Verruca and The Wildlings — Ep1: A Pandemic Special
Welcome to a series of short fiction stories inspired by the sometimes profound and often ridiculous lives of modern travellers. Narrated by a wart.
My name is Verruca…because that’s what I am. I’m a harmless wart living on the forehead of this chic, Pixel, who’s quite relaxed when it comes to matters of hygiene. I don’t remember how my life started. All I heard is that I was born from a nasty virus and now here I am, witness to human issues and their existential problems.
It’s 2020 and there’s a new fellow virus that had successfully crept into, and crashed down, human immune systems. The new kid has apparently claimed over one million breaths in nine months, worldwide. What a ledge.
Meanwhile, Pixel and I are in Kunashmu.
“What brings you here,” a local girl asked Pix.
“I used to work for an old boy who said I should visit this country where I can walk on giant mountains. Where I grew up there are no mountains. I’m curious to see what’s up here.”
“You don’t have mountains? What do you have in your country?”
“There are grey skies. A lot of roads. Flat lands. Pigeons with one leg. People who forgot how to smile…” Pixel stopped for a thoughtful second. “Sometimes there are also drunk ladies sleeping on the streets.”
“Really, they do that? Did that happen to you?”
“I used to pass out and sleep outside the club, but not because of alcohol. Those were my ketamine days. My friends used to talk about me: ‘Oh, Pix is passed out again…’ Months later they started doing the same, k-holing outside the clubs. I guess I’m just a trendsetter.”
The Kunashmu government introduced the SHOE programme (Stay Home Or Else) in hopes of containing the deadly new virus. People were required to stay indoors and avoid gallivanting.
In the lake-side town of Rembibi, a tourist spot where bohemian folks and roaming scoundrels met, rules were viewed as recommendations.
A young traveller named Nico moved into Pixel’s neighbourhood. His hair hung loose on his forehead, partially concealing the naughty twinkle in his eyes. He wanted to break out of his lockdown solitude and decided to visit Pixel’s house next door.
“What’s that,” he asked Pixel, pointing at me.
“It’s a wart,” Pixel replied casually as she lick-sealed the paper and finished rolling a joint.
“Is that grass?”
“Yeah. We’re about to smoke my overpriced, badly-dried, full-of-seed weed.”
“Now is not a good season for grass,” Nico expertly explains. “I have delicious hash. You wanna buy some? Only 900 lucre for 10 grams. It’s my pandemic special.”
Next Episode : The Lower Chakras