For the last few weeks our furnace has never been starved for fuel. Hood River has been enjoying its own personal plague, hanging around town like an invisible fog. Its presence makes your skin tingle, like a demon visiting from another astral plane.
And now I am fighting off my own personal case of the Hood River Plague. I caught it a few weeks ago right before my trip to Baja, got over it in Mexico, and returned to town just in time to catch the latest mutation. This thing is wonderful. My brain is slow-roasting in fever while my body is wracked with chills. I took a hot shower the other night, an extremely hot shower, and yet I couldn’t stop shivering.
Nothing ruins your enjoyment of the company of your fellow man quite like being sick in a small town. You know that one of these miscreants got you sick. You know that it’s probably someone you see every day, whether it was someone at work, or the girl at the pizza parlor, or the FexEx guy. Maybe the UPS guy gave it to the FedEx guy as an act of spite, and the FedEx guy gave it to you when he dropped off your new camera. Or maybe he gave it to you at work. Or at the pizza parlor.
Hmm. You seem to see a lot of the FedEx guy. What are you up to? You need to start hanging out at the coffee shop more often.
Whoever it was that got you sick, you probably know them, they probably know you, and you feel affronted that they had the nerve to pass on the misery to you. Share and share alike, certainly, but this is ridiculous.
What’s more, the world becomes instantly unbearable. The floor is too hard. Footsteps are too loud. The air makes your skin itch. Everything is irritating, but nothing is more irritating than the people who aren’t sick. I made a foray out to the grocery store to buy a fifty gallon drum of orange juice and was disgusted by what people were doing. A couple in front of me was walking too slow. A guy was buying 36 eggs. Another couple was making out in the ketchup aisle.
For whatever reason, I found these acts inexcusable in my fever-addled state. It makes no sense rationally, but illness and rationality are mutually exclusive. All I want is a clear line from wherever I happen to be standing to wherever the orange juice is. If there are things in my way, whether they be people or aisles or locked doors, they will pay the price of my fury.
The fever gives me powers like you wouldn’t imagine. Have you ever heard of balefire? Do you know how balefire works? Get between me and my orange juice, and you will know it firsthand.