Quarantine to the Slaughter
The house was warm and dust-free, the curtains drawn, and the two table lamps alight. Mary Maloney was at home, sewing on her favourite chair and waiting for her husband to finish all his assignments. She looked down at her belly and gazed at the bulging area which held her and Patrick’s six-month-old baby. She sighed as she thought of how much her beloved husband had changed since the quarantine began. She continued sewing until she looked up at the clock. Ten minutes to five. She listened for the squeak of a swivel chair, and as always, she saw her husband waddle out of his work den.
The floorboards creaked, and her husband lazily greeted her, “Hullo honey…”
“Hello honey,” replied Mrs. Maloney monotonously.
Mr. Maloney looked at his wife and shrugged. “Can you pour me a glass of whiskey?” he asked.
Mrs. Maloney huffed in slight annoyance and got up to do so. Before she could add a comment, Mr. Maloney had waddled back into his work den like a zombie and sat down with his crooked back. Reluctantly, Mrs. Maloney walked into the den and set his glass down on his desk and left the room.
Mrs. Maloney sat down in her chair and sighed heavily through her nose. Ever since the quarantine began, her husband had gone from a graceful, handsome and hardworking man to a hideous, unshaved, smelly ape. She thought back to the time when she would greatly rejoice when her husband came back from work, but now, she felt disgusted and disappointed to be married to this dishevelled human-like creature, whom she could hardly recognize. He had not shaved or taken a shower for days, arguing that there was no need for cleanliness as he wasn’t going to go outside.
As she was sewing, Mrs. Maloney made up her mind to cook a lamb leg for dinner. “Maybe a fancy dinner could brighten up the mood a bit,” She thought.
At six-thirty pm, Mrs. Maloney heard Patrick receive his nightly check-up call from the police station.
“Yes, all the papers have been filed, signed, and approved. Yes, I have finished my tasks and assignments,” said Mr. Maloney in his bored and lazy quarantine voice.
He continued verifying all the details on his check-up call, and Mary Maloney decided that it was time to get up and grab the lamb leg from the freezer.
As she was walking to the freezer, she fell into a trance-like state. She could not feel anything, and in fact, her body seemed to be moving on its own. She went to the basement cellar, opened a small cooler, and pulled out the largest object she could find. She pulled out a massive leg of lamb and hauled it up the stairs. On her way to the oven, she saw Patrick Maloney finishing up with the phone call. Mary slowly entered the room to tell him about her dinner plans, when a waft of nasty smell permeated her nostrils, and the second he hung up. THWACK!
Patrick Maloney was motionless in his chair for a second and then toppled down his chair onto the floor, creating a pool of blood on the carpet. Mary snapped out of her trance and realized what she had done.
“I’ve killed the dirty ape. Now what?” She said to herself. But she couldn’t go to prison for killing her husband or rather a smelly ape. Mary devised a plan, put the leg of lamb in the oven, turned it on, and went up to find a mirror.
“Hiya Sam!” she recited. No, that sounds too forced and the smile seems fake. Mary tried again and again until she was content with her act. She walked out of the house, passing her husband’s corpse. She put on a mask and some gloves, pocketed a bit of hand sanitizer and then headed out. As she walked, she tried to convince herself that she was just going out to get some groceries for the night’s dinner. She arrived at the little store where she usually got her groceries from.
When she arrived at the store, she was ushered to a long line of heavily masked and gloved people, standing meticulously 6 feet away from each other.
Being in a rush to enter the store, Mary forgot to keep her distance with a lady in front. “Please stay 6 feet away!” screamed the lady while sending Mary into a state of shock. Mary wished she had another lamb leg handy. But he just sighed, Guess it isn’t just the ape who’s changing.
By the time she got to the store’s entrance, the store was closed.
When it was her turn to go in, she was stopped by some security officers in PPE.
“Ma’am I’m sorry. The store is closed,” said the officer as he tried to lead Mary out.
“But I need to get some groceries. Sam has to see me,” blurted Mary in despair.
“I’m sorry Ma’am. The store is closed, and by the way, you can see Sam is in self-isolation. He tested positive yesterday,” said the officer indifferently.
As she was talking to the officer, she noticed Meya, Sam’s colleague, leaving the store. “Hi, Maya! Mary shouted as she rushed to catch up with her.
“Hullo, do I know you? Said the lady.
I am Mary. Sam’s friend. Remember!” exclaimed Mary excitedly.
“I am sorry, Ma’am. I’m not Maya. You have mistaken me for someone else. It happens a lot these days. With the mask and all that,” said the lady consolingly.
Mary had to return home. The first step of her seemingly well-devised plan had failed. In the heat of the moment, she had totally forgotten about the pandemic.
Soon, Mary was back home. As she entered, she saw her beloved husband lying on the floor, cold and dead. All the love she used to have for him, the love before quarantine, flooded back as Mary cried over her husband’s cold corpse. After crying, she got up and picked up the phone to dial 911.
“Hello, 911, what’s your emergency?” said the operator.
“I need the police and the ambulance! Patrick, one of the senior police officers, has been killed,” she sobbed as she held her husband’s cold and lifeless hand.
“Ma’am, I need to ask you a series of questions.” replied the operator as if she had not realized the severity of the situation.
“Have you travelled abroad in the past two weeks?”
“No,” said Mary, impatiently.
“Have you been in contact with anyone with COVID 19?”
“Have you or anyone in your household come into contact with anyone suspected of having COVID 19?”
“No,” said Mary, trying to swallow her anger and frustration.
“Do you or anyone in your household show any symptoms, such as fever or cough?”
“No,” said Mary, wishing the operator was near her.
“Have you or your husband received any COVID 19 alert on the COVID tracking application?”
“No. We do not have the application,” yelled Mary, clenching her fists.
“Oh, then I suggest that you install the app on your phone; it can reduce the risk of contracting the virus.”
“But my husband is dead now. He doesn’t have to worry about COVID 19,” Mary replied in exasperation.
“We’ll come to that shortly, Ma’am. I need to ask you a few more questions.”
Mary Maloney, who couldn’t take it any longer, yelled at the operator, “I HAVE KILLED MY HUSBAND! — the virus!”
“Ma’am. We will take care of that momentarily. Have you or anyone in your household had any …?”