CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and SIXTY-SEVEN
“Here’s the thing,” Tres said. “Sam was in the hospital for almost a month. He needed treatment for an addition two months. While the insurance paid for everything, it was expensive. Really expensive.”
“If we all get vaccinated, we’re all protected,” Aden said. “If we aren’t all vaccinated, then we’re all at risk.”
“Why is that?” a man asked.
“Because the virus is airborne,” Jacob said. “You breathe it in.”
“If we get the vaccine, can we take off these horrible masks?” a woman asked.
“Hopefully,” Jacob said. “It depends on what happens to the virus.”
“What’s that mean?” another man asked.
“Viruses are living things,” Jacob said. “I think of them like bindweed. If you spray for bindweed, you may kill it where you’re spraying but. . .”
“It’s going to pop up somewhere else,” a woman said with a laugh.
A short lived laugh went through the crowd.
“Our friend Tanesha says that the virus can mutate,” Jacob said. “That means that it can get easier to catch and it could become more deadly.”
“Just awful,” Sam said.
“You are owners now,” Tres said. “You need to know that if a bunch of us get the virus, we can easily bankrupt our insurance plan. That will mean larger premiums in the future. The bottom line is this: without the vaccine, this virus has the potential to bankrupt the entire company.”
Tres let the silence linger and then said, “Let me say that again — this virus has the potential to bankrupt the entire company.”
“What do we do?” Jerry Siegle asked.
“We get the vaccine,” Bambi said. “We all agree here and now that we’re all going to get the vaccine.”
“What if we don’t want to?” a woman asked. “I heard that the vaccine was made from dead babies.”
The woman shivered.
“Then we’ll buy out your shares,” Sam said. “We’re in the ground, people. We deal with the world of excrement and pee.”
“And?” someone asked.
“The virus can be spread by feces and pee,” Aden said. “Our masks and social distancing has protected us so far. There’s no way to know what will happen next year.”
“I want to know what Delphie says,” an older woman said. “She’s never been wrong. Not in my experience. She was right about the masks, hand washing, and social distance. Hell, my grands go to the Marlowe School and she set up the schedule and the cleaning and everything that’s keeping our kids safe. What does Delphie say about this whole thing?”
“She says that we’re just at the beginning of this pandemic,” Aden said. “Those who take care by getting the vaccine, wearing masks, washing their hands, social distancing — they will survive it. But we need to remember that the flu that killed so many people in 1918 is still around. We just call it ‘Influenza A’ and get it in our yearly flu vaccine.”
“Our best chance at surviving — as a company and as individuals — is by taking the vaccine,” Jacob said. “Delphie was very clear.”
No one said anything for a long time.
“Fuck it,” one of the new site managers said. “I’ve got three kids. My wife’s working online now. Maybe some of you can afford to be sick, but we can’t afford for me to be sick. And, I know that I can quit. But I get a really good private school for my kids for pennies, childcare for the baby, and free healthcare for the whole family.”
“Good healthcare, too,” a woman said. “I don’t know anyone who’s been denied something they need.”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.