knowing about the milky white flag. It was not.

“There’s more, you fool!” Z said.

“Yes, Z. More milk. At the stores. That’s why we can raise the milky white flag to alert the authorities to get us more of the more milk from the stores.”

Z talked herself down from the ledge inside her brain. She exhaled heavily. 

“We will raise the milky white flag so that the authorities believe we are out of supplies, but when their automated vehicles arrive, we will be ready, waiting, and steal away in the car before it drives off past the forest and into the hills.”

“We’re going to steal the milk?” K asked Z in confusion.

“Well, no. Well, yes. But no. Before we consume any food or beverage, we must hide ourselves away in the car that moves away from this house and these four walls!”

“Oh, I don’t know, Z,” K said. “I used to like hideaways. We had a hideout when I was a kid with no boys allowed. And a hideout in the closet. And a hideout in the playhouse in the backyard. But that was all before King Covid. Don’t we always hide away now? I thought that our plan was to not hide away. Z,” K wondered, “why would we hide away to not hide away? I don’t understand.”

“Of course you don’t understand, K,” Z said. “Is there anything you do understand?!”

K thought about that. 

She opened her mouth to voice an idea.

She closed her mouth because she forgot her idea.

She opened her mouth again. “I understand that you understand, Z. And that means I don’t have to understand.”

“That’s the first wise thing I think I’ve ever heard you say, K.”

“Thank you, Z.” K grinned. “And I understand that the chemical potential is just the Gibbs free energy normalized to the amount of substance.”

Z stared through the glass. She blinked. She wiped the inside of the mirror with her sweater sleeve. Then changed her sweater rather than don a possibly-smudged thread or two.

“Right. Well,” said Z searching for her immense vocabulary. “Uhhh, the simplicity of the plan will be to our ad-, ad-” The word escaped her.

“It will help us?” asked K.

“Yes, K. It will help us. We will escape the confines of these four walls today.”

“I’d like that,” said K.

“Go,” said Z. “Grab the milky white flag and raise it up.”

K pulled the flag from the bin of flags the state required that she purchase and that every online store sold their own variant of. Hers were from Amazon Basics. Just like her socks. She stepped into the flag room that used to just be the laundry room and hoisted the milky white flag up onto its place on the pole. 

K returned to Z to report her success.

“The flag is up, Z.”

“Good,” said Z. “Now it will just be a matter of time before we escape the enclosure of these four walls!”

“What shall we do while we wait, Z?”

“Get the camera ready, K.”

“Why do we need a camera ready, Z?”

“We will need a camera, K, to record our adventure in the automated vehicle. We will go to the forest but not just any forest, K. We will go to White Mountain National Forest. And Pigsah National Forest. And Superior National Forest.”

“And I’m-the-Best National Forest!” said K.

“There’s no such forest,” said Z. 

Will K ever understand anything Z says? Will Z’s escape plan work? Find out more in the next 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...