CoronaDiary: Aftermath of a Global Pandemic

The following diary entries were found on the body of John C. Simmons on November 10, 2021. His notes and short pages were in shambles. The information has since been sorted through and pondered over until a young writer was able to assemble it into a coherent synopsis.

June 14, 2020

Day 90 of quarantine. This is the first time in my life I haven’t had the opportunity to go out and enjoy my birthday. FaceTiming with friends and family has filled the days, reminding me of better times. Once this all blows over, I’ll be on the next flight home to see my parents. I miss them. I miss my mom’s warm embrace and I miss my dad’s comforting and familiar cynicism. I just can’t wait for this to be done.

The pandemic is revealing all the flaws in our country and national leadership. Proving the complete incompetence of our president and his administration, the Governors have taken over commanding their states. Some are better than others, but they are all an improvement over the man that was supposed to make this country great again.

Trump’s now picking fights with China over the old “you started it” nonsense. I don’t disagree that this stemmed from China, or Trump’s assessment of the situation equating it to an arsonist lighting a house on fire during a party. How did it go? Something like, “If you’re at a house party and some idiot lights a fire in the bathroom, you don’t blame everyone, you blame the arsonist.” Which is absolutely correct. 

What he failed to mention was that if the other guests smell smoke and just stand around denying there’s a problem, or worse, fan the flames; to some degree they are also to blame.

Either way, I don’t think this is the time to pick fights. We need to work together to get through this.  

August 26, 2020

What the fuck happened to this world? I’ve spent months now locked inside my studio apartment. Cut off from the outside, my family, my friends. The internet has been down for the last 3 weeks, cutting off the entire home food delivery system; something we’ve been forced to accept as normal once all the supermarkets and grocery stores were closed. Restaurants and bars were done a month ago once they proved to be irresponsible in the fight against COVID-19. 

Yesterday, the news erupted. After months of partisan bullshit, mindless squabbling, and division that this country hasn’t seen since the civil war, the hammer finally came down, ending the reign of our inept leader. A leader that ignored all warnings and cared only for himself, his image, and his money.

While most publications and broadcasts didn’t even bother to objectively analyze what had happened, choosing instead to point fingers and continue their bitching, the report from PBS read something like this:

Forty-fifth president Donald Trump was relieved of his post today after a mother of two young girls and sole caregiver to both her parents lost her family to COVID-19. The president, as he regularly did, denied responsibility over his late and inept response to the pandemic. His departure came in the form of a hollow point bullet during a press conference this morning. Secret service officers didn’t even so much as flinch to save Trump. The shooter, who has been allowed to remain anonymous, was unobstructed in her quest to punish the late president. Hooded and somewhat shielded from the camera lenses, she marched directly up to his podium, drew her firearm, and unloaded the entire magazine of her semi-automatic pistol into the president’s body on live TV. When pressed for information, Secret Service agents, Trump’s administration, and all other suspected parties have remained silent.

Melania fled the country with her son, Barron. They haven’t been seen since late June. I have to say, I don’t blame her. 

Ivanka, Jared, Don Jr. and Eric have each been accused of several counts of embezzlement, racketeering, and conspiracy to commit fraud. They’re waiting for their trials in an undisclosed prison. Tiffany, “the embarrassment”, is the state’s prime witness.

Mike Pence, the silent VP, has stepped into the president’s position against the wishes of Congress. They felt he’d be “inadequate” in handling the crisis. Most citizens suspected he’d try to “pray the disease away”. I was one of them.

Instead, Pence actually surprised us all by allowing Dr. Fauci to immediately enact the exact measures that were required and recommended months ago. And to think, all it took was a pandemic, a full government cover up, and a loaded gun to put this country on the right track.

November 16, 2020

The world is fucked! A bunch of states have been without power for weeks. Everyone’s panicking. The growing number of low income areas have spiked the suicide and murder rates. The body count from COVID-19 is now more than 10 million worldwide. But the number of indirect deaths are more than triple that.

Trapped in my apartment until earlier this week. I had to leave quickly. The place was starting to smell and some looters had been busting down doors and robbing people in their apartments.

I’m using an old gas mask I used to use for smoking weed to keep me from contracting anything. I’ve got a backpack with a few supplies including a hunting knife, a blanket, a couple of lighters, a few other basics, and this small notepad to keep track of days and jot down some thoughts. It’s the only thing keeping me sane.

I’ve been sleeping for no more than an hour at a time and scavenging for food. I don’t know if I’ll make it. I need to find permanent shelter too. I’ve been doing my best to blend in with crowds of homeless people. Thieves don’t seem to bother them. They move in huge packs like a zombie horde. I just do my best to blend in while keeping some distance. 

Pence has proven his lack of ability by making similar mistakes to Trump and falling victim to the powers of the lobbyists, proving Congress right. He was removed from office. 

Bernie Sanders and the rest of the Senate now run the country as a Council in place of appointing a new Commander-in-Chief. They are working everyday to restore order and balance to the country, but that time is long gone.

The 2020 presidential race was cancelled two weeks ago, exactly one day before the election after Democratic nominee Joe Biden lost his battle to COVID-19. I can’t believe they’ve bothered to drag it out this long. The country is falling apart and they’re just going about their business like nothing’s happening.

The rest of the world is also a giant shit pile.

China has now taken over as the most powerful world leader in recorded history. They’ve formed a stranglehold on the rest of the world and driven almost every nation into poverty. 

The remains of The World Health Organization have now reported that the Chinese government downplayed the virus and covered up hundreds, maybe thousands of early deaths so that the world would under-react and be overwhelmed. 

They began a full investigation into China’s role and exactly how they’ve “weaponized” the virus, asking for the U.N. to intervene. But, as China’s power grew virtually overnight, they used their new influence to disband the U.N. and crush the investigation.

For the sacrifice of a few thousand Chinese citizens, the People’s Republic of China has taken the reins by decimating the global economy and turning countries on themselves.

America was going to go to war with China. Hell, I wanted to blast those assholes to the moon. But knowing that it would essentially destroy the planet, we seceded, ironically on Sept 11. 

Sanders agreed to be ruled under a new constitution formed by a coalition of American and Chinese officials. This won’t go well.

January 22, 2021

Millions more are dead across the planet. This fuckin virus has destroyed the world.

Mom and dad both got sick around Christmas. Mom pulled through, but dad didn’t make it. It ripped through him like a thresher through a wheat field. Mom’s living with Christine now. I don’t know how long they’ll be able to last. The apple really doesn’t fall far.

Sander is a fuckin’ idiot! China went back on its word to form a coalition. They began ruling from “on high” with an iron fist. Rationed medical supplies and leveraging everything they can to keep other nations on their knees, the New Republic of China has risen. Fuck!

They’ve hoarded all the best scientists, medicine, and vaccines for themselves, leaving the rest of the world to fend for itself or fall in line for a few crumbs.

Europe’s been completely quarantined with no one allowed to enter or leave. It has become its own little world within a world. It seems crazy, but they’re probably better off.

Canada and Russia were able to rally their people to save the majority of the population. Their access to some of the largest reserves of natural resources also proved useful to China. Putin and Trudeau, a couple of sleazy, anti-American communists, agreed that the lives of their people were more important than previous alliances. So they’ve now sided with China.

The overlords have appointed tens of thousands of soldiers along the American / Canadian border and several thousand on the Russian border with Eastern European countries to keep Europeans from leaving their isolated hot zone. China’s president has issued a shoot-to-kill order on both fronts.

We used to mock Canada and Russia, now we envy them. I still hate both countries.

March 11, 2021

I abandoned my place months ago and running with the homeless had its own issues. 

I’m holed up in a bunker that I found out in the middle of the wilderness. It’s totally stocked with enough canned food to last me a while. It has solar panels and a power bank for electricity. I’ve put in a bunch of sniper ports for 360 degree surveillance. There’s also a bunch of guns here and my vantage points will give me the upper hand over trespassers. I fear everyday that the owner of this place is alive and on their way to take it back.

America didn’t cooperate with other world leaders, nor did the citizens when it came to following any rules. Everyone’s fuckin “civil liberties” were too important. We never learned from our mistakes and now those freedoms we once enjoyed, are gone.

Between the virus itself, which has now mutated and is much more dangerous, and the citizens of the country turning on one another, more than 150 million Americans are now dead. Murder and theft is the new normal for a country that used to be the pinnacle of modern civilization.

Some nights I sit and reflect on the way we used to be as Americans. All the things we took for granted, the ability to come and go as we please, visiting friends and family, connecting with and loving one another. Then I think about the way we squandered those blessings. I try not to cry. It’s tough, but emotions are a weakness.

June 14, 2021

I’m tired and the confines of this bunker are starting to get to me. 

My sniper ports have come in handy a few times. There’s a ravine about a half mile away where I dumped the bodies. It didn’t feel right. None of this does. But it’s getting easier. 

There is one broadcast that my small radio picks up. It’s on all day and mostly just static. Once a day, they play a ten minute global news update. When it does play, I’m just happy to hear a third voice.

India tried to fight back against the power of the New Republic of China. Bunch of idiots! With America’s entire arsenal and elite special forces hired as mercenaries, China crushed them in a matter of a few days. Of the 900 million Indians left after the COVID-19 outbreak and civil warring, China obliterated more than three quarters of the remaining population in the short battle. The global population is now down to just under five billion.

My 30th birthday has come with some more terrible news. North Korea has joined China, Russia, and Canada. Kim Jong Un finally came out of hiding and has pledged every man, woman, and child to China’s war efforts. The “Little Rocket Man” will sacrifice his entire country to save his own hide and keep what power he has left.

August 25, 2021

I’m trapped in the bunker most days. I’m starting to hear more voices. Sometimes they’re from a passing nomadic tribe. Sometimes they’re not. 

I’ve spent some time outside camouflaging the bunker. The odd wanderer gets a little too curious sometimes. I’ve rolled 25 more bodies into the ravine.

Solar panels are starting to fail, and I have to limit the power I use. I’m hunting now. I’ve learned to dress my kills, cook on an open flame, cure meats and filter water on the go in preparation for leaving this place.

I never thought I’d say this but I’m moving to Canada. It’s a long trek, probably 20-30 days walking, but if I can cross the border, I’ll try to blend in as a Canadian and live the rest of my life there. Eh!

October 1, 2021

I’m so tired. The voices have gotten louder.

It took longer than I thought, but I made it to the border of Michigan and Canada. My journey here was mostly uneventful. The cured meats and water filtration have kept me going. I found shelter in abandoned homes and barns, even an old steel mill. I can just imagine that place at its peak. Hot, steamy, hundreds of workers keeping the manufacturing machine moving. But now it’s cold and still; the temperature of death.

I avoid other people at all costs. I had one close call with a small family in the steel mill. I came around a corner and was face-to-face with a man holding a lifeless child, a woman that looked like she had been beaten and possibly raped, and a young boy that hid behind his parents. I said nothing. I just pushed past them. I hope they make it.

I’ve scouted the border patrol for the last 24 hours looking for any sign of weakness. There are few, but they exist. Tomorrow I will cross, but for now, I must save my strength.

October 3, 2021

I made it. I’m in Canada. The cold weather is already starting to move in. I need to find shelter before the temperature drops any more. We never got this shit weather in Tennessee. But we had a lot of it growing up in Albany. 

I’m happy to be in a safer place, but I can’t stop thinking about what got America to this point.

After all the fear mongering, it turns out the biggest threat to our safety wasn’t immigrants, terrorists, taxes, our leaders or the government they formed – it was ourselves. Our hubris. Our inflated sense of self worth. It was the individualism and freedom we boasted about for decades, centuries even. We failed to listen to those that were smarter than ourselves. Foolish pride superseded our better judgment. But ultimately it was our inability to realize that there is no greatest or freest country. On this big spinning rock there are only humans, our beliefs, and whether or not we have the capacity to love and care for one another.

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

Daily Prompt: Tide

via Daily Prompt: Tide

This would be an easy prompt to pick on foolish teenagers for eating Tide pods, because ingesting harmful chemicals is just plain stupid. However, while most people over 18 years of age can’t wrap their heads around this, many of those same people smoke cigarettes, drink excessive amounts of caffeinated, alcoholic or sugary beverages, and eat garbage food everyday.

Healthy living is about avoiding these excessive or unnecessary poisons as often as possible. For those who have trained themselves to require that caffeine jolt in the morning, one coffee per day is enough. You don’t need four. In fact, you could wean yourself off of coffee altogether and still be able to function normally.

You’ve heard the old saying, “Moderation is the key.” That statement applies to everything in life, not just food and drinks, but also excessive work schedules, exercise, and rest or lack thereof.

If you don’t require another, just put it down. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my six Big Mac meals are ready.

Daily Prompt: Toxic

via Daily Prompt: Toxic

7 Signs That You Work In A Toxic Environment

A job I once had provided an unwanted look into what a toxic work environment can be. It frustrated me everyday, and quickly turned into something I loathed thinking about, even during my off time. The signs of a toxic environment are not always easily identifiable, but once you are made aware of what they look like, recognizing them is simple. What you do after that is up to you.

  1. You have a boss, not a leader.

A real leader is willing to put in work alongside their employees, not crack a whip from the safety of an office. They don’t point fingers and search for someone to blame if something goes wrong either. Instead, an effective leader will work with the team or individual to improve their understanding and hopefully their results.

2. Management is feared, not respected.

Ruling through fear only works for someone who doesn’t understand what respect is or how it works. However, most adults in the workforce fully understand that by showing respect, they get it in return. This creates a positive cycle of respect being shown to everyone else that they may encounter throughout the day. As a result of a positive and respectful work environment, there will inevitably be an increase in productivity and morale.

3. Only failures are recognized, not successes.

Every manager is different. The good ones will point out successes, either through email, a private conversation, or in front of colleagues and co-workers. They will also point out failures, but usually behind closed doors, and will be willing to spend time to help you correct the issue. A bad manager tends to only dwell on failures, call you out like a child in front of everyone, and can even stoop so low as to continually bring up old failures, even in unrelated situations. These bad managers will almost never give you recognition or praise for your success.

4. Absentee ownership.

This is more important to the health of the company than the individual employee. Absentee ownership is probably the worst offence an entrepreneur can can commit. If you’re 65 years old and have a well established team, perhaps you can take more time off, but if your company is struggling, it, as well as the employees, can benefit by having you spend more time there, not less.

5. Unhealthy competition.

Sales competitions can be a great motivator, helping to drive in some extra revenue, especially in the slow times when employees can tend to get complacent. But overlapping of territories or customers can result in animosity between employees, and a disdain for the manager who implemented the contest. Hopefully, any form of competition is well thought out ahead of time, and outlined in full detail with the employees before it begins.

6. Drugs and alcohol at work.

This is pretty straightforward. Drugs and alcohol consumed at work is dangerous to everyone, and a sign of a serious addiction. If anyone is at the point that they require drugs and/or alcohol to get through the day, serious psychological help should be acquired.

7. Nepotism.

In my experience, when I worked for family members, I was always expected to output more effort and productivity than other employees. It taught me that regardless of how I got my job, I had to work to keep it. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Too often, family members are hired, put in a few years of actual work, then coast for the rest of their career. Ultimately, they manufacture a sense of entitlement, which leads to an abuse of power, unprofessional actions, and a distrust between the employees and employer.