Tag Archives: lockdown

Why I Keep Inserting Monsters into the News

I’ve been writing a lot about monsters lately:
About werewolves protesting the lockdown because it keeps their prey at home.
About ghosts intensifying their hauntings now that they have captive audiences.
About eldritch horrors lurking aboveground because of the lack of pollution.
About giant spiders ensnaring runners with tripwire webs.

These stories are my way of processing the pandemic without dealing with it head on. I did that once when I wrote a blog about having COVID-19 symptoms. In it I related a string of bad luck.

First I got sick. Then I got laid off. My boss used the lockdown as an opportunity to “right size” her business, despite the fact that our UPS Store had lines out the door. After two weeks of unemployment I was asked to come back. Another employee was showing COVID-19 symptoms and they needed the support. I was afraid I might still be contagious and I wasn’t eager to return to an unsafe environment. I was told “Now or never.” I went with never and lost my unemployment benefits.

That story was one of my most successful blog entries. It was off the cuff. But that kind of intimacy can’t be forced. You can’t reproduce it to increase your metrics. I considered journaling my depression throughout these turbulent times, but I didn’t want to overexpose myself. I ran the risk of sharing personal details that would made me unemployable or exhaust my readers’ empathy.

So I changed tactics. I wanted to write something topical, but I didn’t want to overwhelm people. I decided to come at the news from another angle. I’d address the pandemic, but I’d add monsters to it.

How Monsters are Helping My Sanity

I like stories with moral messages, but I tend to beat people over the head them. I get up on my soap box and give a ham-fisted speech that scares people off. I’ve been writing for twenty years and I still struggle with subtext. My best stories happen organically once I’ve abandon my commentary. They follow Stephen King’s adage: entertain first, enlighten second.

When I started writing news parodies I thought I was putting a creepy spin on what The Onion was doing. Then these pieces turned into thought experiments. The question, “How do I address the plight of essential workers during the pandemic?” became “What if people really did have to work through a zombie apocalypse?”

The question, “How do I take the OK Karen meme and apply it to witches?” became “What if magick was real and witches were subject to online harassment?”

The question, “Would people go out if there were giant spiders everywhere?” became “But what if there really were giant spiders everywhere?”

I became less interested in writing commentary and more interested in playing up the absurdity of these stories. These fantastic times pair well with fantasy creatures. Writing about these heightened realities makes this one bearable to me. My monsters have allowed me to reclaim my imagination from so much of what’s going on.

Closing Thoughts

This pandemic is soul crushing. This lockdown is depressing and the state of the economy is demoralizing. Many of my favorite coffeehouses, bars, and restaurants are closing for good.
I have a friend who’s a nurse in New York. I have another friend whose care facility has had several deaths. I’m healthy and relatively young, but I got much sicker than I expected.

I’ve spent weeks trying to get through to the unemployment office. I’m still waiting on my stimulus check. I’ve been applying for every job I think might put a dent in my expenses, and yet I have too much free time. I’m single. I live alone. I haven’t seen any of my friends in months.

My monster stories are keeping me going. I know I ought to be better about sharing them, about building the old brand. I’ve been told to start a Patreon, but I don’t have that kind of following. Not yet.

I’m open to feedback. Please let me know if you’re digging what I’m doing.

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Why Werewolves are Protesting the Lockdown

On April 7, the date of the last full moon, werewolves stormed the state capitol. The pack protracted their claws, showed their teeth, and chanted, “We will huff and puff and blow you out of office!”

Their signs read:
We have big eyes, to see through your lies.
We’ll drag you out by the hair of your chinny chin chin.
Pigs in a blanket (this one featured pictures of the governor and two members of the safety commission).

The werewolves were protesting the state’s COVID-19 lockdown measures, measures the governor was deliberating with lawmakers. During that time the wolves turned the capital building into their den. Protestors were seen digging up geraniums, scooting across the lawn, and burying bones.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” the governor was critical of the wolves behavior. “The first amendment gives them the right to assemble, despite the stay-at-home order, but urinating in the halls of government, how is that hygienic?”

State lawmakers paused their meeting once the wolves started howling, “Chew her up. Chew her up. Chew her up”

The governor said, “My staff members were afraid for their lives. They were prying plaques off the wall in the hopes that they contained silver. Security had to take us through a secret exit.”

Maynard Lowe, the alpha protestor, said, “The Governor is crying wolf. Meanwhile her restrictions are keeping healthy people trapped inside. Young people ought to be out taking moonlit strolls, exploring the woods, or skinny dipping.”

Lowe wasn’t worried the demonstrators would track COVID-19 back into their dens. “We have pack immunity. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able wander freely.”

Asked if he’d be willing to submit to an antibody test Lowe refused. “I ain’t going to no vet. They say they want a blood test then all of sudden snip snip.”

Werewolves are More at Risk than Any other Group

Grant Moore, an epidemiologist with University of Minnesota, was skeptical of Lowe’s assertion of Pack immunity. “As a community werewolves are less likely to get their pups vaccinated. Pediatricians often misdiagnose pups with hypertrichosis.” (excessive hair growth) “When they finally see a specialist they have fungal infections, parasites, and tumors.”

COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease, one that can be transferred from animals to people and vice versa. Werewolves have double the risk factors due to their human and wolf forms.

This is different for vampires. Covid-19 attacks the 1-beta chain in hemoglobin and vampires can’t sustain hemoglobin. That’s why they have to feed so often. Vampires are only vulnerable to COVID-19 in their bat forms, but even then vampires are less at risk due to their ability to social distance.

There are few lone werewolves. Most run in packs of six to ten and live in shacks on the outskirts of town. The risks of COVID-19 increases when you factor substance abuse and rabies into the equation.

Werewolves Put Others at Risk

While werewolves don’t hunt for sport they’ve been known to rack up surplus kills. Last July, a pack werewolves tore through an outdoor music festival. Nine wolves massacred 62 concert goers and maimed 30 others. Amongst the survivors physicians found bacterial infections, canine hepatitis, and flees. The werewolves had passed illnesses to their prey.

Lowe refuses to acknowledge the problem. “Everybody knows you can’t get COVID from a bite. It’s a respiratory thing.”

Epidemiologist Ravi Patel disagrees. “Werewolves hunt at superhuman speeds. If one mauls you, it will be panting in your face. There will be droplets and those droplets will get into your mouth. A werewolf doesn’t need to bite you for you to get you sick.”

The President Sides with the Wolves

The night of the Werewolf demonstration President Trump tweeted, “Hey governor. The wolves are at your door. Why don’t you go out there and make a deal?”

While many have criticized the president’s tweet as a veiled threat Lowe doesn’t see it that way. “The governor has nothing to fear. We’re sheep in wolves clothing. What’s that saying? Report makes the wolf bigger than he is.”

Later the president tweeted, “She who lies with wolves doesn’t lose sleep worrying about the feelings of sheep.”

Lowe scratched his ears at that. “I think those are two separate sayings the president kind of merged together. I’m not sure what he was going for.”

TV Station Parts Ways with Meteorologist over Tweet

President Trump wasn’t the only public figure tweeting about the April 7th event.

Kare 11 dismissed long time meteorologist Sven Sunaard for sharing a tweet about the demonstration. The station announced the separation on their Facebook page.

“Due to continued violations of KARE 11’s news ethics and other policies, we have made the decision to part ways with Sven Sundgaard… We hope you continue to turn to KARE 11 for your news, traffic, weather and more.”

The tweet Sven Sunaard shared read, “The only reason werewolves want the lockdown lifted is because it’ll make their prey easier to catch.”

Maynard Lowe had not been aware of Sunnard’s departure until he sat for this interview. Lowe brought up the tweet, narrowed his gaze, and clutched his phone in his paw. Lowe licked his lips as considered the text. “Yup, that’s pretty much it. We want you out doing errands so we can hunt you down. He got fired for that? Kare 11 really threw him to the us’s, huh? I guess that’s the nature of the beast.”

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