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 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.

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...