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 &2

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 we left K & Z in the first part of episode &, K was telling Z about the importance of her shoulder in her plan to bust them out.

“I’ll ram through it Rochelle again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again.”

Rochelle shrieked. She had not recovered from the attempt at escaping the encasement of these four walls in the recent past, the attempt that created a construction zone of her.

“And again,” said K.

“Don’t worry, Rochelle. I’ll manage this,” said Z.

But as Z attempted to assuage Rochelle, K swung both arms across her torso like Speedy Gonzalez getting ready to race, and off she went, sprinting toward the end of the bathroom. She ran past the door on her right, past Z on her left (who only saw a streak of color cross her line of sight), and left her feet like a catapulted stone from the Great Horse Catapult at Chateau Gaillard

Thud. Z recognized the sound of contact.

“K! K! Where are you?!” Z, bewildered, searched the room but was at a severe disadvantage, residing within a mirror.

K took several big steps backwards, passing in front of Z in reverse.

“K! K! Look at me. Stop what you are doing. Look at me.”

Z tuned her out.

“I. Am. Breaking. Out. Of. Here,” said K to no one but herself.

She swung all but one appendage to her left, then threw them all to her right. Her body followed. She ran, ran, ran, and jumped. Into the wall. Thud.

“I. Am. Breaking. Out. Of. Here,” said K to no one but herself.

“K! Calm down.”

She swung all but one appendage to her left, then threw them all to her right. She ran, ran, ran, and jumped. Into the wall. Thud.

K rubbed her shoulder where a bruise formed faster than she could eat an eggplant, if she’d had an eggplant, but there were no eggplants at the lavender house with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane (largely because the concept would have confused K — a plant of eggs?).

“I. Am. Breaking. Out. Of. Here,” said K to no one but herself.

“K! Listen to me!”

She swung all but one appendage to her left, then threw them all to her right. She ran, ran, ran, and jumped. Into the wall. Thud.

K held her shoulder lightly. Any pressure applied drew an “eeek!” from her lips. 

“Z,” K crumbled. “I’m hurted.”

“Oh, K. It was inevitable.”

“I know, I know. This place is unexitable. But I want to exit, Z. I want to exit so bad.”

“Yes, K. We all do.”

“What are we going to do?”

“I have a plan, K. It’s a big plan. A plan that’s not quite finished yet, but it’s nearly there.”

“A plan for what Z?”

“I can’t give you the details yet. But suffice it to say, my plan will allow us to escape the confines of these four walls.”

Rochelle giggled at Z’s confidence.

“Silence, Rochelle,” said Z.

At that, silence fell inside the lavender house with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane and K, Z, and Rochelle could all hear the faint cries of two rabbit clans outside.

“Z?” asked K when the silence no longer frightened her.

“Yes, K?”

“When will your plan be ready?”

“Soon, K.”

“Then what are we going to do today?”

“Read, K. Just read.”

K squinched her face to its left. She perused the room she sat in and found no books, just a couple magazines and a few bathroom jokes.

“I need to go get a book then,” said K. “Oh!” K lit up. “Are you sending us to the library?! Are we getting out of the walls by going to the library!?”

“The library is not in operation, K.”

K guffawed. “Of course not, Z. Libraries don’t have operations. They don’t even have doctors appointments.” 

The mention of doctors appointments saddened K, even though she was the one to mention them, and she wiped her fingers across her eyebrow. 

“You cannot go to the library!” said an irked Z.

“Why not?” asked a dumbfounded K, who was not as dumbfounded as Z thought, but might have been as dumb as Z thought. Or perhaps, more so.

“No one can!” Z exclaimed.

“Oh.” K thought. “Well, that’s very sad, isn’t it?”

“Indeed,” said Z.

“But we can still read?”

“We can.”

“And that’s how we’ll escape the walls!”

“I suppose.”

“Yes! We can go to Oklahoma or Texas or Oregon or Florida or Massachusetts or India or the Big Rock Candy Mountains!”

“Anywhere the story takes you.”

“London or Paris or Tokyo or San Francisco or Oz or Narnia?”

“Whichever you prefer.”

“See ya, Z!”

“One thing ere you go, K.”

“Yes, Z.”

“Before you go, just remember, when you close the book, you’re still here. You never left the confines of these four walls in a literal sense.”

“Yes, I am too leaving in a literary sense.”

“A literal sense! A literal sense, you dimwit!”

“Isn’t that what I said?” asked K.

Z 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 her shoulder despite the fact the angle added a literal pain in her neck to the figurative one.

K cricked her neck like a bird. She studied Z, but when Z didn’t say anything more, K shrugged her shoulders and exited the bathroom.

“Just you wait,” said Z. “My plan will work. And we will break free of the confines of these four walls. We will have our freedom to live again. Just you wait. Oh, oh, oh, just you wait, Henry Higgins, just you wait.”

Z didn’t catch herself, Reader, but I know you did. The call to a fictional character, the quoting of a fictional character, and the ignorance that she had done it is yet another sign to you and me that things inside the lavender home with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane were growing dire. They haven’t much time left, Reader. 

But. At least they aren’t asking for their slippers or droning on about the rain in Spain. Not yet, anyway. Soon, though, you just might find them singing on the street where you live.

Just what does Z have in store for us? We will just have to wait, like K, and find out in the next episode 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 y3

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

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

When last we saw K and Z in episode y, part 2, they had a plan to leave the enclosure of these four walls in order to get K medical assistance. I know, you’re thinking about the multitude of medical assistances K requires, but, in this case, she suffered a laceration to the head. At Z’s insistence, the two were getting ready to leave the bathroom, leave the house, leave these four walls. But Z claimed K was forgetting something….

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…

Z cooed, “What about,” then cawed, “ME YOU PEABRAIN?!”

“I didn’t pee in my brain. Did I, Z? Maybe I did hurt myself badder than I thought and my thoughts are not working. Oh no, a leak in my brain?”

“Nuthead.”

“Nuts, too!? I’m doomed.” K’s hands shot to her neck. She toddled and nearly fell, again. “I’m dying. I’m dying.”

“Then stop choking yourself,” Z told K.

“Oh.” K let her hands drop to her sides. “That fixed it.”

“And the doctor will fix the rest of what she can, but bring me with you.”

“Right-o, Z. Let’s go.”

K took Z to the garage, along with the toilet paper. She set Z on the passenger seat and buckled her in.

“Safety first, Z,” K said.

K started the car. She released the emergency break. She put the car in reverse. 

“Don’t forget to open the garage, K,” said Z.

“Right-o, Z.”

The garage door opened. K and Z began to back out of the garage.

“We’re doing it. We’re doing it,” Z said. “We’re leaving this blasted house behind!”

“Yes! A blast from your behind!”

Z was too thrilled to deal with K, so she pretended not to hear her.

Just before K and Z reached the edge of the four walls of the lavender house with blue violet trimming on Wonky Way Lane, K hit the breaks.

“What are you doing, K? We’re almost out! We are leaving, escaping! Self-liberation! Emancipation! Let’s go!”

“Uhhh? Z? There’s something fishy behind us.”

“What?” Z turned to see, but she was in a mirror so she could not see behind her. “What is it?”

“Well, maybe fishy is the wrong word. There are no fish. It is kind of goldfish colored though.”

“What is it, K?”

“It’s a big, fiery wall of fire.”

“No!”

“Yes, Z. It is. I swear. I promise. It’s for real.”

“It’s a wall of fire?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure, K?”

“Quite, Z.”

Z’s gaze met the ground. “It’s a firewall,” she said.

“But it’s for real. I thought firewalls were virtual.”

“They are, K, but we live in a world where the lines between reality and virtuality are disappearing.”

“And reappearing as a real live fire wall?”

“Sure,” said Z. 

“Then what will we do about my head, Z? Please don’t say cut it off. I like my head, Z. I wouldn’t like to live without my head.”

“You won’t, K,” said Z.

“Oh, thank you, Z,” said K.

“That’s not what I meant, K,” said Z. 

“Oh, thank you, Z.”

They sat a moment, each worrying over the circumstance they found themselves in but for entirely different reasons.

“Z? It’s getting hot in here. Can we close the garage door, please?” asked K.

Z felt the loss of the near escape and recognized that closing the garage door meant closing the door to a successful escape from the enclosed by these four walls. Again.

Z exhaled a breath large enough to extinguish a fire — on a candle wick. “Yes, K,” she said. “Let’s go inside and call the doctor.”

“Oooh! Can I do a virtual visit, Z?”

“That’s the only thing you can do thanks to the real firewall, K.”

“Oh, that’s much better, Z. That means no shots!” said K.

“Just the one right through the heart of our escape plan.”

K snickered. “That one’s not real, Z.”

“I know,” said a downtrodden Z.

“You’re so silly.”

“Come on now. Back to the bathroom. You can give me a good look at you there and we will get you a bit cleaned up before we call the doctor.”

“That sounds like a plan, Z.”

“Oh, K. I’d slap you if I could.”

“Okay, Z.”

The two made a virtual appointment, called the doctor, and cleaned K’s head — which turned out not to be bleeding at all. No. K stored several sriracha packets in her hairline and the fall caused one to burst and squirt onto her right eyebrow.  All remained as well as could be in the lavender house with violet blue trim on Wonky Way Lane. Which is, of course, to say things were not well at all.

Is Z out of ideas for good? Or will her ideas go bad? Or worse, might K take the reins to lead K and Z out of the enclosure of these four walls? Poor K and Z. What will they do next? Find out in the next episode of 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….

The Days of Our Pandemic: episode y

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.

No one would know it from the looks of things outside the lavender house with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane (largely because no one stood outside the lavender house with blue violet trim on Wonky Way Lane, not with the Venice-canal type COVID cleansing diminishing the human traffic and debris on the road), but things inside the house became drafty after the busted pipe and water park bathroom episode. 

“I’m going to draft the best players!” K told Z as she combed her hair and capped her head to hide the graying roots near her scalp. 

“Mmhmmm,” replied Z who was not at all listening to K. She was too busy contemplating the plan she planned to enact, the plan she kept planning for success, the plan she kept having to redesign, the plan that kept getting thwarted. 

“I have to get the best players if I’m going to win the tournament, Z,” said K.

“Mmhmmm,” said Z.

“And then I can run through the house with arms up in a Rockyesque victory.”

“Ahhh,” said K.

“Z! Are you listening to me?! You hate Rocky but you love sports.”

“Hmmm?”

“I said it’s Draft Day for the football card tournament. I’m going to draft Peyton Manning and Randy Moss and Emmett Smith.”

“I thought you said today was Draft Day.”

“I did.”

“Then why aren’t you drafting today’s players? Or at least, just-before-Covid players?”

“I am! I’m going to go for Harry Kane and Lionel Messi and, of course, Virgil van Dyke! The best footballers around.”

Z breathed deeply. “K, those men do not all play the same sport.”

“They do, too. It’s a football draft so you have to draft footballers.”

“And what is a footballer, K?”

“A baller who foots,” said K. “Which can be confused with a ball with feet, but it’s not the same.”

“I don’t even want to know.” Z rolled her eyes. “Whatever sport you end up in, find the women. They’re able to see in ways the men cannot. If you forget the women, you forget half the game.”

“Oh, Z,” said K. “How can I forget the women? I am the women!”

Z thought about it. She knew it was not what K intended to say, but, in a way, she was right. K and Z, Z and K. They were the women. Z a mirror’s reflection of K’s visage — though how her intelligence multiplied in on itself and never refracted to K was a bit of a mystery.

“Do you want to play, too, Z? You can have only women. If you want.”

“No, K,” said Z. “I do not want to play. And you won’t either. We will be far too busy to play any kind of football.”

“Why, Z? What will we be doing?”

“The same thing we do every day, K. Trying to escape the world enclosed by these four walls!”

A beleaguered Rochelle attempted a cackle that sounded like a whimper. And who could blame her? K battered Rochelle in the previous attempt to escape the world enclosed by these four walls. She nearly knocked a hole into one of the four walls of the bathroom where K and Z got ready each morning, where they discussed the day’s plans, where they stood now. Plastic and duct tape covered the wall which K claimed was a remodel and an improvement. She added a new window. Z told her that if that’s what all windows looked like, the world would be a cold and lightless place where the boogeyman could always get you. Hearing this, K, being K, decided to boogie, man. 

And K boogied now, thinking about her footballing team. 

“Can you please cease that needless gesticulation?”

“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.”

Has Z’s creativity run dryer than her social life? Will she be able to plot her way out of this one or will she succumb to the entrapment of her mind as well as the four walls which surround her? Find out next time in The Days of Our Pandemic….

Days of our Pandemic: episode p4

apinkyandthebrainhomage by KZ Rochelle (of course)

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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 p

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.

Wonky Way Lane was home to innumerable creatures. Some were constantly fighting over territory and food, like the pair of peregrine falcons who flew ominously into frame. Or the family of rabbits on the east side of the street that engaged in a bitter, broiling battle for rule of the road, until the night one east-sider fell in love at first sight with one west-sider so that the two eloped the next morning and might have never lived happily ever after if it weren’t for Tybalt. But, I digress. For we concern ourselves not with the falcons or the rabbits, the foxes or the fairies. No, our scene takes place inside one home in particular. One house on Wonky Way Lane that housed some wonky ways. That house was the lavender house with blue violet trim, the one that waved a purple COVID flag, where inside, lived K and Z, with whom we are concerned. Or, at least, for whom we are concerned. Observe, Reader, from your safe distance on the far side of the screen lest you spiral into what you discover…

The sun was sunning through the slight window high above K’s head as she brushed her teeth with her eyes closed because the sun was sunning right into her eyes and she didn’t realize it would not if she only stepped one step over to the right or the left. 

“Whmf wef ui boehee, Pee?” asked K over the buzz of the electronic toothbrush inside her mouth.

“What did you call me!?” said Z, enraged by K’s name-calling so early in the morning.

K spoke again. “I faed whmf wef ui suigg boehee?”

“Would you take that blasted thing out of your mouth ere you emit another word in my presence?” demanded Z.  

K pulled the toothbrush from her mouth and cleared her throat to speak. Before she said a word, Z was yelling at her.

“Turn off the toothbrush! Turn off the toothbrush!” Z’s forearm covered her face as toothpaste splattered against the vanity mirror out from which Z looked.

K pressed the button that turned off the toothbrush. 

“Oopsies.” K grinned sheepishly. “Sorry, Z.”

Z removed her forearm as protection and looked at the spotted glass. 

“Well,” said Z with barely veiled disgust, “you’re going to have to clean this up before we get to the plan for the day.”

“The plan?” said K. “Oh boy! Oh boy! I love the plan!” K clapped her hands together and jumped up and down, forgetting the bath towel hanging across a clothesline in the bathroom. She jumped up into it, panicked, flailed, got caught up in it, and pulled the entire thing down on herself.

“Help! Help, Z! Help! Something’s got me! And it’s stolen the sun! Help!” 

Z looked straight out her mirror at Rochelle. “Can you believe this nonsense?”

A low rumble came from the walls themselves.

K’s foot kicked itself out from under the bath sheet.

“Light! I see light!”

Z rolled her eyes.

K continued her fight with the towel. Rolling, cursing, and finally, emerging, she pinned the towel beneath her knee. She shot her hands into the air. “Victory!”

“Yes, hardly won,” said Z.

“Yes! Hard won victory!” said K. K stood and grabbed the towel from the floor. She rubbed the defeated towel against Z’s face until all the spots were gone.

“I’ve healed you, Z,” said K.

“Thank you, K,” said Z, choosing which battles of language to fight with K.

“Now,” said K, dropping the towel back on the floor, “what are we going to do today, Z?”

“The same thing we do every day, K. Escape the enclosure of these four walls.”

“Mwuah ha ha ha ha ha,” rumbled from the walls and ricocheted through the room. 

“Stop! Stop! Stop, Rochelle!” K stomped. She covered her ears. She stepped on the towel with one foot. And got caught under the towel with her other foot before finding her face on the floor not far from where her feet should have been.

A high-pitched squeal akin to giggling fell over and through the room.

K bounced to her feet. “I will not be mocked, Rochelle!” K shouted.

“Enough!” Z’s martinet tone draped over K and Rochelle and even the east and west side rabbits heard. “We shan’t waste the day with such shenanigans. We have plans to enact.”

“What will we be acting in today?” asked K.

“I’ll show you. Take me to the dining room!” ordered Z.

You, Reader, may want to avert your eyes to what you are about to see. But Z had no such warning. Discover what Z sees in the dining room, if you can stomach it, which you can, because you stomach K regularly already (and no this does not mean you eat or digest her….please do not do that because that would be an undesirable end to this series…but I think I was trying to tell you something relatively important to this story….Oh yes! You’ll stand strong in the dining room with K and Z) in the next installment of 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.