John woke up early that morning. And as usual, he was thinking of the ’27 Yankees. Not the Ruth and Gehrig, ‘Murder’s Row’ Yankees of 1927. He was deeply engrossed in the trivia of the 2027 Yankees, the last team to return to a non-domed stadium. The last team with a player to hit 30 home runs in a season. Damn those new balls! He smiled at the memory.
Those were the good old days.
He instinctively rolled over to the other side of the bed. Mary was not there but the optimist in him always hoped against hope. Mary was seven years gone now. Sadly she had not been strong enough to cope. Fortunately the ground had been soft enough that day to bury her.
John had gone to bed the night before cold. Three blankets worth of cold. A ‘Three Dog Night’ cold is what they used to call it. But now it was hot. Very hot.
He sat up on the side of his bed and peeled off the wool ‘Long John’ tops. He stretched his arms and admired his biceps. Impressive. Not that he had been around anybody worth impressing in a long time. John looked down and saw where the heat was coming from.
A jagged, radiating angry red splotch, reaching out with tentacles of wildly puckered skin, lanced across his chest and toward his neck. It burned; not fatally so but just enough to make his life even more desolate than it already was. The first time he had seen something like this, it was on Mary, the pair of them forced into quarantine. At least that’s what ‘they’ had called it. The reality was that it was the ‘big kiss off’.
John examined the ugly red blob, taking mental notes. It was kind of like what used to happen when you lay out on the beach and forgot your sun block. He knew that he had something in the medicine chest that would at least cool things down a bit.
He made his way across the room, toward the medicine cabinet and the ever shrinking supply of salve salvation. He stopped in front of the drawn curtains. A little light on the subject couldn’t hurt. He drew the curtains back and looked out on the world…
…That was all shadow, very brittle and very much white with snow. “Ah slightly overcast,” John chuckled to himself. But it was still early. The winds and the storms would, most certainly, kick up later.
John silently turned brooding, dark and bitter. He raised his middle finger in a silent salute to everybody and everything who had sold out the planet for big this and big that. Thank you world for turning your cooperative backs when the sun began to flicker and the creeping result of indifference began its march.
Okay. End of rant for the day.
John looked down at the hot on his chest one more time; this internally deteriorating thing that was going all mutant as it fed off the last bits of our bodies and our lives.
Of course it was frostbite. What else could it be? John looked out once again on the world that was rapidly closing in. There had not been sun in a while.
© Marc Shapiro