The Unvaxed Underground

Photo by Magnus Olsson on Unsplash

They say ‘to the victor go the spoils.’ That history is written by the victors. So this isn’t history. Because I’m a victim, not a victor.

They also said to never let a catastrophe go to waste. And it’s been a catastrophe by any measure, but denial. And they didn’t let it go to waste did they? Look at it all. Everyone with their papers in order, and their smiles tattooed. Their boosters up to date. They’re so shiny and happy, just like the ancient song says.

And it all started so innocently with mass panic. Everyone was so afraid. The virus was everywhere, waiting to stick its nasty little spike into our skin and kill us. The virus was ‘novel’, no one had ever seen it before and everyone said it started with an unknown beast from something called a ‘wet market’ where weird animals were sold to make into meals or potions.

And then they said, no wait, it came from a laboratory and it was an accident, and later no one seemed to know anything about where it came from or how. Or why.

Old people were the first victims. Really old people. People who’d already been moved out of their home and institutionalized; waiting for death sort of old people. Old people died like twigs in front of a California wildfire. It was soon discovered that fat people, and the fatter the worser, and diabetics, and maybe just generally everyone with a weak immune system was going to die because this was a ‘novel virus’ and no one had immunity. And who didn’t have a weak immune system, after decades of corn syrup, preservatives and deconditioning. At first lots of low hanging fruit fell from the tree of life. It scared everyone so bad the government closed down the world. The virus was hiding in plain sight everywhere; under all the rocks, on the wind, baby-food packaging, chipped shoulders, handshakes and hugs.

And everyone believed them. And why not? The government had never lied before. And anyway, weren’t we the government? Would we lie to ourselves?

The virus came in wave after wave after wave, thanks in large part to the Test, which tested everyone to make sure that we had the numbers. And the numbers were so high, so fast, no wonder everyone was scared enough to stay indoors, not travel, work or play. Millions and millions were sick with the virus. Well, not sick. They just passed the test. But like the government, tests don’t lie. And there was no cure. That’s what they said. There was no cure for the virus until the vax was ready and they were making it as fast as they could and it would take a year, so everyone had to wait patiently, wear masks, put space between each person, and whisper.

Finally the vax came and saved everyone. Well not everyone. Because in the time between the virus and the vax, some people started talking and comparing notes, and people realized that most people who passed the test didn’t get sick. And that those who got sick didn’t get that sick, and had immunity after they got sick and didn’t need the vax. Some even were immune to the virus before they even met it, and that was weird because when the government first told us about the virus they said no one had ever met it before, but then if that were true… so then, most people who passed the test never felt bad at all. But none of that mattered. All that mattered was that everyone from babies to the oldest had to get the vax. There was no cure but the vax. There was no future without the vax. Anyone who refused the vax, and why would anyone refuse the vax, it was their duty, so just the few people who refused the vax weren’t allowed to do things that vaxed people could do like go to restaurants and sporting events or weddings. But it turned out after they counted the numbers of all the vaxed that the number didn’t add up to the number of all the people. Lots of people were ‘anti-vax.’

And not because they were anti-vax; they’d all had all their vaxes since they were babies, and they gave their own babies the vaxes; the anti-vaxers weren’t anti-vaxers they were anti-this-vax, which is a little different, but none of that mattered. Their reasons for not doing their duty didn’t matter. Like it didn’t matter if one was immune. It didn’t matter no matter what. Everyone had to get the vax or else.

Because they told us that even if you weren’t sick, you could still make someone else sick, which had never happened before, except that if one person vomits and other people are around, it’s very likely some of those people will get sick too, but other than that people who aren’t sick don’t make other people sick, but that changed with this virus because it was ‘novel’ and no one knew where it came from and no one really cared which is weird because usually people are so curious, but nothing mattered because the unsick were silently spreading the deadly disease, and everyone had to get vaxed quick so there’d be no more unsick.

And when the vaxed, who’d never been sick before they were vaxed, even if they’d passed the test, started to get sick with the very virus they were vaxed against, they all started looking at the unvaxed, and unsick with weapons in their eyes. But there were too many unvaxed and unsick to bully them to get vaxed because some of them had started counting up all the weird things, the anomalies like people passing the test who aren’t sick but calling them sick anyway just because they passed the test. And saying the unsick were really sick and the unvaxed were sick in the head and then the vaxed got sicker and sicker while the unvaxed stayed the same and people were afraid all over again and that’s when they started talking about the camps.

The government had spent years and years and moneys and moneys for lots of emergency camps for emergencies, and the unvaxed making the vaxed sick was the biggest emergency ever seen since the virus itself which made everyone sick one way or another.

To be honest, they made Vax Camps sound pretty nice, especially when so many were so poor. But I didn’t believe them. So I hid when they came for me. And I hide from the patrols now. But I’m not alone. I was never alone. I was underground. Am underground. I’m a gatherer. There are mouths to feed. More each day. The vaxed are so mad. Even without the unvaxed around, they still get sick and no one knows why. Weird.

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Gottlieb is a writer/actor/director. He is the author of the novel The Fourth Wall.

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M. A. Gottlieb

M. A. Gottlieb

Gottlieb is a writer/actor/director. He is the author of the novel The Fourth Wall.

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