THE FLU PANDEMIC OF 2018 ... A Fictional Short Story by A.P. Davis
Jake waited in line at the drug counter as several white coats stood at their computer terminals looking.
Then finally, after about 5 minutes, he approached the second counter, the lady at terminal 2 asked for ID.
He had the right cards to show. It was September, 2017 and he was getting his annual INFLUENZA shot.
The lady at terminal 2 looked up at him and asked, "Do you want the multiple shot or the regular shot?"
Jake asked, "Which one is better?" She replied, "The multiple." After a moment of consideration, He said, "Okay, I'll take the multiple, just as long as my insurance covers it." She replied, after looking over his information on her computer and looked a bit puzzled and whispered at the head pharmacist, then asked, "You are to turn 60 on your next birthday in October?" Jake responded with a bit of sarcasm in his voice, "Yes, if I live long enough to reach it."
He was somewhat curious why she seemed to spend so much time looking over his insurance information. He wondered if there was anything on the computer she was looking at that related to prior criminal history, and of course, even though he had a nearly clean record, he had been charged, many years before for a Class C misdemeanor, for saying something he later regretted at a retail box store for being told to move out of line, after waiting for 10 minutes that the line was now closed and had to pay a 500 dollar fine to pay off the ticket. But why would such information be of anything important? Or for that matter, what if they have records of him being put in observation at the county hospital psychiatric ER for an attempted suicide and a later diagnosis of Bipolar 1? He thought again and reasoned that these types of facts would not be readily accessible to a pharmacist who is just giving out flu shots to those with medicare coverage, so the thought was quickly forgotten.
Jake was told he would get the multiple but after the quiet discussion between the woman at counter 2 chatted a bit with the head pharmacist, and looking once more over the computer screen, he was asked to wait until his name was called and she handed back his ID cards, including his Driver's License and his Medicare and Medicaid cards. He signed on the bottom of the papers and filled out a brief medical history then handed it back and stood waiting to hear his name called.
After his name was called, he walked over to where the male nurse stood holding a hypodermic full of flu serum he was asked, "Which arm do you want your shot Mr. Swanson?" He answered, "The right arm is okay."
"How about them Cowboys?" - Yea, right! He forgot he was wearing a Dallas Cowboys baseball cap. "Yea, I hope they make it to the Superbowl this year." - not actually meaning what he just said.
The injection was painless but Jake had to turn his eyes away from the needle because for some reason, unlike all the other times over the past few years, he seemed a bit turned off by looking at the needle going in even though it took only a mere blink of an eye for the needle to penetrate his skin and force the vaccine into his blood through his right shoulder.
Sandra told the head pharmacist, "He isn't quite yet 60. That means he has to get the regular shot, the one that actually is a flu shot, not the multiple shot which is a placebo." The head pharmacist replied in a very soft voice, "We could be held for liability if we didn't give him the regular shot because he could be tested and since he has not yet reached his 60th birthday, even though it is just a few days away, there could be legal consequences so give him the regular and make sure it covers all of the flu variants. The multiple shots are only to be given to those 60 years of age with proof of age, upward."
The reasons the elderly of 60 years and older were getting the multiple shot (a placebo), was because the CDC wanted to find out if last year's shots, given to those in this age group, still had some immunity or not, as the intention, the bottom line was that the government wanted everyone to get the flu, who were from this age group, to basically thin the population and remove some of the financial burdens of the current budget towards the so-called affordable health care system. But this was genocide and the fact that people of age 60 and over getting the latest version of the influenza vaccine were the target of a mass conspiracy to lower the population and stall the bankruptcy of the system as it currently stands, would, if made public, create a wave of protests and panic throughout the entire nation and essentially cause an instant government shutdown and possibly the beginning of a revolution. There would be mass casualties on both sides, those from the aging groups and those who opposed such actions taken by the government, in theory, of course.
The deaths reported in certain cities of people who actually got the flu shot were reported to have not been given it, and in a propaganda media report and other media reports, only the elderly or the very young were coming down with the flu and dying from the complications of this disease as it was said that the latest flu shot only prevented the flu in 10% of all cases of the flu but was later upgraded to being about 30% effective, but still, quite low compared to the general expectations of the citizens receiving these flu shots.
Mainly, this effort was being taken to make it appear as though the overall effectiveness of the flu shot was too low but then there were cases of death from complications of the flu due in large part from not taking the shot to prevent it by the many who actually still had a healthy paranoia about getting it and those were the ones who were actually better off than those who got the shot thinking they were protected. This kind of action would be unthinkable just a few decades ago, but as global climate change and the rise in sea levels have been taking their toll on human and endemic species of entire regions of the planet, this crazy effort began to take place born out of ignorance, fear and just plain bad decisions lacking any moral substance, decisions being made from the top, that if allowed to continue, would eventually lead to a great number of mass deaths. The prior year saw many school age children getting a new form of illness, from some sort of mutated super bug and no one seemed to be able to pinpoint the causes. This news slipped away and was soon forgotten, but not by everyone.
Some were all too aware that things were just not right with such as the conspiracy of the Ebola Virus outbreak in parts of southern Africa, taking a toll on travelers who carried the disease with them while it was still in a dormant state and spreading the virus across almost every continent in a very short time and even that was soon forgotten and placed under the proverbial rug. The new threat of a flu pandemic was coming but some people had information that would hopefully put a stop to it before hope for the elderly and the very young became the victim of a major conspiracy to kill off half of the human race!
Jake's wife was older than himself. She got the multiple shot. Then as the days went by, nothing seemed to be happening, no flu like symptoms so they both believed they were protected. It was only a matter of fate and random chance that either one of them might in fact, contract a variant of the flu from the general public and become exposed to surfaces touched by those already effected by having one or more forms of the influenza virus.
One of the pharmacy clerks who was a new hire, to fill in for a person who had become absent for the past few weeks, was being trained in the process of giving flu shots to both groups, A & B. The A group were the controlled ones, who would be getting the regular flu shot, given only to those from ages 18 to 60 and to those above age 60, were in the B group. The only thing Sam knew was that group B were getting the multiple shot, a stronger flu shot, that would basically be better for them to get so they would be more protected, since the older group of people had weaker immune systems and would benefit from the multiple shots. Sam had no knowledge about the conspiracy to thin the population. All she knew was that she had this nice new position and was covered with medical and health insurance and a good salary to support herself and her two sons.
Looking at the listings of flu shots there was yet a third class of flu shots, Group C and it was classified and the information was restricted to only the manager of the pharmacy. For all Sam knew, it was just another variation of the flu shot, nothing more. But what was Group C? She was curious but didn't ask anyone as she was only starting her first day on the job and had other things to learn like how to enter her username and password and what her hours were and how much deductible would be on her pay check.
A drifter named David Wildwright walked down the freeway to an exit to the downtown area of the city of Forever, a highly populated metropolitan city, growing quickly in numbers, including the homeless. At the bottom of a hill, on an early morning walk from being on the road for days, David, the drifter, was hungry and tired and needed some place to rest. The sun was just beginning to rise with a slight fog in the air and a slight cloud cover above and there were many people with shopping carts full of their clothing and personal items, wearing too much clothing and some gathering around a large 50 gallon can burning warmth upwards to their exposed hands, nearly touching the flames. The drifter was aware of man who was smoking a cigar, at the back of a closed warehouse and approached him. "Hello, I'm from 20 miles north of here. Where do I get a bite to eat and a place to crash?" The man with the cigar, looked up with long hair and beard and a heavy coat, shabby and torn, replied, "There isn't much time. The men in black will come soon, and they will be giving us shots so we don't die from the cold. I warn you, do not get the shot. They are coming to kill us. You may think I'm a bit crazy for saying this to you but I am not crazy, just homeless, a drifter like yourself. If you want something to eat, I have a PB&J in my back pack and there is a place to crash in the basement of that building at the bottom of the hill over there." He pointed towards an abandoned club house, once a disco hall, shut down years ago and it was where a few of the homeless took over, this until the law comes and forces everyone to evacuate.
"What do you mean they are coming to kill us? I mean, what are you talking about?" The man handed him a PB&J and a warm can of coke. "Here. take a seat on that crate and let me tell you all about it."
He began to tell his story that many thought was just the ramblings of a mad man, but seriously, he wanted the drifter to know hear what he had to say so he went on with the story, "For the past few months, Black SUVs and Vans come around the areas near the downtown where most the homeless live and there are a lot of us homeless around. They, the ones in black get out of their vans and gather people together and give them shots. They tell them it's to help them survive and be healthy and so on and so forth. But that ain't the reason they're doing it. Just look at this piece of news paper and read what it says. My eyes aren't any good. If you can, read the article at the bottom of this page out loud to me." The drifter read aloud the news report in the Forever Reporter.
It read as follows: HOMELESS DYING BY THE DOZENS FROM NEW DRUG CALLED SYNTHETIC SPICE and they are becoming like zombies. Many will simply overdose and die, while others take just enough to make them zombie like. They have been found all over the downtown area laying down on the ground, as if sleeping, but more like the walking dead. The city law enforcement is taking steps to remove the drugged out people, mainly the homeless, and taking them to local recovery centers to detox. It has been said by some of the homeless that they got a flu shot and went missing days after with no trace. The numbers of missing homeless has reached a point where city officials have started a special task force to monitor these disappearances and try to find the source of this new type of zombie drug, but some say and it is only a rumor, but some report that they believe strongly that these flu trucks that give the homeless people the shot, have died mysteriously with severe flu like symptoms and many on the street are calling it the death drug. It could be a new wave of criminal drug use that is yet to be known and it has become an ever ongoing and worsening threat to the people living on the streets of Forever City.
The drifter took a few bites of his PB&J and looked out at the city as the swarms of people began to gather at the parked black vans in front of the old abandoned warehouses as the sun slowly rose to lighten up the new day. The men in black were carrying their brief cases full of death. Many who were warned, ran in the opposite direction and the cigar smoker and the drifter went into the basement to hide, to wait until the vans and the men in black finished giving injections to the unsuspecting people of the streets.
Working on Updates ... 6% ... Don't turn off your computer. This might take a while. Tony Franks was staring at the Lenovo 32 gig SDD laptop PC since 6 PM the night before. Already he had to delete the temp files from his 16 gig thumb drive. It was formatted to FAT32, not NTFS, and as he had no familiarity with exFAT. The seller of that dumb laptop didn't even bother to mention in the specifications on the buy site, that a 2-in-1 lap top will not update properly or even at all if not more additional external flash memory from either a USB thumb drive that had at least 16 gigs of memory, formatted NTFS, not FAT32, or an external hard disk drive that also fits into a USB 2.0 port, or a memory card, a tiny embedded chip that slides into a port made just for what is known as an SD card. SD cards can hole lots more memory and do not stick out from the port, thus creating a problem with accidental damage to the USB type thumb drives. LOOK AT THIS LINK about external flash memory.
He was frustrated as all get out. The 6% was way far from being 100% and only time would tell. So while the tiny laptop PC sat on the dining room table under the light of the morning sunlight through a thin white veil of curtain and blinds, Tony went to make a cup of Green tea with a hint of mango and peach. Walking into the darkness of the man cave, where his HP desktop sat on an old student desk, made of particle board and stick-on paper fake wood veneer, He woke up his computer and began Googling the latest updates from Reuters news on the subject of the latest Flu outbreaks and there were several articles covering this subject.
He himself had been reluctant to getting the flu shot this month since he had so far, only symptoms of hay fever and the sniffles with runny nose and sinus drainage. He was taking a generic 24 hour over the counter antihistamine that worked somewhat for at best, 12 hours and that would get him through most of the day while he spent a few hours raking leaves. The problem with the latest epidemic outbreak of the flu was due to the fact that the people getting the shots waited way past the window of opportunity when the flu season actually began back in October. Now it was January, 2018 and people were still not getting their shots. The unusual number of deaths from a variant of the flu, H3N2, LOOK AT THE ARTICLE FROM NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ONLINE
It was time to do some research out in the field. He had a day off and it was a Saturday. He had to get dressed for the cooler temperature, walk to the bus stop down the street, carrying a few extra dollars and a bag of lunch items and bottle of purified water, he took the next bus to the main station that would take him to a light rail train to Downtown Forever. He wanted to talk to the people on the streets. He carried with him his Canon movie cam and a digital recorder and a small K I N D L E Fire Tablet. His shoes were the type that had those round laces, not the flat ones. The laces would keep coming untied after walking just a few blocks. He had to sometimes just walk with the laces coming lose and walk with his shoes barely tight enough to support his ankles and not fall off his feet. The wait at the bus station was only 10 minutes, give or take and the lady at the ticket booth offered him a cup of free coffee, since he was with the police force. Most of the people around town knew him at first glance, even in his ordinary civilian clothes. The coffee was great. He thanked the lady at the ticket counter and walked towards the 9-crosstown bus. Yea, he could have taken the light rail but that would have taken another 30 minutes.
Getting on the bus, he handed the driver his ticket and the driver instructed him to just slide it through the car reader where the black magnetic strip ran across the front right edge along the card at the bottom. The day pass was good until 3:30 AM the following day and it was about 8AM current time. He sat at the front of the bus and started listening to a man and a woman, sitting a few rows back, talking in general about the flu problem. "My mother is 73 years old and she went to get her flu shot, the multiple shot, last week and she has to stay in the house for at least another week until her immunity will work right." The man replied, "Jessie was telling me he had no intention of getting any kind of flu shot or any other shot for that matter. He said, he hasn't gotten a shot any time in his entire life and he thinks he is better off than other people cause he never had the flu since day one." In the back of the bus a man wearing a suit, carrying a brief case, probably a laptop, was wearing a paper 3m face mask and constantly coughing. The bus driver would look in his rear view mirror and he commented about the man to Tony. "That dude in the back has been coughing since he got on back at the union station and has rode this bus all the way from Downtown and back twice. I have a mind to ask him if he plans on ever getting off." The bus driver chuckled a bit and added, "He sounds like my older brother. He has COPD and won't get his flu shot. Says they are giving the shots to homeless people and they are dropping dead like flies. Never heard of such nonsense!" Tony responded, "Who is giving shots to the homeless may I ask?" The bus driver answered, "Well, there are emergency trucks with doctors from the university hospital, who volunteer to take vitals and offer free flu shots to all the street people, but have a hard time getting most of them to let them actually give them the shots. If you ask me, those street people will probably die from exposure to the cold before the shot does them any good."
Tony made a call. "Mike, meet me at the Starbooks coffee shop on Hardwood. We need to go over some things about this flu problem. It seems as though the university is providing flu shots to the homeless. We need to do some asking around the Downtown area and get some information on this before reporting back to Southwest." - Mike said, "Okay, I will be there if the traffic lets me make it there in a reasonable amount of time. I also have some facts to go over with you Tony. See you in about 20."
The bus was about to cross the Holy Trinity River to Downtown Forever City. The skyline was clustered with many tall buildings, some very recently constructed amid the many older ones that had filled the skyline for over 150 years. It was like a city of the past and future grouped together in the now. The bus driver stopped at Apex station. He got out of his chair and walked to the back of the bus to ask the man to kindly get off. He had been riding for the past 8 hours and the driver's shift was ending. He had to get that man off. He was sick and maybe even dying. For all the driver knew, he was just some drunk who was sleeping off his stupor. The driver rushed back to the front to his radio and began talking on it. "911? I've got a code 11 here. No. the man is not breathing. He is unconscious. I need someone from medical over here ASAP!" The driver told everyone to please get off the bus and that they needed to wait for the next bus as this one was out of service due to technical problems. Tony walked back to see what the situation with that man with the mask on was all about. He was apparently either unconscious or asleep. But yea, he appeared not to be breathing. Tony got off the bus and waited outside to see how long the medical crew took to arrive and help that man in any way they possibly could. So far, the day had begun badly. But unknown to him, the bad had only just begun.
to be continued ...
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/workstation-office-business-336369/