The Vaccine

The Drive

She started screaming.

“What’s wrong?!” the driver asked as the luxury car sped through a particularly treed part of the country road.

She was now looking at him in helpless horror. She took a gulp of air and counted under her breath.

“4… 5… 6”

The driver’s side window shattered and his eyes went blank as he slumped forward onto the steering wheel and the car lurched into the grassy ditch.

The Need

“Ladies and Gentlemen… my fellow Americans… we did it.”

A cheer rose up from the crowd on the White House lawn.

“America will never be defeated by any enemy. Invisible or not. This virus may have put up a fight, but we were stronger. We won. With foresight and sound planning, we won.”

A man and woman on stage to the President’s left forced smiles.

“With so many heroes who bravely fought and paid with their lives to keep our economy running strong — some say stronger than it’s ever been — and the new XX vaccine available to those patriots who play a vital role in our country, we can now claim victory!”

The woman to the left of President spoke through her gritted teeth smile to the man beside her, “What have we done?”

The Lucky

The normally busy factory was quiet. Workers, all in masks, stood facing a makeshift stage that had been set up in the cafeteria.

“I just want to say,” the man in his early sixties paused, steadied himself by putting an arm on his wife’s shoulders and continued.

“I didn’t think I’d even be alive today. As I lay in that hospital, I made my peace with God. I said my goodbyes,” he looked at his wife and young adult children as they put their arms over each other and wiped away tears.

“Thank you to the doctors and nurses who brought me back to life. Who were able to see a path to recovery when I could…”

The man suddenly paused and pointed into the audience at one worker who seemed fine but slightly ashen.

“Call 911!”

He took in a sharp gulp of air as he looked at the worker and counted under his breath, “4… 5… 6”

The worker looked shocked but then grimaced, clutched at his chest and collapsed.

The Secret

“Jesus Christ”

The man and woman who had been on stage with the President were standing in a modern and clinical looking office talking to a stressed looking woman.

The stressed looking woman continued, “This can’t be real.”

“It… it is… uh, apparently,” replied the man.

“Jesus Christ. But how?”

“We don’t know.”

“Are there any other side effects? Have people died?”

The man and woman looked at each with worry in hopes that the other would answer. After a moment, the woman replied.

“Almost the opposite.”

“What do you mean, ‘the opposite’? The opposite of what? Dying?”

The man stepped forward as if to support the woman and spoke, “It’s not that they’re not dying… it’s that they’re avoiding accidental death. So they can — and I’m not sure I can believe I’m saying this myself — they can prevent some things from happening. Because…”

The stressed looking woman interrupted him, “They knew it was coming.”

The Catch

“Despite the economy bouncing back to beyond pre-pandemic levels, businesses across the country are reeling from a bizarre string of resignations and dismissals that have sent the markets into free fall. Some are saying the vaccine…”

The TV reporter’s voice was cut off as an angry man in a suit threw the remote down on the table.

A group of well dressed men and women sat in the Oval Office. The President’s chair was empty.

“What the hell happens now?” one of the women asked.

“Ask the President, he’s had the shot,” replied one of the men.

“Is that some kind of joke?”

The room fell quiet.

“No, I’m not kidding. Things are getting out of hand,” the man stood and paced the room. “These CEO’s were responsible for the biggest economic rebound in history… and now they can’t even string a sentence together.”

The Problem

“Every decision? Every… moment?” the doctor looked over his glasses as he asked.

The young woman in the hospital bed stared at the ceiling as she answered.

“Not at first. At first it feels like a super power. You know what’s going to happen. But there’s not always enough time to do anything about it.”

The young woman sounded pensive. Like she was tired of the futility of her dis/ability.

“Six seconds,” the young woman provided for seemingly no reason.

The doctor, lost in thought, swiped up through notes on his tablet then asked, “How far into the future, for lack of a better term, can you…” He trailed off realizing she had already answered his question.

The young woman continued, “It only happens for things I’m experiencing. That are important… no, not important but…”

“Moments of high stress?” the doctor interrupted.

“Yeah”

“And you’re stressed now?”

“But then it just starts to happen more and more and it’s like living in a world where the audio is out of sync with the video,” she offered in a defeated tone. “It just keeps building. Like time is overlapping and never quite catching up with itself…”

She suddenly turned to the doctor and stared him in the eye, “Wouldn’t you be stressed?”

The Decision

“The people who could afford the vaccine…”

“It’s a treatment too,” interrupted the man who had been standing on stage with the President.

The woman standing at the head of the table began again, “Yes…” She sighed and continued, “the people who could afford the vaccine… and treatment… were some of the wealthiest in the country. None of us in this room could dream of affording it.”

The boardroom they were in was quiet apart from the sound of the ventilation system. Eleven people sat looking defeated.

The standing woman broke the silence, “But we all know it’s not the vaccine that’s the problem. They’re not seeing the goddamn future. The virus is delaying the rest of us.”

“So what do we do?” asked one of the men.

“Water supply. Sugar. Meat. Textiles. Anything people ingest or touch needs to become a vessel for the vaccine.”

The Fix

“The country, and indeed the world, gives thanks to the many brilliant scientists, doctors and nurses who worked tirelessly to rid of us of the terrible virus last year. To them we…”

The TV turned off before the President could finish his sentence.

“Kids!” the husband shouted up the stairs to his two children. He turned to his wife, “Have you seen my…”

His wife held the keys in front of his face and smiled. She gave him a kiss on the cheek as the children came bounding into the kitchen.

“Whoa! Mom! Bacon and eggs??” said the young boy excitedly.

“Yes, now hurry up. You need to finish your breakfast, brush your teeth and get to school or you’ll be late!”

The husband put a second spoonful of sugar in his coffee mug.

“Honey! Not too much sugar,” his wife admonished. She then turned her attention to her daughter, “You wore that top yesterday. There’s a whole bunch of folded laundry in your room. Go change into your new t-shirt.”

The husband put the lid on his travel mug and gave his wife a kiss, “It’s hard to believe how different things are this year compared to last year.”

She smiled and gave him a hug, “I know. It feels like we’ve caught up.”

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Stewart Reynolds | business@brittlestar.com | Be someone’s good luck.

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Stewart Reynolds | business@brittlestar.com | Be someone’s good luck.

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